Blog by Joy Friend
I never thought we would go home. After 6 years, I was just starting to come around to the feeling of sand underfoot. Although we would never have called ourselves “beach people” considering my husband’s extremely fair skin and my general dislike for sand, we had fallen in love with Virginia Beach. Church was incredible, we had great friends, and life was good. Or at least I thought it was.
My husband on the other hand, always had a longing for home in his heart. We are both originally from Richmond and although our families were a short 2-hour drive away, he wanted to be near them. He wanted our kids to grow up with their cousins and spend more time with their grandparents. He wanted to go home. So, in the fall of 2015, we packed up our 2 boys, 2 dogs, and tortoise to settle ourselves back in RVA.
We were so excited to be back in our home town. We had a wild expectation that our city would have remained somehow unchanged, that we would pick up right we’re we left off with old friendships, and we would be welcomed into a family life that even Claire Huxtable would envy. But then life happened.
The move itself was rather stressful once we realized the huge mistake we made of moving our then family of 4 with 3 pets into the relatively small townhouse that I had comfortably lived in as a single woman several years before. Within a month we were met with family conflict that literally ripped my side of the family in two, and challenges we were having with our business at the time created so much anxiety in our home that my husband was rapidly falling into a place of deep depression. Welcome home! Let’s add to that the discovery that we were expecting baby number three and now we have an amplified need for security and stability.
Fortunately for us, in the midst of the chaos of this transitional point in our lives there was one constant. Immediately plugging ourselves into a local church was never negotiable. In fact, it was never even discussed, it was assumed. Knitting ourselves in to the fabric of the church community had become as natural to us as breathing. Since Wave Church in Virginia Beach had been our church home for the previous 7 years, Wave Richmond was another natural choice. We were immediately welcomed in a way that I am eternally grateful for. During a time in our lives when we had very private struggles and family challenges, the church became home. Being able to show up on a Sunday and hear a word to carry me through the week and enable me to encourage my husband became a vital part of our existence.
Thinking back on that very dark time, I am reminded of what God says in Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” God was with us during that time and He made Himself known to us through our church community and our God-given, undying willingness to fight each other’s battles.
My prayer for you today, is that when you experience times of struggle, you will remember above all else that God is with you and that you would find home wherever He is at the center.