We got asked a lot over spring break why Wes and I didn’t head “home” for a few days. People meant Texas when they said this, but we assured them that we were home already. Home as in Louisiana. Home as in Vidalia. “But this isn’t home for you!” they’d say. It wasn’t always, but it is now.
Can I tell you that this is one of the strangest things about being in ministry? Wes and I both grew up in Texas, but we grew up in vastly different areas of the state. He was in San Antonio, and I was in Alvarado – two destinations separated by four hours of driving. We didn’t even meet until seminary, but our ministry careers had begun at that point. Fort Worth was home because that’s where God had placed us. Home wasn’t where we were born or where we’d grown up – it was where we were in ministry. And it’s changed over the years, but every time, we were home when we were where God had called us.
As we’re walking through the process of buying our own home in Vidalia, we’re coming to realize that owning property here in this community doesn’t make it home. No, it became home when God called us here, when we answered that call, and when we moved here. So when people ask if we’re heading “home” for a visit, we just look at them blankly for a minute because honestly, we ARE home. Vidalia has been home for over a year and a half now. There’s nowhere else we’d rather be. And I know in a culture that’s plagued by short term pastorates and “outsiders” who don’t know the community as well as those who were born into it that it’s difficult for people to really believe that. But it’s the truth. Vidalia is home to us.
If we could give counsel to young ministry couples regarding anything, it would be this – home is where God has called you to be. When you move from where you were born or your last place of service to your new church, change your definition of home. Don’t keep looking back and rushing back “home” to the place where you’ve been, neglecting in the process what God has called you to for this season. We see ministry couples idealize former churches, refusing to move on emotionally, and it cripples them in the long term. It’s hard to move on from one place to another (we’ve been there), but there’s great joy and contentment to be found in making a new place your home.
So, yes, to all those who were asking. We were home for spring break. We were just a street over from the church, right here at home in Vidalia. We’re so thrilled that this is where God has us…