As I closely followed the large Penske truck my husband drove ahead of me, I looked out my car window to see my mom running along the sidewalk as I drove out of the neighborhood. Tears were streaming down her face as she ran with my pace, repeatedly waving goodbye. A lump caught in my throat, and my vision became blurred as my own tears began to form. I waved goodbye, and turned the corner onto Scenic Hwy. She faded out of sight. I’ll remember that day as one of the most difficult days of my life, driving away from my family atop Lookout Mountain, GA. I hated change, and at that moment, all I was experiencing was change. Little did I know what was in store for us in our new, little town of Laurel. We were Mississippi bound.
I know I’ve expressed my love for Laurel in previous posts, but I think it’s important to note where we came from, especially this specific weekend one year ago. We had gathered for Jim’s graduation from Covenant College and Georgia Tech in Chattanooga, TN. My family had traveled from Virginia, and we had moved our belongings out of our Atlanta home the day before. It was a whirlwind of a weekend. It was also the last weekend we knew all of the family would be together for quite some time. So when we left, my heart felt heavy. I wasn’t sure when we would all be reunited. This change wasn’t welcome, but it was happening, and we were contributors to that change. Some of the most intense growing pains I’ve ever experienced.
Moving to Mississippi wasn’t in our plans. It was actually the last state on my list of desired places to live. No really, I’m serious. The physical location, the distance from immediate family, the weather, the stereotypes, all of it. But since we’ve moved here, Gods shown us we’re right where we need to be.
Here are some fun facts that have occurred since moving to Laurel:
- Jim is enjoying his work as a mechanical engineer at Georgia Pacific. He’s still getting used to his hour commute, but has listened to dozens of audio books and made good use of his highway time. When he isn’t driving his car into work, he’ll be driving his motorcycle instead. A recent addition to the Hurt home, motorcycling is one of his favorite pastimes.
- I’m working at Choices Clinic of Laurel. This clinic assists women in unplanned pregnancies by empowering them to make life-affirming decisions through our confidential medical services, education, and emotional support. I recently wrote on Choices Clinic’s supporter blog on my role in the clinic and how all work is God’s work. If you want to take a glimpse further into this ministry, you can find my post here.
- I’ve gotten a couple people back in Virginia asking what my involvement with HGTV’s Home Town. Here is my answer: none! I’m not involved in any way with the show. However, I have been given the opportunity to work at the Laurel Mercantile as a sales associate and, more recently, a product photographer (in training)!
- I’m continually apart of the downtown Laurel loop as I occasionally fill in on the weekends at Southern Antiques or am over at the Mercantile. Living and working downtown has been one of the greatest attributes to small town life. I was immediately plugged in and felt a part of the community. I instantly belonged.
- We have joined CrossPointe Community Church! This is a big one. Being a part of a church family is incredibly important to Jim and I. It took us a couple months to settle down and decide on a church, but we take the commitment as members seriously. We couldn’t be more thankful for the relationships we’ve developed through the church body – it’s been the biggest source of community for us.
- We’ve hosted 14 guests in our loft’s spare room, and the number continues to grow! If you’re ever interested in stopping in and visiting a charming, small town, you know who to call. Not to mention day trips to the beach, New Orleans, and beyond!
While our love for this small town continues to grow, so does our longing to be close to loved ones. I’m not sure if I’ll ever balance being present-focused and future-focused well. I find myself homesick often, and fight the battle of contentment. Because, as we all know, the grass is always greener on the side, right? But then I look back on all that’s happened in a year’s span, and I’m absolutely blown away by God’s faithfulness. What a testimony of grace, friends. Be encouraged. Even if you think your plan is great, God has a tendency to use you for something even greater.