The view from our front porch reveals that we live in a town. A sidewalk outlines the bottom of our yard and a four-way stop sits just beyond the row of parallel parked cars. But we don’t just live in any city. We now live in the very same section of town that is home to our Alma Mater. We are four blocks from Geneva College, and we live on a city street that 11+ years ago we used to walk down together.
We drove to church this past Sunday morning, taking the same route I used my freshman year to attend this very same church. This time, of course, it was with my husband of 10 years and our three children. Nonetheless, it felt the same and on that drive, God started calling to mind people and places and events in my life so intricately woven together that only He could be the author.
It was as if He was saying, “See where I’ve brought you, Courtney, back to the place we began. I have all of your days in my hand. My plans for you are perfect and good.”
I began my freshman year at Geneva in 2000, a very new believer, surrounded by peers much more grounded in their faith than me. It was during my first week of classes that I learned of a church in a town nearby that several staff and students attended. So on my second Sunday attending college, I hitched a ride with a junior on my floor, and landed at First Pres Beaver for 9am worship.
As it turned out, my ride was an intern for the youth director at that church and needed to stay for the Sunday School hour. I looked at the adult Sunday School options and mustered up the courage to attend one taught by a name recognizable to me from Geneva, a professor. To my complete surprise, when I walked into that Sunday School class that morning, I recognized several people. Not fellow students, but community members and Geneva staff who knew me by name from the past few weeks. We studied the Word that morning, both during the service and in the hour that followed. I left Dr. Guthrie’s class on First, Second, and Third John that September Sunday in 2000, and knew God had led me to a church home.
More than that though, He was starting me down this path of sanctification, of growing and maturing my new baby faith, and He was using a small Christian college and a body of believers at First Pres to do it. Many of those same people who were in my life in a small way at that time 14 years ago are in my life now in a much bigger way. The body of Christ, specifically in this area, is responsible for my Spiritual health and growth in college. It has nurtured our marriage from before its beginning 10 years ago, has prepared us and shaped us for being called to GO, and has supported and sent us these last two years with love and encouragement and prayer.
The Lord continued to reassure me on our drive yesterday. The college I attended, the local congregation I joined, the people He placed in my path over those first four years, and the people He’s placed in my path since - None of it was by chance.
I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I’m a mentor to third culture kids in Kenya. I’m a believer and disciple of Jesus Christ, and He has been guiding and equipping me for each of these roles for His glory and His purposes since He called me to Himself in High School.
I was created for this.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16