the one with the raleigh-versary.

i swear, every time i turn around, it’s another month- another season- another year. my raleigh-versary snuck up on me this year, and it took me til that afternoon to realize the significance of the day.

august 7.

my stuff lived here a week earlier than i did. we had loaded the 26 foot truck and my car with all our stuff, drove caravan-style from lynchvegas to raleigh, and unloaded everything into storage units at some place on capital near downtown. i went back to the ‘burg for another week to tie up loose ends and celebrate my mom’s birthday, so the date of my official ‘i live here now’ move was august 7, 2011. i drove down early that sunday morning to make it to the middle service at church, to meet the rest of my team and begin life in a new state as a church planter. i started work at starbucks two days later.

fast-forward 4 years.

i’m not part of that team anymore. i’m no longer part of that body. i don’t work at starbucks anymore. i don’t call myself a church planter anymore. i don’t live in the same place i did when i moved to this city. i don’t drive the same car, or have the same haircut.

three residences. five roommates. three jobs. four birthdays. three churches.  four christmases.

raleigh, you’ve changed me. in ways both good and bad- but all ways that were needed. i’ve lost much, in many ways. i’ve wept more tears here than any other city i’ve lived in. i thought no amount of time could make be home here, could make me love this city. but i do love it. i might have lost much, but i’ve gained even more. i might have wept rivers, but joy keeps coming in like a high tide. time has passed more quickly than i ever thought possible.

i started a new job on the last monday in april. the entire process, from first interview to first day at work, took less than two weeks. it wasn’t a job i went looking for- it was one that God brought right to me. i had been looking for another job for over two years at that point. i had searched and prayed and asked and applied and interviewed and been shut down more times than i care to remember- because it wasn’t time yet.

thinking about being in raleigh for 4 years has me thinking about time. more specifically, it has me thinking about the fullness of time, that little biblical phrase we see a few times in the new testament. we see it in galatians 4:4-5 —

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

and again in ephesians 1:7-10 —

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

did you catch that? the implication here (well, one of them, anyway) is that there was a time when it wasn’t the fullness of time. it was not yet. it was wait a little longer. but there was always a plan- there was always a time when time would be full. and do you see what was happening when time was full?! God was working redemption! God was working uniting us to Him! if there was always a plan, it means that he was always working, even in the not yet.

there has been a lot of not yet for me in raleigh. but time keeps marching on, keeps getting fuller and fuller, and he keeps working and working.

one day, time will be full- in all respects. one day, Jesus will cry, like Aslan- “Now it is Time!” in a voice that will shake the stars. the Door will open, the redemption will be in whole- not just in part!, and we will see Jesus. he will make all the sad things come untrue, he will wipe away tears from our eyes, and there will be no more pain or death. one day, revelation 21: 5-6 will be our reality. it already is, in small part- he is making all things new. he is the creator and master of time, and one day it will be done.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

happy anniversary, raleigh. i love you, and i’m glad to call you home. but you’re not my final home- our days are numbered.

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