I don’t often follow writing prompts because I usually just talk about whatever God is showing me, but today’s writing prompt from NaBloPoMo is an easy one! The theme for the month is “Return.” I haven’t done much with that. Today’s prompt is, “If you could return to a place you once lived, where would you go?”
This is a conversation that my husband and I have had many times! I love my church. I love my friends here in Florida. But if the opportunity arose, I wouldn’t think twice about moving back to Asheville, NC! As I was growing up, there were three things I was determined I would never do.
- Get married. (This I have done and am enjoying every moment of marriage to a godly man!)
- Be a teacher (I went to college on a teaching scholarship, so did lots of teaching while there and I have taught Sunday school, AWANA, dance, gymnastics, and more! AND as a homeschooler I put on a teacher hat most days of the week!)
- Live in the mountains (Asheville, the one place I’d love to return is in the Blue Ridge Mountains!)
Be careful the things that you tell God you’ll never do! In my pride, I assured God that I knew the best plans for my life, but He has graciously reminded me time and again that He truly knows what is best!
So why of the places I’ve lived, would I return to Asheville? For one thing, it is incredibly beautiful. When I was a kid, my parents would load me up in the car. We’d drive several hours (3-4, I think) to get to the mountains. Then we’d drive around the mountains with occasional stops to get out and look. Then we’d drive home. That was my perspective as a kid. I didn’t appreciate the beauty that my parents saw and were trying to show me. I just wanted to do something fun. One year we went canoing down the Shenandoah River. That was fun! Especially when my mom ordered my dad to let me take the steering position! I’m not sure why, but he seemed to have trouble keeping the canoe on course. I had done lots and lots of canoing at camp, so she thought I’d be best qualified. I think it was that same trip that we hiked and went to some caverns. I have some really fun pictures from that trip that I’ll have to upload sometime. And a few years after that, Mom took me white water rafting. Even more fun!!! Though I was introduced to this mountain fun, I still had it in my head that living there would just be boring!!!
Then I went to college at UNC-Asheville and God revealed Himself in His majesty to me. It was there that I realized I couldn’t just call myself a Christian and not live differently from the world around me, but that He wants me to reflect His Son. It was there that God showed me He isn’t just a far-off God watching our movements, waiting to judge us. There God showed me that I can talk to Him, hear from Him, and walk with Him. In those mountains I would often go sit on an overlook to commune with my Creator. As I looked out over the rolling hills I could almost see the fingerprints of God on the earth. You know. Like when you roll a ball of playdough, but it’s never really perfectly smooth. There are always little indentions from the texture of your skin and larger indentions from where the edge of your fingers laid. Now I know God spoke the world into existence. I know He didn’t form it like playdough. But it was a picture that helped me to understand that God is near. I could go on for days about the things I learned about God in those mountains!
Also, it was in those mountains that my husband proposed to me. We left my friend’s home in Asheville. We were headed back to Florida. I was certain that by the time we got back he was going to tell me that he wanted to end the relationship! (That’s a story for another time!) It was in front of Looking Glass Falls. I really had no idea he was going to propose so when we went to look at the falls, I took my dog. On the way down, Chris slipped on some ice. He managed not to fall. I managed not to have a heart attack! Then he took pictures forever!!! I thought he’d never get enough! Finally, someone who spoke English came by, so he asked the guy to take pictures. When he got down on one knee (on the ice!!!), I thought I must have been in another world! I was so surprised that I couldn’t even answer. I opened my mouth, but what came out wasn’t audible and he had to ask and make sure of what I said! Eight years later, it still makes me smile and almost cry to remember the moment!
It’s not just fond memories that draws me back to those mountains, though. I love the seasons. I love having a few nice snows every year! I love fall and spring. And I enjoy summer. Florida just doesn’t have the same magic. I love the colors and the variety of life — both plants and animals! And I love all the fun stuff one can do! Hiking, white water rafting, rock climbing, and more, right at your backdoor! So if I could return to any former home, it would definitely be Asheville. But I just hope that God sees fit to place our family in some mountains while I’m still on the earth. And I’m not going to try to play God and tell Him to do that! I’m slowly getting it. He knows best and He’ll do it in His perfect time!