We were blessed to receive back to back tours in a place with gorgeous mountains, awesome glaciers and an abundance of water. We were and still are blessed to have a family of friends in Juneau hand picked by the Holy Spirit. Our Advocate.
But as much as we want to stay, the Coast Guard says it is time to go.
I keep crying because I will miss it. I keep crying out of joy that it happened. All of it. The three babies we had here, the home we made, the abiding memories...it all happened.
The change is that I came to Juneau a different woman than I am now. I am now a mother who knows that the best company she can possibly ask for...they are coming with her...to Yorktown, Virginia.
In all of the change that will happen from now until we transfer ACROSS THE COUNTRY this summer, I am so deeply grateful for this Church.
As the change happens around me, the Church has her big mantel, her gentle rhythm saying...yes...it is Ash Wednesday again. I know...just like last year. Yes, ashes again Stephanie, I am here. I don't change.
I start to tear up again and I bury my hands in my face and Mother Church pulls me into her lap...I have altars all over the world and Tabernacles. There will be a Fat Tuesday in Virginia, Stephanie. I promise...these feasts are yours, these seasons are yours...I give them to you to have in your home wherever you are.
But Mother Church, I have such good FRIENDS in this Juneau community. Women who have cared for me as if I was their own daughter, loved me as if I was their own sister. I can be myself around them, be real.
She strokes my hair...I know...(grabbing my face in her hands and looking me in the eyes) and you will not replace them, only add to them. Can you trust me? Come to worship and you will have new sisters who will worship beside you. Yes...the type of women you can admit to bringing Halloween cake box cookies with Christmas Hershey kisses on them to a Mardi Gras party. I know you my child.
I feel myself wanting to throw a fit.
I feel the stress of change. The anticipation of goodbyes...it makes my throat tighten and my eyes hot.
Mother Church kneels down beside me and gives me a long hug, a we don't have to let go ever hug...and she whispers in my ear...I give you my word. You will be singing songs of praise.
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