This morning I took Joanna for a walk through Lebanon Junction, the town my husband and I lived in when we first got married. It was the town my husband lived in until we moved out of the city limits a few years back. I guess you can say it has a lot of sentimental value to me.
I used to take Constance for walks on those same sidewalks. We didn't have much money then and we didn't even have cable tv or a Roku ... so many nights were spent walking. We were a single vehicle family then, so if I wanted to get out of the little apartment we called home, I walked. Some people probably think that's a boring life, but to me, it was the best life. My little apartment, which I realize wasn't much, was my precious little sanctuary that I first learned how to be a wife and mom. Not being able to paint due to our landlord's rules, I loved spending extra little dollar we had on decorations, candles, or flowers to make it pretty. I was so proud of my little home.
It was in that little sleepy town, that I once promised I would never live in, that God did a huge work on me heart. I spent my years as a teenager living in sin and not even knowing what I was doing to my life or the condition of my heart. I am ashamed of the person Joshua married, because even though I claimed to be a Christian, no such change had taken place in my heart. I was crude, selfish, and unpleasant. I don't really like thinking about our first few months of being married, because it was just that rough. He loved me just as I was though and was a gentleman through and through. He had parents that loved him enough to pray for me and to be kind to me, even though I wasn't very lovable. And there was a God who had me just where He wanted me ... so I could learn the truth about Him and my need for Him. That town holds all of those precious memories that are dear to my heart and can remind me that yes, it was absolutely all real.
I love thinking about going on walks through that town and meditating on something God showed me that day. Or walking with a good friend who, like me, desparately needed out of the house. I smile when I think about an older lady asking me if I was a Christian and boldly being able to reply, "Yes ma'am on January 3, 2010 I got saved." I think about doors we knocked and people we spoke to about their salvation. Or the numerous people Josh knew from growing up there and working there and how he seemed to have a story about every single one. They were such sweet memories. My first steps as a new babe in Christ.
So if you drive through LJ, as some call it, you might see an old town that used to be full of life and is now just a shell of its former self. To me, I see memories. I see the providential hand of God in my life. I see where our little home got it's start, was on the verge of destruction, and God showed up and turned things around. I see late nights walking through town and hearing Josh's stories about growing up there. I see sitting on the back patio at 3:00 waiting for Josh to pull in the drive at 3:08 from his job at Publishers. I see going to the store to spend our only couple of dollars to buy dinner. I see going to church as a family and being excited to hear preaching. Some people may think it's strange, but those were some of the best times.
Memories are great and I'm looking forward to making many more.