• emily southwind

August 19th, 2017

"Why did you move to Belleville?" Is a question I have been asked more times than I can count. "Was it because of a boy?" or "Was it for school?" It was neither.

I find people try to find answers for things they don't understood. Let me tell you why.

So sit down and grab a coffee. It’s a long one.

August 19th, 2017.

A day that would alter my life in a way I could never explain, but here I am, explaining it anyway.

That summer had been one of the worst summers in my life.

Imagine this, you’re 19, just got out of college and your 2 and a half year long relationship had ended. You move back home to a small town and start your first full time job. The beginning of the summer, you lose power to your home because it got too expensive for your mom. At first, it was fun. Playing games with your family and enjoying the silence. Then this turns into a battle with no light, no hot water, no internet, no way to make warm food and no way to keep the fridges cold and freezers frozen.

Your mom realizes it isn’t sustainable to have young kids live without power, so she moves. And you’re too stubborn and committed to your job to leave. So you stay.

This was my life that summer.

My mornings started with a cold shower and no breakfast and every night ended with me stacking our heavy chairs against the doors that didn’t lock, constantly afraid of someone breaking in and harming me. I felt like I was at my lowest low. My sister, Jessica. had passed away almost two years prior and my grief felt about as fresh and ungraceful as it could get. I struggled to understand why I was dealt such a horrible hand.

I dealt the way I thought I knew how. I drank when I got home to help me sleep and I smoked during the day to calm my nerves (sorry mom). I saw no light. I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t put my family through what we went through when my sister passed away. I felt stuck, scared and so alone.

The first week of August, I attended a vacation bible school, like I have years before. My eyes were opened to the possibility of having a better life if I came to know God. If I left my destructive past behind and moved forward, trusting His plan. That plan didn’t include moving back to Sault Ste. Marie, even though I made lifelong friends and made memories I could never forget. It meant moving away from my “normal”. My routine. My family. I was still unsure and worried.

On the Saturday after my VBS friends left, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine, who told me that all I had to do was transfer my credits to Belleville’s college. I would have a place to stay, a way to get there, and a church family who would wrap their arms around me.

My biggest struggle was my sister. When she passed away, my question was “Why God?” I struggled with faith. Why would I love a God who took her from us? And why would He take my sister and not me? My sister was more worthy of life than I. She was kind, honest, had a laugh that lit up the whole world, and a heart of gold. We were supposed to go to college together and have an apartment together. To be honest, I still don’t know why God took my sister. I just know that I’ll see her again. I know that no matter what, I am not alone. There is a plan for me.

I brought it up to my mom and she looked at me and said, “it’s what Jess would want”. That support is what I needed. In 2 weeks, I helped my mom regain power to our home, packed my stuff and on August 19th, 2017, my future mother in law, my future husband, and a very good friend of mine made a round trip (16 hours) to pick up me, my 3 bags of stuff and my two guitars.

So, I guess I moved for me. 3 years ago, I picked up my broken heart and my broken life and moved 8 hours away from my family. It’s been a huge struggle being so far away from everything I know, but I know my sister would be proud of me. I know my family is proud of me.

Today marks 3 years since I took that huge step. To both move and follow God.

Everyday I struggle with grief. Everyday I struggle with my faith. Everyday I struggle with being away from my family, but knowing I’m not alone is what gets me through. Knowing I have my family and my husband behind me every step of the way.

“”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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