Come May or June, this little Jenkins family will be, for the first time ever, establishing residence outside of Louisiana. The Lord has so graciously provided a job for D as a mechanical engineer with Albemarle, Inc. in Columbia, South Carolina. Even after telling our families, friends, bosses, and church family, typing this is making it seem even more like reality.
Soon we'll be looking for a place to call home in a city we've never experienced, Google mapping the nearest grocery store, visiting new churches, meeting new faces. I'll probably get lost a bunch, and Dustin will gently explain how to get from here to there once again. Dustin will have an 8 to 5 job and the luxury of being home in the evenings. That will be new. And incredible. We'll constantly pray for direction to a church community and [try to] wait patiently as our faithful Lord provides. We'll be thrilled about finally getting to spend Saturdays together, and I'll start planning all the places we can take day trips to [Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Atlanta, Savannah].
I look forward to meeting those new faces, sitting around the dinner table filled with both low country and Cajun recipes, and experiencing those soul-binding moments when you figure out you have an odd, shared interest. But I know when I remember the faces whose features are etched onto my heart after so much life-sharing, there will be aches. And when I'm shopping over 700 miles away from them and see something that I know they'd like, I'll wish they were there. But, in that moment, I'll be thankful that community has the ability to stretch but survive. And maybe I'll overnight it to them. I've done long distance before, and I'll do it again.
But we're not breaking out the cardboard boxes yet. D doesn't graduate for another 17 weeks, 3 days, 18 hours, 47 minutes and 29 seconds. I'm compelled, more than ever, to truly cherish the time we have left in Baton Rouge, to spend time with our loved ones that are near, to visit parents and grandparents, to get lunch with friends and kiss their babies, to soak up the presence and wisdom of our church community, to get really good at Louisiana cooking, and to actually go to the Baton Rouge Farmer's Market for once. Going is so exciting. And leaving makes me heartsick.
There are very few details right now other than Dustin has the job, and we're moving sometime after he graduates. What is certain and obvious is the Lord's guiding and provisional plan. We both agree that this is the biggest change we've ever made [along with marriage]. When we began the process of praying through the different job options, we wondered if we could be sure. They were all good opportunities, but we didn't just want to pick our favorite. Never have I felt the Lord's guiding hand so strongly on our backs, helping us take the next step until, all of a sudden, the decision was made and the contracts were signed. We are thankful for the assurance and thankful for this faith-deepening experience and thankful for the provision of a job. We are so excited to still be the same distance from my sister and her family which provides and great half-way point for my parents. And we are excited that D's grandmother owns a cabin near our new home, giving all the Jenkinses lots of reasons to road trip. And we are excited because living in His plan is the best!