“Did you go to Auburn?” “Do you have family in Auburn?” “Did a church send you to Auburn?”
Just a few of the questions we get when we settle in to our story. For those of you that don’t know, my husband and I were both raised in the suburbs north of Atlanta, Georgia. We moved to Auburn on August 1, 2014 and we celebrated five years of Auburn Community Church this past August as well! We still have a lot of precious family and friends in Atlanta, but I think we can both confidently say that Auburn is HOME.
But the funny thing is we had ZERO connections to Auburn before moving here! We didn’t go to school here. We don’t have family here. Our church didn’t send us to plant here. So WHY are we here? Let me give you the cliche (but 100% true) answer, the Lord told us too.
My husband, Miles, was a youth pastor in Atlanta. We loved his job and our church and had no plans of leaving anytime soon. But he also traveled occasionally to speak at youth camps for other churches. In January of 2013 he spoke for an Auburn camp and we made some incredible relationships with the families at the camp, but then went back to our everyday lives. In January of 2014 he spoke at the same Auburn camp and everything changed.
A few weeks before the camp in January of 2014 we received around 50 letters in the mail from some of the Auburn families that were praying for us as we prepared for camp. Miles was still at work and I was sitting on the floor with the letters all around me truly overwhelmed by the kindness of these people I didn’t know. Strangers that were praying for US. This didn’t make me want to move there, but it did make me want to know these people better. It made me want to be more like these people.
It was shortly after this that everything changed. I have heard the Lord speak to me in absolute clarity twice in my life and this was the first time. (The second was about having our second baby girl! Read here!) Nothing crazy happened, but I heard clear as day…
What about Auburn?
That’s it. “What about Auburn?” A question. A stirring. A calling.
I shared this news with Miles and as crazy and random as it was, he actually felt clarity when thinking about Auburn too. Well we prayed about it and thought that it could maybe turn into something, like 10 years from now.
You have options when you feel the Lord calling you into something. You don’t have to listen. You can ignore it. You can stay where you are. You can remain comfortable. OR you can step into it. You can be obedient. You can step into His will. You can be extremely uncomfortable, but you can also be on the adventure of a lifetime.
Miles and I decided not to tell anyone what we were praying about and went to the Auburn camp in January with excitement, but no crazy ideas. We were again overwhelmed with the kindness of the people. We saw how much they loved the Lord and how hungry there were for MORE. Still we remained quiet. We made even more friendships with families we wanted to be a part of. Still we didn’t say anything. But as we were saying goodbye to the hosts we were approached with this statement, “If you two ever felt called to plant a church in Auburn then we would be with you and so many of these families would be too.”
CRAZY. We hadn’t told anyone what we were thinking and praying, but someone still approached US. Well long story short we found out there were a few families that truly wanted to pursue the Lord with us in a new adventure in Auburn, Alabama.
This all happened in the last week of January of 2014. We said the earliest we could come would be 2016 because “we thought” that would be better timing. Six months later the moving truck was packed and we were on our way. What’s the cheesy quote? “We plan and God laughs.” Could not be more true in this situation. :)
So there you have it! That is how we came to Auburn! We didn’t do anything special and we would not have been able to do any of this on our own. But we did listen to the Lord’s calling and found a community around us that felt the same call too. We found people wiser than us to pray for us and affirm us in this crazy pursuit. We left our planned out and comfortable lives in Atlanta for a lot of unknowns in Auburn. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been a dream come true. It has been an adventure and I am so glad we said YES.