I said my final goodbyes and began to walk out the door. As I walked through the double glass doors, tears rolled down my face. I wanted to collapse on the cement and never leave. But I pushed forward, vowing to never look back. To move on to the new life I was beginning and to put the past behind me.

As I started the engine and drove away, the tears came harder. It was much harder than I ever imagined it could be. It may have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You see, this place I was leaving … the place I was walking away away from … it had become my God place.

It was the place where my community lived. It was more than work. It was a way of life. It was a calling. And even though I was confident that in walking away I was answering a new call, I still felt a pain that was beyond imaginable. I guess freedom isn’t always easy.

That day was a dark one. A day full of anger and hurt. Tears and prayers. Unanswered questions.

What will my future look like? Will I be able to achieve my dreams? What if I just made a huge mistake?

But I did my best to trust and believe that Facebook status I had posted just months earlier:

Sometimes God calls us to the unknown … and doesn’t promise it will be easy, but does promise to be faithful.

I woke the next morning with tear-stained cheeks, vowing once again that I wouldn’t look back. The words to Matt Maher’s Hold Us Together were the first out of my mouth that morning when my sweet husband asked, “How are you?”

This is the first day of the rest of your life.
This is the first day of the rest of your life.
‘Cause even in the dark, you can still see the light.
It’s gonna be alright. It’s gonna be alright.

This became my theme song. The darkness got a little bit brighter. And I began to realize that I can’t leave the past behind me. The past is a part of me. It has made me who I am. I can’t walk away and never look back.

The old will never disappear. The relationships will still exist. They may look different, but they will be there. And it will be alright. God will remain faithful.

I will find a new God place. I will find a community of believers that I can thrive in. A community that will accept me for who I am and encourage me to celebrate God’s calling in my life.

But I will never forget that place or the people in that place. The place that made me who I am. The place that helped me believe in myself. The people that cheered me on and pushed me forward.

And I won’t forget how I felt the day I walked away.

i walked away

by Crystal Rowe time to read: 2 min