When we moved here almost five years ago you were a breath of fresh air. You were a new start. You came with new areas and new friends, a new school, new church. I got my first job here. I thought the answer to forgetting the past, was to live for the present. To live a wild, rebellious life, full of sin. To be arrogantly loud and shout crude jokes throughout the air. I thought I could escape my past here, the things that had entangled my life for so many years in Savannah, by running from them but they caught me and tried to kill me. I struggled mightily, and the once new buildings and new smells and new colors, faded, just like Savannah. I began to push everyone away as I struggled mightily with depression, anger, and numbness. In just a few short years in Charleston, my life was falling apart, because under the surface in Savannah, it had already started. No one could see though, no one saw the anger and the depression and the loneliness and rejection that I suffered in Savannah. It all came down in Charleston though. I was addicted and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Like a disease it would run its course. And it did. For years I went through life, numb. Numb to feelings and emotions and even people. I could lie to one’s face and have no remorse because this is who I was and I was used to it. Charleston, people inhabit your city that love God and others, and I encountered a lot of these people during my time here. Strangers became family in ways I can not explain. People reached out to me, old and young, with the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. When that happened I felt like I belonged and eventually on January 6th, 2012, I entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, becoming a part of the biggest family known to man. In Charleston, I received a new name, a new hope and purpose, joy and peace and rest. I received my calling here, ministry. To reach out to those who once like me, had no hope. To share the love that had been shared with me. I’ve battled my past and my addiction here, day by day. I’ve walked past my past so many times, that God has turned past failures into victories and grace. I became a part of the community here in Charleston, belonging somewhere for the first time in my life. I became an ambassador of Christ here in Charleston, I shared my faith with anyone who would listen. I saw my family restored to me in Charleston, and my gpa restored as well. I saw healings here and miracles. In two years a place of hopelessness, death and destruction, became a place of life and new identity. I thought I would die here, ending my life, because of the hopelessness and bondage I felt but instead my life has been restored to me. This year I enjoyed sunrises and sunsets on my way to school. I enjoyed friendships that last a life time. I have seen strangers become family here and broken friendships restored and the walls that were knocked down in my life have been rebuilt.
That being said, its time to leave. Its time to leave the beaches and the wonderful nature here, that exudes the grace and glory of Jesus Christ in my life. The past two years have been for this reason: preparation. It is hard to leave Charleston, but I trust God in His sovereignty to bring more community in Greenville, to grow me even more there and to let me never forget the grace I’ve received in Charleston. I never thought I’d be able to ever walk out of a city with my head held high but now I can. I am walking out of Charleston now with my head held high, no regrets, only grace poured over my life.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from my time here in Charleston: