re·birth: something North Carolina, something new


For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.- Isaiah 43:19

re·birth /rēˈbərTH/ – noun: a renewed existence, activity, or growth; renaissance or revival

IMG_5478Sometimes it’s difficult to process the fact that Rebekah and I have been here in North Carolina 14 months now.

Sure, a lot has happened already; life/ministry (they’re the same thing, actually) is affirming and encouraging, exciting things are happening at WFPC, and we feel completely at home in this community… but then once in a while we’ll wake up and have one of those, “Can you believe we’re living in North Carolina?” moments, and we realize the “Just Arrived” sign we saw at Logan’s Nursery yesterday still kind of applies to us.

EXPLORING: That feeling of heady newness is one of the reasons we headed out exploring Monday. We’re still in the planning stages for what to do with our woodsy garden, and Logan’s Trading Company (downtown at the old Seaboard railway station near Peace University) is a great place to learn plants, dream, make plans, talk to experts about what works, and enjoy Raleigh’s urban landscape.

IMG_5482Logan’s is also a great venue for lunch. The menu items at the Seaboard Cafe are fresh, homemade, and imaginative. Anytime I have lunch with Rebekah is a treat, and you can’t beat an old train station, surrounded by plants, enjoying a perfect North Carolina fall day.

Then we headed over the JC Raulston Arboretum, and spent a couple of hours wandering around the amazing 10-acre collection of trees, shrubs, herbaceous borders, and flowering plants.

The gardens – which include an exquisite Japanese garden and “Asian valley,” are crowded with marvelous specimens. And, rather than being manicured and ornamental, they have a slightly untamed, natural feel.

IMG_5501Being outside in the fresh fall air reminded me again of how completely different it is here. Living in Florida for over thirty years was a wonderful experience; Rebekah and I raised our family in the Sunshine State, and we were privileged to be a part of two great faith communities, congregations that grew in all the right ways. I don’t regret a single day we invested in Pensacola or Brandon, and it’s gratifying to realize that both cities are qualitatively different as a result.

But, just as the climate, the topography, the plant life, and the culture here are all radical departures – calling us to relearn, retool, rethink, and re-imagine – Rebekah and I also feel caught up in a transformational spiritual rebirth as part of a re-emergent community of faith.

It’s almost as if everything we are learning about our new life in North Carolina is a hands-on, living illustration of what God is teaching us at, through, and with the members, and friends, and new members at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.

Hence the scripture passage from Isaiah 43:19:

For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

IMG_5483“See,” God exclaims, “I have already begun! Do you not see it?”

In the spirit of hope, promise, and constant rebirth – DEREK

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