Greetings from Nashville | Our first month in Music City

East Nashville wedding photographer

Today's blog post is a humbling one. I had planned a much cheerier update for my first contact from Middle Tennessee, but in my efforts to remain personal and real, I know I have to share our story! Apologies in advance for how long this is, but there's a treat at the end if you read the whole thing!

It was my last day of work at Liberty University and emotions were high. As my steady stream of emails came in, I wondered which project would be the one to bookend my time in the Marketing Department. My co-workers (who very uncharacteristically had become some of my closest friends) keep the mood light, and we all tried to keep conversation away from my move. I still had no job lined up, and neither had Jordan, but we remained steady in our excitement and anticipation for what was to come.

Around 9:30 AM the office chatter turned to the west as a nasty snow storm was planning a descent upon Virginia. The Old Dominion hadn't seen snow since the first week of January, so imagine my reaction when I learned the biggest snow system of the year was set to reach Lynchburg 12 hours before our scheduled move! I couldn't help but say "Lynchburg, you just can't stand the idea of me leaving, can you?"

I called my husband as I always do when I begin to freak out, and he calmly told me to take a deep breath, and promised me that he would figure it out. Most importantly, he told me to not let the weather distract from what today meant, and once we hung up the phone I did my best to focus on the positive of today.

The forecast didn't change the rest of the day, although that didn't stop me from refreshing the forecast page. 4:30 came and I clocked out for the last time, gathered the last of my items and said goodbyes. I kept my cool and didn't cry until the drive home! 7 years spent in Lynchburg and almost every moment of those I spent affiliated with Liberty. Don't get me wrong, there were aspects of the job I was ready to leave behind, but at the end of my last day there were still tears shed over the amazing people I would be leaving behind.

We decided to push our move forward one day so that we could beat the snow storm. Sunday was bittersweet as we said goodbye to our church family, and I'm still so grateful for the sweet time spent with our friends as they laid hands on us and prayed for our transition. We love Brentwood Church and it will forever be home to us! That night, about 12 of the best people in the world came over and helped us load the Uhal truck! We had our entire apartment empty in about an hour and the truck was loaded with extreme tetris precision!

Monday morning we met with our landlord for our final walk through. I still feel the lump in my throat as I turned around and realized it was time to leave our loft for the last time. We hookedmy car to the Uhal tow dolley and set off on our 8 hour drive. The drive went quickly until we hit rain in Tennessee, but for as much as that sucked, I kept reminding myself "at least it's not snow!" We made it to our new home around midnight by our internal clock, and we somehow managed to move our mattress up to the bedroom before we crashed!

I am so impressed by how motivated and efficient we were in our first week! We were both so mentally and physically exhausted during the transition, but we were able to unpack most of our boxes in just a few days. I had an interview on the Wednesday after we came into town and by Friday I had accepted the position as a stationary graphic designer for a company in Nashville. By Sunday Jordan had accepted the position as front of house engineer with We Are Messengers and was slated to shadow his first tour that same week! Things were looking so promising and despite how quickly these new plans were moving, we were both so excited by their prospects!

Jordan left on the tour bus Wednesday and would call me every so often with updates from the road. We Are Messengers serves as more than just a band but a family ministry. If there's an opportunity to share a story of life change or to share the gospel during a set, the band will gladly give up a song or two in order to share what's on their hearts!

After their last show in South Carolina, the band boarded their tour bus and began the long drive back to Nashville. Around 3:30 am ET, on a highway just south of Atlanta, the band came upon a car parked in the right lane of the interstate with no lights on. There was no time or way to avoid the car and in an instant, the bus collided with the car, engulfing in flames immediately. The bus and car skid across all three lanes of the highway for half a mile and landed safely in the left shoulder. By sheer miracle, the bus didn't overturn, jackknife, or flip, and the door to the bus opened without anyone pressing the button to open it. Any aspect of this collision slightly altered and the story would have a much different ending.

My husband woke up to the sound of the bus driver yelling "Everybody off! Follow my voice! Everybody off" Miraculously, everyone made it off the bus alive that day. But our gratefulness is not without mourning, as the driver of the car lost his life in the accident. Our hearts are broken for the family that lost their son, their brother, their cousin, their friend. We praise God that the accident did not claim more lives, and we are grateful for the first responders, chaplains, and the other men and women who responded to the scene. In this darkest of trial, God's grace has shined so bright as hundreds of people have shown great generosity in their aid to recovery.

Piece by piece we've been putting our lives back together as we've had to replace the personal items that Jordan lost, and process the miracle that we've been a part of. Jordan walked past that fiery inferno and it didn't even feel hot! We praise God for his provision and the ways he has guided our steps to where we are today! Our home is all in place and it's feeling more like home every day. Despite his introduction to the touring life, Jordan is loving his role in the We Are Messengers crew, and I'm getting better each time about saying a temporary goodbyes each time he leaves. I'm reminded daily what a blessing it is to wake up beside my husband, and I whisper a thank you each time that I don't have to know the pain in losing a spouse.

With Easter tomorrow, I felt it would be appropriate to share this new song from WAM! I promise one day soon this blog will be less personal and more business, but with our turbulent transition to Tennessee, my blog schedule has been changed a bit. I will still be sharing more on our leave later, along with some super adorable portraits!

Carla Miles

Jefferson Street, Lynchburg, VA, 24504