Tuesday, November 2, 2010

journey

“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace…God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through”
- Francis Chan

bear with me
this is a post that's been knocking around in my head for quite a few days.
you would think that because of that...it would be all smooth and polished.
but it's not.  and i have to believe that i am supposed to write it all out here, in it's raw and unadulterated form.

i've sometimes grown weary of well-meaning people saying to me
"well, God has a plan for your future"
when i fully know that
but i believe that God also has a plan for my right now

as i stated, i know they mean well
but it makes me sad to think
that they think
i've been somehow lost and abandoned in all this
unemployment hasn't done that...nor has foreclosure
and i pray that their spiritual eyes will be open 
to the fingerprints of God that are all.over.everything in my life

you see, the journey to get where i am today began well over 3 years ago.  
God was in the midst of amazingly delivering me from eating disorders
and i was feeling a holy (and i purposefully use that word) discontent
knowing that i loved teaching, i loved my students
but for some reason
i was uneasy staying in the classroom

and so i began to pursue other options
i very clearly heard God saying to do this
and i very clearly knew that the family i eventually left the classroom to work for
(the ones who turned around less than a year later
and fired me
with no good reason)
was exactly where i was supposed to go

could i have had any idea of the path i was stepping onto?
no
and i don't necessarily believe that God ordained the family to go psycho randomly let me go
i believe that there was free will involved
and that free will led them to these decisions

but i do believe
that God sometimes gives prophetic words
to people who don't even believe in prophetic words
(to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite pastors, alyn: He's Jehovah Sneaky)

i remember a friend of mine
who most definitely does not go to a church that believes that God is actively speaking to His people
although they wholeheartedly believe in the love and grace of our God
told me that upon hearing of my situation
of being fired suddenly, of the ridiculous nature of the way i was released from that position
all she could think about 
was the verse about joseph
"they meant it for evil but God meant it for good"
(it's genesis 50.20.  in the NLT it's: you intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.)

i remember taking ahold of that verse
and claiming it
not realizing *literally* until this moment as i sit here typing this
that it was actually a prophetic word over me
that God gifted a woman who may not even acknowledge the reality of that gifting
the exact words i would need for the next 2 years

if i had known the crazy and tumultuous at times path the decision to leave the classroom would lead me on
would i have left?
would i have been obedient?
i have no idea
but i hope so.

because of losing my job at the time i did, i was able to step in and work with a family for a few months who have a child with severe behavioral issues.  those mornings with him were some of the most trying of my life.  i had to keep my cool, use techniques for keeping myself and him safe, and...probably the hardest thing of all, pass the neighborhood where i knew the little girl i had loved for over a year was being cared for by someone else.  and yet, i grew.  i maintained patience, learned new coping techniques, and knew that for that moment i was exactly where i was supposed to be.

once the family had found a permanent solution that better fit their family's needs, one of my friends told me that her boss's wife was very ill and they were looking for someone to act as a caregiver during the day.  meeting that family opened up opportunities for me to serve -- taking her to doctor's appointments, and as she regained her strength to lunches and hair appointments and her weekly Bible study.  "driving mrs n" was sometimes a stretch for me...because she was from a very conservative church and i'm fairly certain she thought i was WAY too liberal...but we kind of fell in love with each other.  and i'll never forget the conversation we had one day that confirmed to me that i was exactly where i was supposed to be.

during my time with mrs n, i also contracted with a company to write educational training materials and presentations.  this was purely because of a contact i had from a small group at my church that i babysat for.  i relished the moments of doing something a bit more professional, and i especially relished that i was able to do these things from my office with the window open and a glass of iced tea beside me.  technically i still have the ability to contract with the company, although they haven't used me for a project for about a year...but i'm not worried.  it'll come when it's supposed to :)

as mrs n gained more and more strength and the time i spent with her became more scarce, a friend called me one day to tell me that her office was looking for someone to do data entry "for a few weeks".  those few weeks stretched into a few months, and i felt like i was doing something with purpose.  entering data was quite fun for me...and the fact that i was working in an office that relocated refugees made it so meaningful to me.  i was so sad to see that chapter close, but i had always known it would be temporary...so even though it had been exactly where i was supposed to be it was time to move on.

so, though i had begun teaching a couple of private voice and piano lessons at a studio on music row (also because a friend had recommended me), i found myself with just a couple of lessons a week and a few babysitting jobs here and there.

and this began the first real "break" in the action.  this was the first time in over a year that i hadn't had some sort of regular (if short-lived) income.  of course, shortly after we buried anthony's grandfather...and VERY shortly after that we found out that i had lost my house.  after crying, packing and moving, i realized that an offer i had from some friends to nanny for them beginning in august was now more feasible.  i had told them i'd think about it, because the amount they were able to pay was barely enough to cover my mortgage...and definitely not enough for all my other bills.  well...now i didn't have a mortgage to pay, and the other bills had significantly decreased as well.  after prayer and revelation i realized that i knew (starting in august) exactly where i needed to be.

and then anthony's aunt told me of a friend of hers who needed someone to watch her two children for a couple of months in the summer.  i met them, loved them, and truly enjoyed every moment spent with the family.  i have an incredible thank-you card from them that hangs on my prayer and praise board that serves to remind me that this summer i was exactly where i needed to be.

not a single one of these jobs did i interview for
not a single one of them ended on anything less than positive terms
they were all meant to be temporary
and they've kept me moving
forward and upward

and in the meantime...i had room for a friend and her baby to crash for awhile
i was able to host friends coming through town
and although i don't have as much freedom to offer beds for long periods of time
i can offer a couch...and my heart is still open

and in the meantime...i had time
to help friends pack up and move
to hold babies
to love on God's people
i've had the gift of time
and i hope i've used it well

in the meantime i've rediscovered
that God has been speaking to me all along
and i've found a community of faith where i've been able to explore that
and receive it as the gift it is
i've found spiritual family
not separate from the one i already had
but in addition to
and it's been amazing 
to grow and change and truly realize His giftings and operatings in my life

i have no doubt
that all this time
i've been exactly where i was supposed to be.

the coming months will be interesting
as we are talking more about our future
about how things are changing
and about where God is calling us

and though it frustrates me at moments to not know the answers to those questions
i have to laugh at myself
when i remember all that has transpired since i packed up that classroom
what a journey i've been on
what i've been asked to give up, lay down, and pick up instead

i have no doubt that my journey will lead me back into a classroom someday
but i wouldn't trade these last few years
for anything
you wanna talk life experience?
God has given it to me in crazy abundance.

and i'm certain
that i will remain exactly where i'm supposed to be
even if the "where" keeps changing
because the Who
will never change.




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3 comments:

Casondra said...

I'm speechless! Such a beautifully profound post!!!

heather said...

Amen!

Chelsa said...

love this! it's so true!!