it’s been a busy, faith challenging, faith strengthening, learning, exciting, life-changing, and amazing few months.
october: i got married 🙂 to a wonderful man of God.
november: our first month of ministry TOGETHER. fall retreat. new town. learning to live with a boy. learning what it means to be a wife. learning what life after college without a job is like. learning a new town. learning what life as a youth pastor’s wife is like. traveling back to tennessee for thanksgiving.
december: realizing that i just have to let God work and let Him reveal things to me aka getting past my stubbornness and listening to those who love me most.
As I sit in starbucks here in our new hometown listening to the YouthWorks Summer 2010 footwashing CD, I find myself quite reflective. If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that I get in the way of God far too often. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my biggest struggle has been actually carrying the deepest lesson I learned this summer: to step aside. Everything that could possibly change in my life has changed in the past several months, and there have been more times than necessary that I’ve forgotten to see the positive spin on that. It’s the most liberating but also the most challenging thing I’ve ever experienced and I’ve refused to step aside and let God do His thing. I’ve tried to do it myself, figure it out myself. Being the human I am, I’ve thought that God would just reveal His plan to me as soon as I got here, that I’d get here and BAM everything would just fall in place and make perfect sense and I’d be able to see all of that clearly. This sounds ridiculous now as I write it, but over the past several days, I’ve realized this is what I’ve done.
How often do we all do this, though?
We’re told God will provide and reveal His plan for us, but we are not told He will do this in OUR timing. That would be selfish of us. “When you need to know, you’ll know,” is what my wonderful husband always reminds me. Toward the end of school, I wanted and prayed for nothing more than simply being able to be relaxed, help Tom with his ministry, volunteer to get to know the community, and be a supportive wife. After this summer, I wanted nothing more than to be able to continue the feeling of knowing I got to wake up each morning and serve others, and simply be the hands and feet of Christ, helping provide for others things they cannot provide on their own, whether it be painting a home, working with Habitat for Humanity, or being a listening ear to someone who feels alone. This was all I desired and I became frustrated that God was not providing me these opportunities. I wanted Him to drop these in my lap, I wanted to clearly see these. I think part of me expected to find these in my daily craigslist job search.
God doesn’t work like this. If He did, we wouldn’t need him, we wouldn’t need faith, we wouldn’t need to trust, or believe, we wouldn’t grow.
As I finally take the time to reflect, pray, and listen, all I can do is look at my life and smile and see the blessings He has provided me and be relentlessly thankful for His grace.
I have a wonderful husband who knows me inside and out and encourages me to use my gifts however best suited by God. He challenges me, he encourages me, he prays for me, he allows me to walk beside him in his ministry, not behind him. He has given me the opportunity to do just what I always said I wanted to do: work part time, volunteer, and be involved in the youth. He drives to cities with me, walks around Ikea, he provides for our family, and he is constantly reminding me that The Plan will be revealed when it is time. He’s relentless in making sure I’m able to fully live out my passion and refuses to let me settle. He watches my stupid CW shows with me and tries to explain sports to me. He loves me for me and never leaves the house without kissing me goodbye. He understands how important spontaneity is to me and is the most romantically creative man in the world. He’s smart, funny, full of life, and loves to the fullest possible extent. And he makes a pretty good bacon egg and cheese breakfast. I could not have asked for more and sometimes I miss this. Sometimes I take this for granted. When life is new and changing, it’s far too easy to miss the excitement and blessings if we allow the blinders of fear to overcome us.
I’ve been able to meet with the homeless WITH the youth. I’ve taken them on a fall retreat. I’ve been able to meet wonderful women of God through our church. I’ve been able to learn to put bathroom tile and shoe molding down through Habitat. I’ve been able to put to use the office skills at a local nonprofit working with homeless families that I learned from long summers helping my mom who was a school bookeeper. I’ve been able to sit at home in a warm home on a snowy day and enjoy chili with my husband while watching Netflix for endless hours. I’ve been able to share with others my stories of Minnesota and have started getting to know their’s.
Life is a process. Focus on the journey not the destination.
All of these things that I’ve been able to do are all the things I felt God calling me to do and felt frustrated that He wasn’t providing me opportunities. The blinders of fear prevented me from seeing this for too long.
Holidays are stressful. Family. Parties. Shopping. All of these things can overwhelm us and cause us to put on any number of blinders that prevent us from seeing the many blessings in our lives. Yesterday’s sermon at church reminded me to just take the time to be, to remember, to reflect, to regenerate, and to be thankful. To see that maybe if i’ve been praying for something for awhile, God has answered that prayer, I’ve just been too selfish to see it.
So I thank those of you who have been praying for me, for Tom, for our marriage, and our ministry.
I encourage you all to look back at your prayer life. What have you been praying for relentlessly? What seemingly unanswered prayers do you have? Is there something you’ve been asking God for for awhile and don’t seem to see it being provided? Now stop….look around, look at your life, look at the things that have changed and happened in the time that you’ve been praying. Take a step back, look at the big picture, remember the things those that love you the most have been telling you, maybe it’s time to listen to those. Stubbornness can be one of the most hindering things in our lives if we let it. Life was meant to be lived in community and God provided us the people around us to reflect Him, to confirm things we feel Him telling us. Allow them to do that, and life will be dramatically, radically different.
This post in itself has been a journey for me. I have everything I could ever need, and more. God has blessed me, and Tom, and our ministry beyond what we could have ever imagined. Today more than any day before, I’m grateful beyond my heart’s capacity. For grace from God and my husband. He truly is an amazing man of God.
I encourage you to look around, see God’s grace in your life. Keep praying, but look to see if He’s answered you. Talk to others. Share that Grace and Joy. Share Love. Don’t just sit on your couch and hope Craigslist will provide you an opportunity. Invest in others. We’ve all been given more than we deserve, and with that, we are called to invest it.