Monday, January 30, 2017

Someone shook my snow globe!


My grandma’s house contains a menagerie of snow globes.  She has all kinds:  ones that light up, musical ones, the old twisty kinds, the click-of-the-button new kinds, and just the good old shake’em up kind.  I loved as a kid to make them all go at once.  I would sit there and get as many of them to sing at the same time and/or light up and then I would shake them all and watch the snow swirl around in them until it finally settled down.  There was always something magical about it.  Something that once was calm, only to be shaken up with snow swirling so forcefully that the little villages and figures are hidden, then watch it calmly float down and settle again into a different spot.  Even after the snow was stirred, the scene always returned to a thing of beauty.

I feel like my snow globe of life has been shaken up a little.  Back in the fall I was minding my own business teaching and serving at church.  I had finally come to terms with my singlehood, my life, and all that it was.  I was content, in heart and in mind, and with God.  Content but not complacent.  And then the snow started swirling as if someone had picked up my life and started moving things around.  But it was a gentle movement.  It was a good movement, a happy kind.

I started dating someone that I have known for many years (13-14 years I think).  For anyone who knows me, they know that this is kind of a big deal.  Me dating?!?!  I just don’t.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve dabbled in the whole online dating thing and found out that it definitely was NOT for me.  But to be in a serious relationship….nope, not something that I had experienced much before.  So my life is different now.  And I like it!  The only problem is that he lives in another state, 6 hours away!  So now I have the privilege of being in a long-distance relationship!  The snow in my snow globe of life is swirling a little more, changing the scenery a little.  And it’s beautiful!

Enter January.  It’s the month when real snow should be covering the ground, but it’s 60 degrees outside and I wore flip flops today!  However, the snow in my life is swirling so much that the scenery is now hidden, but it’s not a bad thing, I like it.  In my grandma’s snow globes I always enjoyed this part because I knew it would all settle and create a beautiful calm picture in the end.  Sometimes shaking needs to happen in order for God to work out His ways.  That life that I knew in the fall, well it won’t be my life this coming fall.  Within this short month of January, I have put in my resignation at one job, interviewed at another and been offered the position and accepted it.  With this new job also comes one last move for me.  A move to Arkansas to be with my guy and his kids (and his whole extended family 😃).  Life next fall will involve teaching at a high school, in a small town (population 8000….8001 with me joining), and forging ahead into unknown territory for me.  Nothing will be the same.  The job, the age of kids I’ll be working with, church, culture (hello south!), personal life.  All the unknown. 

My life has had many of these snow globe shakings.  Some have been pleasant, others ferocious.  But this one…this is peaceful, joyful and filled with excitement (okay…maybe some tears…I’m a girl after all!).  I will not lie and say that I’m not scared.  I am.  This is the first time I will be moving for someone.  That’s a scary thing!  My heart is on the line.  But over and over, he has reiterated to me that I am not alone in this, that I am wanted, cherished and loved.  All this waiting that I’ve done for someone great for so many years, well, I’ve got him.  He’s found me, and he’s found a good thing.  And I am blessed by it.  As scary as it is, I’m more excited about it than anything.  And here’s why:  God, well, He is definitely at work shaking the snow around.  He is the one that I keep turning to and He keeps answering.  I have never, in all my adventures with my jobs and moving, etc., had anything go as smoothly or as quickly as this has.  Maybe it helps that the entire time (since September before all this even started), I have been praying:

Barricade the road that goes nowhere, grace me with Your clear revelation.  I choose the true road to Somewhere, I post Your road signs at every curve and corner.  I grasp and cling to whatever You tell me; God, don’t let me down!  I’ll run the course You lay out for me if You’ll just show me how.
Psalm 119:29-32 MSG

He has done just that.  This path has been ridiculously smooth so that only He is the one who gets the credit.  It is His alone.  So as the snow swirls around me, I stand in Him waiting for it all to settle and I anxiously await the beautiful scene that He is creating.  I’m not standing alone.  God is here and my guy is here, and his kids.  So as the snow settles, I’m guessing there will be a little less of it thanks to the south, but it will be beautiful none-the-less. 

And that folks, is the next chapter He is writing.  I am looking forward to it!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Stories

Stories.  Movie and books are full of stories.  Words are everywhere, creating stories all around us.  And lately my heart and mind has been fixated on this particular word: story.  It's been mulling around in my ever constant thoughts, it's been showing up in my quiet times and in the loud times at work.  And then just yesterday it's what I felt God pressing on my heart to share with a group of middle school FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) students. 

Life is a story; a story full of individual chapters, cliff hangers, flashbacks and foreshadowing experiences.  As I've pondered this, I've also come to look at the Bible in the same fashion.  It is full of stories of the lives of those who have gone before us.  And in these stories, we are privileged to see chapters of their lives.  For some, we get to see the beginning chapters (ex. Moses, Jesus, Samuel, David), but for others we are only able to see a glimpse into a couple of chapters of their story.  Yet even those glimpses provide powerful testimonies of God's faithfulness, mercy, goodness and love.

What about in my life?  In yours?  What chapter of your story are you living out right now?  That's the question I posed to the students yesterday.  What is God writing in your life at this exact moment?  Is it a chapter of trials and pain?  Joy and blessings?  Family issues or school trouble?  What is it that is going on in your life right now?  What is this chapter going to look like for you? 

Somehow yesterday I wound up sharing about my middle school experience with the kids.  I did not set out with an intention of sharing that information, but that's how God works sometimes.  It's a bit difficult for me, a teacher, to share with the kids the tumultuous time I had in middle school.  The bad grades, the major band geek I was, the family strife and the trouble I got in to.  I mean who really wants to share that they received failing grades in middle school?  Not this teacher!  But then I was able to share about how those chapters are part of my story and have brought me here today where I have the honor and joy of working with middle schoolers....and actually LOVE it!!! 

There will be chapters in your life that are ugly and you may wish you could delete them.  I'm guessing King David felt the same way!  But look what happened.....instead of deleting his affair, David humbled himself and God wrote a story of redemption full of blessings (after a little bit of pain) and creating a powerful legacy from it.  So those ugly chapters in your life...well, God may want to do something beautiful with them.  And those chapters may be the testimony that someone else needs to see and hear in order to be encouraged to press on through difficult times.  Sharing a part of your story, a chapter, is your testimony.

God is in the midst of a creating a new chapter in my life.  I'm still learning to put words to it, they are still stirring deep in my soul.  This chapter has been one that I've longed for, for so long that I don't know how to share it.  It's not what I expected, but it is so much better than I could ever have imagined.  Maybe in time I will be able to put words to this chapter.  But for now, I am able to look back at all that God has written in my life and I can see His hand....His mercy, grace, provision, protection, forgiveness, redemption and most importantly...His love.  And for now, that is my testimony.  God is good and He is love.