Right Here, Right Now

I’m just going to be 100% honest. I just got okay-deep in my soul-with being back in Mansfield.

In the first months after my accident, I fought God on several things and being back in Mansfield was one of them. I didn’t have a choice in moving back. My family and friends literally packed up my apartment and moved my stuff into my parent’s house while I was in the hospital. Granted, it was a special case in that I really couldn’t have taken care of myself. I couldn’t even walk by myself.

Nevertheless, I was mad at God.

I struggled to be content right here, right now, wishing I was anywhere but here. Last fall, I started this journey of being content recognizing that this is my corner of the world. I read Shannan Martin’s The Ministry of Ordinary Places last fall. This caught my eye. She writes, “God got busy shrinking the world as I knew it down to a pinhole, one solitary shaft of light. ‘The souls exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness,’ wrote Mary Oliver. Rather than feeling stuck in a problem-sodden world, I would never be able to fix, God was caring for my soul by pointing me towards my corner of it and asking me to believe it was enough”. That’s when I started to realize that instead of being upset at God for bringing me back, I needed to accept that he brought me back for a reason. He was asking me if this right here, right now would be enough. That challenged me. Was it enough? Could it be enough? If I were to stay in America, in Mansfield, Ohio, for the rest of my life, would that be enough? Would listening, loving, and pointing my small group girls toward God be enough? It’s not as extraordinary as helping starving orphans in Mexico or loving on kids in Africa. Would sacrificing sleep to love on a girl who may not know what that looks like be enough? I say I’m content and at peace with staying here-right here-indefinitely, but would that be enough?

It’s been a journey in getting to this place, and God has used several people to instill that into my head. I think the biggest one is the student God bought to MCS and my life. God put me right here, right now to let that sweet little boy not feel alone in that he isn’t the only one who has a traumatic brain injury. I am still blown away by God and how He orchestrated my being at the school at the exact time he started coming to the school. This solidified this idea that I’m right here, right now for a reason. So I don’t know what your story is: whether you aren’t working in the field you went to college for, or you may be in a different place than you thought you’d be, financially or physically. What I have learned in the past two years, I want to pass on to you:

 

  • You may not like where you are in life, but there are no coincidences with God. The situation may not be caused by God, but God can use that situation in others lives.
  • He brings people into your life and even takes them out for a reason.

 

 

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Step Off The Ledge

So.

I’ve been challenged this week on taking risks. I tend to play it safe when it comes to certain things. I tend to stay inside my comfort zone-willing everything to stay the same.

God is not about letting everything stay the same.

Following God means taking risks. If you don’t take risks, you’ll never understand and experience  the presence, power, and peace of God.

Sure, if you take the risk, it very well could end badly, but it might end up being SO much more than you expected. You don’t know if you never tried.

I had a boy in swim lessons this week say, “I’m terrible.” He proceeded to pout and cross his arms. “I quit.”

I looked him square in the eyes and said, “The only true way to fail is to not try or quit.”

Oftentimes, we are like that boy. We pout and won’t take the risk because it’s scary stepping of that ledge into the unknown. We like our comfy lives, just the way it is.

Sometimes, God upends our comfy lives. When we get a semblance of order in our lives, we cling to it, like a little clings to a safety blanket. We fear chaos again.

I know I did.

Life has been pretty good lately.

Too good. Or so I think.

I keep waiting for the other foot to drop. At the same time, I find myself clinging to what I do have afraid that it will get ripped from me again.

I’ve fallen in love with the littles at school.

I’ve found my corner of the world-right now. I’m content.

I was challenged this week to keep taking risks strategically. Keep pushing my limits for God because He has shown me again and again that He does more.

He continually bursts-like fireworks-out of every box I try to put Him in. Even this year, He did more than I ever expected-allowing me to go to Ukraine and fall in love with the littles at school. I returned to driving. I crossed oceans by myself and added two new countries to my passport. I grew closer to Him as He sought my heart. I returned to swimming.

Like my Mom reminded me tonight, it’s like God’s provision and goodness is like a rope tied around our waist. The other end is tied around a tree, but the only way we feel the tension on the rope is if we step off the edge.

It’s the same with God. The only way we are going to see-like really see God’s goodness-is if we step out into the unknown and step off the ledge.

That’s my prayer for the last month and a half of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.

Let go of whatever is holding you back and step of the ledge with me.  

The Uncertain Yes

My planner is stuffed full of lists, dates, sticky notes and plans.

I like my life organized, falling into boxes that I can set wherever I want them to go. With my lists and planner, my crazy life fits well into the categories of school, work, friends and church. I am rarely unprepared for what is coming next.

Except for now….

In 23 days, I graduate, leaving the world of tests and papers to enter the adult world. I feel prepared to tackle the new challenges that being a college alumni means, but I do not know what that looks like yet.

I have no plans.

Zero. Zilch.

Surrounded by people who have plans, jobs, apartments or weddings.

Then there is me. I have no plans set in stone. I have ideas of where I want to go and what I want to do with this new adventure in front of me.

Uncertainly, I approach the feet of the God who orchestrates my life.

I lay my ready made plans at His feet. Tattered and worn from being pulled out and constantly reworked to fit my needs, they clatter to the ground.

My hopes. My plans. My dreams. My future.

Trust me.

He whispers as He gathers up my well-organized plans in his arms.

I watch as He takes my dreams and plans and puts them aside.

Trust me. I have a plan for you.

I offer an uncertain yes.

To trust that He has a plan.

To believe that He has my best interests at heart.

To acknowledge that sometimes I do not need to have everything figured out.

To realize that taking this risk and saying yes could be the best decision of my life.

I offer an uncertain yes, trusting that my well-worn plans are safe in the hands of the God who shaped my heart.

As graduation looms in the not-so-distant future, I rest in my uncertainty, acknowledging that I am not the one in the control. I relinquish my right to plan my future, rather I allow my heart to be filled with the One who has the control.

I close my sticky-note covered planner focusing my energy on listening for His voice in the chaos and uncertainty.