Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So long 2009

2009. It really has been a great year. A big year. A lot happened in my life this year.
I graduated college.
I traveled to 8 different countries.
I moved to away from Birmingham and from everything I know to Atlanta where I know no one.

I know that is only 3 things but they are, in my opinion, very major things.

College. I never thought I'd say this but I miss it. I miss the flexible schedule, the variety it provided, the interaction with peers. And yes sometimes I even miss studying. I do not miss the papers, the pointless assignments and the arrogant teachers :) I took 24 credit hours my last semester. I also juggled the responsibility of selling a house and working 20 hours a week. Needless to say once May arrived I was in much need of a break :) That leads to the summer...

I had the most awesome summer traveling all over the world and tell people the awesome story that is the gospel. I started out in Costa Rica. Then headed to the Dominican Republic with my family and a few others and finished up in Europe with a group of young adults from my home church in Birmingham. All in all it was the best 3 months I can remember. I love traveling more than anything and I was so blessed to have that opportunity.

Once back from all of my world travels I had to make a major decision. I had felt a call from the Lord for me to move to Atlanta. for a while, but the timing was never right. Now I was through with school and jobless... I established pretty quickly that this was a pretty good time.
To be completely honest when I finally made the decision to move I had no idea if it is what God really wanted. I knew I wanted to do it and I hadn't heard a no from God so I decided to jump. I moved in with a friend that I had met volunteering at Passion City Church back in the spring. I began the job search and quickly hit a wall. I couldn't find a job. So I spent two painful months doing absolutely nothing but sitting at Starbucks sitting at every single day. If you know me, you know how miserable I was. I began thinking about moving back to Birmingham. My friend Abby convinced me to come work at Gap in Birmingham so I decided to spend the holidays at home and really try to discern what the Lord wanted me to do.

I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do by either providing or withholding a job for me in Atlanta. On the 13th I decided to look on craigslist one last time and came across a job for a home manager. I emailed the family and even though they had received responses from several people they really liked me and are even involved in the same circle I am here in Atlanta. The way the small details of that worked out completely confirmed in my heart that God wanted me to stay in Atlanta.

So with all that said 2010 will no doubt be an incredible year.

One thing that I have learned from all of this is that it is so hard to not base your joy in your circumstances. As children of God we have the awesome ability to maintain joy no matter what our circumstances. It has been easy for me to be extremely joyful as I am riding a bus through the countryside of Montenegro and really not joyful when I am sitting alone in a Starbucks in a suburb of Atlanta. I am not even remotely close to being a master of it by any means, but I am so thankful that God is very patient with me as He teaches me to rejoice in Him always.

I learned a lot about myself this year. I am not a very open minded person. I have often accepted things I have been taught all my life with out questioning the veracity of them. I am often more judgmental than I should or want to be. I am selfish. I am more outgoing than I thought I was. I am more afraid of change than I thought I was.

I hope most of those change in 2010... and Lord willing they will. I exist for Him. And I'm clinging to the promise that He isn't through with me yet!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Changes Changes Changes

To be completely honest... I totally forgot that I had a blog. I remembered today and since my posts have been few and very far between I am highly doubtful that anyone reads my stuff anymore. BUT just incase there is someone out there who wants to know what is going on in the life of me I will give a quick update:

I moved to Atlanta back in October. I live with my friend Samantha in her house in Alpharetta. I just really felt God call me to this city and I still to this day have no idea why. I spent most of the months of October and November looking for a job. Applied several places and never heard back. This made me question my decision to move... because I was highly qualified for all of the jobs that I applied for. There was no reason that I was not getting hired. So my sweet friend Abby told me to apply at the Gap in Birmingham at which she is the manager. I was a little hesitant at first because I felt like I was giving up too fast, but I also new that money was going to run out soon and I needed to do something besides sit at Starbucks everyday. So I decided to come back to Birmingham from Thanksgiving until Christmas and really use that time to pray and seek what the Lord would have me do about Atlanta. So I started working at Gap and began praying. I knew that a certain sign from God would be a job. I prayed that He would let me know where He wanted me by either providing a job in Atlanta... which meant I could stay there... or not... which meant I would come back to Birmingham. So I prayed and prayed and nothing happened... and I was fully prepared to go back to Atlanta, pack up my stuff, and say goodbye to a city I was just getting to know. But then one day I decided to look on craigslist to see if any new job postings had come up. There was an add for a home manager. I had no idea what that meant so I clicked on it and long story short it sounded awesome, I emailed the family, they felt like I was just what they had been praying for and offered me a job. The small details that unfolded in the midst of all of that is really how I knew it was from God, but just the fact that I had a job waiting for me in Atlanta when I get back was confirmation enough for me. I knew once again that God had opened a door.

I am not one to test God... and I usually stray away from asking God for a sign, but I had no choice this time. I knew that if God didn't give me a clear opportunity to stay then I was going to have to start all over, back in Birmingham. He did open a door though. I don't know why I so often feel like He is not in complete control. I have such a short memory.

So... I am volunteering for Passion 2010 and after that I will meet this sweet family and begin working for them in January. They have 5 kids and I can't wait to see how God is going to use me in their lives and them in mine.

I am still not totally sure why I am in Atlanta, but for now I am going to stop trying to figure out the mind and ways of God and just take it one day at a time...walking in the way He has laid out for me now. I too often get so caught up in looking to the future that i forget to embrace right now. That is definitely something I want to work on in 2010.

So there you have it. The brief update on my life... if you made it this far thanks so much for caring enough to read all of that.

Trust Him. He has it all figured out.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (The Message)

23-24May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Christmas... I wrote this blog

So I was browsing through some of my old blogs and decided to look back one year ago. This is what I found:

I know Christmas is over but I just had some random thoughts last night as I was lying in bed that I thought I'd write down since I am here at the church by myself with really nothing to do...

Isn't it funny that at Christmas time everyone sings songs of Christ and His birth whether they know Him or not. They don't think twice about it. I passed people in the mall on Wednesday singing Silent Night-Joy to the World etc. and it just kind of hit me. Do they know joy...real joy.. or what happened that night? They know the songs and do not hesitate to sing about it, but do they know? A lot of who sing don't know the One they sing about. Just goes to show how easy it is to put on a mask that says "I have it under control" and "This Christian thing is easy". I think especially living in the South it is so easy to say or claim one thing and live another.

Second random thought- I had to stop by Walgreen's yesterday to get something for Christmas lunch and since it was the only place open on Christmas day I found myself on an isle that contain everything from mac and cheese to laundry detergent to light bulbs. Multi purpose to the max I guess... but then I went over to the "cold isle" to get milk and notice a man standing at the frozen dinners and for some reason it just made my heart hurt. He was an older man...probably 50s maybe 60s deciding on a frozen dinner for Christmas lunch. And I just thought I wonder how many people are like him today. No family- trading in the turkey, ham and dressing for a lean cuisine...now considering my circumstances I could not invite him to dinner with us, but it just made me question how good of a job the church is doing. I know I am so convicted of the bubble I hide in. My little SMI bubble. I seldom reach out of it to love on those who are not around me. I know it is probably cliche and may even sound a little naive of me but wouldn't it be awesome if, because of the church, there wasn't anyone who had to spend Christmas alone. We have the Remedy...why do we chose to hoard it so much? I am the guiltiest of us all at hiding within the shadow of my own comfort. It just made me think about it. The day that I spent with family and more food than could have possibly been eaten was not so plesant for everyone. There were empty hearts-empty stomachs.

Just food for thought... OH and to end my walgreens experience the guy checking out after me began placing bottles of Imodium AD on the counter...I started counting...18 bottles... I guess Grandma's cooking didn't go over so well.
-December 2009