Tonight I hopped on over to Flower Patch Farmgirl's site, a blog I like to visit. Truthfully, (and I've never actually communicated directly with the writer-lady) I want to be her friend. She eats cereal for dinner sometimes and likes to be outside. Thats about all I'm looking for.
Anyhow, she writes this post about God's Business, and how we often say "I want to serve God" but we really only want to fit God into the compartments in our lives that keep us comfortable. And then she asked what might God be asking of each of us (the people reading), that we're going to need to take a deep breath to do. To actually get a little uncomfortable and just do, trusting that He is all who He says, and that He really will do all He has promised.
And then I cried. Yeah, its late, and yeah, I miss Handsome, and yeah, I've been crying a lot lately (and no, I'm not pregnant), but really, God has just ... for lack of a better phrase, been really working me over lately. I've got two areas where I'm about to be called to step out/step up. And they both make me nervous and weepy and excited and want to go to bed.
- My community. Ever since I moved down here, I've loved Jeremiah 29:7, 10-14.
‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ (vs. 7)When I first moved down here, I figured my community to be the department of the school which I attended, the people in my classes, my professors, etc. And so I took care of them, sought their welfare, brought them birthday cakes and made it known that I cared. Honestly, this caused no discomfort on my part, I like to reach out to people. And so there I've sat these past 3 years, considering only that community. Handsome, on the other hand, has been involved in the actual, physical community. He knows people who aren't here for college, who are around all summer and have lived here for years. And, as an EMT/Firefighter, he sees a lot of the less desirable parts of the county. He sees the real need. Real need that I don't usually think about.
Yes, the people in my little bubble need to know that they are cared for. But the unemployment rate in my county is over 15%. There is a homeless shelter/soup kitchen not 12 miles from my house, and there are people who need it. There are children without families. Stats for nearby western NC state that 1 in 8 people are without food for a day. These are also needs. And when compared with birthday cakes, seemingly much more serious ones. All the while, there are 17 churches within 15 miles of each other who are charged with "pure and un-defiled religion is this; to care for the orphan and widow in their distress and keep oneself unstained by the world" (James 1:27). This really sticks in my craw.
This is not a hopeless situation. This is not meant to be depressing, although it can certainly get me going. I'm about to step out into some changing, and I don't know what it is. I don't know where its going to take me. It could turn my whole life upside down. But somethings gotta give, and its gonna be me (thats right, Mandy Moore), its gonna be me.
- My future
Ever since I planned to come down here from ole Pennsyltucky, it has been my plan to get my degree in as short a time as possible and then get back. Growing up, I always wanted to have a house right next to my Mom's and we could hang out all the time and it would be great. So this whole 650+ miles thing is really cramping our style, if you know what I mean. I miss her. I miss the rest of my family thats big enough to warrant a 550-person wedding attendance. I miss the hills and the 'burgh and everything familiar. I miss Sheetz. I miss french fries on my salad.
So this has been my plan for the past 3 years. But something has been shifting inside of me. Its not the desire to be home and live next to my Mom. Nope, thats still there. But its a possibility rearing its ugly head that maybe thats not the plan that God has for me. He's been whispering to me lately, "What if I call you somewhere else? Will you go? Will you go willingly? How about joyfully?" and its those sorts of questions that make me want to stomp my foot and cry ENOUGH ALREADY. Would I go? After a little wrestling within my soul, the answer is "yes". So there, and we're done, right? But noooo. He wants me to go willingly. Fine *foot stomp* I will go willingly, because I know, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [God's] thoughts higher than [my] thoughts and [God's] ways higher than [my] ways." (Isaiah 55:9, pronouns changed to make sense here)
But now, now He asks me if I would go joyfully. As in, not cry the whole time and make Handsome do all the packing (FTR, he's never packed a box the entire time, 3 moves, we've been married. Its best that way). As in, delight myself in the adventure He has chosen to take us on. And right now, tonight, the idea makes me roll my eyes and try to ignore Him. All of this emotion and wrestling and focus may seem foolish because, as far as I know, we've got 2 years until I'm done with school. So that gives me about the same amount of time, minus a few months for planning's sake, to get my attitude in check. However, taking into consideration the HUGE adjustment this means for me, it may just take that long.
So thats it. Thats my wranglings. The question, "Will you go?", to the community, to the need, to wherever on this green earth God sees fit to send us. Thats my wrestle tonight. And last week, and probably next month, too.In case we haven't met, I'd like to introduce myself, I'm stubborn.
I'm not going to ask you to share your wrestlings if you don't want to. The idea of actually opening up my real heart on here makes me nervous. Its the whole "what if they don't like me? what if they make fun of me?" thing. But then I think again and I realize that (a) that generally never happens and (b) I want more friends who want this openness from me. So I've shared, and you're welcome to as well. At least think about it.
Using Kleenex like its my job,