But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility... Eph. 2:13-14

Thursday, May 19

Ours is not to complain.

It's been a rough couple of days.

Tuesday evening I started feeling sick.
Wednesday morning I woke up with a full-blown cold.
When I walked outside to enjoy the morning, I found a dead momma bird in my garden.
I then began to develop a strange rash, which I'm guessing is poison ivy (I've never had it before, so this is an unpleasant new experience).
I learned that my friends' dad has cancer.
Today I woke up feeling a little better! ^_^
But then I felt terrible again.
It's raining, and we are supposed to go camping.
There's a strong possibility that my wii is dead.
C-group is cancelled because our leader is suffering extreme mouth pain.
et cetera

But you know what? God is good. He is so good that even when I feel like getting in bed and staying hidden under the covers for the rest of my life, I am comforted by Him. Everything is in His hands. NOTHING catches Him by surprise. As I told the little kids in Sunday School last week, "God is Never-Tiring, and He sustains us." What need have I to complain? He is not unaware of my inconveniences - He planned them for my good and His glory. I will glory in my Redeemer, and rest in His faithfulness. Praise be to our Eternal Sustainer! ¡El Señor es siempre bueno!

[Note: My wii is NOT dead, and after some spicy egg drop soup, I think I'm on the mend! I am so blessed!]

Monday, May 16

And so what we have learned applies to our lives today... Part 2

Previously on Droll Digression:
God has allowed me to unwind, and taught me to trust Him with my future and see the smaller picture.

Once I was able to grasp the concept of viewing every day as my full-time ministry, life was a little easier to take. On a good day, I would wake up, have my quiet time, and look around for ways to serve. On a bad day, I was either incredibly lazy (big shocker there!) or right back to my worrying self. Things were looking up, but I was still praying for a more long-term direction with my life. Having peace wasn't the same as having an answer for those who wanted to know what I was going to do with my degree. There was always someone asking, and every conversation along those lines left me frustrated with my lack of direction. I still felt stranded in darkness, but I was no longer afraid, because I knew that I wasn't lost, but right where I was supposed to be.

Around this time God began to show me that this has often been the way He does things. For example, in Sunday School we are going through the Gospel of John. One Sunday my teacher noted that John the Baptist was led out to the desert, and spent some time there before his ministry began. It was so comforting to me to know that I wasn't the only one who felt they'd been taken out to a desolate place before their life's purpose came to fruition. What was John doing in the wilderness before he began to preach? I can only assume that he was drawing near to God.

That Sunday it became clear to me that even though I don't know what my future holds-I don't know if I'll ever get married, I don't know if I'll ever have a great job, or if I'll ever have enough money to buy a motorcycle or restore an old volkswagen beetle or bus-I do know that I have a great God, and that I could never cease to know Him and His Word better. I also realized that, rather than sit around waiting to be told what to do with my life, I should be preparing for whatever it is that God would have me do. If He called me to the mission field, would I be in-shape enough to work for Him? If He calls me to teach His Word, do I know it well enough to teach it? If He calls me to be a wife and mother, am I disciplined enough to care for a household and support my husband and children? Even if the answer was "maybe," it was obvious to me that I needed much improvement in all of these areas. This improvement became my day-to-day mission.

As I slowly grew closer to the Lord in these ways (and oh, oh! how far I have to go!) He began to answer some of my prayers. When I was willing to set long-term goals aside, He gave me a few. First, He allowed me to remember that I would have the free time to serve at Camp this year - something I very much wanted to do last year, but couldn't get the time off for.
Second, He allowed me to remember Wycliffe.

Back when I was still swamped with schoolwork, a missionary and good friend of our pastor's family visited my church while on furlough. She works for Wycliffe Bible Translators as a teacher to the children of missionaries in Africa. At the time, I was considering working to become an English teacher, so I was very interested in what she had to say. The next day I got online, and while I was looking for information regarding teaching, I discovered something called T.O.T.A.L - a Taste of Translation and Linguistics. It was a week-long workshop-type-thing in which you could see if Bible translation was something you could do, or you were interested in. It sounded amazing, but the only one near enough for me to attend happened to fall on my finals week.

For months I had completely forgotten that TOTAL existed, or that I had ever considered working with Wycliffe. Then, one evening, I was talking to Mom about the future. I don't remember all that was said, except that I mentioned the missionary who had visited earlier. As soon as I said her name, I remembered TOTAL. The next day I excitedly looked into it and signed up. During the first week of June, I'll be TOTAL-ing it up! It's been wonderful waiting for it. Whenever I am tempted to grow discontent, the Lord reminds me that He gave me a plan through June, and that He is faithful to take care of me after that, too. I don't know what to expect when I go. It could be that the Lord calls me to Bible translation, or it could be that He calls me to work in another area with Wycliffe, or it could be that He uses this to show me that He isn't calling me to such missions. I'm open to anything, and I'm praying that I stay that way.

God is good, my friends. Even when the future looks very bleak, we can trust Him! Even when all of the wisdom being given to us doesn't seem to mesh with our lives, He can make sense of it! He is marvelous! Who is like Him?

I want to end with a bit of realism. While God has been showing me so many things, I have not been receiving them perfectly. In fact, far from it! The more He blesses me, the harder it is to fight laziness. Some days I don't even struggle, I just give in whole-heartedly. I hate it. I hate the sluggishness that clings to my eyes when it's time to wake up, I hate feeling so lethargic when I need to work. I am so LAZY! If you don't believe me, you should see my bedroom. But I do hate it, and I am fighting it. God is faithful. By His strength, I will win this battle.

He is worthy of all praise! Worship the Good Shepherd, my fellow sheep! Bow before Him, for He is faithful!

Friday, May 13

And so what we have learned applies to our lives today... Part 1

Hey look! I have a blog!
I'm sorry that I haven't written here much lately, but the fact is that I just don't write much of anything these days. Part of me would like to blog weekly or something, but then I'll have to find something to blog about. We'll see.

For now, I suppose I'll give an update on my life situation.
It's been about seven months since I graduated with my BA in English. Since then I've had one job taking care of an elderly lady who went to my church. That job ended in December, when her need of earthly assistance had ended, and left me in the dark. I had no idea of what I should do with my life - nor what I wanted to do for that matter. I felt lost and frozen. Everyone kept asking me what I was going to do with my life, and I was terrified in my lack of direction. Looking back, I see that it was very good for me. In the roughest bit, God began to teach me many, many things - things that I knew in my head, but had never accepted in my heart.

First, He used this time to help me unwind. I didn't know how stressed I was during college until about two months without a deadline. I'm able to enjoy things again, whereas if I had enjoyed anything before, it was with a streak of guilt that marred the beauty of the moment. To enjoy something then almost certainly meant that I was neglecting an academic duty.

Second, He has taught me trust. There is no terror like the unknown. Any good suspense or horror writer knows that people are most afraid when there are unanswered questions. My future was one big unanswered question, and it paralyzed me with fear. Before I could take a single step in any direction, I had to learn to trust God's sovereignty. It's like they say, "I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow." It wasn't that I stood pointing my finger at the sky and crying, "You don't know what you're doing! You have no control over my life!" Rather, my thought process was that if God has a plan, and I can't figure out what it is, something is wrong with the way things are being handled. Before I could begin to deal with the future, I had to be able to consciously trust God with every moment.

That led to the third thing that God has been doing in my life: He has been teaching me to see the smaller picture. The questions I was asking were good questions - things like, Should I go back to school? Should I volunteer full time? And if so, where? And if I did volunteer, wouldn't that mean I'd have to get a job so that I could pay for a car? What kind of job? - but as time went on God began to show me that while my questions were good, they were too big. I viewed my time in months and years, but when Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow (Mt. 6:34), He wasn't kidding. Each day is all that I'm promised. Each day is my future. My mother has often reminded me in this time that God's Word is a lamp unto my feet. When you're using a flashlight to walk in the dark, you can only see a few feet ahead of you, and that's all you need. That is so easy to hear and agree with, but so hard to apply, and doubly so when you're not even sure if you can see the light at your feet! But God has been teaching me that my feet are standing in one day: today. Until God says otherwise, each morning I am to seek His will for that day. Not the day after, or the week after, or the year after, but that very day, that very morning, that very hour. I am to do at that moment whatever would glorify Him most. Sure, it never gave me an answer for the "what are your plans for life?" question, but when I was finally able to grasp this concept, it brought me so much peace!

Well, the hour grows late, and morning comes swiftly. I will end here and try to pick up where I left off tomorrow. Things get pretty exciting after this point, so I'll try to finish soon. :)
May God bless you, and keep you, and cause His face to shine on you! He is good! Whatever happens, He is good!