Monday, August 29, 2011

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going (Pt. 2)

This brings us to January 31st, 2011. It was time to go out on yet another job search, and I was so discouraged. I prayed and cried, completely overwhelmed with everything, and as I prayed, I sensed God saying, "Ask Me again." "But Lord, I have asked, and nothing has happened." "Ask Me again." So I asked, and once again I had to make the choice to trust even though I couldn't see, to let go and really believe that He is in control. That night I had to go somewhere, and when I came home my mom told me that a friend from church had called from out of the blue to ask if I wanted a job! Did I want a job? Oh goodness! I began work the very next day, and literally as I pulled into the driveway after work that evening, I received a call saying I had been accepted to Ellerslie. (More on Ellerslie another time.) That was 7 months ago now, and I am still amazed by God's perfect timing!

And so began a season of full time work, bringing it's own challenges and joys. I needed a good deal of money to pay for the tuition at Ellerslie, but God had provided my job, and I knew that, if He wanted me there, He would provide. Then came a period of several months with almost no work, due to the economy. In all of this I began to see that my trust had been in God's provision through my job, rather than in God alone. Through everything that happened He was gently teaching to let go of anything I trusted in other than Him. With each new trial came a new chance to rest in Him. I could never earn the money I needed in time. Even when I started working almost full time again, it was seemingly impossible. I grew up hearing "God can provide" and saying "I trust God", but now, for really the first time in my life, I had to live it. I had to trust Him with absolutely everything, and there was no plan B. Friends asked, "What if God doesn't provide" and I asked myself the same question. Again and again I came back to the same conclusion: I know that God has called me to Ellerslie, and I know that He would never call me to something for which He would not provide. I faced doubt, but He enabled me to surrender it to Him. Although it was difficult, I can say with absolute conviction that I wouldn't trade it for anything, because in all of it He was right there with me, stretching, growing, and holding me. I have seen for myself that His promises are true.

I'm writing this after the fact. God has provided, in a just-at-the-right-moment, it-could-only-have-been Him sort of way. I may share the story later, but it is enough to say that God is able to provide, He does keep His promises, and I have seen it myself!
I wish I could say that I would never struggle with doubt again, but I have. The big hurdle is behind me, but dozens more lie ahead. I am so thankful for God's infinite patience with me. He faithfully reminds me that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. To doubt Him is not only folly, but sin. I look back over my life and see His trustworthiness shown through every step. Daily, by His grace, I will trust Him with all that I am, for He is good.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishesthough it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going (Pt. 1)

Hello to anyone who happens to be reading!

I've decided to jump right in and just begin by saying that God has been very good to me.

This past year has been one of transitions, questions, challenges, closed doors, changed plans, and difficult choices, but I can say quite honestly that I am thankful for it all.

A bit of background: I graduated from highschool in May of 2010. I have never felt like God was leading me to attend college, but for a large portion of my senior year my plan was to attend the local community college and get a business certificate while working at a yarn shop. Ultimately, my goal was to own a small yarn shop myself. If you know me at all, chances are you know that I have always loved knitting and have sold my work at craft sales for years.

As time went on though, it became clear that, for now at least, community college was not where I was supposed to be. Now onto plan B: Work at a yarn shop while seeking other opportunities to learn about how to run a small business. By the fall, I had started seeking work at one of the "many" (translation:3) yarn shops in the area. I was nervous, but very enthusiastic, quite sure that a door would open somewhere.

Days turned into weeks, and soon a month had gone by with no response, although I had followed up and done all I could. Instead of feeling, as I had expected, like I was supposed to persevere and keep trying, I instead sensed God leading me in an entirely different direction.

This was hard. Those who know me know that I like to have a plan, and now I had none at all. The yarn shop had been my dream for years, and at first letting go of it felt like letting go of a part of me. I thought people would look at me and see a wishy-washy person who couldn't stick with any idea, and honestly, I struggled with seeing myself that way.

I began looking for a job, any job, and still nothing. Applying, following up, applying some more, and after all of that not even an interview. In the midst of all this, a good friend observed, "You look weary". That was it exactly. Something would come along that would seem promising, but nothing ever came of it. I knew in my head that God was in control and that I could trust Him, but I was getting discouraged.

Towards the end of all this came the first open door. Through a conversation with my mom, God reminded me of a dream that had been dormant: Ellerslie. I have read and greatly benefited from the books written by Eric and Leslie Ludy (When God Writes Your Love Story and others) and they are two of my modern day heros. Over a year earlier had I first heard of Ellerslie, a very intensive discipleship program they had just started. At the time I felt very strongly that I was supposed to go someday, but I thought it would be several years down the road. Mom just said, "Why not now?" and the more I prayed about it, the more I felt led to apply. I still had no job, and no idea when I would have one, so even applying was a huge leap of faith, but apply I did.
Stay tuned for part 2. It will be more uplifting, I promise! :)