Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

One year and two weeks ago I was in the car with my family on the way to a Christmas piano recital. As we neared our destination my mother made an offhand (and quickly forgotten) comment that lead me to believe a good friend of mine had spoken to my father about courting me. It’s hard to describe the mix of emotions this news brought to me. There was surprised elation, of course, but this was quickly overpowered by fear. I was afraid that somehow in letting us get so close I’d accidentally lead him on, and that because of my indiscretion my friend was now making a terrible mistake.

I barely slept the next several days, until finally God gave me two verses that calmed my soul. The first one was very specific to the situation, but the second one I knew God intended to be my verse for the entire year. It was Psalm 27:14.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

The verse was a comfort to me then, and has indeed been the theme verse for this past year. One year ago I was waiting for my Knight to make his first move and ask for my hand in marriage. He did this in mid-February. But the waiting was hardly over in February--since then we’ve both been waiting!

I’ve heard the phrase, coined by Joshua Harris, “Hustle while you wait!” He used it to mean that single people shouldn’t sit around waiting for their perfect mate, but instead should stay busy serving the Lord. The phrase doesn’t just apply to single people. It also aptly describes this period in my life. Though I am very much in a “holding pattern” as I await the signal from my groom that the time is right, I am also filling the time constructively. In the past year I started a new job. I’ve started, finished, and self-published my first book. I’ve wrapped up all my college courses. I’ve relentlessly continued my education in more martially inclined topics. I never did have a hope chest, but now I do have a “hope-corner-of-the-garage” that is rapidly expanding. I’m hustling while I wait.

I’m not sure what all God has in store for next year. I can see some of the picture, but not all of it. I don’t know what the theme for the year will be either, though I know there will be one. There always is for me. As much as I don’t know, there is one thing that I do know—God will be faithful. He will carry out His plan, despite what I—or anyone else—do.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2008

2008 was a very "growing" year for me. I've had a LOT of firsts; some were good firsts-others were ones I wouldn't have chosen for myself. Here are a few of the major ones:

My first car died in January leaving me without transportation to get to work.

I bought my first car a few months later.

I accomplished nearly five semesters worth of school--in eight months (I had to take off a few months whilst saving for my car).

I quit a job for the first time.

I've dealt with significantly more stress than ever before, for reasons I won't go into.

It's really been a crazy year. I was thinking some of that over this week, and it seemed as though despite all that's happened this year there wasn't really an overriding lesson that God was teaching me. I was kind of disappointed about that, because the last few years God has always given me a "theme" for the year. He never revealed the theme to me until late December, the very end of the year, so I could see just a peek of what He had been doing in my life that year. But to be very honest, when I looked back on 2008 I just saw six big black letters written across it--

S T R E S S.

I was thinking that over this Sunday in church, and God began to show me that He actually did have an overriding lesson for me this year. In January my car broke down. It was a tough situation for me because I had a job a half hour away, and we had three vehicles to juggle between four work schedules. On top of that, a new car costs a fairly significant chunk of change--not only did I not have enough, but I also had upcoming school expenses that had to be saved for.  One blessing, though, was that my dad worked near where I worked, so he could drop me off early and pick me up. So I still had a job, but I was naturally stressed by the situation. No matter how things were cut I couldn't make the ends meet. I realized at some point that there was nothing I could do, and that I'd just have to wait on God and let Him provide. Then, just in the nick of time, God provided a vehicle for me. It was worth way more than I could afford and was much newer than anything I expected to own, but He provided it for just the amount I had saved up. Ever since I've been driving around a wonderful 2005 Ford Focus Station Wagon--plenty of space, great mileage, and (best of all) very reliable. I haven't had a vehicle break down since I drove my Crown Victoria into the parking-lot of the car dealership where I bought my MousieMobile seven months ago. I guess what that taught me was that I really could trust God to provide for my needs. There were things I could have jumped at, opportunities I maybe could have made work--but in the end God provided me with a perfect "Mousie sized" vehicle, at a dealership less than a half mile away (any farther away and my Crown Vic wouldn't have made it!).




Now I find myself in the same situation. In some ways it is a little harder. This time I have chosen to trust God on some issues--big ones, like whether I'll be able to graduate in June or not--where this spring I was made to trust Him. It is a little harder to choose to wait, because there is the feeling when things don't happen on the timetable I want that I could have gone out and made it work somehow on my own. But I know that God has this in his hands, and that He will come through. Maybe not in the way I am expecting, but whatever He provides will be for my best.