Posted in Life

God has a plan

I didn’t get hurt in the wreck nor did anyone else.

My brother lost a job before he started due to the place closing. A few days later he was hired at another which is similar to a place he’s worked before.
Several times I’ve come in to school not knowing what devotional to share but God has directed me daily and the kids have responded.
I had been procrastinating on paying my car registration. Now I don’t have to pay that part.
Another friend found a job in his major with better hours just months after feeling unsure where he was heading career wise.
My brother’s girlfriend took a job across the state from my brother a few years ago. Now he’s moved to the same town to pursue something(s) he loves. Now he’s only two hours away from me as well.
I’ve been blessed this year being at Oneida. It was the only school to give me an interview, but I have no doubt this is where I belong at this season in my life.
When I moved to Oneida, I had an extroverted neighbor who has become a good friend. In fact I moved in at a time when she needed a friend as well.
I was offered an Americorps position when I wasn’t offered a teaching position. Now I’m using the education grant for my Master’s degree.
I had to learn to drive a minivan during college. I was given a minivan as a rental.
Another friend has a source of income after a dry financial year, while another lady from our church has a housemate because of my friend’s dry season.
Every detail of my life has been planned by God in ways I can’t even understand. Every person I’ve met has been put in my life for a reason. I am excited to keep living with my eyes open to see how God will reveal his plans for my life.
Posted in Gratefulness, Life

I’m not superwoman, but I have a super God.

Don’t try to be superwoman: that’s the lesson of the weekend.

I had grand plans of trying to make it back to Oneida for the 11 am service at my church after attending the early service at my brother’s church. I probably could have made it fashionably late if I had been cautious and smart. Instead I was on the side of the road with a defunct car, a policeman, an ambulance, my brother and his girlfriend, and many tears at 11 am on Sunday.

God had his hand on the entire situation though and still does. I wasn’t hurt, and I didn’t hit the car coming towards me. I only spun and hit the ditch a couple of times before I ended up back on the road with a busted tire and quite a bit of damage to the car. Roxie (my car) has been treated kinder, but God used her to shield me from any physical damage.

When I was in high school, I wrote a poem about slowing down. Metaphorically I was speaking of slowing down to enjoy life, but in light of this past weekend, I think slowing down while driving is a good idea as well. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to be superwoman and fly back to Oneida (good intentions and all), I wouldn’t be driving a rental minivan right now and worrying about Roxie. One lesson I’ve learned is to not rush. If I can’t be part of everything, so be it. God has a plan for each location I’ll be. While I write that last sentence though, I also realize that God has a plan for my accident as well.

It’s hard to say yet what good will come of my accident, but I know God has a plan to take even this unwanted situation and bring glory to his name. Already he’s provided for me through many concerned people and a good insurance company, so I have no doubt he has a plan. For now, I’ll wait on the prognosis, and in the meantime I’ll take life a little slower.

Most of all praise be to God that I am safe and that no one else was involved.

Posted in Book Review, Gratefulness, Life

25 Things

On this morning of the completion of my 25th birthday, I would like to make a list of 25 things for which I am thankful God has given me.

  1. A God who shows clemency
  2. The promise of Heaven
  3. A family that supports and loves
  4. Friends who are real when needed and spoil me when needed.
  5. Churches who help me grow closer to God
  6. A cat who adores me
  7. A job that encourages my faith
  8. Students who push me to be better
  9. Books that entertain me
  10. A healthy body
  11. Tea to warm me to my toes
  12. A shelter from the world
  13. An always full belly
  14. Clean water
  15. Electricity (I am blessed)
  16. Blankets (I really hate being cold)
  17. Opportunities
  18. A car that runs (most of the time)
  19. Clothes appropriate for every season
  20. A conscience
  21. Past mistakes and diversions from more fatal mistakes
  22. Discipline
  23. Numerous Bibles
  24. An intelligent mind
  25. 25 years of life
Posted in Bible Study, Book Review

This post is a bit premature considering I haven’t finished the book series yet, but the heart message that God is teaching me is ready to share. It’s not a new lesson, but it’s one I need reminding of often. So many times I ask God what he has planned. I want to know the details of when and how events in my life will play out. Specifically now with my 25th birthday coming up, I wonder if marriage is in my future or if I’m better equipped to serve as a single person. I also wonder if this physical place is where I’ll be for a while or if it’s only a short stop. Through the Above the Line series by Karen Kingsbury, music, and scripture, God is reminding me of his promises.

There are several plot lines within the series’s four books, but one key idea is woven through them all. Bailey Flannigan, the young college student stuck between two guys, wonders if her dream of going to New York to act is really what God has planned for her. Keith and Chase, the movie producer team who take Hollywood by story, wonder many times if the trials thrown at them are a sign that the movie is not God’s plan. Andi, the former missionary kid, wonders if God is really even part of her life at all. Each one of them come to a key verse from Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Recently another verse keeps popping up in numerous places of my life. In Romans 8:28, Paul writes, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” I know that I love God, and I know that he has called me to be in the place I am in right now. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend about his current situation in life and the part of Ecclesiastes about there being seasons came into the conversation. I am in a season right now where I feel both content and anxiously awaiting. The thing that God keeps reminding me though is that He has a plan that is perfect. I don’t want to step too far ahead of his plan with my wanderings or wonderings; instead I want to wait right here no matter how anxious I may feel about waiting and no matter how often I want to force some action to take place.

Finally, a song was played this morning at church that sealed the deal about my questions and anxieties. In her song “Trust in You”, Lauren Daigle sings about how even when things don’t work out the way she thinks they should, she still trusts God. She trusts that he “know[s] what tomorrow brings” and that “There’s not a day ahead [he has] not seen”. In fact she opens the song with these lines which to me are extremely bold: “Letting go of every single dream/ I lay each one down at your feet”. It’s so true; in order to see God work the most in my life, I have to focus on the season I’m currently living and stop wondering about the future. He has it all under control.

 

 

Posted in Book Review

“Guardian angels” and “angels fighting for you” are platitudes often spoken to make us feel better, but I rarely give angels much serious thought aside from the Christmas and Easter story. In Karen Kingsbury’s Angels Walking series, angels become a very real reality.

I just finished the third book of the series where a team of angels is sent to complete missions in order to ensure God’s plan is enacted. There’s always the possibility that the mission will fail and several moments when the mission is derailed in some way, but God’s plan always succeeds. In this particular novel, the angels are trying to ensure the birth and protection of an infant who will grow up to be a great missionary. It takes a while to discover through whom the baby will be born, but the reader knows that all of the main characters are necessary.

The Bible talks in several places about angels. In Psalm 91:11 the psalmist writes that God “will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” In Hebrews 13:2, we are reminded that by entertaining strangers we might be unknowingly entertaining angels. Other verses talk about ministering spirits, and of course there are the actual appearances of angels scattered throughout the Bible.

Maybe I’ve just been unaware, but I can’t think of any instances where I’ve felt the presence of an angel. It’s possible I have and don’t account for it because it’s not portrayed like the angels in movies and books. In Kingsbury’s novels, the characters are never actually aware that they are interacting with angels, but they do get strange feelings about the angels in disguise. The closest I’ve come to thinking about an angel are the moments when I realize that God worked something out. I attribute it to God, which is probably fine with the angels and God, but maybe God has used angels in those moments to accomplish his purpose.

The only take-away I can take from this is to be kind to everyone because, just like the writer of Hebrews says, we never know when we might be interacting with an angel.

If you want to check out Karen Kingsbury’s books, head on over to her website or your local library. I haven’t found one I haven’t enjoyed. They also make great audio books because they’re usually easy-to-read story lines.

Posted in Blogging for Books, Book Review

English Lessons

Hold on…don’t go anywhere. I’m not going to (intentionally) give you any lessons about English. Instead, I want to talk about an interesting little story that I recently read.

Through bloggingforbooks, I stumbled across a book by the daughter of Max Lucado, Andrea Lucado, that tells the story of her journey closer to God that happened to coincide with her journey to Oxford (England that is).

9781601428950

From the first page of this book, I was connected. This girl gets me. She and I both practically grew up in church, so our faith in God just seem connected to who we are. That doesn’t mean we were immediately saved upon birth or anything; we definitely still each had to make our own decisions about who God is to us. In fact, that’s the purpose of her book, English Lessons.  In this personal memoir, Andrea tells of how she traveled to Oxford thinking she could use it as her personal mission field (that’s how I felt in London). Once she arrives, she realizes that being the sole Christian in her graduate classes may be harder than she thinks (I can relate). She begins to question the validity of her own faith. Through a series of friendships and experiences, she comes to realize that her life is so much richer with God, and she can’t imagine her life without God.

I was immensely jealous of Andrea’s story firstly because Oxford was a place in England I did not get to visit. Secondly, she was able to experience the city and meet so many interesting characters. Thirdly, she is very articulate about her story of questioning her faith and then coming back to God. She tells the story in a way that makes me want to ponder my own story again and be more reflective. There are possibly still lessons I could learn from the events that have happened and will happen within my own life.

Even though this book is clearly marked as an uncorrected copy and won’t actually be published until later this year, I am glad to have read it now. Andrea’s story is both personal to her and relatable to the many church kids out there who wonder what their life would have been like if they hadn’t grown up going to church.

For more information about this book, visit the publisher’s website.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Posted in Life, Remembering

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

A year and a half ago, I was starting a position in the office where I worked as a college student. Part of me was excited for the work I would be doing, but there was also a small part of me that wondered why I was starting a year-long non-teaching commitment in July instead of seeking teaching jobs.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

Fast forward a little less than one year when I started seeking teaching jobs since I knew the end of my time at CELTS was coming. I applied to several public schools because I thought that’s where God wanted me. I had noble plans of being this strong light in the public school system.

Maybe I could have been that light, but once again I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I was devastated when I learned that the one English position open at that time in Madison County was filled internally. After leaving the career fair (which took enormous courage for me to even enter), I sat in my car and cried. Even though it was only early spring, I felt as if all of my options were drying up.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I kept putting my application out to public schools, and in the meantime I started looking around at other types of schools. My student teaching mentor had just come from OBI, and he had told me all about the school and it’s mission. I had briefly looked at it immediately following graduation, but nothing had come at that moment. On a whim, I sent my application to the school even though no jobs were posted at the time.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I continued worrying and working on applications, so I was pleasantly surprised when the president of OBI called to say they had an English position that might open up. He offered to host me for a couple of days, so they could get to know me and I could see the school.

Long story short, I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan. In my plan, I would have found a teaching job directly out of college, and it probably would have been in a public school. I had completely written VISTA positions out of my plan a summer before I accepted one in CELTS, but God had a plan in place to get me to the place where I am right now. Even though it has had it’s rough moments, I rest in the confidence that God orchestrated my presence here.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan, but that didn’t make his plan any less real or perfect.