Five years sure does go quickly, doesn't it?
My five years in Long Beach seemed to last a lifetime. It's so difficult to believe that I've been living back in Bakersfield for almost the same amount of time.
A lot sure does change in five years. Reader's Digest Update: I've been a part of Living Grace church and loving it since I moved home. I have been back to Romania twice and am about to go again. I've had two foot surgeries, and I developed a nerve disease after the second one. I have been teaching full time since shortly after this original blog post (where I complained that I couldn't even get a sub job). I have taught three different grades at three different schools. My mom still has more of a social life than I do. The one friend I mentioned in my first post has since moved. God has given me many people here that I love, but I struggle with not having a group of friends (ok, even really one friend) here that's around my age and life stage that I can just call up for dinner or coffee or a random Target trip.
This line from my original post really hit me: I knew God wanted me here, and I thought I knew why–I had no idea. That was a difficult realization.
How true that line STILL is. But, isn't that life? Do we ever really know what God is doing?
Take a look back at these few lines: I sit here content–knowing that no matter what my plans and ideas were, my God is Sovereign. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. He is good. He is just. He is faithful.
So, God, why am I here?
Sometimes it’s just really hard. I don’t have all the answers; I don’t know all He has planned for me here and now, but I rejoice in the fact that He has a plan, and I consider it a joy when I get to see bits and pieces of that plan fall into place.
Amen to that first paragraph! At that moment, I never imagined that those words would still ring SO true five years later, but RING, RING, RING!
And sometimes it still IS really hard, and that's ok! I have NO IDEA all that God has for me, but I STILL know that He has a plan. Five years ago I was able to consider it joy when bits and pieces of God's plan was revealed to me. So, I should be overjoyed with all He's done in five years.
Let's take a brief (ok, I'll try to keep it brief) look:
God has given me the PURE JOY and AMAZINGLY RIDICULOUS CHALLENGE of teaching junior high. It has given me some of my highest highs and my lowest lows. I NEVER wanted to teach junior high (like, EVER!), but God knew it was the perfect place for me, and now I wouldn't change it for anything. I love my job. I adore my kids. I have the most amazing co-workers. I am constantly challenged and stretched and humbled. It's hard and wonderful and scary and FUN.
I have had the ability to live at home (with the coolest roommate!) and pay off my student loans, travel to some awesome places, experience some incredible things, buy my first car, and have my mom close by when I needed her the most--after my two surgeries. God literally brought me to my knees MULTIPLE times after temporarily taking away my ability to walk. When I had nothing left of myself, I had no choice but to lean on God (browse back through the blog for more entries--starting here-- on that topic).
I have been blessed with an incredible Bible believing and Bible teaching church. I have learned more in these five years than I have in my whole life combined--no joke. I am excited for what God will continue to teach me and do in the life of this church.
God sent me back to Romania after a six year Romania drought. I went back in 2012, led a team in 2013, and am going back with Living Grace's pastor, my madre, DeAnn Sampley, and John Penrose next month. God is doing HUGE things in Romania, and I am honored and humbled to be a small part of it. Being in Bakersfield has allowed me to get more involved in this ministry state-side, and I know that I will continue to serve and work in this area (both here and in Romania) for as long as God allows.
(Part of our Romania team in 2012)
Like I mentioned previously, the whole friend thing has been a challenge. I'm sure God is using this time for a purpose, although I can't see it right now. But, like my first blog post proves, God is always working, even when I can't see it or understand it.
So, what now? WHO THE HECK KNOWS?! Five years later, perhaps I have to end this blog post the same way I ended my first one (although I have to admit that I copy and paste the "excited" part in the first line with a bit of hesitation):
Above all, I am excited about this time in my life that is not “planned out” for me. I have always known (to some extent) what was next on the agenda of life-–preschool, elementary school, junior high, high school, college-–and now life is one big huge question mark. It’s scary and overwhelming, it’s unknown and I am so unsure, but my God is so sure. This is a time in my life when I can do nothing else but trust in Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5
It isn’t always easy. I don’t always “feel” content. But, God’s peace is so evident, and it blankets my soul. He is doing a mighty work in me. He is doing a mighty work in those around me. I just hope and pray that I can honor Him with my life, that I can be content no matter my circumstances. I pray that I will always be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [my] labor in not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
So here I am, in Bakersfield, striving to embrace what God has for me here and now. I will remain here until He leads me on, and I pray that I will remain faithful to Him and His calling on my life…
…whatever that may be.
...whatever that may be.