Work: I returned home at a really bad economic time and the prospect of finding a good job seemed pretty slim. I was a little worried about money but (surprise, surprise) God provided everything I needed. My best friend, Jane, flew over from Montana to help me settle into my new apartment and to be with me during my first initial “reverse culture shock,” and her family sent her with money to buy me groceries and other odds and ends that I needed. What a blessing! I didn’t have a job for four weeks, and even though I was worried, I was so thankful for that time. It gave me time to unpack, settle, visit friends, and to just… catch my breath. Life at The Oasis wasn’t easy and I didn’t realize how much I needed that time of rest until the Lord gave it to me.
Just as God’s goodness has proven in the past: as soon as the money ran out, the paychecks came in. I was blessed to be offered a job at Whatcom Land Title, a locally owned title and escrow company! It’s an unlikely job to get in today’s economy, but I love that because it reminds me that God is bigger than we are (and the problems we’ve created for ourselves!).
Church: During my last week in Guatemala , I met Brian MacSwan, the youth pastor from Christ the King in Bellingham . (Big God, small world.) He was on a scouting trip for their high school mission trip this summer. We had dinner, were able to talk a bit, and exchanged contact information so when I returned to Bellingham , I met with Brian at the church one morning, and God sort of took over. To make a long story short, Brian invited me to come check out their high school youth group and see if it was something I wanted to be a part of. I had been praying that God would open up some sort of ministry and community opportunities for me in Bellingham , and that He did. I wish I had words to describe what a blessing Doxa has been in my life, but everything seems to fall short of the truth. These high schoolers are real, passionate, and growing daily. I am so thankful that God is allowing me to be a part of their stories.
God has been doing a lot in my heart this last year and a couple weeks ago, I knew it was finally time to make it public that I have chosen to live for Him. So on Sunday, July 5th, 2009, I was baptized at CTK by my Pastor and good friend, Brian! I was blessed to have good friends and co-workers that came to hug me and celebrate with me afterwards! God is good.
Through Doxa and Christ the King, I have met a lot of new Christian friends. This new community of people has been so encouraging! Which also leads me to…
Living: OUR NEW HOUSE! My new roommates and I recently moved into our new five-bedroom house! I met Chelsea, Megan, Allison, and Angie through CTK (four of us work with high school, and Angie works with middle school) and God blessed us with a sweet house and the nicest landlord imaginable. (Seriously, she baked us cookies, gave us flowers, five frozen pizzas, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and a Haggen gift card when we moved in.) And, what a shocker, God worked everything out for all five of us to be able to move in together. Does anyone else see a pattern here?
Signing the one-year lease on this house was a really big deal to me. It was the longest commitment I’ve made to a place in three years. Part of me is excited to have something stable in my life for a while, but another part of me freaks out every once in awhile wondering what in the world I’m doing.
Megan, Allison, Chelsea, Me (We're missing Angie)
Biggest Life Lesson: I’ve always been a planner. Total obsessive-compulsive list maker, organizer, can’t-go-anywhere-without-my-planner type of person. I realized that as soon as I got back to Bellingham , I was already thinking, “Okay, what next? Where next?” At that point God kind of knocked me on the head. “What about now? What about today? You’re in this place because I put you here for this very moment. Live it.” Since then, he’s been walking with me, teaching me about finding Him in the day-to-day living. I think it’s the most important lesson I’ve ever learned about my faith: Just Be. I just need to be in His will, obedient to His commands, and the rest falls into place without my lists or my plans. It’s a tough lesson for me, and daily I have to remind myself to be patient, knowing He will reveal the next step to me when I’m ready.
There are so many more things I could share – these last four months since Guatemala have been a whirlwind of change, fun, and growth! Mostly I’ve just been living and learning, sharing and enjoying life with friends, and experiencing God’s grace new every day. I’m excited for what the future holds and slowly learning to be more content with not always knowing.
The question I most often get asked is, “So what’s next? What are your plans?” To be honest, I still don’t know. I have a vision that God and I have been working on, but for now I’m waiting on Him to open those doors. It could be next week; it could be in five years, I don’t know. Guatemala is still on my heart every day, and it probably always will be, but right now, in this moment, I just need to be still and know that he is God. And my heart is totally content with that.