Transitions and an Unchanging God

Transition and change are in my job description, at least as a follower of Christ. At any moment, He could call me elsewhere, and when He does I need to be ready for that.

It seems like I’ve been through a lot of transitions in the past year and a half — with writing a thesis, graduating, watching my friends get married, raising funds for my intern and now STINT years in fulltime ministry, walking through physical and spiritual healing. And now, my latest transitions, leaving my home of the last 13 years (My parents are downsizing, and I’m so thrilled for them!!) and moving overseas to Ljubljana, Slovenia, a country I’ve only seen in pictures. It’s hard to think I won’t be coming back to my old room, but I know for sure that this is best.

The Lord started giving me the desire as a freshman to spend a year on STINT sharing the Gospel abroad to those who have never heard. And the day has finally arrived. What seems like years of preparation and prayer are finally happening… TODAY!

My Room at HomeMy Life is in 3 bags!

A few weeks ago, I began to dread today — dread in leaving my family, friends, home, my familiarity. It was a bitter feeling, and I was actually mad at God for calling me to do something hard. Wow, what a bad attitude in my heart. Those attitudes of entitlement that I’ve been dealing with the past year, came flooding right back. In that moment, though, God reminded me that He has called me to this, not for me, but for His glory. It’s because He’s gracious to me that this will be hard. I know that He is present and working in my life because He’s led me to something that will cause me to trust in and solely rely on Him. That’s how much He’s cares about me. He cares about us so much to leave us unchanged. Sanctification is a privilege and it’s by His grace that He doesn’t leave us where we are. This year will be hard, but this year will be so so good for me.

Since then, God has replaced those feelings of dread with feelings of excitement and His peace. I’m so confident that the Lord is going to do an amazing work in Slovenia, in the lives of my team, and in my own heart.

One song that has been really relevant lately is All Sons & Daughters’ “Called Me Higher.” You can listen to it here. But one line sticks out in particular, “I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home, Never let these walls down.” When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He says we will have trouble, but He promises it will be worth it because we get to experience Him and He transforms us to be like Him.

A dear friend reminded me of this truth last week, that though the nature of our jobs is constantly changing, our God is constant and unchanging. She said, “I’m so thankful that God is unchanging and constant… and no matter where He takes you and who you’re working alongside, He is the same and is faithful.” What a comfort to know, that because of Jesus, God’s love for those who are in Him is unconditional, constant, and unchanging.

So as I get ready for this new transition, I leave you with James 1:17-18 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”

Dad, Mom, and Me at the airport. Teary goodbyes... I'm so thankful for them.

Michael and Me, Our last family dinner before they visit in Slovenia!

Hilary and Me flying out of the Burgh

Advertisements

23 Things

In honor of launching this new blog, and because I just celebrated my *gasp* 23rd birthday, I decided it would be fitting to post the top 23 things I’ve learned about life, about Jesus, and about myself in the past year. (Of course, there are other things I could’ve added, but I had to stop somewhere!)

Beach Pic

(Photo courtesy of Alex Menrisky. Cannes, France 2010)

23. No matter how many times I watch them, The Big Bang Theory and Friends will always make me laugh audibly.

22. Rocking out to JBiebs, TSwift, and One Direction is a lot more fun when you’re with friends. (I also pride myself on knowing the token rap portions to pop songs.)

21. Choosing to thank God in the all circumstances is like saying, “Lord, I trust You despite my situation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) This contributes to our joy.

20. Friends in ministry always told me that the first year of fulltime ministry would be the hardest and that ministry is like a magnet that rockets brokenness to the surface. I don’t know about the first part because I can’t compare it to anything yet, I definitely agree with the latter. So, yes, it’s difficult, but it’s good for me. (James 1:2-5)

19. Sanctification is a privilege not a punishment. Yes, it can be painful, but God loves us too much to leave us unchanged. (Philippians 1:6)

18. I am in dire need of God’s grace every moment of every day. His grace is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) and His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12).

17. The Lord sustains me. (“I wake again because the Lord sustains me.” –Psalm 3:5) I don’t think this truth has ever been so clear to me as it was this year. In the midst of extreme fatigue, the Lord provided me with the strength, and continues to give me enough strength to get me through each day. And in the midst, the Lord also provides rest (Matthew 11:28-30) and restoration (Psalm 23).

16. Traveling is probably one of my absolute favorite things to do. So far, I’ve been to 14 countries. And I have no desire to stop there. I can’t seem to go a year without going out of the country.

15. I have a deep desire to help fulfill the Great Commission. Jesus says in Matthew 28, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Call me crazy, but I want to see Jesus come back.

14. My time in Morocco was incredibly challenging. But I’ve realized recently that if I added ministry and discipleship to what I did when I was there, I would have my absolute dream job. Combining French, journalism, travel, missions, and Jesus — that would make for a killer career.

13. As much as I don’t like to admit this, I don’t have my life figured out. Or even the next year. This is highly unusual, because I’m a planner. But I’m convinced this is God’s way of saying to me, “Trust Me.”

12. God has created me to be me and to love Him. He knows my heart and because of Jesus, loves me anyway. My past, present, and future are all in under His control. (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29)

11. I love France. But I think you already knew that. I’ve adored France and the French language since I was 6. Does visiting France five times make it an obsession??

10. I absolutely love people and being involved in others’ lives. But I still cherish my alone time.

9. I get really emotionally involved in good movies, TV shows, and books.

8. I prefer deep conversation to small talk.

7. Leading and shepherding women in their walks with Jesus is one of the most fulfilling jobs I could have. In my opinion, some of the best ways to invest time and money is in relationships with God, relationships with people, missions and sharing Jesus with the world.

6. The Lord has blessed me with an amazing family and wonderful friends who love me as I am and constantly point me back to Jesus.

5. Cooking and baking relax me. Trying new recipes is an exciting adventure for me, especially ethnic foods or vegan baked goods. (I like trying new restaurants, too!)

4. My ideal day would be spent at a café in Europe surrounded by cobblestone streets and old architecture, sitting outside, sipping café au lait, journaling, reading, watching people walk by, and having good conversation with anyone who is with me.

3. Taking steps of faith is hard, but God wants us to live and live abundantly. Cru’s definition of successful evangelism is “Taking steps of faith in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” This doesn’t just apply to evangelism, but to your daily walk with Jesus. What an adventure God calls us to!

2. Living for Jesus does not make life easy, and when you become a believer, your life doesn’t become perfect. Jesus calls us to take up our crosses and follow Him. (Mark 8:34-35). But following Jesus is worth it. And we aren’t left alone, we have incredible power in the Spirit that’s inside believers. We believers often forget that.

1. The reward for following Jesus is Jesus. It’s that simple. We don’t follow Jesus to receive blessings or crowns in Heaven or even to get to Heaven. While those are great, I’ll say again, the reward for following Jesus is Jesus.

As you look back at the past year, what have you learned about yourself? About life? About God?