October 2015: Wandering

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

Tolkien


Fall is undoubtedly my favorite time of year! The crispness in the air, anticipation of all the vibrant colors, rugged mountain adventures, perfect excuse to cuddle up with a cup of tea and a good book, and lets not forget……all that is good and deliciously pumpkin.

Rainy day hike to Lookout Mountain

Everything seems to slow a little, nostalgia at an all time high, and my senses renewed to what is before me; to say I look forward to these months would be a grave understatement. Equally, though, the seasons changing bring with it a time of reflection on chapters past and foreshadowing the new ones to come.

To be honest, putting aside time for reflection has not been something I have wanted to do or make a high priority. Marked with trials that seem rooted deep, facing uphill climb after uphill climb, this past year has left me feeling, admittedly, often in a place of hopelessness. Nevertheless, God has (through community, grace, and His unending love) continued to pursue my heart and not leave me in my wandering state.


“The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before. That, which like a sea, threatens to drown you, shall be a highway for your escape.” Charles Spurgeon

One day at a time. One step at a time. One. Day. At. A. Time.

This line has been on repeat for the past month or two in my swirling, twirling brain. Throughout my current aimless wanderings, waiting and hoping for change, all I can focus on is the absolute present moment. Though I long for the break in the road, I have to focus on where I am instructed to plant each step and then stepping firmly; leaning in to what I can truly trust. Admittedly, and unfortunately, this winding road of change God has me on is one I would often prefer to walk alone. Left to my own devices, to carry my burden with all the weight it brings, up the steep incline of this journey towards the mountain top peak.

Frodo gets me.

However, like Frodo, I can NOT make this climb on my own. Despite my inner workings that tell me this is true, that it’s easier or less risky, God knows me far better than I can ever imagine and He graciously does not leave me desperate and lost in my independent, self assured delusions. Instead, He surrounds me with a beautiful picture of community. Community that relentlessly points me to truth, that come alongside me in my seemingly aimless pursuits; I too have ‘Sams’ in my life. Daily I’m reminded of how big a blessing it is to have these people eagerly and WILLINGLY share the burdens of life together and journey through these paths side by side. Even when my sin and my hurt causes them pain, they show me undeserved grace, love, and daringly stand beside me; declaring that I do not have to walk this road alone.

Leaves
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
                                      ― Winston S. Churchill

Similarly, the road ahead towards Residency has been equally marked with challenges and set backs:  pushing my Residency launch date back until May 2016, fighting personal doubts & fears, wrestling with the calling God has for me, facing nay sayers, feeling attacked, and ultimately just feeling hopelessly lost at times.

Right when my footing seems weakest, and my assurance of this calling is wavering, has been exactly when God has chosen to pour out countless blessing and affirmations. Time after time, God has put individuals in my life to remind me that I am not alone in this next step, both through prayer and financial support. I can not thank you all enough for acting on the convictions of your heart to support me in this next chapter with Residency. God has used you to remind me that though the road is long, I am not alone. Reminding me that I have a family of believers rallying around me to support what He is doing through me and through Midtown. Providing truth that He is the creator of the universe, the omnipotent one that knows every inner working of our lives/minds/hearts, the same one that can equally quiet a raging storm and part the ominous sea as a means of desperate escape. How can I doubt that He is our ever present provider and always in control?

Lately, even through my wanderings, God has been reminding me that despite my circumstances I can hold fast to hope. That through persistent prayer I can continue to talk to my Father who hears our cries and longs to know the desires of our heart. I continue to pray for discernment and direction along my wanderings and steps in faith. For relief along the steep incline of this journey and for continued affirmations for the calling He has placed on my heart.


Continuing to praise God for the team of partners God has given me and am so grateful for each of you. Praying God continues to provide hope, truth, and perseverance as you move along your own path He has for you. Hope these verses encourage you as well:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, 2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].” Hebrews 12: 1-2 (AMP)

 “And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].   Romans 5:3-5 (AMP) 

“Consider it nothing but joy, my [b]brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

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