Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Starting Over

"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43: 18-19
I feel like I am starting over. Or that I need to start over. When we "spring ahead" with our clocks, I always feel that nature is starting over, and I have a chance for a fresh start, too. And while the weather this week isn't nearly as pleasant as it was last week, the longer hours of daylight and the grass that is showing itself give me hope that a new season is on it's way.

Some of my starting over has to do with "little" things, like the fact that I had finally gotten to the point where my driving record had no tickets on it for five years, and then I went and got a ticket last week. So I'm starting over on working toward a ticketless record. And I had begun to see some improvement in a shoulder injury that has really been bothering me....until I fell on the ice last week and really messed it up. So I'm starting over in my treatment plan with a doctors appointment this Thursday.

Some of my starting over has to do with "big" things, like my employment. I've honestly been in a "desert" when it comes to my job. I've considered for awhile if I should stick it out or move on. I'm starting a job search, and while I'm also waiting for the dust to settle on a few new developments at work, I'm somewhat convinced I'm being called in a new direction. Which might actually mean I'm being called to a new state. Which is scary and exciting. I'm praying about the timing of these new developments and that my choice would be made crystal clear - and I'd love it if you would join me with prayers of your own.

My AP gave me the above verses from Isaiah a while back, and I keep coming back to them. Throughout much of the Old Testament, the Israelites clearly wondered what God was doing, but in these verses He reminds them that He has, does, and will care for them in their literal wilderness and desert, or in figurative wilderness and desert (captivity in Egypt, being under Babylonian rule). He will make a way. He will provide a river.

Another note my AP gave me a long time ago (have I mentioned how encouraging my AP is?!?!) was a note from a sermon that said "God is sovereign over every famine". I remember at the time she gave me the note, I was going through a discouraging time as a home owner. It felt like a famine financially. I've been encouraged by the ways God has provided even without me having a renter at the cabin. God is sovereign over every famine. He will make a way. He will provide a river. Sometimes being single feels like a famine. Sometimes work feels like a famine. Sometimes my relationships leave me famished. But God has a purpose for my life and has ordained every step.

I'm facing some fear in making decisions about work. What if I make the wrong choice? What if nothing good comes along and I'm stuck in the desert? What if I move and don't like it? What if, what if, what if. I was SO encouraged by the words from the song "Completely Done" that we sang on Sunday. Even if my future at work isn't clear, my future in Christ is clear. I don't need to fear failure, because Christ will keep me. I don't need to fear making the wrong choice, because God has already completed my story - he performed a miracle to save me and He will guide and direct me.

So I'm starting over. I'm looking for a new thing, all the while holding tight to the "new thing" mentioned in Isaiah that has God has done for me; He saved me to redeem my story, and he cares about every step of it.
"Completely Done"

What reason have I to doubt
Why would I dwell in fear
When all I have known is grace
My future in Christ is clear

My sins have been paid in full
There's no condemnation here
I live in the good of this
My Father has brought me near
I'm leaving my fears behind me now

The old is gone, the new has come
What You complete is completely done
We're heirs with Christ, the victory won
What You complete is completely done

I don't know what lies ahead
What if I fail again
You are my confidence
You'll keep me to the end
I'm leaving my fears behind me now

By Jonathan Baird, Ryan Baird, and Rich Gunderlock

Monday, March 7, 2011

What I Learned on the Cruise

What a great week of vacation! Sun, food, laughing, games, more food, shows, islands, water, more sun, more food, more games, more shows...........all fun. I wish we could have stayed another week!

I didn't remember much about the only other cruise I'd been on (in 5th grade), so there were a few things I learned this time around:
  1. The shower in your cruise stateroom is the most DIFFICULT place to shave your legs.
  2. You can very quickly get used to having a card that you flash to get free pop. This does not work once you leave the boat, so don't embarrass yourself by trying it at the airport.
  3. It's stupidly funny to say "well, we're all in the same boat" when you are, in fact, literally on the same boat.
  4. Cruise staterooms have mirrors everywhere. This makes it amazingly easy to fix the back of your hair. It also makes it depressingly easy to see what you actually look like in your swimsuit from behind (especially after five or six days of non-stop buffet eating).
  5. The sway of a cruise ship makes everyone walk very clumsily. This is a great way to blend in if you typically are the only person who is stumbling around on dry land.
  6. I'm still allergic to fruit. I usually tolerate fruit in small amounts here and there. But each night there was a delicious cold fruit soup at dinner, plus other fruit that I mixed in throughout the days, and I got hives on the final night. Good things about the situation: it was the final night, the hives were VERY mild, and I had plenty of Benadryl on hand.
  7. Fly in the day before you leave. If you miss the boat, you basically miss a good chunk of your vacation. In our case, the earliest you could have caught the boat would have been on Wednesday at St. Thomas. One couple in our group got delayed all day on Sunday to the point where we thought they wouldn't make the ship. They made it by less than five minutes - maybe less than one minute. Lesson learned: fly the day before. (they only made the ship by not even going to baggage claim at all, so they spent the week without luggage!)
  8. Go with a group. Being on a cruise with 16 people in our group was so fun! We always had people participating in every event that was held on the ship, which made the events fun to watch and cheer for. We held our own little card tournament, and there was always someone to find to grab a bite to eat, lay by the pool, walk on the deck, learn a line dance, shop, etc.
All in all, it was a WONDERFUL vacation! Unlike any vacation I've ever been on, but so very wonderful!