23 October 2015

Random Thoughts on Major Decisions, Gifts, and Waiting on God

It's me again, back for my semi-annual blog post.  Scrolling through my blog page I see that I missed the opportunity for the annual "Wrappin' It Up" post in May.  Ooops.  Sorry 'bout that. Hope you haven't been sitting around waiting for it!

Something happened today that's had me thinking, and sitting down to write and share about how God's using it to teach me more about Himself seemed like the right thing to do.  This afternoon I've felt dumbfounded, bewildered, amazed, and humbled by a gift I was given out of the blue.  It's gotten me thinking about just how often I've seen God speak to me through gift after gift the last few weeks.  A little background information:

It's contract-renewal season here at Rosslyn, and even though our current contracts extend through June, because of all that's involved in hiring for an international school, our HR department needs to know by November 1 if we plan to stay after this year.  Not everyone's current contract expires at the end of this year, but there are A  LOT of us in this boat right now.  Needless to say, there's been some extra tension among our staff members as we try to seek God's leading and discern His voice and direction for our futures.

It's not a secret to most people around here that I'm ready to move to something out of the classroom.  I love Rosslyn, the students, the parents, and my co-workers here, but I've reached a level of internal exhaustion that makes it hard for me to think about teaching another year.  However, I'm not ready or wanting to leave Nairobi, and it seems like I have some other options in the area, possibly at Rosslyn and at a couple other organizations.  And I haven't actually resigned from teaching yet, so that's still on the table.

During the last few weeks it has been very easy to get caught up in this decision-making thing, which many of you know is not my forte anyway!  The stress of major decisions, with possible life-changing implications, can make daily life worrisome.  While it's been nice to have options beyond this year, I have NO idea which of those (or any others that might come along) I'm supposed to choose next.  During this time of earnestly seeking God for answers, it has been frustrating to feel like I'm not hearing anything from God and worrying that I'll miss what He's trying to tell me (even though He has never failed me in this area in the past!).

Several of us went camping last weekend, and one of my favorite parts of our camping trips, which seem to always fall over a Sunday, is "Camping Church."  :)  My group of friends includes talented musicians and a "preacher," so we are set for "church" around a campfire!  Last weekend, knowing that many of us are working through this major decision, Matt shared from Psalm 32:

v.8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you you with my loving eye on you."

In the midst of waiting on God, it is SO easy for me to forget His promise to guide us, to think that I need to take things into my own hands, or that if I worry about something enough I'll get an answer.  In this verse, God says, "I WILL instruct you in the way you should go."  There aren't conditions attached to that, nothing that says He'll only help us if we're good enough, or pray enough, or do as much as we can for ourselves.  If our hearts are seeking God, He WILL do this.  It's a promise.  

Which brings me back to my thoughts for today.  I still don't know what to do.  I don't feel like I yet know what my next step is to be.  But one thing I have been so conscious of in the last few weeks is the gifts God is giving me.  They haven't been huge, or expensive, deserved, or even material things at all, but the countless unexpected and meaningful moments I've had with friends over the last few weeks have been some of the greatest gifts God could give this "quality-time girl" right now.  They've been repeated and regular reminders of God's gift of friendship.  Then I think about some of the other gifts I've received in the last year, and I'm just kind of blown away by how God has used those things to love on me a little bit lately.

Today I received another gift, one that was hard to accept, in a way.  It was out of the blue, from someone who's not nearby. It was so humbling, and I feel entrusted with something special that I shouldn't squander.  It's not even something I desperately need at the moment, that I'm aware of, although it could be God's way of providing a future need.  It was just one more way of God reminding me that He IS real and He cares about every detail of our lives, enough to put me on the heart and mind of someone else.  I LOVE being part of surprises for other people, and this afternoon I've just been wondering what kind of joy God must get out of surprising His kids with gifts for no foreseen reason at all!  

I pray that over the next weeks and months, as I continue to earnestly seek God's guidance, that I won't miss His gifts. That I won't get so caught up in looking for "an answer" that I miss what He's saying to me about other things, or the way he's meeting my needs every day. That I won't forget that He knows every detail of my life, and He promises to direct me in the way I should go. I pray for Him to guide my footsteps, and that in whatever way He takes me next, it will be for the glory of His name.  

"Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name 
lead and guide me."  Psalm 31:3

(To the one who gave my gift today, I pray for a generous heart like yours!  Know that God is already using it to teach me more about His love and goodness, more than you will ever know!)

29 March 2015


For the past few months, there's been a song that I just can't get enough of--Multiplied by Needtobreathe.  I listen to it on repeat at home, I listen to it on repeat in the car, and I find myself humming the first few lines on a fairly regular basis.  As I was thinking about this today, I wondered what it was about this song that just won't quit, and I realized that as much as I love the music of the song, I've never taken time to truly reflect on the lyrics.  So this evening I've taken some time to do that.

Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name

God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Halleluiahs be multiplied

The first thing that resonates with me is the sense of hope contained in the first few lines.  I'm not sure that's even the best way to describe it, but I think what gets me is the reminder that the sheer depth and breadth of God's love has nothing to do with who we are, but everything to do with who He is.  His love IS radiant, we CAN'T contain it, and it DOES seek us out.  There is great hope in that--and great relief--that our mistakes don't change God's character or His heart.  Despite our sin and ability to "cloud the lens" sometimes, the radiance of His love remains brilliant. 

I also love the idea of the last line of the chorus, as it sums up the essence of the song.  Co-songwriter Bo Rinehart said this:  

“The first line from my favorite hymn sings these words: ‘The Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.’ If we spent the rest of our life singing Hallelujahs, it still wouldn't amount to what God truly deserves,” says Bo. “I need God, even in worship, to help make what little I have to offer worthy of him. This song is a prayer. ‘May this offering stretch across the skies and these Hallelujahs be multiplied.’ Also, God cannot be contained. He has no limits. Then, couldn't God use us to spark his exponential ripple effect into motion that could change the entire world? ‘May these Hallelujahs be multiplied!’”
from http://www.wordlabelgroup.com/needtobreathe

I love the idea of our Hallelujahs being multiplied, because he's right!  No amount of time would be enough for us to give God the praise He deserves, and we can simply pray that as our words feebly attempt to convey what our minds and hearts know, our praise will be multiplied and used for His glory here on earth.  

Over lunch today, three of us were talking about the new heaven and new earth God will create someday.  We discussed ways we've always pictured it and compared those to things we know from Scripture.  I think our conclusion was that we just can't even imagine what is in store for those who know Him!  We wondered about ways in which will be able to worship, and about how as we store up treasures in heaven and add "jewels to our crowns" so to speak, during our lives here on earth, that it will be something so different from how we might perceive those ideas on earth.  Our stored treasures, our jewels, our hallelujahs, will simply be greater gifts we can offer to the King in worship--and oh how we pray he will multiply those as well!

As we've entered this week between Palm Sunday and Easter, it's one more reminder of God's great love for us.  My prayer is that as I contemplate that, and what His death and resurrection truly mean for me, for ALL of us, that I will approach God with a thankful heart.  That I'll sing His Hallelujahs, and that they'll be multiplied to be evidence of His radiant love, mercy, and saving grace.