Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An Open Door

Sometimes seasons are easy to pick out: A year-long Bible study. A friendship during a specific part of life. A time of growth and hardship. Knowing that the seasons are temporary, we can remain open and soft and learn as much as possible.

Other seasons are harder to pick out. Things that we think could be permanent- and wish would be permanent- we feel shifting and changing. We can fight against the change, clinging to the present, or accept it and allow God to work. 

If you go back and read blog posts from the past few years, the next season of my life will not be a surprise. Two years ago, I felt a very strong call from God to get involved with foster care. He showed me the role that sacrifice has in new life. "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." This sacrifice came in the form of being willing to commit; be tied down; let roots take hold, so that I might be a family to some. 

That journey has looked very different than what I thought. I thought I was walking into a season of opening my home to teenage girls, so that's what I prepared myself for. What ended up happening was providing a room for a pregnant teen, and then a pregnant wife whose husband was in a different country, then a newly separated woman, and now a young widow who is trying to figure out her new life in Lynchburg. I could have missed those opportunities had I been glued to the thing I had pictured. But, God kept me soft and helped me through the messy times that happen when you allow God to use you in the lives of people that need love. 

I was able to afford to live on my own because I was blessed with a full-time job with a radio group. It wasn't the job I was necessarily looking for, and wasn't in the field that I had imagined I would end up in, but I was being stretched and challenged in ways that I hadn't in the past. 

Right before I got the job, I started my journey with Celebrate Recovery. It was painful, but necessary. I had been sober for a long time, but still had typical addict behaviors. I dove head-first into tackling the hurts, habits, and hang-ups that were distracting me and weighing me down. My life, while going in a good direction, lacked integrity and I often found my heart at odds with scripture. 

Digging up hurtful things proved to be challenging while working in a Christ-centered environment. In the past, I would have shut myself off to my coworkers, kept my distance, and focused on "cleaning house." But, God knew that what I needed was not to have the option to run. He knew that I would need caring coworkers that would be willing to pray and listen and show me grace while I figured out what "normal" was supposed to look like for me. It was messy and frustrating to be so exposed, but isn't that the beauty of surrender? When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to the Lord, He lavishes His incomparable grace on us so that we can endure the discomfort. 

As I neared the end of the 12-step program, I found myself in a precarious place. I found myself in a season of depression- a harsh winter. I was searching for clarity and listening intently to God's voice. I felt alone, but on the cusp of something big. Each time I cried out to God, I felt Him tell me to listen. So, I kept listening. 

And that listening has led me to this point: an open door. 

Through a series of interactions with God, I feel that the calling that God put on my life two years ago- to become a foster parent- is coming to fruition. Not exactly how I thought it would look, but all the details that I am certain of are there. One thing that God revealed during my journey through recovery is that the majority of the baggage that I acquired, and all the wrong turns that I took, started when I was a teen. What an opportunity to come alongside hurting teens and help them get the tools they need to be able to navigate the crazy adult stuff later in life!

Just a few weeks ago, when I least expected it, an opportunity to work in a girls' group home plopped in my lap. If not for the path that I was confident God was leading me down, I would have faltered. I would have hesitated and possibly missed the door. But God gave me everything I needed to confidently step into this new role that I am certain He has been preparing me for for years. 

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." 

While I'm obviously sad to leave a job where I get to interact daily with people that have easily become family, I am excited to take this leap and pursue the passion that God has put in me. 

I appreciate your prayers as I step into this and remain soft to what God is saying. 

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