It is well.

Tonight, I walked out the door at dusk. I had stayed much later than I'd planned...again. It's been a week of working late. So, I was definitely tired. As the glass door opened to the sidewalk, the sun was almost set and only a corner of the sky was pink. The air was damp and laden with the chill of fall- my favorite season. Stepping out into the evening, I stopped ... and inhaled deeply. Peace rolled over my soul.

In the same moment, I was suddenly conscious of music. It sounded like it was coming from the restaurant-turned-mission/soup kitchen that is part of the organization I work for. The song was familiar... one that often resonates with me, yet the words were temporarily escaping me. I meandered toward the sound as if being pulled by a magnet. I reached the front of the mission and corner of the street where I realized the music was coming from somewhere else. My eyes glanced across the street and propelled my feet, along with my ears, toward the little park couched between two old edifices. It looked like an outdoor worship service and I, on impulse, was going to join the party. I scurried toward the gathering. But thankfully, just before I entered the little gated area, I realized - this was no ordinary worship gathering. No, it was a wedding...and the bride was seconds away from making her grand entrance!! I was about to barge in, uninvited, to a quaint wedding in the park... just in time to up-stage the bride herself.

Awkward moment impeded, I quickly redirected my steps across the street. Safely on the other side and being tired, I should have headed toward my car, but I could not. I was enraptured by the hymn being boldly brandished for all of C-street to hear. I stopped in front of a store front across from the park, leaned against a pole and listened. The blissful couple, unaware that I was a bystander to their moment of covenant. I took in the twinkling white lights entwined in the vines above the bridal party.... and I listened. The bride arrived at the front and the band continued to sing.

In that moment, I could not help but recognize the deep meaning of the music intertwining with this moment of covenant for this happy couple. Instead of the traditional bridal march, this bride had chosen to make this moment less about her...and more about proclaiming a very simple truth... "It is well with my soul." It is well... even outside of the circumstance of this blissful moment. The promise of this old hymn saturated deep into the dark moments of the past, as well as, the challenges of the future. This couple was boldly proclaiming God's sovereignty over their relationship - past, present & future.

In that moment, I was overcome- overcome by the sweet Presence of Jesus... the Faithful One... the One who gives me the grace to remain faithful to the calling over my life. He reminded me... I am not measured by circumstances, roles, titles or others' approval... My worth and my peace of heart flows out of a deep knowing... I am His and He is mine... I am His Beloved.

My evening ended with the gentle reminder...
Because He is...
It is well.


Hanging out in the Kingdom... Reflections on [BEing] Called

It's been a while... [Be forewarned, this will be long]

I have not given myself much space to process "what's really going on."

Since July, life has been such a whirlwind. A whirlwind of answered prayer. A whirlwind of transition into new things. A whirlwind brought on by over eight months of waiting... eight months of significant questioning... eight months of living in what my dear friend, Stephanie Nance, would call the "thickness of time"... eight months of embracing the Mystery of God.

In June of 2011, I moved from my home state of Kentucky to Springfield, MO- a town that I never planned to live in. I came here with plans. Plans to become, plans to overcome, plans to come into my own. And yet, by November, everything that brought me to town... came to an abrupt halt. I lost my job. I decided not to continue my seminary journey. The only thing keeping me in this little town was the Holy Spirit and a deep heart commitment to a community of young adults. I was bound to seeing God move within this community... Over the following eight months, it has been this community that God has used to surround me... to comfort me and to shape me. I have held tightly to the conviction that I am part of something beyond myself...

On the first of July (2012), I moved into a new apartment with a new roommate. On the last day of July, I began a new job. The third week of August I began graduate studies. The first week of September our community went from one service to two...and then two weeks after that, we went to three!! ALL of these events were fantastic! However, that is a LOT of change in two months.

Let's just say, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. And, the one thing I love most...investing in people... has suffered the greatest. Sad day. I have actually felt like becoming a hermit. Crowds have become something I literally ... dread. Sincerely sad day!

Balance. Haha. It has always been elusive to me... but right now, I keep striving to find some way to achieve something close to it.

Last week, I realized something saddening. I am working a job... so that I can go to school to become trained in something I already love to do (Write)...so that I can afford to... are you ready for this ... Serve in ministry!! Tadah!

I hate the expression LOL-laugh out loud- how often do people actually laugh out loud when they type that? But, just now...I did laugh out loud... it was not a happy laugh. No, it was a little cynical. This is a cycle... a familiar merry-go-round of discontent.

What's funny... the most satisfying seasons of my life have been when I am barely making any money...when I barely have any time to just "BE"... Abnormal times. Times when my world is UP-side Down. During those times, my main focus was simply being sold out to BUILDING God's Kingdom...

I am SO incredibly grateful for what God has given me in this season. I am grateful for a job...not just a paycheck, but a job serving in an organization whose focus is restoring lives... BIG plus! I am grateful for the opportunity to study... I love learning new things!! I am grateful to have a cute, cozy little apartment... and money to buy food and cook for others. I am grateful for friends who love me and care about me. I am grateful for a family that loves me beyond my oddities and quirks... I am grateful for normalcy. After all, that IS what I've been wanting...right?

There is nothing wrong with the normal things of life. Really, actually, I think there is something wrong with me. Why do I always find myself here...longing for this elusive state of having normalcy & yet being sold out, actively BUILDING God's Kingdom? I'm not really sure what that means

The other day... I was reminded of another season in my life. During this season, I became angst (big surprise)... my feet began to itch... my heart ached to "be where the people are.." (go ahead, sing the Little Mermaid song... you know you want to :-) I just did!) The angst arises out of this sense that I'm not DOING what I'm called to do... this feeling that I'm just "hanging out in the Kingdom." I don't want to become too comfortable. I'm afraid of developing a lazy, welfar-ish, sense of entitlement. Reveling in God's favor...and squandering it... when there are people dying.... without ever knowing about Jesus, let alone, knowing Him!

What am I doing with Jesus? There is this fear that I am like that servant who took his one talent and went and buried it. And when the Master returned, he had nothing to show for his wealth, except that which he had been given.

Over the past six years, I have wrestled with what it means to be "called." When I was ten, I heard God speak my name... I felt Him close... I heard Him ask me to follow Him and to care for His sheep. And again... over and over... throughout the years, He repeatedly reminded me of this calling.

I don't know how to describe it. It's like when your best friend asks you to do something... when you promise to take care of their child or pet... you feel a deep sense of responsibility to carefully attend to their request. (BTW, this metaphor is weak). I have always felt like I was called out...to be sent. Yet, my prayer for the past six years has been to be planted... to BE like the tree planted by the water. That is what is happening... and yet, I am discontent.

And I cannot help but wonder...is because I am called...to be sent, not planted? This is a deep and agonizing question. I do not know just how to answer it. I most often feel like a round peg in a square hole.

I was talking to a friend last night and I told her that I had always felt called to serve overseas... and the strangest things happened... she was surprised! She never knew that about me. Um, weird, because all of my life...that one thing has somehow defined me. Shortly after she left, I found myself feeling concerned. Have I forgotten who I am called to be. AM I BEING WHO I AM CALLED TO BE?

Or... am I just hanging out in the Kingdom? ? ? ?... ??? ... ???