Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Saying Goodbye

To quote Laura, "the funny stuff goes on Facebook."

A week-and-a-half ago, I shut the door on the last nine years of my life (well, really 14 if we're counting from the time I first decided what I would study in college). And really, I'm not sure I was the one shutting the door. I was kind of like that last guest at a party--the scented candles have all been blown out, the food has been wrapped up and put away, the host has begun yawning and talking about the early morning he has tomorrow, yet I stand just far enough from the doorway, about to launch my third retelling of that time the bird attacked my head at Cafe Express to anyone who is still standing around to listen. Finally, the host has no choice but to usher me out the door and to close it graciously but firmly behind me. I walk to my car wondering how I could have overstayed my welcome and hoping that some day, someone will invite me to another party.

I don't even know what to think or what to say when I look back on my teaching career. Sure, I know there were students whose lives I touched, and I may have even helped one young mind or two know how to avoid the dreaded comma splice, but I also see a lot of things I could have done better. I didn't make major mistakes, but there were small mistakes that made me miserable and, ultimately, made it just a little easier to decide who could be "cut out" when the budget wasn't where it needed to be.

Yes, I know it was time for me to leave. I know (as my sweet, well-meaning friends and family keep telling me) that God has a purpose in this and that He is going to give me a great, new opportunity. But that doesn't make this ending hurt any less. I am scared, and I have never felt more alone. (Disclaimer: I have wonderful friends and family who are loving me and supporting me through this, but, ultimately, this is a road that I have to walk with just the Lord.)

I know (as He has done so many times before) God has again called on me to trust Him, and I pray that I can prove myself worthy of that calling.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More from the files of "I can't post on Facebook"

One of my former students (an artist) had this status today:
"For the life of me, I can't draw men. :'("

The response I wanted to post:
"Me too, sweetie, me too."

I think we might be talking about different things...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Inappropriately-Placed Quotation Marks Continue

The following is a transcript of a "Happy Birthday" text message I received from my father this morning:

"Happy Birthday, Baby! Wishing you 'blessing and much love' on your 'special day...' (Insert random update about all the snow and ice here)...Have a 'great day'! Love you so much!"

I am thankful for the sentiment, but I can't help but search for a hidden meaning.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reason #453 Being Single Sucks

When you stop by the grocery store to pick up a few things after a dinner out, there is no one to watch your groceries for you when you discover, in the middle of Randall's, that you REALLY have to go to the bathroom.

You are left with two options:
1. Leave your groceries, go take care of your business, and start the shopping over.
2. Tell yourself, "I'll be home soon," continue shopping, and hope that the other customers don't notice that the pacing you're doing whilst you ponder yogurt and coffee creamer selections is really a "subtle" rendition of "The Pee Pee Dance."

Guess which one I chose. (Fortunately, all potential crises were averted.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ooh...I like that better...

I had my kids doing a pre-writing activity about gifts today. I was trying to get them to think about gifts in wider terms than the typical PS3, iPod, puppy, Justin Bieber doll (yes, that was a real response I got), etc. I gave them the example of how I consider my car getting totaled this time last year a gift (my old car was falling apart...I was pouring way too much money into it...the wreck forced me to get a newer, better car...yada, yada, yada...).

In one of my classes, I got as far in my story as "so when my car was hit" when one of my kids finished my sentence with "you met this guy."

From now on, he gets to write the endings to all of my stories.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be careful, little fingers, what you type!

This is a Facebook exchange that popped up on a friend's news feed today. The conversation surrounds a "save the date" card.

"I just wanted to let you know I was so excited to get my very first piece of mail at the new house this weekend and have it not be a bill or junk mail but your beautiful STD! You made my day! I'm sorry you're still waiting to get cleared for work, but "consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds..." and look at it as an opportunity to strengthen your patience and your trust in Him. I'll be praying for you, and I hope you have a good day despite the frustrations."

"Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement, and I am glad you got the STD!"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful, Part 5

The Qba Edition.

I took my first trip to Qba in March 2009, but I did not know then just how this trip would change my life. I have been on several of these kinds of trips in the past, and each one has been a really good experience, but I have never had one of these trips stay with me the way that my trip to Qba did.

I had never seen faith in action the way that I did that week that I was there. Their ministry faces tremendous opposition from the government, but they know what God has called them to do, so they persevere, and when they meet a setback, instead of despairing, they have faith that God has something even bigger and better for them. And God has blessed their faithfulness--they are literally changing their country for Christ.

When I came back from that first trip, I knew that I wanted faith like theirs. I even prayed that if God had to bring opposition into my life in order for me to have that faith, that He would bring it. Be careful what you pray for. :P I didn't know at the time that the next year and a half of my life would be a constant test of my faith. There were so many times that I cried out to God during this time wondering where He was and why He had abandoned me. I was completely overwhelmed by my fears and my insecurities; there were times that I even doubted God's love for me, and I certainly didn't think that He could use a mess like me.

I have been back to Qba two times since that first trip, and on my most recent trip, in the summer, God brought tremendous healing to my heart. I went back to my brothers and sisters completely broken. I felt that my faith had been tested and that I had failed. I had let God down. What I love about the Qbans is that they are so relational. There was a point on the trip that I was able to share with some of them what had been going on in my life over the last year, and it was so sweet to be able to receive their love and encouragement and to hear what God had been teaching them as well. Then, in a later conversation, one of my sweet brothers spoke some very kind words to me. He told me the gifts He could see that God had given me, and He told me that God could use and that He wanted to use those things in me. He challenged me to not waste the gifts and abilities that God had placed in my life. The words that he spoke to me were not things my friends hadn't been saying to me for months and months, but this was the first time I really believed them. For one, the words came from a man, and for women, there's just something different about encouragement that comes from a man. I think it was also good that the words came from someone who is not involved in my everyday life, someone who, aside from a couple of e-mails here and there, hadn't had contact with me for a year. And yet, he could still see these things in me.

For the rest of the time I was there, several people made comments about how much I smiled and would ask me why I was smiling so much. It was because for the first time in a long time, I was genuinely happy.

When I came back from my second trip to Qba (Summer 2009), I was frustrated with God. I couldn't understand why I was here when I only wanted to be there with them. But this time was different. I understood that, while I missed my precious brothers and sisters terribly, God has me here, and since then, I have been trying to translate the things He taught me in Qba to my life here.

It hasn't always been easy, and there are times that I still doubt, but I feel like I can finally have hope again. I am not entirely sure just what it is that God wants to do with me, but I can finally believe that He DOES love me and that He DOES want to do something with me.