Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Not Adrift in Chaos

Happy New Year! Each year, I like to write a post reflecting on the past year and anticipating the year to come. 🎉🎆🎊🍾❤️

"Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On Earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee."
-Frances Havergal, 1874

This year was quite the eventful year in my life and family - my precious niece, Harvest Brooke, was born on May 20th. She is already 7-months-old! She is spunky and funny, and enjoys silliness just like the rest of her family. Her smile and laugh can light up the room. She looks like the perfect mixture of both her parents and although I may be biased, she is literally one of the cutest babies EVER. And I don't think that can be argued otherwise. ;)

In May, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Specialization in Crisis Counseling and a Minor in Christian Counseling. Several family members were able to make it to my graduation at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. That was a special and memorable weekend!

Although I participated in the Commencement Ceremony in May, technically I still had one class and an internship standing between me and my degree.

Over the summer, I had no idea where I could complete my internship in the Fall. I tried to contact one place that combats domestic violence, but nothing came of that. Then I reached out to a maternity home in my area (I would be happy to tell you more about this wonderful ministry if you're interested). The pieces all fell into place and it was clear this was where the Lord had for me to complete my internship. Through the 16-week internship, I learned so much about ministry, life, school, working with others, etc. In December, I officially completed school when my internship wrapped up. I am now waiting on my diploma to arrive in the mail, ready to be framed. :)

Little did I know when I graduated in May, when the Lord led me to the place I'd complete my internship, and when I was wondering what was next for my future, that He already had a plan set in motion... I was asked to stay on staff at the maternity home in the New Year! This is literally a dream job for me, and really not like a job at all. This is ministry, this is where my heart is, this is what I feel called to. If I didn't need money to make it in this world, I would still want to do it for free.

Other noteworthy things from 2016 to highlight: In August, I celebrated my 27th birthday. I spoke a few times this year - at the hospital where Lily was born, at a ladies' tea party, at Camp Joshua, and at a church for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Lily's 6th birthday was on March 16th. The hospital where Lily was born and where I've had the honor of getting involved with the Perinatal Bereavement Program has decided to provide babyloss comfort boxes modeled after the ones I created! This is super exciting to see that they recognize the need for these boxes and that they appreciate all I've poured into them, and now want each patient who has a loss their to receive one.

As 2016 comes to a close and we are on the cusp of all 2017 will bring, I am looking back at the faithfulness of the Lord over the last 12 months. I am remembering the post I shared at the end of last year.  In many ways, I can see lots of change that has taken place in my life and family. Graduation, new baby in the family, new job. Yet, in my any ways, much is still the same. What I long for more than anything else, marriage and more children, is still nowhere in sight. There are still many unanswered prayers and questions.

But then I remember how last year, when I wrote my end of the year post, that nothing that has transpired in 2016 could be seen yet either. And even though I couldn't see 2016 then and can't see 2017 now, I know the One who holds the world, my heart, and each years that make up my life, sees it all. I know that He has orchestrated what has come about and will orchestrate what will come about. My future is hazy and unclear to me, but I serve the Author of all my days, who sees it all clearly.

Looking back at all the details of how things have fallen into place with my internship and job, and recognizing that I literally wasn't behind any of what has happened, is a reminder not to fret. I am not in control, and what a great relief that is. God's control is evidenced in how He called me to Ellerslie when He did (Fall 2015) and how it seemed like an inconvenient time, yet I knew I felt His nudge to go. I didn't want my graduation date (May 2016) to be changed by going to Ellerslie and taking off some time from school, but He worked it out so that I could still graduate at the same time, as long as I had 6 or less credits to complete, which is exactly what I had. I didn't even know that was a possibility, but He knew and asked me to trust Him with the details. The puzzle pieces of life fit together when we entrust our all to Him. My internship would have been last Spring, but because of Ellerslie, it ended up being this past Fall. But because of the timing, it turned into a job (details that I won't go into now, but if it had been last Spring, it most likely wouldn't have resulted in a job because of current changes taking place in the ministry). And another job prospect is on the horizon. It's just amazingly faith-building to look back at the timing and details and to recognize God's hand!

Although it seems at times that life is a string of confusing, painful, random, purposeless chaos, I know that is not true. As Elisabeth Elliot said, "We are not adrift in chaos, but held in the Everlasting Arms... You either believe God knows what He's doing or you don't. You either trust Him or you don't."

The details of my life are not random and chaotic. My single status isn't random. My internship wasn't random. My job isn't by chance. With the realization that these things are not random comes freedom and surrender. It is not my job to pry open doors that the Lord hasn't clearly opened. It is not my job to solve all my problems, to "fix" my singleness, to direct my future, to figure out my job, etc.

Walking into 2017, may we rest in the truth that what this year will hold is not chaotic. We are held in the Everlasting Arms. I am thankful for the opened doors and specific guidance the Lord has provided, and am clinging to the promise that He will continue to lead me in whatever I need to know or do next.

"God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of three of them." -John Piper

"Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands." -Elisabeth Elliot

Going into the New Year, may the prayer of our hearts match that of Betty Scott Stams when she wrote:

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes
All my own desires and hopes
And accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit
Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt
And work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever."


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