So I’m back… I feel like this is the third, maybe fourth time I have returned to this blog after an extended period of time. I swear, I’m trying to get better at being consistent. The reason I am back is that the last few weeks I have felt this nudging from our Father to return to this blog, but I just never felt like I had anything to say, so I didn’t (anyone else ever “ignore” the nudging?). Anyways, I had a meeting with my counselor tonight and it was super positive and encouraging and as I was driving home, I felt the nudge again. Yes God, I hear You! 🙂 Here goes…
The last time I wrote was just over 2 YEARS ago. Holy guacamole, that’s a lot longer than I thought. Two years ago, I was heading into the summer ready to return to Camp Gifford with the intent of moving to Missoula, MT to pursue my teaching degree and what I thought was God’s plan for me. Flash forward to the first two weeks of summer camp. I realized that plans were changing and changing fast. The Lord had placed an opportunity at a different Salvation Army in front of me that was going to keep me in the Pacific Northwest. At first, I was mad and frustrated, but then I was grateful (and I still am :)…details to follow). So I called the University of Montana, gave up my scholarship, canceled my classes, canceled my housing and financial aid, and continued on into the summer ready to start this job I thought I was going to get. The summer was difficult and emotionally painful, but oh my, how much I learned and grew. That summer was my second and final summer at Camp Gifford (unless the Lord brings me back). It was also the Camp Directors last summer as they were moving to the Kroc Center in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. I thought I was going to follow them.
The week after summer camp ended, I got a letter saying that I wasn’t even considered for an interview. Rejection, failure, and doubt filled my head. I was so upset. I kept telling (yes, telling) God that HE was the one that promises to bring greater blessings when things get taken away, that HE was the one that told me to give up school, that HE was the one that told me how this was all going to work out. And where was I left? Jobless, with no plan to go back to school, and no idea where to go next. So I had my pity party, got all my anger out and then He said, “Pick yourself up and try again. Trust me this time.” Now, at that time, I had no desire to go back to school, no desire to go back to counseling, no desire to go back to any of my previous jobs before camp. Try telling that to your dad when you’re living at his house for free. It doesn’t go well, let me tell ya!
I then started with what I knew best. Kids. I got on my laptop and googled “Childcare Centers near me”. I found a place called Harvard Park Children’s Learning Center North. Little did I know, that place would change my life. I emailed them basically begging to look at my resume if they were hiring even though I had no preschool experience (most of my experience was with elementary age and older in a home or camp setting). By the Grace of God, I got an interview. I fell in love with the philosophy, the kids, the setting, the vibe between coworkers, everything. I wanted in. I was scheduled for a trial day and that was super fun and then after that, I was told to wait about a week and then I should know.
So I waited and didn’t hear a thing. I was running out of money, patience, and faith. I was getting ready to go crawling back a retail job I hated and signed up for school that I didn’t want to pursue. And then, the job offer came. I was hired on to teach an AM kindergarten class and a PM after school program, full time, with benefits. THANK YOU JESUS! I started the following week. After my first day of work, I called my best friends and told them, “Guys. If I get fired, it’s because I fell in love with a coworker…”. And I’m pretty sure they thought I was insane. And maybe, just maybe, I was.
At this time, I was in a place where I had NO intentions of dating. I was in the midst of a year long commitment to being single. I was still healing from past relationships, trying to deal with the diagnosis of PTSD, and find a counselor that I could trust to help me get to a place where I could have healthy relationships/friendships and function in them. But then Tyler came out of left field and turned my world right side up. The moment I met him, the dreams of my future husband, the prayers for him, and that gut moving “my life is about to change forever-AGAIN” feeling all came into play. God opened my heart the tiniest crack and Tyler flooded it. Fiercely, fearlessly, and confidently. He knew it, I knew it, and luckily, we were brave enough to try. He was gracious, gentle, and brave to take on a girl recently diagnosed with PTSD and a carload (bagful didn’t seem big enough) of insecurities and fears. And slowly, but surely, he loved me just as God loves His Bride (or us). He encourages me in counseling, he never lets the label define me, he picks me up when I’m not strong enough, and he expects me to do the same for him. We are a team, we do life together, and we face our fears, trials, and triumphs as a team. And to this day, a year and a half in, we are here. Standing, succeeding, loving, thriving, and living.
I know this is super long, but the message from my story that I want to be heard is:
DON’T GIVE UP. God has a plan, HE WILL COME THROUGH. He ALWAYS does. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It’s probably going to be hard and it’s probably going to hurt a bit, but be brave. Look at my story. Look at yours. Where has God been there? Where has He given you that push, where has He showed up? You know that little voice that says “Keep going, you’re almost there!”…That’s HIM. That sense of calmness and peace in a moment of chaos…That’s HIM. God has a lot of Grace, make sure you’re giving yourself some, too because “Sometimes God will put a Goliath in your life, for you to find the David within you.”
But the Lord stood WITH me and gave me STRENGTH.
2 Timothy 4:17