I'm so glad the past week was shorter than usual. I doubt I could have taken one more day. Work was crazy busy, and my sinuses are still acting up. I've had a migraine yesterday and today, and I feel like my head is going to explode. What a lovely feeling.
I get to go to the doctor tomorrow afternoon - it's a specialist who is hopefully going to help me with a major issue I've been having. I'll keep you posted on that, I'm sure, depending on what the verdict is.
Friday night into Saturday morning we got another 2 inches of snow, which made for an interesting commute. I also stopped by to see my friend Dawn on Friday after work. She just had a baby a little over a week ago. She's the friend of a friend I knew from work a couple years ago. It's so great to know people in the area. When we first moved here, I didn't know anyone except my husband. It's wonderful to have friends nearby now, to see them become moms, and to dream of my own day of hopefully having kids. I also have several friends who used to live here but moved away, and I miss them dearly.
That brings me to our message this morning at church. It was about living by faith, not by sight. A lot of things have been happening in our church the past few years, and some announcements have taken us by surprise... but nothing quite like this one. Our worship pastor AND our teaching pastor (who are father and son) are both moving on. They know God is calling them away. For those of us hearing the news for the first time, sometimes it's hard to trust and to let that sink in without a little bit of anger and frustration. That's where I found myself this morning. Not quite sure I understood why they had to go. But then the message after that shocking announcement reminded us all of the story of Abraham in Genesis and how he learned to live by faith and to trust God. And I was ashamed for the doubts swirling around in my head. Dr. Stowell and Matt Stowell, we'll miss both of you very, very much but we wish you all the best with the next step God has for you and for your families. We pray he will richly bless you and those you'll be ministering to. We don't want to cling to you as people... simply messengers for God... and even though it is admittedly difficult to let you go, we know this is God's plan and he has great things in store for you and for those whose lives you will touch. Be blessed.
This also reminds me of all the friends in my life that have moved on, and I'm very happy for all of them. But it also reminds me to be more grateful for where I am in my own life and how much God has blessed me and met me right here. Sometimes we can watch everyone in our lives moving away, leaving us behind, switching jobs, starting somewhere fresh... and we can often start to wonder why that isn't us...? Not that I necessarily want to move, but I think I can get caught up in the fact that I'm not always happy here and can start to get down in the dumps about it, and wonder why everyone else gets to move on while I don't. I grew up in the country and readily admit that it isn't easy for me to live in a big city/suburban area instead of on a farm. The long commute where I get stuck in horrible traffic or at stoplights, instead of a similar commute timewise where I'd get stuck behind a combine but never at stoplights or lots of traffic, often makes me a little bitter and angry. (I'm not used to people acting like they own the road. For example, a recent funeral where I grew up... the processional to the cemetery had people all over the town and out into the country pulling off to the side of the road to give their respects. Here at the last processional where we drove 40 minutes, we all nearly ended up in accidents because of mean people who just had to plow us over to get to where they needed to go.) Anyway, it's been a difficult transition over the years, but God is reminding me of his goodness and just how much he wants me in this place at this time in my life. Whenever I start to wish I didn't live here, he reminds me why I do and how hard it would actually be for me to move back out to the middle of nowhere. (Isn't it so funny how our perspectives begin to change...??) God is so good.
The reality is that nowhere is perfect. No location... no town... no church... no workplace... nothing is perfect this side of heaven. If God tells us to move, we move. If God tells us to stay put, we stay put. If God reminds us to be grateful for all that we have even if it isn't much, we need to be grateful. I think of all of the people fighting cancer, especially all the young children I've been learning more about lately. All of those families go through so much every day. No matter how bad we may think we have it, someone always has it worse. And we need to be out there ministering to those people instead of sulking about how we aren't exactly where we thought we'd be.
I'm learning more and more every day about trusting God for my needs. As most of you know, I struggle regularly with food issues. If I can't have my favorite Chinese food once a week, I can get pretty grumpy. But when I step back and remember what I'm really here for... and remember that many others out there can't even get a piece (ONE PIECE!!!) of bread... and then think of such things like how many Bibles I have in my house... how many other miscellaneous material possessions... I am reminded that I need to slow down and thank God every day for what he's given me and done for me, when there are so many more people out there suffering from WAY bigger things than my stuff. I need to use all that he's given me for HIS glory alone, not my own.
I need to live each day by faith, and not by sight. Let us all do that.
"Faith is believing the word of God and acting upon it, no matter how I feel because God promises a good result."
~ Pastor James MacDonald