Saturday, May 29, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Preparing to leave Austin is proving to be even more challenging that I was expecting. I have so many deep and amazing relationships here. I ADORE this city. I thrive in community with people that share big dreams with me.

My first instinct is to pull away from everyone here. To tuck away in my apartment, finish my few weeks at work and just leave.
Goodbyes are hard. Having to actually face the reality of leaving stinks. Pulling away makes the pain seem less searing. Retreating from community numbs the hurt. These people have been such a huge part of my life. I can't do that to them. I love them. I love the roles they have played in my time here. I want to SAVOR the last weeks here. I want to laugh with them and cry with them and pray with them. I still want to dream with them.

So onward I go. Into the coming weeks of tears and laughter. Lots of see you laters and bittersweet goodbyes. My sweet friends, know that this time isn't easy for me either.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Death is loss, but oh, what gain!

The past few months have kind of felt like a bad tv drama. You know, the ones with SO much going on that you say THAT COULD NEVER HAPPEN TO ONE PERSON! Jack Bauer, you can't possibly have been attacked and survived near fatal wounds in 173 zip codes in one hour of your 24 hour insane life. Only this manic depressive tv series is a reality show... it's real, and it's my life. Personal victories, car problems, death of loved ones, work drama, jet setting for weekends away, crazy new friends and unimaginable adventures. The best part about it is that every single aspect has changed me. From being faceplanted on the ground by my own failures to shaking with the thrill of new cities. I'm getting to see how everything is part of a master plan.

For example: on my way back from England a few months ago, I got stuck in Detroit over night because I got bumped from a flight. My compensation was a travel voucher for $400 and a lovely night stay at a dingy airport hotel. I was really frustrated, had to take an unpaid day from work etc. Went back to work the day after I got put on a flight telling the woes of my traveling hardships. That very week I got a call that my Grandma's health had taken a turn for the worse, I needed to get on a plane as soon as possible back to Iowa if I wanted to see her. Got on the phone that night to try to book an emergency health flight (some airlines do discounts etc)--it just happened that the flight would have been over $900, then with 50% off for medical emergency it was around $450, then once I applied the $400 voucher--I only paid about $100. THIS WAS SUCH A HUGE BLESSING--I had been questioning WHY in the world was it ME that had to get bumped from that flight, why an unpaid work day. Only to find out that the $400 voucher was well worth that night in a hotel room. I don't make $400 a day at work! So-bumped from flight = blessing in that scenario. I got to see the fingerprints of God displayed beautifully through seemingly tragic circumstances.

As I mentioned, I got to go home over Easter to spend time with my Grandma. We had an amazing time to just enjoy being together as a family. Simple things like singing hymns with everyone in her hospice room for an Easter service and hearing my Grandpa's testimony about her role in his walk with the Lord.

Today I got the news that my grandma went home to be with Jesus. Death is hard. Really hard. At least for those of us that are 'left behind'. A sermon I read by Charles Spurgeon called "Death is loss, but oh, what gain!" put it brilliantly:

"What! weep! weep for heads that are crowned with coronals of heaven? What, weep for hands that grasp the harps of gold? What, weep for eyes that see the Redeemer? What, weep for hearts that are washed from sin, and are throbbing with eternal bliss? What, weep for men that are in the Saviour's bosom?
No; weep for yourselves, that you are here. Weep that the mandate has not come which bids you to die. Weep that you must tarry. But weep not for them. I see them turning back on you with loving wonder, and they exclaim, "Why weepest thou?" What, weep for poverty that it is clothed in riches? What, weep for sickness, that it hath inherited, eternal health? What, weep for shame, that it is glorified; and weep for sinful mortality, that it hath become immaculate? Oh, weep not, but rejoice. "If ye knew what it was that I have said unto you, and whither I have gone, ye would rejoice with a joy that no man should take from you." - "TO DIE IS GAIN."
Ah, this makes the Christian long to die - makes him say, "Oh, that the word were given! O Lord of Hosts, the wave divide, and land us all in heaven!"
What an amazing reminder of what we have to look forward to! ETERNAL BLISS WITH GOD! So yes, I agree with CH Spurgeon. I weep. Not that she has gone ahead, but that I remain here. This is not my home! Someday I will join her again, in unending joy and communion with Christ. I know that she is no longer hurting. I know that she is able to SING with every fiber of her being again, that she is in the presence of GOD, and that she is FREE.

I fly home in the morning for the celebration of her life and amazing legacy. I'm really looking forward to remembering her zingy personality and wit, her die-hard competitive spirit, her beautiful voice, and her deep love for all of us. Lorna June Stevenson, you will be missed. DANCE on the streets of gold until I can come up and join you!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A new season

He is calling me to trust.
Completely. Fully. Painfully. Freely. RECKLESSLY.

And it's terrifying. I walk the tightrope between giddy excitement for what's to come and racking sobs fearing the reality of everything I'm leaving behind.

Leaving Biblical community and authentic relationships complete with HARD accountability.
Leaving job security with a great company.
Leaving co workers that love me and have become my family for the 50+ hrs we're together a week
Leaving the south where sunny weather and beauty surrounds me daily

He has promised great things. He is undoubtedly calling me. He is faithful to answer prayers. My prayer is that the cries of my heart and soul join with the will of God. Praying in hope for what is to come.
I'm praying to be led to the right church, a steady job where my passions and gifts can be utilized, a neighborhood where I can flourish and have meaningful relationships. I rest in knowing that I would not be called away from community, deep love, relationships, and Austin unless there were GREAT things to come. That I am not LEAVING these relationships, rather the dynamics of them are changing. The peace in my soul would not be there unless he had already prepared a place for me, a community for me to join, a new church to serve in.

So yes, I'm walking away from this season in Austin, Texas, but I'm stepping into an adventure. One that will take me closer to my family. One where I get to see the Lord display HIS glory by making me lay down my idols of security and fame - to let his GREATNESS be my story. I'm going to pack everything I can into my Chevy Malibu and drive away--all the way up I-35 to the snowy tundra. Final destination? Good question. Most likely Minneapolis, MN, Des Moines, IA or Ames, IA.

I'm excited for the amazing story that the Author of the universe is writing for you, I have NO IDEA what's next!