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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Why I run...

Today is August 20th, 2016.  One week from today, I will be waking up in a 15 passenger van with 5 other people and one van driver in the middle of the woods Oregon.  I will not have slept very well (if at all), I will probably not have eaten very well (unless you count goldfish and granola bars as a well balanced meal), and I will be prepping for a 5 mile run after having already run 14 miles in the last 24 hours.  Sounds like a perfect vacation, right?  I'm excited!  But this is what I do to provide clean water for children and their families in South Sudan.

South Sudan is one of the youngest countries in the world, only officially becoming it's own country in 2011.  Since then, South Sudan continues to be a country ravaged by civil wars, poverty, and disease.  Many refugees that have been in the news recently are from South Sudan, in an attempt to start a life over somewhere without war, child soldiers, and lack of resources.  If you google South Sudan and read current news updates, it's easy to see that this is a struggling country in need with topics like regime changes, political unrest, child soldiers, and other heartbreaking headlines.

While these headlines can be overwhelming, there is one way that I know I can help.  I can commit to a goal of raising $10,000 to help improve the lives of a people in need.  I can ask others to support this cause.  And I can run.

World Vision is an organization that has committed to helping South Sudan (and other nations with similar needs) find sustainable clean water.  While this may not seem like an immediate solution to the above mentioned problems, clean water does so much for impoverished communities!  Decreases disease.  Provides work.  Allows children to attend school instead of spending their day walking miles to find water...any kind of water.  Improves agriculture.  Decreases starvation with better crops.  Improves health and strength.  Builds community.  And the list goes on.

I have never been a person who has felt called by God to be a missionary who lives in another country. But God has created in me a heart that breaks for others in need.  It's why I feel God called me to the mission of being a child and family therapist.  I have care and concern for the people God places in my path.  When I hear about how a simple resource like water, a resource I have continual access to, can help a community halfway across the world, my heart cries out to do something.  And God says, "Run!"  And there is nothing better for me than to know that I have stepped out in faith on God's calling on my heart.

I have had times of doubt during this adventure, both this year and last year.  A wise friend said to me during one of those times, "All you have to do is be faithful. God will do the rest."  So I am being faithful.  I am running.  I am getting the word out.  I am asking co-workers to join this cause.  I am stretching my introverted personality to speak to people about donating money.  God is using me where I didn't think it was possible.  And God is doing the rest.

At the time I am writing this, I have only $992 left to fundraise before the race ends next Saturday, August 27th.  Whether I meet this goal by next week or not, I know that God has been faithful in providing $9,000 to help the people of South Sudan have lifelong and sustainable clean water.  That is improving the lives of 180 people!  And that is amazing!

Thank you for all the ways you have supported me in this adventure for the second year in a row.  I can't wait to share this with my Hood to Coast teammates, my co-worker Becca who I was able to convince to join me on this adventure, and with you!

To help with a donation, click here!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Taking a side

If I'm being truly honest, I don't want to take sides.

I've always been this way.  I want to see everyone have a fair chance.  It's more important to me that two people in an argument feel heard rather than one "win" the argument.  I feel badly for the team that lost against my team (unless they're playing the Cubs...the Cubs deserve a good season). 

I like seeing others get along and I believe that God created this world to be diverse and beautiful in it's diversity.  I was created to be optimistic, idealistic, and to see the good in others.  It breaks my heart to see evil and I hate division.  I would have thrived in the 60s/70s and would have worn that flower headdress proudly...but no drugs please.

The division people are taking on social media is heartbreaking.  I am tearing up now as I write.  The fact that race is still a systemic issue in our country angers me.  I am getting hotheaded as I write.   The fact that police men and women who have sworn to protect lives are both taking lives and having their lives be taken is devastating.  I feel defeated as I write.

I don't want to take sides.

But to sit in my own world and not say something and to not stand up for something feels wrong to me too.  Just the fact that I have that option speaks loudly to the systemic issue of race and my own white privilege.  I am so grateful to the loving and patient friends I have from other race and ethnic backgrounds and for how they have shown me and highlighted what it means to have white privilege.  I want to use this privilege for good.  I want to help.  I want to be there and say, "I grieve for you too.  This hurts."  I hate the thought that I'm privileged just because I was born as a white female.  Or that I'm privileged because I'm straight.  I am so grateful for my friends of other sexual orientations and gender experiences who have answered my questions to help me understand.  I won't ever fully understand what it feels like to be in any of those positions, but I want you to know that I want to help.  I want to support.  I want to be the flower-child that I am and also to stand up for what is right.  I want to walk the middle path.

I don't want to take sides.

I am literally crying as I write this post.  I feel so overwhelmed by the amount of division and arguments I have seen on social media.  I support the Black Lives Matter movement and I am glad that issues of diversity have not stopped moving in my heart since I left Chicago.  I don't want to be apathetic.  I want to help make change.  I want to be in support of making systemic racial change in our society.  I want to inform those in my community what white privilege is and how their statements of "all lives matter" is insulting and insensitive.  But this does not mean that I'm against cops or that I think they are all misinformed and lack good judgement.  So why does it feel this way?

I don't want to take sides.

A while ago, I read an article by a black basketball player who struggled with anxiety.  He wrote an article on how the perpetual trauma that both race communities and authority communities experience and how this triggers unnecessary violence.  This helped me take a side.  Our system is broken.  As a mental health professional, I understand trauma.  I understand how when you've been trained from a systemic perspective to mistrust a people group based on history of events, it is easy to have a quick trigger.  If both groups are traumatized and have been trained in systemic trauma, it would be impossible to react calmly and with a clear mind.  I see this in my trauma clients all the time.  The reaction is one out of defense.  But the reaction results in violence and incites hate and anger and mistrust, thus continuing the problem and widening the gap of understanding between communities.

I am on a side.

I am on the side of working to fix this problem.  I am on the side of speaking up in my small community about white privilege and how to use it for good.  I am on the side of Black Lives Matter and becoming more educated about the movement by listening to my black brothers and sisters.  I am on the side of getting the right mental health support for our communities.  I am on the side of working to fix the stigma of getting mental health support in the police community.  I am on the side of decreasing fear and reducing trauma reactions. 

I understand the fact that I have the privilege to choose to ignore race division in our society is white privilege.  I choose not to ignore it. 

This is my side.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

finding hope in the realness of christmas

People who know me well, know that I love Christmas.  Maybe people who don't know me that well know that I love Christmas too.  I get excited about twinkling lights, a child's belief in Santa Claus, Christmas music, and the birth of my spiritual hope in the love of my Savior.  Christmastime always makes me just a little bit happier and I always look forward to it.

Christmastime also exacerbates the pain of unanswered prayer and the waiting to know when that prayer will be answered.  I've been reflecting on this quite a bit this Christmas season.  I have also been more acutely aware of the pain of others during this season as they have experienced their own waiting.  Waiting to feel less pain about the loss of a loved one.  Waiting to feel "over" the pain of a relationship that ended.  Waiting to feel happiness again.  Waiting to be less busy and to have a moment to breathe.  Waiting for change...any change.  Waiting, waiting, waiting...while around us the world puts on a show of shiny ribbons and smiling faces.  Aren't we supposed to be happy at Christmastime?  Isn't the hope of the birth of our Savior supposed to bring us inexplicable joy?  Well, yes, but the more I think about it, the more I understand how the story of the birth of Christ relates to our experience of pain just as much as it relates to joy.

The birth of Jesus was long awaited and was promised hundreds of years before his actual birth.  How long had the Israelites been waiting for their Savior?  A few weeks ago, the sermon at church was about waiting in expectation for God's answer to His promises.  In my own life, this sermon directly spoke to me as I have been praying the same prayer for over 10 years and still, I have not received an answer.  How many Israelites could relate to this?  Or how about Elizabeth & Zechariah as they had been praying for a baby for so long?  Or Simeon and Anna who had been promised to see the Savior and had to wait until they were late in years for this promise to come true?  As I experience my own wait and often struggle at times to keep faith when it seems God has forgotten me, these reminders have been helpful in the pain of my wait.

Or what about Joseph?  How many of us have had the rug pulled out from under us in a relationship we were in?  We felt stable, secure, and all of a sudden, the other person drops a bomb and it's over.  Or the sudden (or even not sudden) death of a loved one.  Grief is suffering loss in our lives and learning how to survive the shock of unexpected change.  I often wonder how Joseph must have felt when his young fiancee told him that she was pregnant and it wasn't his child.  What kind of grief did he suffer at the loss of a dream?  Did his heart break?  Did he cry out in anger and confusion?  We are told in the book of Matthew that he planned to divorce her quietly, but we don't know what it was like for him leading up to that decision.  God was faithful to Joseph and sent an angel to comfort him and give him guidance.  While God may not respond to our own pain in this way, I am reminded that God takes care of His people in Joseph's story during moments of emotional and relational pain as well as in grief and loss.

Or maybe your pain is like that of the Magi.  You see a sign, you follow it, it takes forever to reach your destination, and just when you find a place to rest,  confusion sets in.  How many of us have had someone be like Herod to us and present with good intentions but we find out later they were actually selfish and manipulative in purpose?  Again, God sent an angel to steer the Magi in the right direction and while they may have had to travel longer to get home, God provided and returned them home safely.  I am reminded that sometimes when we are confused, manipulated, or feel as though it takes forever to return home, God will still see to it that the journey is completed safely when we respond with faith.

And then of course there is Mary.  Faithful, beautiful, Mary.  I love reading the Magnificat in the first chapter of Luke.  It reminds me of God's omnipotent, everlasting, steadfast, powerful love for us in this world.  But what about after the Magnificat?  Nine months of pregnancy prior to her marriage with Joseph.  Even if they were married shortly after she became pregnant, anyone who has ever lived in a small community knows that people talk.  Even when you tell people the truth, they will do what they want with it.  And what do you say in that situation?  "Oh, no, don't worry.  It's the Holy Spirit's baby.  We're good."  What strength and maturity Mary must have had to withstand what might have been said about her and to know that God would take care of her.  I don't think I would have been able to survive that kind of pain.  As a child, whenever I was teased, I would do whatever they wanted me to do and say whatever they wanted me to say just stop the teasing and the pain of being ostracized by my peers.  Mary's story reminds me to have faith in God's greater plan and to look beyond what is right in front of me and the limited view of others, even when it's painful.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is called "Real" by Nichole Nordeman.  In this song, she sings from the perspective of Mary and Joseph, saying:

I am real
Don't turn me into memory or myth
Let me be real
And I'll show you what it means to love like this
To be real

This Christmas, I am praying that if you have pain amidst the holiday bustle & rustle, shimmer & shine, laughter & song, remember that Jesus is real.  The people surrounding the story of his birth are real.  The miracle is real.  Our pain is real.  And the miracle is that Jesus really came to show you that he understands that pain on a deeper level than you may ever know.  Trust him with it and let him be real to you this Christmas.  I will be trying to do the same.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

the importance of community

It has been an insanely long time since I have written anything down in this space.  I think my last entry accurately describes the start of a rather difficult season of life and one that I needed my privacy to go through.  But lately, I have had some thoughts floating around in my head the past few days and so I thought I would return to my corner of the internet and share them with you.

Several weeks ago, I attended the memorial service for the mother of some dear family friends.  I have always found memorial services to be a mixed bag of emotions where you are gathered to grieve the loss of the person and share in the pain of that loss with others, but also where you celebrate good memories and see people who are a part of those memories.  This memorial service included exactly these emotions for me.  Since it was for a woman who I grew up with at my home church, I returned to this church, sat with my parents, and hugged several people who I hadn't seen in a long time.  I was reminded during this service of the importance of community.  I have been so blessed by the community from my home church and I often take this for granted.  Within that particular church denomination, I know that if I travel to another church from this denomination several states (or maybe a country!) away and we have a common friend from my home church, I will instantly find "family".  I know that when I see my friends' parents and my parents' friends, they mean it when they say they are praying for me and ask me how I am doing.  I know when I laugh with old youth group friends that our laughs are genuine and our care for each other has lasted long beyond high school.  I am grateful to this community, glad to be a part of it, and I know I would not be the woman I am today if it were not for this community of people.

Simultaneously, I was saddened.  Besides being sad about the loss of a great woman, I was saddened by the ways I was reminded of how community had hurt this family.  Regardless of whether we are Christians or not, as people, we have disagreements about topics that can be hurtful and ostracizing.  One theme that was discussed at this memorial was the topic of how fear can get in the way of loving each other.  For this particular family's story, the fear that others' had regarding their son's sexuality was hurtful and ostracizing, not an example of community at all.  I always get so angry when we have an opportunity to learn in our communities, to grow in our perspectives, and to really try to understand what someone else is going through and we just blow it because we are afraid that this means we will have to change too.  But community is always changing and growing and as a Christian, I have always believed that God has designed me to love people above all else, regardless of my opinion or perspective.  Loving another person doesn't have to mean we have to agree with them.  Loving another person means asking.  It means doing our best to understand.  It means remembering that love is stronger than fear; GOD is stronger than fear.  Community is about people.  Life is difficult and we all go through pain.  A good community says the hard things and still loves others as you would want to be loved if you were in their position.

No earthly community is perfect and I in no way expect this particular community to be perfect.  I still appreciate all that it is and I still hope to continue to be an active member in this community now and hopefully someday with a family of my own.  As I said, I am the woman I am today because of it.  But after I attended this memorial and was touched by all the people who came to show their love for this woman and for her family, I was also reminded of the importance of remembering people over principles.  I am so grateful to know that I have people in my life who understand that and when I am going through something they have not experienced or that they don't understand, they will love me and do their best to learn through my experience, even if we do not agree.  That kind of community is a rare thing.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

remembering how to walk on water

I have had these words I'm preparing to write floating around in my head for the past few weeks.  I just couldn't figure out how to start writing it or even whether I should.  It is always difficult to be open about moments in life when I just don't have any answers and God remains mum on the topic when we talk.  But, there was something in me prompting me to write it.  To put what has been floating around in my thoughts and in my heartbeat into the cyber world.  So, BIG BREATH, here goes...

Lately, I have been feeling...feeling...just feeling I guess.  This summer has been a season of grieving for me.  The loss of my beloved Grandma Betty.  Coming to terms with the fact that my life does not look like how I hoped it would at 34 and grieving those dreams.  Facing disappointment that a relationship did not turn out the way I wanted it, and believed that God wanted it, to.  Trying not to absorb the grief of some of my clients and learning how not to do that since clearly I had stuff of my own to work through.  It's always easier to blame someone else's problems for your sadness than actually dealing with whatever else is being stored up.  I have been sad at losses.  I have been angry at God for ways I felt He misled me and angry at myself for misunderstanding what I thought God had been telling me.  I have been frustrated that my life feels out of my control and that there is nothing to do to change it at this point.  In fact, I feel as though I have been trying to change some things and instead of things changing, I just end up more tired and more exhausted and with no results.  Lots of questions, but no answers.  Support from those who love me, but no solutions.  What to do when the only thing I really want is to learn how to be satisfied with the life God has given me.  Instead, I'm too human to stop dreaming for what my little heart desires.

I thought I would return to some of my stand-by favorite artists for assistance...Madeleine L'Engle and Nichole Nordeman.  I actually developed a love for the material of both of these women around the same time in my life...about 10 years ago when I was going through another period of questions for my life.  And I am, to this day, convinced that if the three of us women ever ended up in one room together that we would be instant kindred spirits.  I read Madeleine L'Engle's book Walking on Water as a part of an artists Bible study as a way to make our faith and our creativity align with God.  After that, I was hooked. I think I have read 80% of her work and have multiple times felt as though the words on the page were taken directly from my thoughts.  I began my "imaginary" friendship with Nichole (we're totally on a first name basis, of course) when a friend of mine insisted that I needed to hear her album This Mystery.  The realness of her music and songwriting stuck with me and I couldn't stop listening to it, feeling grateful that FINALLY there was a Christian musician who seemed to get me.  I even stalked her after a concert in college and she was gracious enough to talk to me with a smile on her face and not once did she point out that maybe I was a little over-eager to be friends.  It just wasn't our time yet, I guess.

First, I re-read Walking on Water.  It was just as good the second time as the first.  I turned to this particular book to tap back into my creative side and artistic thought processes.  I have begun to notice that I know and love many people who think very practically.  Black and white.  B follows A and 1 plus 1 always equals 2.  There is value in practicality and sometimes I need a little more of it.  However, I started to feel less like myself because I thought because I don't think practically that there was something flawed with the way I was thinking.  I figured that reading Walking on Water would remind me of how God sees value in all ways of thinking.  Not only did it do that, but I also began to relax back into myself.  I remembered that dreaming and considering the possibility that I could walk on water is a very important part of me.  I enjoy thinking in the gray.  It excites me to consider all the possibilities, no matter how impractical.  With God, anything is possible and 1 plus 1 could actually equal 3...or at least enough loaves and fishes to feed a crowd of thousands.  All those miracles in the Bible actually did occur!  I was also encouraged to tap into my artistic side more than I have been doing.  My soul aches to sing.  My heart longs to put words into verse.  My mind desires to put conversations into a story.  My ears yearn for the depth of a well rehearsed orchestral number.  My eyes cry for a beautiful sunset.  My body itches to dance (and yes, I do dance by myself and I am not ashamed.  Try it.  You will feel so free.).  And I feel this way because God created me this way.  It is who I am.  I needed to be reminded of who I am as I work through this particular chapter in my life.

Shortly after I began re-reading Walking on Water, I discovered that Nichole Nordeman had actually written a book recently.  It's called Love Story: The Hand that holds us from the Garden to the Gates and it is written based on the album Music Inspired by The Story, which Nichole co-wrote.  It seemed to me like a good book to bring me back to the basics of my faith, which is exactly what I needed given that all my feelings were quickly spiraling into a crisis of faith.  I have been so blessed by this book (and the music from the cd, which I also bought just to round out my collection).  Nichole writes so honestly about how her life, the lives of those around her, and most importantly, the Bible characters she chose to bring to life relate to God and how God relates to them.  I have so appreciated how she brought God's relationship with each Bible character  into the 21st century and made it relevant.  While I am still working through my own questions, I have felt less abandoned by God and more reminded that he is GOD and in that I can trust.  Even when I am lamenting my own losses and disappointments.  Even when I don't understand and my life doesn't seem to make sense.  Even when I feel as though I've lost the will to try again to make change.  God can handle all of this and I don't need to let him off the hook for it.  I still don't know if God really does always give us the desires of our hearts and if he ever explains why he doesn't answer those prayers.  And some days, it is still work for me to remember that God loves me.  The words in Nichole's book have drawn me back to scripture and back to the story of love that is so precious to my heart...the gift of Jesus and how he loved us enough to give his life... for me.  God understands my heart and has gently reminded me that he's still there and will always give me what I need, even if it's not what I wanted.  And even in those moments, he will withstand my tantrum over the fact that what I wanted wasn't what I got.  He'll still love me as is, tell me to keep my eyes on him, and to walk on the water anyway.

Last week, I injured my back doing practically nothing.  I stood up.  That's what I did.  It has been a rather uncomfortable week and frustrating because I have not been able to physically do things that I love to run.  Grrr.  However, one day, I was listening to a Bethany Dillon song that I had choreographed (well, a more accurate description would be that I created some "moves" and graceful arm sweeps) for myself to worship through a few years ago.  Despite the condition of my back, I was drawn to dance.  And so I did.  Amazingly enough, my back did not hurt once during the whole song.  I remembered all my "moves" and even put in a few new ones thanks to the ballet class I took last year.  For the first time this summer, I felt as though I was able to worship God fully.  I had not danced in that worshipful way in a few years and here I was, drawn to move in ways I did not think I could due to my injury.  But through my pain, God gave me freedom and I worshipped him fully.  That is what I am hoping for the outcome of this season of grieving for myself.  That through the pain, God will give me freedom and will draw me into worshipful creativity with him as I learn with each day what it means to keep my eyes on him without faltering when I don't understand.  With his help, and because I believe it will happen, I'll remember how to walk on water.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


My emotions lately have felt like sawdust.  I honestly have no other way to describe it and that is all I have been thinking whenever I ask myself, "Self, how are you feeling?"  The first answer in my head is "sawdust".  (Ok, so I really don't ask that exact question, but you get what I mean.)

I think feeling "sawdust" can be described as just blah and dry.  Back in April, I remember feeling so joyous and grateful for all the ways that God had been blessing my job and new apartment topped the list and I was overwhelmed with God's perfect timing and how all the questions I'd had for when and whether God would work my life out here seemed to be answered.

But now I'm back to sawdust.  I still love my job.  But the honeymoon is over and a few weeks ago, I had a pretty rough run.  It's like all my clients talk to each other and decide to go into crisis at the same time.  Just putting out one fire after the next is exhausting!  Things have settled down now, but I was reminded that no job is perfect and there will always be stress.

I also still love my apartment.  But I was quickly reminded that living alone means making more of an effort to get out of the house.  I can't just come home and hang out with my parents and feel good because I spent time with other people.  I have to make more of an effort to make plans and SEE people.  Which isn't a bad thing, but as a person who swings a small percentage to the introverted side of things, it can be difficult for me to remember to make plans and not just hang out at home and feel lonely.

Today I really brought this emotion to God and worked on working it out.  I had a great day.  Went to church.  Stopped at a roadside stand to buy fresh produce.  Got flirted with by the grandpa-type running the cash register (who did not make my potential significant-other list despite his nice comments and eyebrow raising).  Drove to the shore and walked on the beach.  Did grocery shopping and made a delicious dinner.  Set up some shelves in my apartment, which significantly improved the homeyness of my living room space.  During all of these activities, I kept asking God, "What do I do about this?  Why can't I just be happy with all that You've given to me?"  No answer.  After my walk on the beach, I felt free, but still was missing something.  Before making my dinner, I played a random mix of Christian worship/pop/rock songs and the Nichole Nordeman song "Gratitude" (see words below) began to play and I was overcome with emotion...real emotion, not sawdust.  I was moved by the reminder that even when God does not seem to be providing in the ways I want Him to, that there is still plenty to give thanks to God for.  And it doesn't mean that I shouldn't feel sad or grieve the things that I am struggling with, but just to say, that even when I feel "sawdust", I continue to feel gratitude for the ways that God comforts me and sends me just the right words at just the right time.  And more than anything else that made today a good day, I am grateful for the reminder that God still knows every hair on my head, God is not like the shifting shadows, I can trust in Him, and even when it seems that God has stopped answering my prayers, He is still there providing for me and loving me in ways that I just may not have anticipated.

Send some rain, would You send some rain?'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink againAnd the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?Let the sky grow black and send some mercy downSurely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not todayMaybe You'll provide in other waysAnd if that's the case
We'll give thanks to You with gratitudeFor lessons learned in how to thirst for YouHow to bless the very sun that warms our faceIf You never send us rain
Daily bread, give us daily breadBless our bodies, keep our children fedFill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us throughTucked away beneath our sturdy roofsLet us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not todayMaybe You'll provide in other waysAnd if that's the case
We'll give thanks to You with gratitudeA lesson learned to hunger after YouThat a starry sky offers a better viewIf no roof is overheadAnd if we never taste that bread
Oh, the differences that often are betweenEverything we want and what we really need
So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peaceMove our hearts to hear a single beatBetween alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not todayPeace might be another world awayAnd if that's the case
We'll give thanks to You with gratitudeFor lessons learned in how to trust in YouThat we are blessed beyond what we could ever dreamIn abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peaceBut, Jesus, would You please


Monday, February 11, 2013

time is a funny thing

Another new year...and actually, it has been for over a month.  I cannot believe that it is already this far into February!  Time has been getting away from me lately and I have wanted to update my blog and just get my thoughts out there so many times in the past months, but...well, there isn't much of an excuse except that I didn't know what to write.  Several times I started a new post and then promptly deleted it because I didn't think it accurately stated what I intended to say.  Sometimes all it takes is time to get my thoughts straight.

As per usual, I have been contemplating the new year and the changes it could bring to my life.  2012 was a good but not very momentous year in my life.  I felt more like it was a "building" where I matured in some areas, healed some more in other areas, and all together gathered strength and purpose.  I have been living in Connecticut for two years now and I am finally feeling as though I can say that I have a life here.  I have a routine.  I have friends.  I am involved at church.  I have favorite places.  I am a part of my family in a way that I have wanted to be for so long.  I have a job in my field...a job that I am actually excited about!  God has been so good to me as I have trusted Him to build me in these ways.  I remember arriving home two years ago and feeling so frustrated with my life...feeling as though I had been overlooked, forgotten, and as though all I had been through was completely irrelevant to where I was going.  I find it amazing how God uses time to bring us to a point of thankfulness and praise for all the ways that God has worked things out.

As I have mentioned, I have many things to be grateful for and to see how perfectly God has been moving in my life.  One way in particular has been in my career.  Five years ago, I applied to an unknown school in Colorado, quit a steady career, and took a chance on a "gut feeling"...or what I believe was spiritual leading.  During my schooling, I knew it was the career God chose for me...that I was created to do the work I was studying to do.  I was becoming.  After grad school, I knew that it would take time for me to get to my "dream" job.  I applied everywhere and anywhere and took what I could get.  Through my time at the Children's Home (now √Ądelbrook, although I still struggle to call it that), God truly moved to make a path for me.  From a part time 1:1, to a full time position with clinical experience, to a clinical coordinator, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  I have been truly blessed by my experiences, my clients, and most of all, the many people that I worked with.  And just when it was most unexpected, a new opportunity came up and before I knew it, I was leaving.  I have only been at my new job for a few weeks and already, I feel as though this is exactly what God has been preparing and building me for.  As much as I appreciate my experience at CHOC, I feel more like myself in this new position.  I know that there will be challenges and frustrations as at any job, but this feels like me.  And I have been more affirmed that the gut feeling I had five years ago was so much more than that.  This has been God's plan and leading for me all along.  It just took time...God's perfect timing.

Of course, there are other areas of my life that I still wonder and hope and cry to God about why those prayers haven't been answered yet.  Specifically, the deepest longings of my heart and life where my heart feels empty and unfulfilled.  Sometimes it's easiest to ignore those pains and just focus on the areas where I can see how God's timing has brought my prayers to fruition.  But I can't altogether ignore my feelings.  Lately I have been allowing myself to be ok with the sadness that comes with wanting and longing.  I often feel as though I have to only point to the areas where I am happy in life and remember that God is always good and that I should attribute this void to God's somehow, I'm not allowed to be sad about the things I still want.  And while I do believe that God works things to perfect timing so that God's goodness can be visible, I also believe that God wants me to feel what is true for me in the moment.  So whether it takes 2 years, 3 years, or another 5 years for God to work out that "gut feeling", I know that God will work it out and when He does, I will see how perfect the timing is...even though it was hard to wait in the mean time.  Plus, it is my hope and will be my joy to know that God really did save the best part of this transition for last.  And when it happens, however long I waited for it won't matter anymore because I will know that the time it took for everything to come together in perfect harmony was just as it should be.