Not quite two weeks ago, my husband Kevin graduated from his 10-month long Residency Program. As you may know, he was selected to be in the Leadership Institute at Christ’s Church of the Valley. The program ended on May 7th, with a graduation ceremony for all the Residents.
There’s Kevin along with all of the 2014-2015 Residents. He’s at the far right with a blue shirt, 2nd to top row.
I’m so proud of all that he has accomplished and all the ways he’s grown and been stretched. These past 10 months of intense training not only better prepared him to be a pastor, but to be a godly man and husband. By being here and learning from some amazing people, I know we’ve set a firm foundation for our marriage and ministry.
But with the graduation behind us and the celebration over, we’re in the midst of a difficult time. The majority of our close friends have now moved away. Kevin is still job-searching. We’re trying to make future decisions even though we’re forced to live day-by-day.
We are struggling with feeling discouraged at times. I sometimes feel disappointed that we haven’t moved onto our next chapter, when others have already started theirs. I feel STUCK. Like, I know we’re done here, yet we haven’t started anywhere else.
I’m here saying, “Okay, God…it’s time! Let’s move on now! Provide a job for Kevin, okay? I have a whole dream life planned out that can’t start until we can move on with our lives!”
In times like these, in difficult and miserable times, it seems like there is no other choice than to be, well, miserable! But I am continually reminded by God that even in this annoying time of waiting and uncertainty, I still have a choice to make.
So these are the choices I’m going to make right now:
1. I’m going to appreciate this unique time in life.
Even though it’s sad to say goodbye to so many close friends and even though it’s annoying to be stuck in a state of “limbo,” I have to admit that right now Kevin and I are the most free we’ve ever been and probably will be for a long time! We have very little obligations or engagements at the moment, which leaves us free to spend quality time together.
Just last weekend we got to spend almost all weekend just doing fun things together. We started a Harry Potter movie marathon. We went hiking. We went couponing. We played Mario and couldn’t stop laughing at how often I kept dying in the game.
I have the rest of my life to be full of obligations — people to see, places to go, events to fill up the calendar. And don’t get me wrong, those things are GREAT! I love spending time with friends and attending fun get-togethers.
But right now I have a very special time where my main obligation is enjoying life with my husband, and I want to soak it up. 🙂
2. I’m going to live NOW.
I’m a dreamer. I think it’s a part of why I love planning so much. I love the idea of possibilities. I love thinking about what could be.
Thus, I also have a tendency to think, “My life will start when…(fill in the blank)…” For example, “My life will truly start when I get married.” Or, “My life will finally start once Kevin and I have our own house.”
I have these ideas of what my perfect life should look like (which, at the moment involves having a yard where I can have a hummingbird feeder and grow tomato plants), and until I get there it’s like my life hasn’t actually started yet.
But if I keep living this way, one day I’ll wake up and realize I never really lived at all.
I will spend my entire life wishing for whatever comes next.
So right now, that yard for a hummingbird feeder and tomato plants will have to wait. Even though my life isn’t where I wish it was, I am choosing to live RIGHT NOW. Life doesn’t start tomorrow. It’s already here. I’m going to grasp it and live it to the fullest.
3. I’m going to trust God by having JOY!
Last weekend at church, this verse popped on the screen and it really hit the spot:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
I leaned over to Kevin and said, “So that’s what God’s doing right now…he’s working on our perseverance.”
Let me tell you, my perseverance is pathetic!!!! (Uh oh, I hope I’m not giving God any ideas about making us wait even longer…)
I know that the situation that Kevin and I are in is hardly a trial compared to the sufferings of others. Compared to those who wonder if they will eat each day, or compared to those who are enslaved in trafficking, or compared to those facing terminal disease, Kevin and I have it pretty easy.
While I am so so grateful for all the blessings we have, can I just say that, comparison or not, this situation is still trying for us? It’s still frustrating. And it can be easy to be frustrated with God.
Yet, because I know that my God loves me, I am choosing to trust him. I am choosing to have joy. Why should I be joyous in a frustrating time like this? Because I know my Father in Heaven has BIG plans, and he has invited Kevin and I to be a part of them. He has a place and purpose for us.
So, I know there is good coming. And in the meantime, I know that God is only refining me to look more like him. So, it’s basically a win-win situation. Whether we’re in a trial or not, God’s good purposes are still unfolding. Knowing that truly gives me joy.
These are 3 big choices that aren’t easy to make. It’s a lot easier to whine and complain (which, I have done a lot of already). But even when things seem out of control, I still have control over at least one thing: how I’m choosing to respond to our circumstances.
So here’s to living life to the fullest right now, because I have faith in a God who is God of my present and my future.