Friday, May 15, 2015

God runs ahead...

Back in January before I started on this "back to college" adventure (for lack of a better phrase) I felt confident of only a few things - going back to school was God's idea, and He would see me through it.  Specifically what I heard the Lord calling me to was twofold (and I blogged about it then) (1) Live open-handed; (2) God's grace would be sufficient. 

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. Taking on three classes felt like a big bite to take, but it felt like what I was supposed to do. So I did it. Now mind you I am 8 days away from the actual finish line, and the dreaded "finals" definitely have the potential to do some damage, but as of right now, today I have three solid (dare I say high) A's. Turns out in my older and wiser days the academic process appeals to my suppressed Type A personality. I like the deadlines, the organization, the to do list.  I even like the competition (albeit against myself) of grading. Turns out I like the competition of class ranking too, but I try not to dwell too much on that one. 

Going into all of this, I thought the promise of sufficient grace would be about my struggles and failures as a student.  And in all honesty, at times that has been true. I've had to face my inner perfectionist, whose existence I have long preferred to deny (because in all honesty as a wife and mother, "she" had to be locked in solitary confinement, never allowed to see the light of day). So it was grace and open handedness when I had to confess my limits at times, once even skipping a lab assignment altogether which may not seem like much from the outside looking in, but "allowing myself to fail" (even on a 10 point lab assignment) was harder than I ever thought it would be, way different than the 19-year-old who had no trouble at all being the epic failure who flunked out of college altogether.  If only I could have synced old me and this me in a more successful manner. But now we have come full circle, I'm supposed to live open handed and remembering God's grace is sufficient. 

It's been a strange few months. All three of our cars have taken a hit - literally.  My new car got fixed, Neal's older truck got tolerated and Jacob's likely totaled car sits in the limbo of decision making out behind our work. Unfair, inconvenient, irritating, those are the words that come to my mind, but the reality is, they're all just stuff, and in the big picture, I need to focus thankfully on the grace that helped everyone involved to just walk away. There's that open handed thing again. 

Sitting here in the midst of inconvenience and a measure of relative success I'm looking back over the last six and a half months, and I see the glimpses of God's sovereignty.  Back in November I hit a physical low like none other in my life - I was scary sick, toxic even.  I had a real wake up call that got me on a path that has me today 43 lbs lighter, considerably stronger and feeling so much better.  I am keenly aware of the fact that if I hadn't hit that low I would never have made the changes I did - and I would not have had the energy to keep up with all I've had to if I hadn't gotten so sick.  The bad that was happening, it has turned out to work for my good. 

So when I sit here now, knowing I am supposed to be back in school, but not knowing why - I have a little more confidence God's got a point.  And it's not just with school and car wrecks, but with the decision I made back in January to walk away from regular church attendance too.  The person in me who has always seen the world in a very black and white rule-filtered way doesn't really get it. But that path too, I am certain, at least for this season, is the road God has directed me to.  Like with my health, there had to be a catalyst that pushed me to the decision, so sometimes it's really hard, and sometimes it really hurts, but in an odd way, I have never felt closer to the Lord.  Maybe it's the desperation it creates to stay connected to Him. 

I've had to let go of the "supposed to be's" in my life.  It's been a 45 year long journey to realize that they never really pan out the way we want them to anyway, and yet somehow God's promises seem to prevail-- all things together for good. I'm at a place where I can get a glimpse of the balance in that.  Yes, perhaps it would have been better to have taken care of school 25 years ago, to have been more like the conscientious me now back then, but if I had been, maybe my path would have been different - marriage, motherhood, staying home with my kids.  Even as I look at the precariousness of our circumstances today, I wouldn't want to go back and undo the time that I had being at home and raising my kids.  Even when I was failing out of school at 19, lost - the Lord had run ahead, and there are benefits that made it worth it.  

So as I look around now, still seemingly "failing" in some areas of my life from the outside looking in, I have this greater confidence, that although I cannot begin to see or imagine the specifics of how, I can know with confidence, God in His sovereignty is still running up ahead.  I may not be a part of a church, but I am still a part of THE Church.  I may have no idea why at 45 I am a college freshman, but I can know that God wouldn't call me there without a purpose - even if it's something seemingly insignificant for me along the way.  He's run up ahead, He was here before I got here, and He has prepared the way for His purpose to prevail. 

God is Sovereign.  Sometimes that really rubs me wrong.  When I don't like my circumstance, it frustrates me to know that He has allowed it to filter through His hand.  Sometimes I want to stomp my foot and demand the answer I have no right to, but at the end of my fit, His Sovereignty remains.  But on the other hand, His sovereignty remains-- to say, that I don't have to be fearful and frustrated with what I don't like.  Instead, I can rest in Who God is and know that because of that Sovereignty, one way or another, He will work it out in the end.  He always runs up ahead to see to it. He's never caught off guard. 

Plans, purposes - His will always prevail.