Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 Days of Inviting the Uninvited: Our Plans Revisited

I was at my friend’s annual Halloween party this weekend and I had a conversation with someone I’d never met before who asked me about myself and how I’d ventured into the uncharted land of the south, you know, being a northerner and all. Common question, but I guess hanging around people who know me now for awhile, it doesn’t come up as often anymore.

I generally answer questions the same and then depending on the situation, I’ll go into more detail if needed: I moved down here after college basically for a teaching job. Insert typical question: “So did you know anyone?” Insert my typical response: "I knew one person from college" (my sweet friend, Emily, by the way).

In this particular conversation, the person told me I had a lot of guts for doing that. You know, moving far away, hardly knowing anyone. Sometimes, on the spot, when I’m excited about something, I don’t always think before I speak, and I replied, “I know!” I didn’t have the chance to explain what I meant, but it didn’t seem to matter to this person.

In case you’re wondering, I was not thinking I was so bold and gutsy to move down here. In fact, the opposite.  See, at that time, I wouldn’t have considered myself much of any kind of bold. I was a homebody most of my life. The only place I ever went was overseas for 3 months in college. I know that sounds extreme; some people never leave the country, but before that, I hadn’t gone anywhere permanent outside of a 40 mile radius from where I lived. Meaning, that's how far away I went for college. I never wanted to go to camp. Etc. And that was okay for me.

Not everyone is intended to move. But then, not everyone is intended to stay forever. There are moments when your plans are shaken up and it’s good.

Moving to NC was one of those times when I didn’t realize it at the time but I would be on a wild adventure. I like adventures, but I didn’t realize both the joys and difficulties that would come with this process. I love, love my family. I came to NC, though, sensing that God had pulled me here for a reason and as I better understood after my first year here, the reason was not just to teach.

There have been several times when I have wondered “What kind of plan did you have with this, God?” The road I’ve taken in NC has been anything but straight. Yet, looking back on the last 6 years, I can't imagine my life without living here, my church family (ies), yes even some of the jobs I thought were leaving me with a bitter aftertaste but  left a distinct “finger-print” type mark on my life and me in general. Don’t ask me how; it’s a work of God for sure. He led me through some tough stuff which perhaps allows me now to work in the middle of harder stuff. God only knows who we would be without the most difficult periods of our life we’ve already gone through.   There is something to be said for what comes through it.

Six years ago nearly to the day I moved to North Carolina. I believe it would have been this weekend. I don’t have a date book or anything from back then, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is not the dates from the past, but what God has done in purposing His timeline for my life. There is purpose each of our timelines, as out of order or uncommon as they look.

*What has been the most “uninvited time” in your life? What do you see now if you are past it? Can you see any blessings in the interruptions or uninvited-ness that have been (or are in) your life?
Song for a Sunday: "Not For A Moment"
Just to remind you, not for a moment did He leave you ...

Check out the rest of the posts in the series here.

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