Sunday, September 16, 2007

Winds of Change

Yes, the winds of change are gusting through my world and I can confidently say that rather than chilling me to the core, I'm finding a comforting sort of peace within the gale.

This is the last week of my time of employment at the college. Friday is my last day as Admissions Coordinator and Assistant Marketing Coordinator at Alberta Bible College. I'll have a couple of weeks off and then I'll hit the road one last time (I think) as the Assistant Director/Pro-D Provider for the CCUFairs.

While this is a big change for me, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is merely an outward sign of even more significant change happening within me. I'm not even sure that I can put it all into words but I'm going to try.

The most obvious question people have asked upon hearing of my resignation at ABC (after "so, what's next?" to which I typically respond, "I have no idea.") has been some form of my own personal favorite: "why?" In the 2 months, I've had a lot of different answers to that. One of my favorites is my answer to my students. I keep telling them that it's time for me to put into practice all the things that I've been telling them about seeking out God and His plans for their futures, about being a good steward of who He has made them to be and about not being afraid of the journey of life. It's true and it makes sense to them. What sort of hypocrite would I be if, knowing where I was six months ago, I hadn't made this decision?

Most importantly, though, is that it's about obedience. I know this is the right decision, even if I don't know the full story. It's here that Abraham's story has been influential in my life. Abraham is known for being a friend of God. Lifted up as a hero of faithfulness in the book of Hebrews. God and Abraham.They were friends because they both chose to be present with the other, putting themselves in the position of friends with each other and because of that, Abraham could trust God even when he didn't see the fulfillment of God's promises right away. Abraham lived in the gap, sometimes full of faith and sometimes stumbling. Take Ishmael for example. Abraham took things into his own hands. It was acceptable cultural practice. Probably didn't seem out of the norm to most of the people surrounding them. Thing is, it wasn't the way that God had it lined up. He talked about moving from the known to the unknown, becoming a stranger and how that usually happens in times of crisis. When my pastor preached through Abraham's story a couple months ago he asked this question: "how do you respond when living in the gap between the promise or what you want and the fulfillment of God?" Talk about hitting me to the core! How have I lived these last couple years "in the gap?" I feel as though I've been on a rollercoaster ride between wholeness and disaster. True highs and lows but hopefully always returning to the Father, my friend, who I can trust. Similar to Abraham, I suppose.

I feel as though there is so much in Abraham's story I'm bringing into my world. I trust God because I know God. This is my leap of faith much like Abraham leaving what he knew and what was safe (even if it wasn't always fun...see some parallels!?) for what God was offering. I feel like God has been asking me, "do you trust me?" All I want is to be able to say yes to that question in my life. Who better to trust my comings and my goings to?!

Isaiah 40:31 reads: "The one who waits on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not be faint." I've gained a whole new understanding about this. I truly feel like I finally get what it means to wait on the Lord. My every action in all of this is in waiting on His leading. I'm leaning in, longing to hear His voice and see His plans. I feel consistently stronger and more alive than I have in a long, long time.

It's been fun to get glimpses of who God is making me through all this. I love working with people, especially young people and kids. I was reminded of my time in Vulcan and the opportunities there and how all through my time at ABC it's been investing in students' lives that has kept me feeling like I'm using what it is that God has put in me as a part of his image. It's in those contexts that I feel like me, that I actually have energy, creativity and confidence. But it's not all about me. I've been blessed with moments this summer through which I've been able to see clearly the impact that I've had on some of the students that have been in my sphere of influence. It's a humbling thought to realize that I can have an impact on someone's life, a kingdom impact. It's something I never want to stop being a part of! I love to write, to teach and to talk. I love opportunities to have those one on one conversations with people that matter, whether it's theology or the day to day happenings of life. I love fun and laughter. Variety. Adventure. Activity. I love when people see that they have value. I love learning and information, sometimes even just for the sake of new information. Weird, I know. I am passionate and stubborn and feisty...and am okay, really okay, with that. I love cooking and share that as an act of care. I am at home when I can be hospitable, both with my home and with my self. I love to be creative, seeing the big picture and finding ways to make the details match, finding new and innovative ways to accomplish old things. I need to achieve goals, big and small. I need freedom but within the safety of healthy community. I am unique and need to be able to give freely of who I am for the sake of the Kingdom.

I have no idea what comes next. I have some thoughts on what I want to be doing next. I want to be working with people, especially young people. I want to be able to invest in lives and share what God has been teaching me. I got to speak (surprise!) at DVM teen camp the week that I was out there and was able to share much of my story. I was humbled to see the reaction of the campers and realize how much of what God has brought me through he is continuing to redeem as I share it with others. I want to be able to take care of myself, both physically and emotionally. I want to do my part to live in a place of wholeness, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I want to be challenged. I want to be creative. I want more...and I think it's coming.

I know, too, that my time with the fairs will give me a chance to test some things about myself. Teaching. Public Speaking. Leading. I'm looking forward to it. The thing that's exciting me the most is the chance to be on the fairs without the responsibility of representing a school. I am there for the recruiters - to encourage, lift up and share what I've learned with my peers. That makes me excited.

God has surprised me in the way he works. First, I feel completely content, if not excited. I tend to analyze a lot. I'm not a big fan of big decisions...I sometimes deal with buyers remorse...but not here. I feel really excited about what God is going to do. There's things I'll miss. I know I'm going to miss my students, my kids, like crazy. As much as I have impacted them, they have impacted me ten-fold. They have been my friends and my teachers. I trust God to take care of this, too, and anticipate how He will.

I'm finding contentment.

I know my personality. I know that I'm a bit of a control freak. I understand that. I also understand, with that in mind, that a big change like this without a full plan in place (read, 5 year plan!) would normally freak me right out. Normally. In this, however, I have found peace. I can't say there's not moments of fear but my state of being has, and I pray will continue to be, one of peace, rest and anticipation.

Last thing: I've been reading Jeremiah. Not the most uplifting book through the whole thing but there's nuggets, for sure. Anyway, back to Jeremiah 29:11 "for I know the plans I have for you..." What's been exciting for me is putting that oft quoted verse in context. Here's a group of people that did anything but seek God and got lost into exile for it but God's still got plans for them. He says "seek me and you will find me when you seem me with your whole heart." That's what God wants from me, from us. Seek him. His plan is to be friends with us. He wants me to choose Him too. That's when he promises to restore the Israelites from captivity. That's when He plans to restore and prosper. And so I choose to seek him, not for the rewards of prosperity but for the reward of being a friend of God.

A friend of mine keeps reminding me to enjoy the process...I'm starting to...and trying to.

As transition comes, I'm trying to embrace it. I want to stand strong as the winds of change blow. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, I choose to trust that my foundation is sure and move forward with confidence that the God who has been faithful all through Scripture, all through history, and who knit me together in my mother's womb will continue to be faithful yesterday, today and forever. I'm in good hands.


''' said...

Praying for you Stacey...

Sheryl said...

Hey Stacey! It's exciting to hear how things are going! I'm a big fan of change (sometimes I like to change things too much) but it sounds like God is really moving in your life and leading you to something even better than your community at ABC! I'm looking forward to seeing you on tour!