So, I’ve been sitting at home, back in Kentucky, since April. I have checked and double checked our baby registry. I have been Bible art journaling. Even though I don’t have a lot of energy to do so, I have tried to help out around the house as I can. And yesterday, I realized. Why am I not writing? Why am I not playing piano every day? These two activities are ones that I LOVE; have much finger dexterity in February or March, but I have it back now! Why is the child in my womb not hearing her mommy play music all the time? Why has my creative slow simply stopped?
So, I am re-discovering ANNA. I have made a commitment to write and play the piano, 30 minutes a day each. I have an author friend who was starting to write a book in October or November, and she published it a few weeks ago. Why do I drag my stinkin’ feet every time I close in on a goal of mine? Yeah, the first book I self-published, I went about it all wrong. But that doesn’t mean I should STOP. I had to cancel piano lessons in January, because of my relapse, which led me to live in Minnesota for a few months while everything was figured out health-wise. But I have heard interest of new students—why have I not been pursuing them super hard? Um, if I leave it all up to them, they won’t be taught!
In the next year, I plan to WRITE. I plan to self-publish more books that I think my audience will enjoy. Books that have been cooking in my head for YEARS, that simply need to be refined and rewritten. I didn’t even sleep very much last night, because my brain was remembering all the things I have wanted to do for so long. I have two months until baby comes. Then, even though I’ll be exhausted, I will still be at home. Even if my body can’t do everything I want it to when I want it to, I can WRITE. I can PLAY. So, what am I waiting for? I even got up at 6am this morning because I couldn’t wait. (I’ll probably crash in a few hours, but hey, I’m up now!)
Hope: noun (first definition) the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
I took a quiz on Facebook today that told me in five simple questions what my happy word is, and it gave me HOPE. Normally, I take those Facebook quizzes for funsies and just laugh at the result. But I liked the description on this one: “You refuse to give up on anyone, including yourself. You see the best in others. You think happiness should be shared. You spread your message of optimism as much as possible. You will keep believing when everyone else has stopped. You think good will always prevail in the end. You believe if we trusted each other more, the world would be a better place. All we need is a little hope.”
I downloaded “e-sword” (basically, a really neat tool for studying the Bible in-depth, even though at first it looks like an old, ’90s computer program or something), and in the KJV, I looked up “hope” and got 130 matches. It’s interesting that modern translations substitute other words like “wait” or something. But the Hebrew dictionary entry for “hope” is this: “tiqvâh tik-vaw’ From qâvâh; literally a cord (as an attachment ); figuratively expectancy: – expectation ([-ted]), hope, live, thing that I long for.”
The word hope gives joy and expectancy. In the trinity, who is continually at work here in ways we can’t see; in the physical return of Christ. In each other. I do believe in sharing happiness with others. Smiles are contagious, you know. I can’t be in the doldrums longer than I want to because of my optimism (even before I was on anti-depressants and cried a lot and freaked….I still smiled, which is kind of weird when I think about it now). Hope is the word that was on those red rubber bracelets before the National MS Society decided that orange was a better color for their logo. Hope for a cure of MS and a better tomorrow. I have dreams and hopes for myself and for the way things will be. I hope to become an author (now with the name “Anna E. Meyer” instead of Olson, as I formerly wrote of often…smiley face). I hope to teach others of the subjects that I love—of music and playing it; of Christ and the many things I’ve learned and want to pass on; of simply living a hope-filled and a Christ-filled life. Because Christ is hope. He is my hope and the reason for my continued smile. It is he whom I trust, and my Minnesota-roots that have taught me to trust others, as well.
There is always a reason for hope. Even when life feels down or bad things happen, God is there. There is a silver lining. Hopes of mine have already become realities: my hope of a husband who loves me for me (well, that’s a month away still, but he loves me for me even now); my hope of writing for an audience (thanks to this blog and readers like you for my start), and my hope of a future, even with this blasted MS. I graduated college in 4 ½ years. I’m currently living in an apartment with three other roommates whom I love like sisters. And I’m getting married in a month! God is good.
What are your hopes? Have you seen hopes become realities?
Music. Teaching. Writing. Pastoral Care. All my life, I have been led in these directions. I am at a loss. You know when I said, “This is the first time in my life I have no idea what’s happening in the future and I’m okay with it”? Well, those words are coming back to bite me, because I am not necessarily okay with it anymore. I just want to know what I’m going to be doing so that I can focus on that and refresh or gain even more knowledge in that area. I didn’t pass my Praxis education tests to get the score for Kentucky, and I’ve heard from a few different sources about this Christian writer’s conference in Michigan in less than a month. Do I stop looking for teaching jobs and write more? I honestly didn’t even know where in the Word to turn to, so I googled the phrases, “God’s will + circumstances” to see what I’d get. I came across a few awesome articles/blogs. One of them told me to ask myself these questions: “Where has God been leading us? Has He been doing something even when we couldn’t recognize it? In the light of all God has been doing for us, does what we think we hear God saying through our circumstances make sense?” (Edmondson). The thing is, God has been leading me toward all four things I started out this post with. Even when I don’t see it, I look back and realize he has been making me better at those four things. And now I don’t know what circumstances are saying, because anything makes sense right now.
What I do know is that God has been making it very clear to both Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I that he has a plan for us, and that we are to be in Pikeville, Kentucky for a season. He has led us to that path in a way that one can’t question. This last week, Dr. Coyote, my parents, and me drove down to Pikeville (a 2 day drive from anywhere in the upper Midwest). It was great. We looked at our apartment that we had signed the lease on a month earlier (smiley face), D went and turned in some forms in person to the school, and I followed up on some job leads I had. Basically, there have been 3 music teachers hired in the last year, and unless any music teachers are married to a med student who will be moving on soon, there won’t be an opening anytime soon. But I picked up the sub application for two districts. And the newspaper, where I sent my resume the week before, was still in the process of looking at all the resumes that have come in. But the music store. The music store is looking to expand on the private lessons it offers to band students. There is a man who gives drum set lessons who would like to focus on something else, so I could potentially have his students. The owner of the store said we would stay in contact, and that they would probably be able to use me. So excited! I love giving lessons. I love having that relationship with a student and passing on knowledge and watching them grow! So, ideally, I could be almost-full-time giving lessons, and maybe I could write? That would be awesome. And while we were there, we also took in some of the sites and got a feel for the town where much of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud took place. (And I didn’t even really know about the Hatfield-McCoy feud. I do now!)
Dr. Wile E. Coyote told me that he thinks the Lord is leading me in 4 directions on purpose. I know God has been teaching me trust through every single thing he seems to be doing in my life, but this is another one of those things. He also tries my TEACHES ME patience every time I turn around, as well, smiley face.
Music, pastoral care, teaching, writing. I don’t really know what God has in store for these things, but I dream of a job where I can use all these things that the Lord has been preparing me for at once.
Do you look at verses for comfort or have some memorized to repeat to yourself when you need it? What are they? Does God talk to you through circumstances or does he sort of just leave you waiting and trusting until the almost-last-minute?
Change is freaky. In Deuteronomy, when Joshua is about to succeed Moses, the Israelites think so, too. I feel like at this stage in my life, I’m like Joshua. I’ve been learning and keeping my place in the background. Pastor Jason is even calling me his “apprentice” as I learn about the ministry of bringing church to nursing homes and being a leader in lining people up for this and that, as I plan to take this ministry to Kentucky next year. A couple weeks ago, I began worrying. But God’s like, “Um, no.” And led me to Deuteronomy 31. Moses is like, “I won’t be going any further with you. I’m such an old fart. But God will go ahead of you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of those enemies. God’s got this. The LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.” And then he summoned Josh, his “apprentice,” and said in front of all Israel: “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with these people into the land the LORD swore to their ancestors. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” All of Israel is really supportive, too. God has given them a new leader, and Joshua 1 is the big self-esteem boost for Josh. It says “be strong and courageous,” four times in just those 18 verses of chapter one.
I was also talking to my mother about Kentucky, and she told me that if I wasn’t supposed to be going, God would be closing doors. And some of the doors that have opened are just crazy. Like Dr. Wile E. Coyote’s mom’s co-worker’s family is all in the Pikeville, KY area, and most of them are teachers. Okay—that doesn’t just happen. And student teaching is going well. I will finish strong! Woo! How can I not, with God on my side? Also about that, the more I depend on him, the better my days go. Who would’a thunk?
Smiling a big ‘ole smile ‘cuz God is good and he is so great,
And here I thought the week before last was exhausting. By Friday, I usually have my lessons down. Sorry to the students I only see Monday and Tuesday? Especially that first class, man. I got observed twice this week. Basically, I need to practice giving lessons on Sunday, so that on Monday, BAM! I’m ready and rehearsed. I’m pretty much at the point where I’ve got to do that, but that’s okay. Friday was my best teaching day. And I’ve only got one week left! Better late than never? I’m a slower learner sometimes, because I’m stubborn, probably. This morning, I woke up at 6am (when my alarm goes off on school days) and was thinking of all sorts of possibilities for the lesson plans I’m working on today (that I actually started Saturday!). What is going on, you ask? It’s about time my brain catches up with where I’m supposed to be at. I creatively think a lot in the mornings. Thus being the reason I keep a notebook by my bed. Sometimes I write when I can’t sleep, too, but that has NOT been a problem since school started, especially in recent weeks. Last week at the elementary school! I feel horrible that I don’t know names well yet. But, I’ve learned, if I hear a name numerous times or mess up a name and ask the student to correct me, I don’t forget their names as fast. I also know the names of these identical twin first grade girls, and I know which is which based on their classmates (I finally had this straightened out in my head LAST week). I am excited and nervous to be starting band the week after next. As Mr. Fode was talking to me about where his passion was in teaching these kids, I remembered the original reason I had decided that I wanted to teach beginning band: so that early on, the students would fall in love with their instruments and be taught CORRECTLY so that reasons to want to quit band minimize in number. I was a band geek, and one of the only ones when I was in high school, I think. I was that kid that stayed after school to practice a part on the xylophone and took lessons as much as I could. Mr. Fode said that teaching elementary music, he as the teacher is the catalyst for the kids’ love of music. His job is to share his love of music so that the kids will love music, too. “If they don’t do band or choir, that’s not on me,” he told me. Also, if they maybe don’t have the best teacher in years to come, they may stick with something simply because they love the music. Ah, the music. I know church and public schools are separated, but there is no sound quite like that of a horn playing “How Great Thou Art” or a flute playing “This is My Father’s World.” A low brass instrument playing “What Wondrous Love is This”? Perhaps this is where this came from:
If I had a totally ideal job, it would be beginning band and some general music. It would include arranging hymns for high school students to play for their congregations. It would include writing fiction, devos, and articles that help point people to the hope of Christ. And I love working one-on-one with a student and guiding their learning. Be it a lesson or a discipleship time, I have been discovering how much I love that, too. Last Sunday, we were talking about how God wired each of us differently and for a purpose. Why do I want to do so much? Will I have opportunity to do all of it? I want to build relationships and point others to Christ through my work and my actions. I want to praise God with music and writing and building others up as the New Testament says so often to do. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 says, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” Ah, his encouragement is the best ever.
I have suddenly (like, over this last week) been worried that it’s going to be a lot harder to find a job than I think it will be. After teaching a few years, I’ll be hirable—you know, a young teacher with experience, but not too much (you don’t want to have to pay them MORE). But how can I get experience if nobody will hire me? Anyway, I handed that over to God. I’m trusting that I’ll have an awesome first job teaching, and I’m asking in faith that it will be in the same town Dr. Wile E. Coyote goes to school in. Which, breaking news, might possibly be somewhere in Kentucky that I can’t show you on a map (because I myself haven’t google earthed it—I just take other people’s word on it). Yeah, that means he got accepted there! Pretty sure I was way more excited that he got accepted than he was. Smiley face. Kentucky is a long ways from home, though. But all things are possible with God—Paul writes in Philippians that he has learned to be content with nothing or with plenty. Whichever, it’s possible with God. So I am ready to be content with whatever God has in store for me next year. He’s got my back, and with him whatever is to come will be possible. I may have stopped making complete sense. Whatever. It’s the beginning of another real long week that will go to fast and busily by.
So, that’s an update and a lot of chatter. Maybe that will be my title for this post. If you recognize it, than I probably used it. Goodness. You know that “may have stopped making complete sense” thing? It’s been like that a lot lately. I’m “normal” in the classroom, but otherwise it’s been one of those to-busy months. So (that’s my comfort word, I’ve learned)…yeah.