Lord, where are you goin’ with this?

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!)

The Lord alone knows what the future has in store.  I’ve been finding verses that I feel the Lord has been speaking to me through lately and writing them on index cards so I have them with me to look at again and again.  Verses that calm worry (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 6:34), calm chaos (Psalm 46:10a, Psalm 37:7a), encourage perseverance because He is with me (2 Chronicles 32:7, Exodus 14:14, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6), command me to love him (Joshua 24:15b, Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and tell me that he’s got it (2 Corinthians 12:9).  These are only a few verses I read often to calm me and remind me that the Lord is near.

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? 

 

Anna 🙂

A Little Encouragement about Encouragement!

Encourage: verb. 1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence: She could hear me from the bleachers as I encouraged the runner with obnoxious shouts.  2. to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.: Sometimes, I write “happy-fun-notes” to encourage my friends. 3. to promote, advance, or foster: When she is up to no good, laughter only encourages her.

 

So, I’d been feeling down earlier this summer, and my feelings of lowness keep trying to come back.  But stealthily, God has been encouraging me in so many different ways, as he has this wonderful tendency to do when we need it.  Last night (at an hour I so should have been asleep), I looked up “encourage” in the Bible.  It was awesome!  Here are some of the things I learned:

God has given us eternal encouragement by grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16), and continues to supply us with endurance and encouragement (Rom 15:5)!  He grants us this encouragement that we might be toward each other how Christ is toward us.  Because, if you remember, the goal, as a Christian, is to be more like Christ (duh).  But don’t worry, if you feel like you just can’t, God is right there to pick you up, wrap his arm around your shoulders, and encourage you!

When we find a community of believers, we are to be encouraged by each other’s faith (Romans 1:12).  This does not mean go to church and look at the cool shoes your neighbor is wearing or talk about the latest Olympic gold the US brought in.  It’s about finding a community and talking about God with each other, what he’s been doing in your life and what he’s been doing in theirs.  These communities don’t have to be just church or Christian organizations on your campus, but authentic friendships.  And yes, it is so encouraging!

In Paul’s letters to the churches, he continues to encourage them and tells them to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  In conjunction to the one before, you may build someone up by seeing other things that God is doing in them and through them that they may not see.  Or you may have found a Word that pertains to another person’s life at the given moment.  When you share it with them, God uses it to encourage!  It’s awesome how all these bolded statements tie together.  But I’m not done yet!

God uses OTHERS to encourage us and uses US to encourage them!  All through the book of Acts, the apostles traveled, visiting churches they had at one time planted or found and ENCOURAGED them.  Paul does this in his letters, as well.  Others encourage us all the time, whether it’s a compliment for practicing that week (which encourages practicing next week) or applause at the end of a performance (encouraging the conductor to take too many bows to acknowledge his orchestra or band or just encouraging the players that they really did a great job).  The audience cheers during sporting events and friends in the back seat encourage you to try and make a light as it’s turning yellow.  This is kind of a no-brainer, but it still needs to be said.  =)

Encouragement is a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8).  That doesn’t mean that you can’t encourage if you don’t have this gift.  It just means that some do it more than others effectively?  Not quite sure how to say that nicely.  This website has a spiritual gifts test and explains the different spiritual gifts there are.  They explain encouragement:

Encouragement (Speaking Gift) – The special ability God gives some to offer comfort, words of encouragement, hope, and reassurance to discouraged, weak, or troubled Christians in such a way that they are consoled. People with this gift: – come to the side of those who are discouraged to reassure them and give them hope – emphasize God’s promises and confidence in his will.

And lastly, the Word encourages (2 Timothy 4:2)!  This is really awesome, and God uses this LOTS.  My personal encouraging verses/passages right now include: Joshua1:9, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Jeremiah 29:11-14a, and Philippians 4:13.  Any verse cam speak words of encouragement to me if the timing is right (which, thanks to God, the timing’s usually perfect)!

God never ceases to encourage us.  He sent Christ, his only Son to die for us, that we may have eternal life!  What is more encouraging to live this life than the promise we’ll be with God in paradise eternally?  His riches and promises as we live in this world are encouraging and never-ceasing.  His wondrous deeds and the way he works so mysteriously are encouraging!  You just have to see it sometimes.  How has God encouraged you recently?  Are there any encouraging Bible verses that would go on your list of encouragement to look back on?

 

Smiling and being encouraged by all God’s encouragement, Anna =)^2