Jan 27, 2014

Knee-Deep in God's Grace

This has been a challenging couple of weeks since we got back up here. While we were in Florida, it was easy to forget my worries and just go with the sunshiney flow of life; but everything came back to me when we returned to Waukesha. At first I dealt with it by not dealing with it. I let my attitude turn into a sour mess, my emotions ran the gamut, and it wouldn't have taken much to push me over the edge.

Some of you know this, some of you might be surprised at my weirdness (or not... ya know), but when I'm upset or working out my frustrations, I clean. So in a fit of cleaning, I took out the trash and a smaller, but heavier, bag of papers from last semester that were just taking up space. I totally misjudged several things: the little bag is really heavy, the lid to the recycle dumpster was frozen shut, and I am a weakling who can't lift a heavy bag of papers over my head and into a dumpster that's frozen shut. As a result of trying to sling the bag into the dumpster, I slipped and landed right on my knee. Luckily my neighbor came out of the door at that point and pulled me out of the snow. 
It was at that point that I totally cracked. My knee was swollen and hurt (turns out it is just a bad sprain!), I was frustrated, stressed, and emotional. It seemed like one thing after another and I was so much more than done. I didn't want to write, because what if someone saw that I was having a hard time adjusting?! What if someone saw that I am an imperfect human being?! What right does the missionary lady have to feel far away from God when she lives at a Bible school?! 

We are blessed to have some amazing deans here, and the Dean of Marrieds came over that afternoon to bring me a big bag of ice for my knee and some much needed reality check encouragement. I was so worried about looking like I really wanted to be here right now. When I cracked and tearfully poured out my heart, my worries, and my frustrations to her, she smiled. What? She smiled, but not in a mocking or hurtful way, she smiled kindly and told me that if I wasn't having a hard time adjusting, that she would worry. She reminded me that I am human and that even when I don't feel like God is right here He is and I'm the one ignoring His presence, because He doesn't change: I do. Then she said that leaving home the first time is almost easier in hindsight, because there's a brand new and unknown adventure ahead; but when you leave home the next time, you know what's waiting for you at the other end, and that makes it a little bit harder. Needing time to adjust is totally normal. 
Suddenly I didn't feel like a freak anymore (despite my tear-filled eyes and splotchy red face). I felt like a child of God who had just forgotten who she was, who needed to be reminded that God is unchanging, and that being frustrated with life sometimes is okay. I can't even describe how light I felt after that, despite being chained to a chair with a bag of ice for the rest of the week.

I'm not saying that I'm 100% better; that I suddenly have a great attitude, and I really, really want to be here where the temperatures are in the negatives every day, I have to wear at least 5 layers every day, and I slip on every little snowflake and icicle everywhere everyday. But I am 100% sure that God has not changed, that He is using this to grow me, and that He can turn my frustrations and humanness into something beautiful. Ashes into crowns of beauty, right?

Everything can be an opportunity for growth, I think. This whole next year is going to be a time of growth for me, so here's your heads up that there is a rollercoaster of God's grace coming as He shows me time and time again that He is good and I am human. It helps knowing that I have you to read and pray for and with me as we discover our humanness, God's goodness and grace, and His amazing ability to provide in every situation. Thanks. 

Keep looking up, and have a great week!