(“Postulant’s Path” article for Grace Sheboygan’s August Angelus newsletter)
Two months. Six countries. Three thousand photos. Countless memories.
Now I am back in Virginia. I arrived less than a week ago and am attempting to adjust back to Eastern Standard Time living. There is a lot to process regarding what occurred over the past two months but I am thankful, first and foremost, for your prayers, love, and support. Last month, I wrote about asking, “How’d I get here?” This month, the question is “What’s next?”
It is often said that an experience like the one I’ve just had changes you forever. Only time will tell how long it will last, but forever might be a good guess since it affected me at the core of my being. I realized that, in my life, I’ve often been caught up in “how” or “why” something has happened in my life. Granted, it has also taught me to trust God with the details of the future. However, while in Iraq, I learned that I’ve been asking God the wrong question.
During our team Bible study on Luke 21:5-19 (in which Jesus describes the fall of the Temple), it struck me that the disciples ask Jesus “when” the destruction will take place and He answers them with “what” will happen. It made me consider how often I ask God one set of questions and He gives me an entirely different set of answers. It has made me consider asking better questions. “How’d this happen” and “why” are foregone conclusions since I am a child of God. The question at hand, “What next?”, relates to my role/our role in the movement of God’s Kingdom. As a child of God, my/our daily life/lives are part of God’s plan. God calls us from the future to the future…we just need to discover the way.
There are a lot of “what next” questions coming my way. It was very hard to leave Iraq and I am already making plans to go back. However, the current job at hand is my senior year at seminary. It is hard to believe that the third and final year is about to begin. This summer has made me even more anxious to finish this year strong so I get to the work that God has been calling me to. In addition to courses at VTS and field education at Georgetown University, this third year will also be filled with resume writing and applications and interviews. There will be much to discern this year. Besides the exams at school, there will also be General Ordination Exams to prepare for to be taken January 2-5.
Back on the home front, my renter is moving in August. I must discern if this is the time to put my house on the market or once again find a new renter. No matter what I decide, by June I will once again need to pack up my things and move them to “somewhere.” There is much to consider and many, many unanswered questions, including finances. God already knows what the future holds. I need to listen to the Spirit to discern what paths to take.
What I’ve learned so far about changing the focus of my questions for God is that the phrase I shared last month, “trust is a future word”, is still just as powerful. You see, while questioning “what next” I can ask questions that take me all the way to 2019 and beyond. It’s easy for each of us to come up with a million questions about the future. However, God gives me (and you) one day at a time. Today, I must get this article written and off to Sherry S. for the Angelus. I can no longer think about ALL of the things I’d like to say but I must allow God to guide my thoughts as to what to share. (Believe me, there is a lot!) Yet, I can’t help but think that the one thing we can all relate to is that sometimes it all l seems overwhelming. Sometimes we can drown in our unending list of questions for God. The words of Proverbs 3:5-6 keep playing over and over again in my mind: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” He shall direct my/our paths. It still means I need to lay the groundwork and prepare to look for the answers to questions, but I am only required to take each day as it comes and keep following where He leads me.
I am happy to report that “following” includes being led to Sheboygan at the end of August for a couple of days before the start of term. On Wednesday night, August 23rd, I’ll be at Grace to share my Middle East experience with you (though NOT all 3000 photos!). I look forward to seeing you all and hugging as many as will allow me to. I missed home a lot while abroad. Mostly because I was surrounded by so many people who were also missing their own homes. Your prayers are always appreciated and felt!
Blessings and prayers, Bobbi