I will admit it. While I like to think of myself as intelligent and articulate (and arrogant), I can truly be as dumb as a rock sometimes. As dense as pea soup. As thick as the dust on my TV.
Right now is one of those times.
As some of you know, I am eagerly looking forward to a trip to Charlotte, NC next week. For so many different reasons, a mixed bag really, of reasons.
First and foremost, I’ll be placing myself in a rigorous academic and personal setting, testing and interviewing for admittance to a graduate degree program at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. If I am completely honest, my soul has fairly soared this week at the thought of being granted such a gift from God as to be able to attend seminary and achieve a dual degree–MDiv and MACC. In my mind, a huge step forward in what has felt like a slow, laborious process of walking and stumbling, of running and falling. I am trying to be temperate in my eagerness, but my soul and my mind have been captured by the idea of this academic and spiritual pursuit that I am praying I’ll be allowed to embark upon. There is little chance that I won’t be hugely disappointed, if I am not accepted into this program, though I continue to preach to myself and probably should be asking God to help me dial back this overwhelming desire of my soul.
Second, I am eager for the trip. For time in the car. To think. To pray. To study. To sleep. (Not while driving of course). I’ve been able to build in an extra night at the front end of the trip to take some time to do all these things. The back end of the trip will be daunting, as I will be rushing to return home immediately following a full day of interviewing and testing. But the front of the trip, I am ready to go. I am ready to breathe. I am eager for clarity, eager to write, eager to study, eager to sleep, to rest, to think.
Third, I am looking forward to seeing friends that live in that area or who just happen to also be traveling to the Charlotte area the very same week I am there. That is a gift. I look forward to time to visit, to catch up, to enjoy each other’s company on Monday.
I have been gifted with a small group of friends that God has placed in my life, that I have trusted to advise me in the process of putting my life back together. This has been no small gift. There have been times that my thinking has been so muddled, that if it were not for their assistance in thinking and at times practically shoving me forward, mentally and spiritually, I would have been paralyzed and completely unsure of what to do next.
Sometimes what they have to say, I don’t want to hear. But I do try to listen; o, how I try to really listen. Particularly when they echo one another.
Such is the case today.
I have had three–Three! of my friends and trusted advisors say to me or pray for me, that I would not lose sight of today. And, along that same theme, that I would not wait to engage God until I am on my trip, but rather that I would engage God immediately, something that I have been putting off. Oh, I’ve been checking off the disciplines, and I have engaged in real intercessory prayer. But I have told God I would wait to speak to him about my soul and my mind, until my trip. Typical, stubborn Shelly.
So what is right in front of me? What is it that I’m not seeing? It is hard to speak of such things truthfully without getting stirred up, but my kids are right in front of me today. They need me today. They need me tomorrow. They even need me when I am on my trip. My jobs of working at Lifeway and substitute teaching are right in front of me. Worship, real worship, is right in front of me on Sunday morning. And my God and my Jesus are not waiting for me in Charlotte. In fact, my God is not waiting at all, He has probably been trying to get my attention since I received the news about this trip and my soul and mind took off racing.
Is this easy? No, because I am nothing if not stubborn. Even as I write this I am struggling to live today. I am tired. I am tired. I am tired. But I am going to try hard this afternoon to put all my effort into parenting the best way I know how. I am going to put all my effort into getting scripture into people’s hands tonight as I work at Lifeway and teaching the rest of the week. And, oh my soul, I want to wake up Sunday morning ready to worship God, real worship, with my Seaford church family–and friends who will be visiting from Hawaii that morning– who love me right in this moment. I do not want to take that for granted.
I’m hoping to update this blog over the next 7 days as honestly and with as much clarity as possible, as I walk through the days ahead. I am not one that often asks for prayer. I am hesitant to do so even now. But I would be so grateful if, as you read this, you will pray with me that I will continue to see what is right in front of me.