My goal in starting a blog, was to write a new one once a week. I am strongly driven by goals. I love having something that I am working towards (like training for the half marathon that I just ran). It motivates me. However, like the name of this blog, for the last 2 months I was unavailable to even keep up with my own blog. Life has been a whirlwind. At the end of August I moved back to Washington. I had almost given up on that dream. With all my efforts, it started to look like that just was not what God had in mind for me.
But one day in the middle of August, I was lying on my couch praying. I was in a bit of a mental fog because I was fasting from food and water for the ultrasound on stomach that I was going to have that morning. God says fast and pray. I wonder, does fasting for medical reasons count? It must but I don’t even know if you could count my prayer as a prayer. It was more of a half a thought. I asked God to move mountains on my behalf. Later that day I got a message from the Principle at the school in Washington that I worked at when I lived there. She asked me if I could teach anything what it would be. That was easy! I immediately told her kindergarten! Ding! Ding Ding! Apparently that was the right answer. She had me in mind for a kindergarten teacher position that opened up at the school. Why she didn’t say that first, I don’t know.
There were other applicants and people who she interviewed. She told me that they had the education and would probably make great teacher but she wanted me because she had seen my attitude and character. She told me that when I worked at the preschool, she saw me come into work every day with joy because I was doing what I believed I was made to be doing. To some, they may not consider it that great of a job but to me it was. When you are doing what God makes you for, how could it be anything but a high calling? I had to abandon my calling for a time while my family, their health, and my sister’s wedding was my ministry. God must have honored my obedience because he blessed me with the kindergarten teacher position.
So, the Principle offered me the job. I gave my notice at my job in Reno and in less than 2 weeks I was packed up and moving back to Washington. It was so fast and there was little time. The weekend before the move I was out of town running my first half marathon. That alone was an amazing experience and deserves its own blog entry. However, being away the weekend before moving contributed to the rushed feelings.
It has been two months since my return to my beloved Pacific Northwest. Nevada will always be home but this place is the home that I made for myself. God has blessed me more than I asked for with my new job. I have more than I asked for. I rent a room. I don’t have much in way of things but I have much in that I am blessed to live here, live out the “Alina” shaped job that I have and I am surrounded by people who are family to me. God has been so good. He is faithful! In this new season of my life I have a thankful spirit that is completely overwhelmed but what God has done. God created me with a purpose and I knew that he would work to bring about that purpose. If I ever forget that God sees me or hears my prayer, I will remember that even when there appears to be a lack of movement, doesn’t not mean things are not happening out of my view.
I could not get to sleep last night. It was windy, and the wind was blowing the bush outside my window around. The bush kept scratching the glass of the window. It was driving me nuts. I prayed to God that it would stop. It didn’t. So, in my Wonder Woman nighty I darted outside to break that nasty branch off from the rest of the bush! Finally, relief!
This incident reminded me of the Tuesday after I moved back to Reno. I had not yet started my new job. I was enjoying a day at home unpacking. It was nice to have a slow pace morning. I hadn’t even changed out of my pajamas yet. That is really unlike me. I am usually up hours before to go to the gym. Still sporting my Justice League P. J’s, I went outside to take care of the trash. When I went to go back inside I realized that I was locked out! My keys were inside and my phone was in the kitchen playing the Pandora app. Sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to. Getting locked out of the house was one of those moments. No problem, I decided to walk to where my sister works (only a couple of miles away). I could get the house key from her and drive it back to her after I got back in. So, off I went. I bet I looked cute in my night gown with Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman on the front of it. I also was wearing slippers, but my adventure got even better when I ran into a guy, that in the past had wanted to date me. I was never interested in him. He looked at me and laughed. Then he asked what I was doing. I simply explained that I was getting the keys from my sister. This was not how I planned my morning. I got the keys and her boss kindly drove me back home.
Currently my life feels like I’m locked outside. I feel stuck. As I am now adjusting to life after my sister’s wedding, it is weird. I live with my parents and my sister is a married woman. I live here when I’d rather be in Washington. I want to be doing something else with my life. I feel like I am wasting the days that I have been given. I feel frustrated. Where is my joy? It’s not fair to fake it. I’m not one to complain. I don’t want to complain about my life. When I really think about it, out of the things that I don’t like are many blessings. Living with my parents isn’t bad. It’s just not what I want. My job isn’t bad. It’s just not what I want. I want God to do something about my life. I want to have joy in all of this. It’s hard. I’m sitting thinking, “Wait! This isn’t what my life was supposed to look like at this point.” Something must be wrong!
There are just times in life that don’t make sense. This is a broken world. We are broken people. Hence, the situations in life that we face are marked with brokenness. That does not mean that joy within them is impossible. I currently can’t say that I’m super joyful about any of this. My favorite word is “Joy!” That is what I am known as, as a joyful person. When people describe me that is a word that is often used. I want to continue to be identified with joy but struggle is real. I don’t want to dismiss it and act like I’m happy with things when I am not. A friend used the word wrestle to describe where she is at. I realized that word fits my plight as well. I have been learning about the value of wrestling with where I’m at. It’s a place where God can teach me and help me through. It’s hard work, but good work. It hopefully will bring maturity in my life. This attitude has brought joy into my struggle.
My sister’s wedding is this Saturday. In preparation for the big day, My twin and I had a sister date last night and got our nails done. I’m not in the habit of getting my nails done. I’m too cheap to pay for that service but this seemed like an appropriate occasion to get my nails polished. The lady who did my nails was excited to hear that we are twins. However, almost as soon as she expressed her excitement, the statement about our size difference came out of her mouth. “You’re twins! But you’re bigger than she is?” Yes, I am, and I have spent my whole life being asked why that is the case. Well, there is a God who created me in my mother’s womb and before time began determined how I would be formed. I did not tell her that but just smiled and nodded. God did not ask me how I would feel about being the bigger twin. I trust that he knew what he was doing when he set my growth chart into motion. I trust that there is a reason for why he made me the way he did (haven’t figured out why yet but trusting that there is a reason).
Matthew 6:27 tells me that worrying can not add a single inch to my height. I say, “Praise God, because I don’t need any more inches.” I am 5’11” and with the right shoes I might as well be 6’. The notion that worrying could make one taller is absurd. Of course, a person has little control over how tall they will be. This statement points out how ridiculous it is to worry about things that you can’t control. Its unproductive. What does it accomplish? Nothing!
As I think about this, I realize that worry also shows a lack of trust. Sometimes, it feels like there ae bigger things that God would be concerned about other than the areas of my life that I don’t understand. Things like the job that I have right now even though I’m educated in the Bible and Early Childhood Education or my living situation when I’d rather be in Washington. These are details of my life. The God who created me must also care about these details. It mattered enough to him and his plan for me to include how tall I would be. It seems like a small detail but having spent my whole life with my sister and my height being a topic for conversation from even strangers, leads me to think that it is important God and there is a reason. Likewise, the different directions that our lives are taking right now are also part of the plan that the God who created me has for me. So, worrying about this stuff will prove to be unproductive. It’s not always easy to do but I am going to trust that God is working in my life. I’m here for his service and I am certainly god created me with plan for my life and he knows every aspect of my life.
“Be Brave! Choose Joy!” Those are the words that are written inside of a red baseball cap that my good friend from Washington gave me as going away gift. In smaller print she also wrote “You are braver and stronger than you think.” On the outside of the hat it says, “Washington” with a pine tree in place of the “t” in the word. I love this hat. I wear it all the time and am convinced that it is one accessory that goes with everything. I tell me sister that I am going to wear it with my bridesmaid dress at her wedding. She just gives me a look that communicates her lack of belief in that statement. Oh! But I’m serious (maybe)! This hat is my crown and constant reminder to be brave and to choose joy. Joy is my favorite word but lately in this season of my life it seems hard to have joy when I do not like so many of the things that are happening in my life. But I made my choices. Was it not me that decided to move to Washington and me that decided to move back. It is also me that is choosing to move back into my parent’s house. All these decisions I took my time making and committed them to prayer. Sometimes we do things not because they are easy but because they are the right thing to do. I can find joy in my choices by knowing that I am doing the right thing.
However, doing the right thing does not always take away the pain that the reality of the situation brings. This weekend especially was difficult. I completed moving all my things and my furniture over to my parent’s house. My sister’s soon to be husband was so good and used his truck to move my stuff. I told him that in exchange for his help that I will not live with the two of them after they are married. He appreciates that. After everything was moved, I looked at my empty room and said goodbye to the life I knew with my sissy. A life that we shared in that house for many years together. Goodbyes are hard. I do not like the way this feels. Be brave and choose joy! I remind myself of that.
Though my choices were made due to things that were out of my control, my choices were my own. My attitude should not be one of bitterness or self-pity. Moving forward, I want to be brave even though I do not know how long this season will be or what is instore for me. I want to have joy in my grief even though goodbyes are hard I know that my joy comes from God and He is with me. I’m waiting and asking that His hand moves in life. He has been faithful and will continue to be. I know this. In that there is joy and in Him I am brave.