Saturday, April 4, 2015

Awkward Transitions

Sweet and Innocent, Innocent.
- Photo credit to the one and only Porsche Dobinson
Awkward Transitions.
·         Learning to drive a car.
·         A friendship that turns into a first date.
·         Matching clothes with your sister(s).
·         High School…all of it.
·         Puberty.
·         Moving across the globe.
·         Living. Working. Breathing. Eating. With the same people that are not only your coworkers but also your best friends and your siblings in Christ.
·         Saying goodbye to long term friends.

All of these things and more are under the simple phrase of “awkward transitions”, because that is what life is made up of. Many little awkward transitions.

The dictionary definition of transition is: a passage from one stage, state, subject, or place from another.

Coming to a place in life. Where you will have to go through a passage or a change in scenery it is bound to happen to all of us at some point.

This week I have shared a little bit of my testimony with everyone about how I made my way back to Uganda and how it was completely God ordained. I remember getting back to the states after I came home from 6 months in Uganda in 2013. (September 2013- February 2014). I was ready to get going on University and had a deferred acceptance to my dream school. I was getting back into a routine at home and meeting up with friends and family for coffee. Most of the time it ended up being the Coffee Oasis in Port Orchard. I got a chai tea latte and BLT on sourdough every time I went. I just didn’t feel settled in my spirit and just attributed it to my experiences in Uganda. It was more. So much more. I just didn’t know it yet. One rainy Port Orchard morning I got a text from my sister, Megan- she wanted to get together for coffee of course at CO. She told me how I had not been myself lately and she really encouraged that I consider returning to Uganda. I hadn’t even considered it previously. I was going to go to school immediately. I was ready and prepared to get going on working towards the career path that I had chosen. Key word…I.  I secretly began praying about it, that God would reveal what HE wanted for my life and that he would make it obvious…he didn’t. I had my parents and a few of my biggest encouragers praying for this decision. I came to an awkward transition at this time, a fork in the road. I felt like God was leading me in three different directions which is so cool because 3 is such a biblical number between the trinity, raising on the third  day, and peter denying Christ and many other times.  a) I could stay at home and go to community college and be involved in student ministry with Jr. High age. I was teaching a 5th and 6th grade Sunday school class and God was teaching me so much through my kiddos in that class, b) I could grab that deferred acceptance, move to Phoenix and start the college life or c) I could go back to Uganda and continue to serve and give selflessly. All three are good. All three can be used to glorify God. I had peace knowing that He COULD use me but I just wanted a sign. That’s when I really felt God giving me a nudge in the right direction….

·         I was teaching about free will to my Sunday School class and I got an idea or the Lord really gave it to me I should say. (I am pretty sure everyone in Africa knows me by this analogy) It isn’t a perfect analogy, but I am a visual learner- so it really brings things into a good perspective. Anyway, I brought a real life bird into the classroom and it was in a cage. I asked the kids if this bird had free will, at first they all said no because it was stuck in a cage. Then I challenged them with asking them if the bird could get food? Sit on a choice of two different perches? Play with the toys in the cage? Use the bathroom? All the answers to these questions were ‘YES’. This was a great example of the free will that God gives us. Of course He already knows how we are going to react and what decision we are going to make. But I boldly believe that God gives us a choice. The cage is representative of God’s grace and protection. He protects us from the things we cannot see and that are out of our line of site. The unknown.

When I finally made the decision to come back to Africa, there was no fanfare or a 100% sign of confirmation right away. The Lord definitely honored my decision through the support of my friends and home church. He allowed people and encouragements into my life to let me know and assure me that He was going to use me and in a BIG way. He has taught me so much through my friendships here and just the importance of boundaries and learning to say ‘No’ to things that may be overwhelming at times. He has allowed some of those same young adults from my Sunday School class to reach out to me and tell me how excited they are to be following God’s will. After coming here and seeing what God is doing in my life I DON’T WANT YOU TO COME TO AFRICA. Okay, well I guess that is not true because I would be thrilled if you came to see me and seeing God’s ministry here. But truly all I want for the young people, all I want to see in this next generation… I want them to make bold decisions that are God ordained. Many parents might not agree with this next statement, but I am going to say it anyway. Maybe school is not for you. You don’t have to do what everyone else does because society says that is what comes next. If it is God’s will for you to go then go. My biggest challenge to you is:  are you in God’s will for your life? Are your decisions based off of what God wants for you? Are you leading by example in every area of your life? Are you making BOLD decisions? Are you in the middle of an awkward transition? Sometimes the Lord speaks loudest through those times and sometimes he remains silent.

As time is slipping through my fingers and as my two year commitment continues to shorten, I am beginning to think of where will God send me next? What is His purpose and His plan? And again I feel like 3 different options have come up. I am not going to share them with you quite yet because I am still in deliberation with the Lord and in persistent prayer about what His will is.

Will you commit to praying for me? Pray that the Lord will make Himself known in all of the awkward transitions and that I would be willing to go where He leads. Pray that satan will not be able to steal my joy and that I will choose joy every day not because I have to, but because I am genuinely happy/ content with where the Lord has brought me.

By the way thank you to those of you who have participated in the CRCC Awana penny war. I am so blessed and remember when I was a kid and I would get so competitive and try to beat the boys by bringing in a lot of pennies from and old water jug that my dad kept hidden in the closet. I never could have imagined that I would be on the other end of that penny and being one of the people receiving this huge blessing. It just made me start to think that one of the young children in that bible club could  grow up to be and adult that gets to receive such a blessing because they remembered what God has done for them and they will be living a life according to God’s purposes. Never underestimate the power of God. I am a bit partial towards Awana as it was on my way there that I received Christ when I was a kid.