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today i asked a bunch of people to be praying for me because i’m just having a hard time adjusting to the newness of a new town, not having my best friends right there by my side to grab coffee, trying to make new friends, trying to juggle a relationship and sort it out, and then try to focus on and pursue God. it’s quite a task, and one i feel like i’ve been garbling of late.

so in the tradition of james 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective,” i asked and even though things are still up in the air, i do feel better about them. i do feel that peace eeking in and settling my soul, bit by bit.

i’m just so tired of the topsy-turvy nature of things, from feeling God’s love and blessings rain down and then be bombarded by questions and hardships. i know that’s the nature of life and not God, but it’s really a drag. sorry–that’s just me being honest!

anyway, here are some verses that some very intelligent and wise and God-loving ladies have sent me today. perhaps they’ll speak to you, too:

Proverbs 25:2 

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
       to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

Jeremiah 15:16

Your words are what sustain me, they bring me the greatest joy and have become my heart’s delight.

Proverbs 16:9

In his heart a man plans his course,
       but the LORD determines his steps.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Luke 12:32

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Psalm 91

 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
       will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]

 2 I will say [b] of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
       my God, in whom I trust.”

 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
       and from the deadly pestilence.

 4 He will cover you with his feathers,
       and under his wings you will find refuge;
       his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

 5 You will not fear the terror of night,
       nor the arrow that flies by day,

 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
       nor the plague that destroys at midday.

 7 A thousand may fall at your side,
       ten thousand at your right hand,
       but it will not come near you.

 8 You will only observe with your eyes
       and see the punishment of the wicked.

 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
       even the LORD, who is my refuge-

 10 then no harm will befall you,
       no disaster will come near your tent.

 11 For he will command his angels concerning you
       to guard you in all your ways;

 12 they will lift you up in their hands,
       so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
       you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
       I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
       I will be with him in trouble,
       I will deliver him and honor him.

 16 With long life will I satisfy him
       and show him my salvation.”

are you still there? do you still think to stop by, despite the fact that every time you have over the past month, it’s been desolate and dusty?

 

this past month has been nothing less than a whirlwind, as nothing in my life has gone unchanged. from my location to my job to my friends to my calendar to my love life, everything’s completely different. part of that is exciting (i’ll let you guess what part that is!) and part of it is terrifying.

 

last week, when i’d just started the new job and i was only days into my new life here in grand rapids, i got overwhelmed with being homesick and questioning the decision i’d made to move here. i wondered if this was really where i was supposed to be, because it didn’t feel good and things were hard. i moved here for community, and i didn’t feel that swaddling me like it did in cincinnati. i wasn’t finding myself surrounded by inspiring, on-fire-for-God people like i’d hoped and prayed. i was having a hard time adjusting to my new job and all the new demands and figuring out whether i’m good enough at it.

 

in short, i was doubting that God had really brought me here (had i been tricked or led astray?) and if he had, i was rushing God to fulfill those promises. i cried a lot about it. then i started reading this book that Michael and I are going through together (like our own two-person book club, which i absolutely love!) called anonymous. i posted about it on here before, but–because God is always and forever so good–it happened to be that the part i was at in that moment of distress and questioning, was exactly what i needed to hear.

 

i was reading about Jesus’ temptation in the desert and how the devil first tempted him by appealing to his appetite. the book points out how food and eating is a good and natural longing. but it turned into a temptation, a lure to disobey God because Jesus was in the midst of fasting and was waiting on God until he finished. though hunger is not innately a sin, when we rush past God to grab at it, it can become one. that’s exactly what i was doing: wanting a godly community and wanting to be fulfilled by my job are both good desires. and i believe they’re both desires God wants to fulfill–but that’s going to be in His own time, not in mine. for now, while i’m waiting on those answers, i must allow Him to be enough, rather than rush past Him onto His provisions and creations and blessings.

 

it makes me disappointed in myself how i can treat Him that way and forget His goodness and all the ways He’s blessed me and answered me so many times in the past. but i know that’s what makes me human. that’s why the Old Testament is so full of phrases like “God of Israel” and “God of Jacob” and “God of Abraham”–because we constantly have to be reminded of what God’s done for us in the past and what he’s promised to bring about in the future.

 

so now things are good. i’m trying to be patient and allow God to work and lead and guide me as those promises come to pass. i’m trying not to get distracted from the reason he brought me here. i’m trying to keep the focus on him and not on my schedule or my to-do list. that’s been the hardest part, hands down. i really need to watch how i spend my time and make sure he’s getting the chunk he deserves. so if you can be praying for that for me, i’d really appreciate it.

no time to spare at all but…

today was my last day at HOW.
last night, my coworkers threw me a “Carmen’s Sandwitch Party” (yes, we edit and spellcheck for a living, and that was totally by accident!), which was really, really sweet and totally touched my heart. i’ll have to show you the little plaque they gave me and the goodbye memory book they made.

and now i’m off to the airport. to go to atlanta. to see michael.

it couldn’t be more bittersweet if i tried! i feel like the pages are turning right now, and the next chapter happens right here, right now. here’s to the future!

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