This Valentine’s Day my husband and I took the day off to have a long Valentine’s date. What an amazing day! It was one for the books no doubt. Not long into our day date, the headlines hit about a mass shooting that took place at a Florida high school. What horrible news to read on such a special day.
Later that day my husband sat the kids down and began to talk to them about what had happened. I could hardly believe my ears, but we found ourselves asking the kids what their plan would be if they were in a life-threatening situation like a shooting. I don’t know if every parent anticipates the moment they’ll need to explain what to do if they encounter a school shooter, but when the moment comes, it’s surreal.
In my high school days the main issues on the table were teen pregnancy, gang violence, and drug prevention. School assemblies, guest speakers, celebrities, D.A.R.E officers, seemed like nearly everyone came together to help the issues. Today we face other tragedies like bullying and mass school shootings. I would never have believed this would be my world today, but here we are living in it.
I’m not here to bring you down or list arguments on gun violence prevention or whose fault it is when a tragedy to this magnitude has transpired, but what I will say is that I believe wholeheartedly that no matter the situation God is still watching over our children. We cannot control every situation. We cannot shield them from every evil. But we can put them in the hands of the best shepherd this world will ever know. This will probably be the shortest blog entry I’ve made to date. Honestly I am finding myself at a loss for words as I think about the 17 innocent lives that were senselessly taken just last week. All I can think about over and over is that internal knowledge that our lives are in His hands, and my children’s lives are is in His hands, and that’s the safest place to be.
John 16:33 (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
You’ve probably heard the phrase before, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I’ve always secretly thought of myself in this way. Of course instead of the name “Jack” I would interchange it for “Jill.” You see I’m not someone who has one thing that they love or a solitary thing that I’m passionate about. My passions spread all over the place. I would pray and pray, “Lord why couldn’t I have been a doctor? Lawyer? Teacher?” because you see those folks have one thing that they pursued higher education for, graduated, and did it. I’m not suggesting that they are by any means limited to that passion only, but they are more likely to function best in that vein. I mean it’s kind of cool to look back over my life and see all the areas of impact I’ve been blessed to have in various arenas, and I certainly have a story or one hundred to tell my future children and grandchildren. However the path has been a winding and sometimes frustrating one for me.
I didn’t set out to do many different things, and often dreamed that one thing could capture my heart and arrest my attention forever. At 37 years old I can tell you that has yet to happen at least in a less than broad way. Instead of beating myself up over it I’ve learned to harness it. I’ve also learned to be a great discerner of seasons and times. What I mean by that is I can accurately detect when a time frame is good to do something, and when that window of opportunity is justifiably closed. I can almost literally feel when it’s time to pull the plug, or when it’s best to begin. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1a ESV) It has helped so much in order to remain focused on whatever I am doing at the moment. There are definitely callings I feel heavily that the Lord has embedded in my heart to walk in. But even with that, they manifest themselves in various ways. Refusing to fret is a learned behavior. I know that I am unique and I also know that God made me just the way He wanted me. So instead of looking to others and marveling at the way God uses them, I’ve chosen to accept and love how God has chosen to use me.
If you are someone who finds yourself with interests everywhere and maybe you are trying to do anything that is put before you, but you are seemingly failing at everything. Put your life before the Lord in prayer. Ask for His guidance on when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” Petition Him for direction and He will show you where you need to be, when you need to be there and with whom. While you may never master only one thing, you still want to be the best you can possible be at the three, four or five He has graced you to be.
As spring approaches I am looking at my life and the fresh beginnings God is showing me in this new season.
A fresh beginning for me is starting back to work as a substitute teacher at my kid’s school. It is such a weird feeling that I can’t explain since I have been a stay home mom for almost 13 years and haven’t had a job since before my kids were born. I am so thankful for that season in life but now God is showing me a new season and taking me on a new chapter. I have volunteered a lot and kept busy when I was at home, but this is so different actually clocking in and being under someone’s authority other than me being the main authority and in control of my day. There were so many mixed emotions. It was like coming out of college and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and then going into my first job and being so nervous to make a good impression. There are a lot of feelings that come with new beginnings in life and I love that God is in the business of fresh starts and second chances.
Do you feel like God has given you a fresh start too? Not only has God shown be a new beginning on my identity as far as a new job and being more than a mom, but also with my marriage. My husband and I went to a marriage conference this month and it was just refreshing to hear things we already knew but in a new way. I felt like we were dating all over again after we implemented some things we learned like connecting more throughout our day and focusing on each other and not just talking about the kids. Also they gave us a crayon to use to write messages in our bathroom mirrors to one another and reminds us how valued we are. This has been such an encouragement in our marriage to get notes and reminds us when we would write paper notes and letters to each other when we were dating. It gives us a new appreciation for each other and telling the other person all the great things we love about them. This shows fresh beginnings in our marriage and deepens our connection.
Also for me it reminds me when I read the bible in one season of my life, and then read it in another season, and it brings a whole new meaning and draws me closer to God. But in order to move into a new beginning we can’t hang onto the past. I like how Isaiah 43:18-19 puts it, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Therefore God is telling us He is doing a new thing in us. This fresh beginning is a great thing even if we don’t see it. God is making a new way in the wilderness and cares that much for us to give us fresh starts. The last part of the verse says He is giving us streams of living water in those wastelands or trials in our life. What an amazing God we have where He doesn’t want to keep us where we are and allow us to stay the same person, but wants to take us to new levels in our faith and give us a fresh look at Him and who God is. So thankful God loves us so much that He doesn’t want to leave us where we are. We don’t have to be defined by our past but God has rescued us from that. Are you ready for a fresh beginning? Stop holding onto the past and step out today and see what God has in store! Taste His living water and let it refresh you in this season or new beginning in life!