Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Latest Valley

It's been a while since I blogged! Maybe there's a reason to that. I don't know.

I just had to jot down some thoughts because I don't want to forget them.

Let me just say that besides the entire reason this blog was created, I just went through the lowest valley of my life. BUT, it has brought me closer to God. Praying, pleading, knowing people are praying for me and in return praying for them. Studying, digging into the Word, etc. Anyway, when I would think about worldly things, it was NOT fun.

I was pink-slipped my third (tenure) year at RMS in May 2009 due to educational politics. I thought I was going to die. It hurt. Horribly. My self confidence went for a tumble. Everything about me seemed to begin to crumble, but I knew God would bring me through it. Thankfully, He took me to an amazing group of people right at a year before that... The people of First United Methodist Church. I found the lump in my neck right before I took the job there. It was diagnosed just a few months after. Coincidence? I think not. Before my FUMC days, I lived an even more solitary life. God gave me a support network and I will never. ever. ever. forget it. They have definitely been my trampoline. I can't begin to name the ways, but they have.

I got a part-time job teaching music at a county school here. They were good to me. In May, I found out that they might not be able to hire me back in August because of funding. I wasn't going to apply for unemployment because I knew I'd find a job and felt like that was mooching. Do not EVER think you'll just find a job, and it's OK to be on unemployment because you've paid into it. I had a few interviews at schools. Nothing. Oh, I did decide to apply for unemployment the last day of school. Denied. Because I was a teacher. They thought I was getting paid during the summer. Appealed. Denied. When I found out that was denied as well, I freaked out. It was a very dark day in the life of me that I hope to soon forget those feelings. I didn't know where to go. I did not want to give up my church job, but I called home saying, "I HAVE to move home next week. There IS NO OTHER way around this." I had used all my savings to survive the summer. My family(ies) helped me out. My plan was to move home and drive back and forth to church for as long as I felt God wanted me there (or honestly that I could stand the drive). Every time I thought about leaving FUMC, I cried. Not just a couple of tears, but boo-hooed. It just wasn't right.

Anyway, I didn't know what was going to happen. My latest plan was to get through the cantata, move home, then keep trying to find something while driving back and forth to church. Sure, part of me wanted to go home. I don't to get to see my family often. I've lost touch with friends. I had no money, so going out with friends here wasn't an option, so I wouldn't dare ask. I was pretty close to miserable.


I KNEW God would see me through. I KNOW He has a plan for me. I never thought I'd be doing anything but teaching music, but if you know me well, you know my heart and what my next step possibly is. That excites me to no end, but the timing isn't right just now.

I was singing a song and praising God tonight and it's pretty much been my theme song. I thank God for showing me that when you go through rough times, He's there, too, and if you stay on track and don't give up, you'll know Him more and be closer to Him. That is so cool. The song is my motto. My life. Whatever you want to call it. It's "If You Want Me To".

As I sat down to write this tonight, I clicked on my drop-down menu bar and I saw and Mark 11:23 popped into my mind. I'll write the lyrics, then I'll tell you that verse. It honestly freaked me out!

Here are the lyrics:

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
and I don't know the reason why you brought me here,
but just because you love me the way that you do,
I'm gonna walk through the valley if You want me to.

'Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step
and I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet.
And if all of these trials bring me closer to You,
Then I will walk through the valley if You want me to.

It may not be the way I would have chosen
Well you lead me through a world that's not my home.
But you never said it would be easy!
You only said I'll never go alone.

So when the whole world turns against me and I'm all by myself
and I can't hear You answer my cries for help.
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through,
and I will go through the valley if You want me to.

On the other side of Jordan I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna shout!
I'm gonna look in Your eyes and say "You never let me down"
so just show me the pathway that leads right home to You,
and I will walk through the valley if You want me to.

...those words are so amazing and so perfectly have fit my life many times. Sometimes a short period of time, sometimes months. Sometimes a year and a half.

Mark 11:23 says "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."

See why it freaked me out? God is ALWAYS good and He is ALWAYS there. ALWAYS.

Last night was incredible. So many of Chris Tomlin's lyrics reached in and grabbed my heart. I found out I had a job the same day I saw Chris Tomlin. :) THAT was an awesome day! "Amazing grace, my chains are gone." "He has done great things for me." I could go on and on! I had to stop singing a few times because I got so chocked up. It was like God was right there singing directly to me through Chris at times. So cool.

I really think I'm going to like my new job. I met a ton of people today and I've never worked closely to anyone (co-worker-wise). I've always been in my own little place with my own little students and the other teachers elsewhere. Even though I won't be using my degree for this job, life goes on. Maybe some day I will again. Even though I won't get to see my family much, life goes on. I'll treasure them more and hug them a little tighter and a little longer when I am blessed to be able to spend some time with them.

God knows what He's doing, folks. I don't want to go through that again, but if it brings me even closer to Him, it's because He has something better in-store for me. There were some dark, dark days, and I delt with a bit of depression, but I knew God was with me. He never left me. I just hope I didn't disappoint Him.

It would have been SO easy to give up, but really? When you think about it, it's SO much easier trusting God and having faith that He will bring you through your valley. The alternative? I'd be a mess right now. How do people have hope without Him? I don't want to think about a life without clinging to God.