I'm writing today from a Starbucks in my Tennessee hometown. Sipping a tall vanilla latte and enjoying the quiet sounds of the coffee shop, I'm feeling like writing something, so I decided maybe I'd give this blog some of the attention it's been lacking.
I've been home from Alaska for three and a half weeks now. It's been pretty warm and humid here in east TN, but this week it's actually starting to feel like fall -- 61 outside right now. I guess I'm still kind of "acclimated" to Alaska weather, since I think it feels great while my family is wearing jackets and saying it's too cold. After wearing jeans, sweatshirts, and rain boots for so much of the last 6 months, I'm hanging on to my warm-weather clothes as long as possible!
It has been good to be home. I've really enjoyed catching up with family and friends who I hadn't seen since April. Hearing real Southern accents again is nice. And though I'm job-hunting now, God was super gracious to give me a season of just resting and reflecting for a couple of weeks. I really, really needed that. It's been beautiful to have essentially nothing needing my immediate attention, and to be able to spend as much time as I want just being quiet with the Lord -- reading, journaling, writing letters, praying, worshiping, dreaming -- as well as spending good time with my family and friends. I realize that's not how life can stay, nor would I want it to, but it has definitely been a peaceful blessing.
So now I'm looking for the elusive answer to that always-present question.... "what's next?" A job. An apartment. Ministry. Travel. Fundraising. Back to Alaska. All the things that are running through my mind as possibilities. I feel torn in different directions and flustered by the decisions. Part of me wants to just stay in that quiet place, but I know that I'll continue to abide and enjoy time with Him and "be still and know," even as life gets a little more busy.
The question is, what is going to fill my days between now and April, when I plan to go back to Juneau? I want to be intentional and purposeful about that, not just "let whatever happen." This is such a strange in-between season. An "off-season," in a sense. Off from the busyness -- and the purpose -- of full-time ministry. I miss that. The sense of purpose. The energy and drive of continual ministry. The community. And Alaska. I miss Alaska, too.
And probably I should stop writing now, because this is turning into a novel of all my feelings and woes!
I'm grateful for my life. Really grateful. It's a good life. I love being a missionary, even if it's not full-time yet. And this off-season will hold good things, too. One day at a time, right?
God reminded me this morning, "You have enclosed me behind and before; and laid Your hand upon me" (Psalm 139:5). Zechariah 2:5 echoes this thought: "For I, declares the Lord, will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst." Beautiful. He's got me. And He's got you, whatever season you're walking through. Don't forget it. You're beautifully loved and held.