Another Change of Season

Spring is here! Or so they say. It’s a little hard to be sure when the daffodils bloom one day and then a layer of snow falls on them the next.

However, it is always so wondrous to me to see the first blooms of spring. It seemed that overnight the blossoms on the trees had budded and a patch of daffodils appeared in my neighbor’s backyard. The earth warms up and new life begins as plants of all types awaken from their long winter nap. Every year it is the same; spring always follows winter.And yet it seems like such a surprise to see those first signs of it. I believe that is how God designed it; to help us remember the hope He gives us in what is still to come in times when we may have forgotten His promises.

“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 a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Just as this fall brought a season of change in my life, so has this spring. It was actually the day before, but it was one of the best lead-ins to it that I could imagine. March 19th was chilly and overcast and it could not decide if it wanted to snow or rain. I know that doesn’t sound like the greatest lead-in to spring…and it wasn’t. But this was: on March 19th, my boyfriend asked me to be his wife.

I knew it was coming. We had talked about marriage. He took me to look at rings a few weeks prior. I overheard him ask my dad if he could call him some time. I even had a pretty sure feeling that he was going to propose that day. All the signs were there.

And yet…when he turned to look at me and whispered, “You ready for this?” right before he dropped to one knee, I couldn’t help but think, Is this really happening? When he asked the question I, of course, said yes, though at that time I couldn’t tell you how he phrased the question (thanks for thinking of having someone film it, my dear). I was happy and stunned all at once. There were many smiles and much laughter and surprisingly no tears (if you know me, that just goes to show how stunned I was). It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later, when he asked me if I liked my ring, that I realized I hadn’t even looked at it. Then he added, “We’re going to get married!” and it all came together. I processed all that had just happened and knew my life was never going to be the same.

If you’ve been with me on this journey from the beginning you know of the heartache I’ve been through. The desires of my heart and the topic of oh so many prayers. And the waiting. All the waiting. And now this prayer has been answered. God has brought into my life a wonderful, God-fearing man. One who is caring and responsible, trustworthy and forgiving. One who makes me laugh more than I ever have before. And soon he will be my husband. And I will be his wife. Words cannot fully describe how amazing this all is to me. And though wedding planning is in full swing, I do not think it’s fully sunk in yet. I don’t think it really will completely until I’m walking down the aisle arm-in-arm with my daddy.

I want to thank you all for your prayers and encouragement over these past few years and appreciate those that continue to do so. Big changes are up ahead; exciting and scary and wonderful. And while the topics of my writing might change, the focus of it won’t. As God is the author and perfecter of my faith I cannot deny His presence in my life, nor the great many blessings He’s bestowed upon me. Stay tuned…our journey is only beginning.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

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Despicable Soil & Spiritual Growth

“The soil that we despise grows the spiritual fruit that we most desperately need. It can become a greenhouse for spiritual growth, but that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to live through. It’s awful space but God can do some wonderful things in it.” – Jeff Manion

Listening to a Boundless podcast from earlier in the year, this was said in response to a question about feeling like your life is always in the “in-between” stage or that you’re just waiting for the next thing to happen. It speaks such truth and I’m glad I can say i can see it in action in my own life.

I have not felt like I’m just “waiting around” for a couple years now, and it feels pretty great. As my bestie would say, “You’re going out there and livin’ life!” And that really is what it’s about. Through this time of singleness, God has grown me. I am no longer wishy-washy or uncertain in my faith. I know where I stand and am confident in it. I have moments of doubt, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t get stuck in them like I used to. I know where to go, who to talk to, to find the answers I need.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. – 1 John 5:13-15

The word “know” there refers to an intimate knowledge, a personal knowledge, one that can only be gained by spending time with the One who created knowledge to begin with. While I’m sure that there is still much more for me to learn and some that I will never attain this side of heaven, I know Him in this way. I know with certainty that nothing can snatch me from HIs hand.

If you would have told me 3 years ago that I’d be working with teens or training for a half-marathon in the future I would have laughed at you. Probably in your face. These are the things God has me doing now; leading the youth group at church & getting ready for a half marathon come February. He gave me a strong desire to start the youth group at the beginning of the year. My heart was pulled to do it and I could not say no; here was an opportunity to share my faith with those younger than I; to be a role model for them – someone I desperately needed when I was their age. I take joy in getting to know these kids more and letting them know how much God loves them and all He did just to have a relationship with them. It’s even better when they show me examples of this from their day-to-day, acknowledging that God is the One behind it all.

As for running, I’ll just leave it with saying there is no way I’d be able to do it in my own strength. I haven’t started the long runs yet, but I plan on relying on Him even more through those 🙂

So, basically, if I were where I really want to be (married with a kiddo or two or three), there’s no way I’d be able to do what I’m doing now. There’s no way I would learn to trust God in these situations (though I’m sure there would be many other different situations I’d be dealing with). This space in time is fertile soil for the growing & maturing of my faith. Exactly what it’s maturing me for, I do not know. But He does.

If you are in a place in your life where you really don’t want to be, a place you cannot wait to get out of & on to the next thing, just stop for a moment. If you cannot think of anything good that has come out of this time, ask God to reveal it to you. But even if He doesn’t, know that He’s got a plan for it. And a plan for you.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

A Letter of Thanks

For those of you who don’t know, I’m the head children’s librarian  for a county library system. I completely adore my job and think it’s one of the most fulfilling ones out there. Today (and yesterday) some pretty simple things were said to me by a new patron and a coworker; so nonchalantly that I doubt they realized the impact they had on me (in a most wonderful encouraging way). Here is my letter of thanks.

Dear Mom at the library,

Thank you so much for bringing your little boy in today. It was a delight to talk with him and with you and share with you the finer things of the library, aka free pencils and toys to play with. Thank you for sharing with me the fact that you love being an older mom; you mentioned you were in your 40s and your little boy was 4 at the oldest. Thank you for expressing the joy you receive when seeing what he takes wonder and joy in; that because you are older, more mature, you are not so wrapped up in yourself to notice your child. You asked me if I had kids and I replied with a simple, “No.” You added, “Not yet,” and that really did make my day. You didn’t ask if I was married, but you were certainly close enough to see if there was a ring. And still, those 2 words were so confidently spoken.

You couldn’t have known that just the day before I had a conversation with a coworker at lunchtime. We were talking about his kids and kids in general, adoption, fostering, and the like. I don’t remember exactly what lead to it, but all of a sudden I hear the words, “You’ll be a great mom,” come out of his mouth. So matter of fact. So certain. No question about it. Not “You would be” or “You could be,” but “You will be.” He said that and my heart lifted, just as it did when we were chatting. 5 words one day followed by a simple 2 the next. An encouragement for me that at 31 it is not too late. That God’s timing is perfect and His promises are true.

Your little boy got his first library card today, but you gave me so much more with two simple words that I won’t soon forget. I do hope you’ll come into the library more often and that I might one day be able to let you know how much those words impacted me today and the days to come.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

That Still Small Voice

As of late I have felt the need to just stop and listen stronger than I have in a while. It might have something to do with the fact that I don’t do it as often as I should. This past week I have been reminded over and over again to just:

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

It’s hard to do when so many things of this world are vying for attention. But, as I found out the hard way, it’s even worse when you don’t take that time. I was reminded as well this week that God has given us the most perfect gift of salvation and everlasting life through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, and if we have that, what else do we really need? The wanting of a family of my own jumps right in my mind when that question was asked of me. I know at the beginning of all of this I said I am living where God has me, knowing that His plans are good and I am trusting and waiting on His timing…this is no less true now, but it is something I struggle with. With the thought of a potential relationship on my mind, my heart ached to know if I was right to pursue it; if it was His will, or just my own. I spent time that night asking for a clear answer and listening for His still small voice. While I found peace in crying out, knowing He was listening and knowing I was not the first, the answer I was listening for eluded me.

The next day I realized I had only been listening for one answer; “Yes.” I never heard it, and so my way of thinking has changed. At the onset I believed that if I was within His will I would just continue on and if I wasn’t, doors would be closed. I don’t think that is a wrong way of thinking, but I do think it led me to feel more heartache. The absence of the “Yes” answer I was waiting on, doesn’t necessarily mean “No” though, I do believe it could mean “Not yet.” This is where my thinking has changed. As I walk this “road of singleness” I pray for my heart to be guarded. I also am staying put, until He gives me the nudge  and lets me know which direction I should take.

I know it might seem pessimistic of me to assume the answer is “No” or “Not yet,” but for now this is the right path for me. I know there will be days when the heartache is strong, but my God is stronger. I know there will be days of darkness, but even the darkness is as light to my God. I am making it a point to be still more often; to listen and pray more regularly, and wait on Him. For truly, my greatest desire is to be within His will for my life. His still small voice does still speak to us, if we are diligent in reading His Word and listening. Has He spoken into your heart lately? Have you been listening?

Love & Blessings,

KJ