All the Way, My Savior Leads Me

Ten years ago I left my first job & first career in order to pursue my second. I had spent two amazing (and difficult) years in the Yup’ik village of Tununak, Alaska teaching 2nd & 3rd grade. I’m sure I learned much more than I was able to impart to my students, but that’s another story.

I knew I wasn’t really cut out to be a teacher. I couldn’t do as good of a job as I wanted to; so I thought about what I could possibly do next. I had wanted to be a teacher since the time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up (except that one time I said I wanted to be a ballerina…). I then remembered that when I was in elementary school I once thought that being a librarian would be an amazing job. I also remembered a time while I was in college when I was telling my fellow soon-to-be teachers about all of the books in the Scholastic book order and what I loved about them. So that’s what I settled on, I would be a librarian.

Close to this time, ten years ago, I started grad school. Nine years ago I graduated with my Master of Library Science degree. Sounds super cool, right? Eight and a half years ago I was offered a job in a place I had never been; a place I had never even thought of. Cape May County, New Jersey. I, of course, accepted it.

I could tell story upon story of all the things that happen in my typical day to day at the library: parents telling their kids they need to leave or they will get locked in and the library monster will get them; getting Storm Troopers to come to a Star Wars program we hosted; moms being surprised that I remembered their child’s name 3 or 4 years after they started going to school and stopped coming to storytime; eating bugs because kids read over 7,000 books one summer. Maybe one day I’ll write about all of those and more. But not today.

What I want to share, and try to process through for myself, is how amazing God has been through all of this.

I came to this strange place called New Jersey knowing only one person in the area. I soon connected with a family that welcomed me with open arms. God used them greatly to guide me, teach me, grow me, comfort me, and support me through these years filled with many ups and downs (and I don’t think He’s done with them yet). Through them I got connect to a church that also welcomed me with open arms. The people there became my family, as mine was so many miles away. They, too, have been used by God to help me grow in my faith, encourage me, love me, and speak truth to me.

The past eight and a half years, as I delighted in my career, as I gained loving, godly relationships, God grew me immensely. I’m not sure I would recognize the 27-year-old who came to a place she had never been all those years ago. For that I am oh so grateful. Words cannot fully describe just how much.

In a few short months, I will be moving on again. But this time I won’t be on my own. And this won’t be a big move where I know few to no people. My husband and I have bought a house and are moving closer to where he works. This has always been the plan and we are both excited for it. Excited to be living near our church family & community. Excited to have a place of our very own, to paint and decorate as we please (I may be more excited about the decorating part than he is). Excited to be close enough to friends to have them drop by just because. Excited to be more active in our community.

But this time, I will have no official job title. We will be moving outside o the county so I will no long be able to work there. I am not searching for a new job as a librarian. It has been our hope to start a family. I have been looking forward to the end of my job title as “Head Children’s Librarian” in the hopes that I could replace it with one I desire even more “Mother”. That is not the case…yet. And even in this, especially in this, God is growing me.

Why do we constantly look to titles, people and other things to fill that place that only God can? Above all else, I struggle with this. I don’t know how many times I’ve talked with others about where our true identity lies. Or even how many times I’ve written about it. Do you know why that is? Because it’s the one thing I most need to be reminded of.

In the midst of this world, I get stuck.

I get stuck thinking that my career is the most precious thing.

I get stuck thinking that if I find out one more friend is pregnant I’m going to lose it.

I get stuck thinking that if I can’t have what I want the world is going to end.

Lies. Plain and simple. Lies.

Truth:

My career has been an amazing blessing. I’ve met so many precious souls and got to work in a place & with people I thoroughly enjoyed.

I rejoice with all of my friends expecting children. They, too, are a great blessing. I preemptively ask forgiveness if I ever act strange/rude/distant around you. Some days are just harder than others.

Who is here who knows what’s best better than the Creator of it all? Don’t I remember the times when I wanted something so badly (marriage) and God said, “Not yet. He’s not who I have for you.”? Don’t I remember all of the amazing things He’s done in the past? How do I forget those so easily? Why do I get so wrapped up in this world and forget about my God?

Thankfully, He always finds away to draw me back. Sometimes it’s a sermon that sends me running to His open arms. Sometimes it’s a verse that causes me to cry out to Him. Sometimes it’s a song that reminds me of things so easily forgotten.

“All the way, my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His faithful mercies?
Who through life has been my guide
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Ere by faith in Him to dwell
For I know whate’er befall me
Jesus doeth all things well”

Forgive my winding trail this time around; one idea lead to the next. I’m sure you know how that goes. If not, you’ve just got an insight to my thought process 🙂

What I hope to convey to you (and to remind myself) is that if you find yourself struggling in this world; stuck in the mire and weighed down by worries, turn to the one Whose yoke is easy and burden is light. Let Him direct your path. Delight in where He leads you.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

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Princess for a Day

This past Saturday I got to be a princess. I just got back to work last week and was so looking forward to this. We hosted a “Frozen” event at one of our libraries and such great fun was had! We had games, crafts, snacks, and more all going on while playing the sing-a-long version of the movie. We knew it was going to draw a big crowd, because despite being about a year and a half old, Frozen Mania is still going strong. Plus it’s been a cold week and I know some parents just wanted to get the kids out of the house. We estimate that we had about 200 people there! So many little Elsas and Annas running around (there was even one Spiderman).

I, myself, dressed up as Anna. She has quickly become one of my favorite princesses for her spunk and charming awkwardness. I admit, I had no idea what I was going to do for a costume until a week prior when I mentioned it to a friend. She helped me pull something together with items she already had and a little magic on the sewing machine from the both of us. It was a far cry from professional, but I felt like a princess, for sure.

I had the privilege of greeting everyone as they came in. When I first went out into the lobby there were two or three little girls waiting with their parents. I swear I head a tiny gasp from one when she looked up to see me and the look on her face was pure happiness. Apparently my costume was convincing 🙂 At some point in the afternoon I heard one little girl call out, “Anna!” She then proceeded to ask me where Elsa was. When I told her I was not sure, perhaps on an adventure, she decided she was away in her ice palace.

I won’t lie, I loved the attention. But even more, I loved talking to the kids (and parents) who came out for this crazy event. At one point I talked to a little girl, who couldn’t have yet been two, as she was in her daddy’s arms. Placed on her head (atop her very little hair 🙂 ) was a paper crown (one of the crafts) with colors scribbled all over. I went over and commented on how lovely it was and asked her if she made it herself. Her big smile and “Yeah” was all I needed to know that I am in the right place. And if that wasn’t enough, her daddy’s “Thank you, for this,” definitely sealed the deal.

I can’t say exactly what it was, but in crouching down to their level and talking to the kids there was something magical. At times I felt it was because I had this giant full skirt and crinoline around me. I remember wondering if this is what the women who are princesses at Disney feel like. I wonder if they know what a huge impact they have on little girls when they wait in line forever just to meet them. Regardless, I felt like a princess that day and I hope I was able to pass that feeling of specialness and magic on to the kids I came in contact with as well.

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