Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week One

I have officially been in Austin, Texas for a week.  In some ways I feel like I have been here for months and in other ways, I feel like I just got here.  I feel like I have known the Williams family for years.  They were so accepting of me right away.  On Saturday, they took me to my first ever college football game.  It was definitely an experience I'm glad to have had.  We had front row seats on the sideline and it was amazing! I even got to see the locker room...without the players in it of course! The whole thing was fun!

Sunday afternoon, they took me to their lake house.  That also was a fun experience! We went out on the boat and Alan made me drive for a little bit.  I was nervous but it wasn't too bad.  We are all still alive and the boat is in one piece.  Driving around the lake definitely got my mind thinking about some things.  First of all, the cost of living in Austin is higher than Indiana.  Plus there are just a lot of people out here that seem to have a large amount of money.  Everything is high tech and fancy.  Some of the lake houses we saw were outrageous and I may have gone into a slight culture shock.  Having so little for so long makes it hard for me to justify fancy things.  So much of it is unnecessary.  There is so much money and yet so much need!  It's definitely an adjustment for me. 

Anyway, I am still looking for a job and an apartment.  Tomorrow I'm planning on hitting the streets full force with my resume.  Also, I am excited for tomorrow because it's Wednesday which means high school meets at the church.  I will be working with junior girls and I'm super excited to jump in and get to know them! I could use some prayers for that!

In other news, the weather has cooled down for a little bit and we are getting a slight taste of fall.  Apparently, it doesn't usually happen like this so I'm thankful for the nice breeze.  It is by no means hoodie weather, but it's cool for Austin this time of year! I'm very blessed and looking forward to what my future may hold for me!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hello Austin!

The Drive...

Day one of driving went fantastic!  I jumped in little Spunkly (my car) around 6:30 am and was on my way, feeling pretty good.  I managed to handle minimal traffic well.  It was a beautiful day and I made great time.  I listened to all of my favorite music and had moments of reflection.  All together it was a great day!  I stayed the night at Sky Ranch Cave Springs and got to catch up with some friends from the summer. 

Day two on the other hand, was quite the opposite.  I woke up with a sinus headache and some allergy issues.  I shrugged them off and figured that once I got going, I would be fine.  So 9:00 am, I was off in the direction of Texas.  It was a boring drive and I didn't get to listen to much music because my head was hurting so bad.  I got to talk to some family and friends on the phone, which was nice and helped me keep awake.  After a while though, my stomach started churning and I knew that there was only one way it could end...vomit!  I talked myself through hours of driving but it kept getting harder and harder.  At one point in time I had no where to pull off and I frantically searched the front seat for anything to upchuck in...and I found a small ziploc bag of popcorn my mom had packed for me.  I drove the next five minutes with that bag next to my mouth...just in case, but praying that this would not be how my story would go.  Thankfully, the feeling past and a couple hours later I was able to pull off at a gas station and lose my guts in the parking lot.  Random fact:  barfing on concrete is not the most fun thing...it splashes! Gross!!  Despite all of the setbacks, I finally made it into Austin around 7 and met Alan and Inda!  They are my Austin family and my temporary home. 

The Family...

Alan and Inda have been wonderful to me so far and I'm very blessed by their generosity and kindness!  I would never have been able to pick out a better family on my own.  I absolutely love it here.  The view is amazing!  The first thing I saw when I got to their house was a double rainbow...I may have started crying a little bit! It was wonderful!

My favorite thing so far...I got to clean and organize Inda's pantry today! Yes...I am a complete dork, but regardless, I love to organize! We left the door open just so we could admire it as we walk through the kitchen.  Each time we do, we giggle and say how excited we are that it's organized and clean!  We threw two and a half garbage bags of expired and gross food away and it felt so good! It has been a great day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Almost There

Tomorrow is my official last day to live in Indiana.  My official last day to be dependent on my mother.  My official last day to be a kid.  I had a little bit of a breakdown today when all of that registered in my brain.  I am now fully responsible for myself.  I depend on myself and God.  It's quite an adjustment to make. 

Mom and I went over finances today and I'm slightly overwhelmed.  She has a way with making things seem horrific and impossible.  I'm quite nervous about finding a job that will pay the rent.  Each day I have to continue to remind myself that God will provide and take care of me.  Each day it gets more difficult too.  My brain keeps kicking in and pointing out all of the difficulties and the fears and whatever all else that discourages me.  I must find a way to turn it off.  This is the point when I am most afraid and nervous.  I need to lean on my faith more than ever right now! 

Encouraging news though...a family from the church in Austin has offered their home to me for temporary living.  I'm so excited to meet them!  I'm sure they have much wisdom and kindness to share with me.  Other than that...I still have no idea what life in Austin will be for me.  God has chosen not to reveal any more info to me at this time and I must be able to accept that. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One Week Visit for Answers...HA!

I wrote this yesterday.  I hope that you find it encouraging and relevent.

It is Wednesday, September 15th and I just got back to Indiana from a week's visit in Austin, Texas.  This past week was a search for answers and a trial period for moving.  It's funny though how God works in these situations.  I waltzed into this week with plans and a large goal.  I believed that all my questions would be answered and that's not a huge request when I serve such a BIG God...right?  Ha Ha! So here's the breakdown...

MY PLAN - meet some cool people, job search, apartment search, figure out what my future in Austin will look like
GOD'S PLAN - meet some cool people, relax, trust, sit around, eat

At least we had one thing in common! :) Basically what I'm trying to say is...I still have no idea what life in Austin is going to look like for me.  All I know is that I'm moving.  The rest is waiting to be discovered when the time is right for me to know.  Waiting and trusting are so difficult for many...myself included.  I fear the unknown and this move is right down that alley.  There are so many new experiences and unknowns around every corner for me.  I am out of my comfort zone for sure.  The decisions and responsibilities are very overwhelming at times.  I have to constantly remind myself to just focus on one step at a time.  If I look too far forward, I may freak out a little.  What a challenge that is for me.

Overall, my week was good! In terms of what I had planned...a complete fail of a week.  BUT in terms of what God had planned...just what I needed...just enough information to get me to my next step.   I guess that's all I can ask for right now! I don't have a job, I don't have a place to live, and I will hopefully be able to stay with a family from the church temporarily until I find both of those.  I can be satisfied with that knowledge...can you?

Through this whole experience, I also know that many of you are praying for me and following my adventure.  In my mind, I'm just doing an ordinary thing.  I'm moving to a new place to start a normal life...but it's really not normal.  A wise friend pointed out that even though it seems normal to me, it is inspiring to others.  I hope that by documenting my adventure with God, you will find encouragement and inspiration.  Maybe God will use my story to open your eyes to the box of comfort you live in and challenge you to move beyond that.  God may not be asking you to move half way across the country away from everyone you know, but He may be calling you to do something locally that you normally wouldn't choose.  I don't know how this affects you, but I hope it is more than just a story.  I pray that my struggles and experiences may help others to grow and be stretched and see God in a way they never knew before.

Everything I do is NOT for MY glory or fame, but for the glory of my God!!  Praise HIM for what He has done and is doing!!

How Did My Journey Begin?...I'm Glad You Asked!

I don't even know where to begin in explaining where I've been to where I'm going.  I guess I'll start by saying that I am a nomad.  From the day I was able to leave home for college to today, I have been anywhere but home.  I went to Johnson Bible College in the fall of 2008 and loved it.  That summer, I got a job at Sky Ranch Cave Springs and loved the camp scene there as well.  I returned to JBC the next fall and then back to Sky for another summer...this past summer.  So here you are...decently caught up.  Let's see if I can explain the rest.

During the summer, while making preparations to return to school in the fall, I realized that I did not have the money that I needed to make it work.  I wasn't worried though because I knew that God would provide for me and make it all work out.  I was supposed to go to school, I was sure of it.  I mean, why would God take you to college and not allow you to finish right?  Well, I returned home August 16th and could not sleep.  All of the financial stress smacked me in the face and I took some time to tell God all about it.  I then began asking Him some questions that I just needed answered...

"How are you going to provide for me?  Where is the money going to come from?  Do I need more loans?"...etc.

Suddenly, I realized that maybe I was asking the wrong questions.

"Ok, now what?  What do I ask instead God?"  (long pause and a big gulp)..."am I supposed to go back to school?"

My stomach felt like it had dropped 100 feet and done somersaults all the way down.  I knew instantly the answer to that question was no...and my first reaction was panic.

"Ok, God! Real funny! So if I don't go back to school, then what?"

I then began making a mental list of all the places where I knew people that would be willing to help me get my feet on the ground and start for real life on my own.  As I went through each city and name, I felt a solid NO for each of them.

"God, I don't understand...where do you want me to go?  I just can't think of anywhere else to go!"

I was then reminded of a church in Austin, Texas that I had made connections with at camp this summer.  They were such wonderful people and I was sure that I would take my internship for school there.  As soon as the thought popped into my mind, my stomach turned again and I knew that God had just set me up for an adventure that I never would have imagined for myself.  I charged into my mother's bedroom slightly crying...

"Mom, are you awake? I have something I need you to be praying about! I realize that I am supposed to go back to school this weekend but I don't think God wants me to go back.  I think I'm moving to Austin, Texas.  Got it?  Ok, good night!"

And I darted back to my room and went to bed! The rest of that week, things began falling into place and our prayers seemed to be answered that Texas was the place for me.

I made the decision the night before I was supposed to leave to move back into the dorm at school.  I still went to Knoxville to withdraw, grab some things from storage, and say hi and good bye to all of my wonderful friends who had encouraged me through so much.  Of course not everyone was on board, and a couple of people questioned that I was doing the right thing.  Although it may have hurt a little, I expected resistance...I mean, if this is really God's plan then the devil doesn't want it to work out and he will do what he can to discourage.

the water before hurricane Rita

So that leads me to today...the now...the calm before the storm!  I have been quite discouraged and lonely thinking about all of my friends back at school with the new semester and great plans ahead of them.  On top of that, I don't seem to receive as many texts and messages as before when everyone was bored in the summer and had nothing better to do than write ridicoulous things on each other's walls! :)  Anyway, the point is that I have been feeling neglected and forgotten...but I realized that it's just the enemy trying to get me down.

God showed me today that being in Indiana for two weeks doesn't have to be a bummer and annoying.  God can use this time to replenish my heart and spirit and prepare me even better for the roller coaster adventure that lies ahead of me.  It isn't going to be easy and I need to just enjoy the time I have in quiet and adoration of my God.  Sometimes it is so hard for me to sit still, especially when I know that something big is coming up...but I need the stillness to prepare myself for that big leap sometimes! God is so good!

So that's where I am...enjoying the quiet and pressing in closer to my Daddy knowing that He will take care of the rest! It is a wonderful feeling of peace to just trust in His plan and know that He is preparing things in advance for me...all I have to do is go when the time is right!  What a GREAT and AWESOME God we serve!! :)

The Beginning of an Adventure

My goal in starting a blog is to provide a way for friends and even strangers to follow my journey into life.  I will have to take some time to rewind a few weeks so that everything may be clear and that nothing gets left out of the picture.  In all honesty, this is a very intimidating thing for me to do.  I'm not quite sure how I will like it, although at this point in time it is no longer about just me.  This experience is about God and what He is doing in and through me.  It doesn't just affect myself anymore, but everyone who reads my writings and knows who I am.  It is a testimony of faith and God's provision.  It is a story of difficulty and victory. 

I don't claim to be an elaborate writer.  In fact, I'm not too great with words most of the time.  I don't promise to make sense all the time, but I will attempt to communicate to the best of my ability.  I hope and pray that my story will inspire and encourage you, and that it relates to you in some way.  So this is my official "Hello!"  It is great to be on this journey with you!  Let us grow and learn together and hopefully share a few laughs along the way!  WELCOME TO THE ADVENTURE OF LIFE!! :)