Saturday, November 5

Life, Lately

I feel different about life than I ever have before. I am working 25-32 hours each week while also going to all of my classes and doing a full-time students' work-load. It feels like a lot to do, and it is, but I am doing it all so that I can marry a sweet girl that I met a year and a half ago. Even though I'm the busiest I have ever been and should be really stressed out, I really don't mind.

Life with Katie is moving forward as it should. We have found a place to live and have budgeted out our income to ensure we can actually live there. I miss her more when we are apart than I used to, and I appreciate her presence for its own sake in ways I did not before. Unfortunately, I do not get to see her as often as I am accustomed to seeing her because of the times that I work--she works in the mornings and afternoons, and I work almost exclusively in the evenings. After homework is considered, we have practically no overlapping free time. But still, it is not so hard. Maybe this is what Jacob felt like when he was working to marry Rachel--he probably did not see her very often either, if he was working as hard for Laban as I have always imagined him to. Of course, he had to work for 7 years, and I am getting married in less than two months, so I suppose I have the easier deal.

In the meantime, my spiritual development (which was just beginning to blossom this time last month) has come to a dead halt again by nature of my absence of discipline. Of course, it does not help that I am also addicted to a board game and I find myself thinking about it when I wake up in the morning, or even as I drift off to sleep at night; while I find that disturbing, I do not find it as disturbing as you probably do--you must understand, the game in question is really cool.

But even though I feel like my spiritual development has halted, I know that it hasn't. The season of my life right now seems to be one of knowing God's presence without feeling it. Every time I get a paycheck, I thank God for the ways that He is providing for us, and I take comfort in knowing that He is taking care of me. Part of me would like to say that there is some great struggle inside me, but on this matter there is none. God is providing enough for me.

In some sense I feel that I have reached a point of spiritual maturity, but I know that if I were also self-disciplined I would be grounded in the spiritual disciplines. So there is a conflict within me, it is just not an impassioned one. I am comfortable in my spirituality and content to let God do the work of coming close to me, but I am not going through any of the motions that will let me draw closer to Him in turn. I know this is awful, but I don't feel bad when I try to do anything different and fail. God's grace is more than anything I can do, and it is much more than a free ride out of sin.

Put differently, the struggle is this: there is no reason not to memorize Ephesians (a very real goal of mine), and there are many reasons that I should, but I don't need to do so, so I do not. What I need is the self-discipline (or a smack up the side of my head) to do the host of things that I will need to be in the habit of doing later in life. But how do I get self-discipline? There doesn't seem to be a switch in the back of my head labeled "Self Discipline: on/off," because I have tried to flip it a number of times to no avail. Do I wait for God to flip that switch in me? Because I'm already doing that. Here I am again at the same conundrum I have faced over and over again for countless months. God is good though, and He is bigger than my conundrums--that is what keeps me from losing my head.

Monday, August 15

God's Provision Through the Summer

Over the course of this Summer, God has sent constant, material reminders that He is in control, that He cares for me, and that He will provide for my every need.

At the end of the school year I knew that I wanted to stay in Shawnee, but I didn't have a job or a place to live. Per suggestion from my girlfriend, I got a job at the same place as her brother. Around Finals week at school, I mentioned to a friend at church that I needed a place to live and he told me that he had a place up for rent. He gave my roommates and me very cheap rates on it and we got the first half-month free for cleaning the house before we moved in. After about a month at my job, the company sent everyone home while it dealt with some internal legal issues.

The day before I lost my job, I bought an antique ring with a petite diamond and proposed to my girlfriend. She said yes, and now we are getting married at the very end of December; our engagement is probably the biggest "I love you" that God has given me this whole summer.

After I lost my job I was discouraged in my job search, but my fiance encouraged me to keep looking for jobs and pointed me to Freedom Personnel, where I got a job as a garbage man. I worked about 20 hours a week as a garbage man for two or three weeks. I was miserable, and I hated it, but I was (and still am) thankful to God for it because it was a job. With some encouragement (again) from my fiance, I found a temporary job as a Web Developer and IT guy for a local company while their Web Developer was on maternity leave. It was a great job, it paid well, and I learned a lot while I worked there.

After that job ended my landlord offered to pay me to paint the house I was living in because he wants to sell it after we move out. Although this series of odd jobs in rapid succession may not look great on a job history sheet, I do not remember a single week in which I did not have a paying job.

A week ago, my fiance's brother-in-law and sister told us that someone in their church was told by God to give them a car. They weren't sure why God wanted to give them a car at first, but then they realized that they should give it to us. My grandparents moved to Alaska for two years while my grandpa served as an interim pastor there. My family was staying at their house at the time, so they left all their appliances there and bought duplicates while they lived in Alaska. When they returned they had double of everything, so their extras are being passed on to my fiance and I once we get married. My parents were, at one point, going to move into a house with two living rooms so they acquired two sets of nice couches. They ended up in a smaller house with only one living room, so the extra couch set is also going to my fiance and I.

My fiance and I are under no illusions that we won't have to work to provide for our needs, but we are realizing that it is God who really does the providing.
Lord you are good and your mercy endureth forever
People from every nation and tribe
From generation to generation
We worship you
We worship you for who you are
And you are good