Yesterday, after two days of sheer cabin fever, I was able to get out of the house.
And it was gorgeous.
We (Adam and I) went to eat something, then to walk at IU campus. Crazy to go for a walk, I know, but it was really pretty and not as cold as you'd expect.
There's just something borderline magical about the way the world transforms when snow's all over the place. There's a foot of snow here, and it's amazing.
I took a number of pictures with the cell phone, then got him to agree to going to IU or somewhere with me today with a disposable camera to just take pictures. (I'm not up with the whole digital camera thing... the cell phone's my closest comparison, and that wasn't even on purpose.) Hopefully that works out. We're also supposed to make a snowman, which is also fun.
I'm not sure if it makes me odd or not, but I love times like this. I love when nature takes over and people are powerless to stop it. There's just something in that that reminds me of how powerful God is and how amazing the world He's created is as well.
Anything like this, really. Floods, power outages, even tornadoes that scare me senseless, just contain a sense of power that humans can't touch.
It reminds me that we really aren't in control, regardless of how much we try to be.
And I think sometimes we need that.
I know I do.
So I just realized how long it's been since I've updated.
Student teaching isn't as big of an issue as it was when I last posted.
Yes, I had to talk to Hanover. And yes, I had to talk to IU, too. And yes, I had to do an incredibly long and tedious application detailing my every teaching experience while trying to dance around and make it a new experience, in the words of my professor from Hanover.
But it wasn't all bad. Productive, even.
And now it's just the waiting game. Just waiting for IU to get back in touch with me and let me know if/when they find a placement for me.
And I think it's even more of waiting on God.
In all honesty, though, I don't think about it very much.
I check my email to see if there's a response from the placement superviser, and that's pretty much it.
Otherwise, though, things are pretty good.
Home life is basically figuring itself out. Things relationship-wise are really good. I like how we actually solve problems the way we're supposed to and not just let them boil over. It's a good thing.
Aside from that, it's pretty much daily life and trying to focus on God as much as possible.
Well, that and the near-on blizzard. Three snow days in a row.
And the outside world is beautiful...
I have to go back to Hanover and ask them to let me student teach again. This will easily be one of the most difficult things I've encountered this year... including moving from Madison.
Understandably, emotionally overwhelming. Lots of issues. But this post, which I posted in my other online journal, is important for me to remember.
* * *
Psalm 62: 5-8
5 My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my hope is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be shaken.
7 In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
and my refuge is in God.
8 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
* * *
This isn't eternity.
This is student teaching.
Yes, I failed. Yes, I have to eat it. Yes, I have to beg and plead with a number of people.
But no, I'm not alone.
And this isn't eternity.
Whether I go to heaven or hell will not depend on whether I work in a special education classroom or inside a McDonald's drive thru.
Eternally speaking, this doesn't matter.
If it's what I want and it doesn't interfere with God, then that's fine. If it's even what He wants for me, that's even better.
But if not, it doesn't matter.
All that matters is that no matter where I am, I don't lose Him. I don't lose sight of what's most important.
That's what matters, and that's what I have to remember.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
I can do this.
And if not, then I can't.
Either way, this isn't eternity.
And it never will be.
I don't know how many times this weekend I said I don't know why I'm not living in Madison.
It's such a great place. Great Christian brethren, great scenery, great town...
My friend, who went with me since I currently don't have use of my car for long trips, said he knows why I like Madison as much as I do. He says it's probably because it slows life down and the faith of the brethren there is so palpable... that and it's gorgeous. He's probably right.
As I said, great weekend. First, camping with a group of Christians. Camping involving staying up until 4:15am, when the boys and girls split, and playing on a playground in the middle of the night. At 23, you can imagine how long it's been since I played on a playground for any length of time.
Then it was up at 8:15am, breakfast, and running to Walmart to buy a towel so I could use the showers at the campsite. Awkward, but it was better than being dirty all day. (That sentence only applies when I'm going back to civilization after camping. Usually, I don't care.) Then it was the Chautaqua Festival, with lots and lots of things that made me say "that's beautiful" and a breathtaking view of the Ohio any time I looked up. (Am I starting to sound like a travel brochure?)
Then after quick food, my friend and I went on a hike at Hanover. Which we unfortunately started late. So we found ourselves on top of one of the semi-trecherous waterfalls in the middle of dusk and still needing to get down the creekbed (since we couldn't find the trail) and back up the ravine to the campus. With a flashlight the size of my index finger and no clear sign of the trail. Needless to say, that was an adventure. "That tree?", "Okay, now that tree?" all the way up the cliff to get to pavement. There was a point at which we switched so he and I each had a flash light and a cell phone... just in case. But it was easily the most fun I've ever had in the woods, and I've also never been quite so happy to see either a car or pavement itself.
The next day, church at Madison. I immediately, upon walking in, caught myself thinking, "This smells like home." The singing there is absolutely amazing and just about brings me to tears quite frequently. Then, somehow, in the middle of the drive back to the family's house we stayed in, I realized something. As much as I might want to be in Madison right now, God needs me here. I don't know why, but I just know he does. And it doesn't really matter if I know why, as long as He does.
So after the drive back, we went to a bookstore for quite a while, then church in Bloomington.
Needless to say, I was considerably tired when I got home.
But yes, great weekend. I feel like I squeezed a week into two days, and it was amazing.
This weekend was exactly what I needed.
I know I said I wouldn't include the person who was a bad influence in this blog anymore, but I decided this part was important. He emailed me again, more desperate and thinking I hated him. I called the Christian I'm supposed to call when that happens, and she allowed one reply. After much prayer, this was my reply:
I don't hate you. We both made mistakes, and some of those mistakes I made within myself and my decision making are mistakes I simply can't repeat. I know I said I'd be there for you, and I'm really sorry I'm not following through with that. I'm just not strong enough to help both of us. Like I told you that day on the phone, I need to focus on God. Period. God can help us through anything as long as we do what He says. And as much as it might be difficult for you if I'm not there, I just can't do what He says when I'm around you. I don't feel like I was the Christian influence I should've been, and I know I wasn't being the Christian I should've been either. Here are two amazing Christian couples who are certainly willing to help you if you need it:
[insert two Christian references]
The church in your town is good. I know a few people there now. They can help you, too. And I'm sure they'd be up for Bible studies. Remember Philippians 4:8-9:
"Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. (9) The things which you have learned and received and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."
Look closely at those verses. And if you have any questions, you can always call those two I mentioned. They love to study the Bible any chance they get.
Again, I'm sorry I can't follow through on what I told you. I won't be able to reply again. I just know I have to follow God. I hope that eventually you choose to do the same. I'll be praying for you.
**If anyone reading this blog ever needs help with anything of this nature, please let me know. It's hard to deal with alone.