Here we are, nearing the end of July. It makes me cringe to say it, because I could swear that it was July 4th yesterday. There is this fear going around – possibly a midwest fear – it's the fear-that-summer-is-going-by-too-quickly-and-will-be-over-before-I-know-it. And it's not healthy. It's enough to make a person anxious. Especially when you have something BIG on the horizon and there are only a few short weeks left of summer in Chicago.
I accepted an offer to graduate school just a few weeks ago. An offer to attend graduate school in Seattle. Which means I have a giant leap to the Pacific Northwest on the horizon. A giant leap in the middle of August, in fact. And here is where my heart starts pounding, because that feels too soon and it feels too big and too crazy.
Truly though? I'm stoked. (And utterly terrified.) I spent months working up the courage to even apply to graduate school. When I finally decided to apply to two graduate programs, I thought sure my acceptance into one program over the other would help my decision process moving forward. But I was accepted into both programs. Which meant a few weeks of discernment, hemming and hawing, and a decision.
It was a really tough decision. In all honesty, I think God has been preparing me for this transition in so many ways. I am a very thoughtful person. When I come to a big decision like this, I like to sit with it for a while. Even when I felt like I had come to a decision about school, I sat with it quietly for about a week, without telling anyone, just to see if it felt "right" in my spirit. And it did. So I said yes. I am moving forward into the proverbial open door, into the void that is the great unknown and the journey ahead.
In the midst of my hemming and hawing, a friend encouraged me to take a step back, to look at the trajectory of my life, at the story God is weaving, and to hold that before me as I move forward. For a long time I was pretty sure that my job and my family and my Chicago community were the biggest factors in my decision, but as I was reading the story of Abraham, I realized what's most important is honoring the story being told with my life. God leads Abraham into a new land, and he does not promise it will be perfect, he does not promise it will be without trouble, but he does promise to be present and to bless him as he moves according to this divine and incredible call.
I suddenly felt the weight of my adulthood. And I did not like it. No one was going to make this decision for me. I make this decision and move as an individual, the sole person responsible for my actions. It's enough to paralyze you into not making a decision at all. But then I realized, this is not how you live. You live into your fear, without regret. You pray for courage and clarity, and you pour yourself out, hoping that the world will receive you with gentleness and grace.
There are a whole slough of unknowns before me. Especially in these next three weeks as I prepare to leave one place and make a new city, a new community my home. I am praying for protection over my heart, courage for my spirit, and eyes that will see with wonder and awe. I am praying that there is a people and a community being prepared for me in Seattle and that through the magic of technology, my great love and joy with and for my family here will not diminish. I know that it will be hard. I know that it will be good. And I know that I do not go it alone.
You hem me in behind and before.
I am grateful for a God who is with and for, who goes before and behind us. It is a mystery, especially for friends like Julie Mitchell, who puzzle when someone so profoundly near and dear is taken from them, but He works for the good. We take courage because thousands of years ago and today, the Master of the Universe said He goes with us and He will never leave or forsake us.
P.S. If you know of a good home for someone like me in Seattle, do let me know.