Three years ago, I was living in Kazakhstan as the only expat working for my company and dealing with the grief of a friend and co-worker in the end stages of cancer. I was worn down and struggling to survive, let alone thrive. At work, I was looking at how to best support families of children with disabilities in Taraz. It seemed all I could do was cling to God and trust that He would guide me through this difficult time.
Two years ago, I was saying goodbye to friends in Kazakhstan in order to return to the States. I had no idea what my future held. I didn't know if my future included living in Kazakhstan or the USA. I was looking forward to seeing friends and family, but also dreading leaving behind others. I was uncertain as to the future, but chose to cling to the promise that God would guide me.
One year ago, I was preparing to be a first year teacher for the second time. In the intervening year, I had moved back to Muncie, had my first (and hopefully last) kidney stone, graduated with my Masters in Special Education, and purchased a house. The details fell together in such a way that I have not doubted God's guidance in these decisions.
This summer, I find myself resting after a busy first year teaching at Southside Middle School. I loved my class, although it was an exhausting and challenging year. I enjoy building into my neighborhood and am slowly getting to know some of my neighbors. I have become more involved in my church, including getting to spend a week in Nicaragua with a group of friends from church. I am working on house projects and spending time with friends as I take advantage of the two months I have off this summer. I will get to visit family in Montana before settling back into the routine of school.
At church today, I was struck by the reality of where God has brought me during the last three years. Today, as we sang the words "when my heart is torn asunder and my world just falls apart" I found myself fighting back tears. However, they were tears of joy mingled with tears of sadness. I remembered the days, only a few years ago, when I could barely make it through the song due to feeling like my world was falling apart. I hurt for the people around me who are currently living the reality of those words. I thanked God that at the moment those words are a memory for me. Yet, I also cling to the reminder that I have learned to trust God more as a result, and will continue to grow the next time I face circumstances that make these words a reality. For now, I live the words later in the same song stating "there is hope beyond the suffering, joy beyond the tears."