Time is really funny, isn’t it? I did not expect that it would be so long before writing again, but you know what they say about best-laid plans…
In fact, I have learned that in this year of service our plans are often changed in delightful, sometimes terrifying, beautifully providential ways. Sure, a certain amount of planning is necessary for the day-to-day and week-to-week, but life is so full of surprises and changes that plans tend to be swept away by present realities. And you know what? It is a mysteriously wonderful thing to surrender to providence. Even the choice to live this experience in Denver was a kind of surrender; I was not quite ready to leave Juneau when I felt like God was asking me to take this step and start something new. My original plan was surrendered, and that “letting go” has become a familiar feeling. Sometimes it is in big ways, sometimes it is small ways, but I am learning how to rely on and find my peace in providence.
For example, at the end of October when I had been here long enough to start making my plans of how I wanted to serve, live, and experience life in Denver, I was knocked off my feet by a back injury. Okay, so maybe not literally knocked off my feet – I could still walk and stand, but that was really about all I could manage. For the first four weeks, the doctors and physicians I saw really were at a loss to explain what was causing the pain. It was a bit of a pill to swallow, being in a year of service with this religious community and suddenly finding myself unable to serve in the ways that I thought were needed. I felt my smallness, my weakness, my needyness, my insecurity. It becomes a lot harder to assign self-worth to your achievements when you cannot physically do very much.
It was not according to my plans, but this episode opened up a deeper well of gratitude and I experienced deep healing. When I suddenly was unable to offer very little of my physical abilities, I offered what I could. I could still love, I could still pray, I could still give of myself. As I began to heal physically, I realized that what we have to give goes so far beyond what we can physically do, earn, and achieve. We receive all that we are given, and so much of what is essential is already built into us.
So you see, my plans keep getting rearranged. And I am really okay with it. There will be a time to start forming some plans for the future, but right now is not that time. Anyhow, I hope you are doing so well. You are all often in my thoughts and my prayers. And here we are in 2019! Is that not slightly crazy? I am looking forward to family visits, mission trip planning, and breaking in my new rock climbing harness as soon as possible!
Take care, sending my love,
Here’s some photos of what I’ve been working on!