It seems that the Lord is calling me to take another step into the realm of vulnerability. But if this is how he will be most glorified then indeed I rejoice!
A little background on "Surprised by Change":
I came up with the title "Surprised by Change" because it seems to encompass the past few years of life and I'm sure will be the description of many years to come. My husband, Mike, and I have been married now about 2 1/2 years. We met in college and were married the summer after I graduated. Always dreaming of living in New Jersey alongside my Italian-American family and mom (who re-married the Sept. before I was married) I laid down my dream of being in my hometown to follow the Lord's call on Mike's life. Being a Youth Pastor in VA. It still amazes me to see the boy I fell in love with at college who swore God's plan was for him to share Christ in the business world preaching each week and faithfully following God's will for his life instead of the one he had imagined God having for him. Leaving my family was one of the most heart-wrenching things I had ever done up to the 22 years of life I had lived when we were married. Very close to my mom and Dad, leaving my extended family who all have raised their family's close to their parents/siblings, it was a hard start. It's funny Mike and I never considered living in NJ. God filled me with enough peace in His plan to never question that moving to VA to join Mike in ministry was what I was to do. A few weeks after our wedding I was preparing to teach 1st grade in a Christian School in the area. My job was one area I was taking pride in. I am able to look back now and see many motives of why I took the job. Besides a love for teaching, one reason was to justify to my family that I had a job to help provide for Mike and I that would help them to be more comfortable with me marrying so young. I was trying to prove myself, which of course was unneeded. One week before school began I was told that the 13 children I had prepared for would now be 28-30 because of another 1st grade teacher having to suddenly move. At this same time, I started to become very ill. I had been diagnosed with an ulcer from that spring through the fall with a few bumps in the road, however, told things were treatable. By the end of August I was misdiagnosed with a bleeding ulcer. I was told to avoid all stressful situations. Which led Mike and I to prayer consideration about whether to continue to teaching. Never having quit anything in my life, the Lord humbled me to my lowest place, having to quit my job for the benefit of my health. September was a month of stress and pain as we did not know what was causing the pain I was experiencing. By October I had a procedure done which revealed that I had developed colitis, an incurable disease that causes inflammation in the large intestine. Although, so much change had occured in such little time: moving from home, graduating from school, being newly married, quitting my job... God continued to teach me that his plans can be trusted. He provided a job as a teacher's assistant in a classroom for middle school kids with autism that winter which led me to see the love I have to serve those with special needs. He provided for Mike and I all we needed financially and even gave us the ability to save money for our future despite my lack of income for us. He showed my family His provision despite what we had experienced. He gave me the time I needed to adjust to a new home, being a wife, serving in ministry alongside Mike and being away from family. He also gave me time to search to find what I desire to do for a job and finally 2 years later I am using my English degree to pursue teaching. There have been many changes along this journey. Changing jobs. Following God in obedience despite feelings of... "God, are you sure?" I have to say as tiring as it has been at times it truly has been a blessing in disguise. Looking back I can say I have been pleasantly "surprised by change" and look forward to the surprises ahead that will only mold me more into the likeness of Christ. I wish the same for each of you on this journey of "growing up" with me. May you too delight in the hardships and blessings that make up God's plans for you. He will be faithful!