This is the introduction to a series of posts that tells the story of one of the most fruitful times of my life.
Fall of year 2014 hit me hard. There were too many changes going on at the place I spend most of my waking hours––namely my job. I felt like I had so many good things I could do, but didn’t have the expertise necessary for it. I felt defeated, anxious, and downcast. For the first time in eleven years, I did NOT want to go to work. I almost loathed it. I remember looking at the list of the standards I had to cover and feeling nauseated…”What am I going to do???” And then there were my overstuffed lesson plans that seemed never ending. How could I balance the instructional hours and the amount of content that needs to be taught? Work was just a nightmare I was stuck dreaming over and over again.
Also, I was dealing with regret and shame as a result of misapplying the gospel to my life. In addition, my lack of priorities burned me out. I was constantly wasting time. My exposure to social media (posting, checking out posts, mindlessly scrolling through feeds, interacting…) was unbelievable. My level of distraction just bogged me down and I knew it was wrong.
Finally, to make matters a bit worse, I didn’t get to travel in December. I missed my friends.
When December came around, I was tired and depressed. I spent some enjoyable time with family during the holidays, but when the year was over, I could only look back and say that 2014 as a whole was an “odd year”. On January 2, 2015 I wrote,
Year 2014 was…odd. I can’t say I didn’t learn and grow. Or that I didn’t do much. Quite the opposite. I think I knew God as my provider in ways I had not known him before. I learned about the power of praying friends and my need to be dependent of him. And I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses. I learned that God has gifted me with abilities––many of them, but I doubt myself too much at times. I leaned that I still need to learn and apply the gospel to this sinful heart of mine and in my relationships. I was given a purpose and I was intentional living it out. Didn’t do so perfectly, but I tried. I traveled, kept friends, reshaped some friendships, made long-lasting friends, and (more) intergenerational friends. I served, ministered, and loved other people. I’m thankful for these things, yet it still feels…odd.
It was in the depth of that valley that the Lord met me. It was the providencial intervention of friends and His Holy Spirit that gave me a specific purpose and brought me to this Rehoboth…just like he did with Isaac thousands of years ago,
“Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”” (Genesis 26:21-22)
In the next following days, I will share the specific God-given purpose and some of the means He’s used to bring me to my Rehoboth, to these open spaces. It is indeed a very special place to be at. I think I haven’t been this content, this hopeful in a long, long time (if ever!), so I want to remember where God’s brought me from and where he’s moved me to by his grace alone.