... And so does the frantic feeling of the winding up of the semester, which officially ends December 16. With three major papers, a synthesis project, and several smaller reflections due throughout, I am suddenly very aware of the passing of time and how fast this first semester is moving to a close.
I am watching the leaves on the Japanese Maple outside of my window toss in the wind this morning as we are in the midst of wind advisories and a rather strong Santa Ana condition, and feeling quite thankful that it waited until we were back here before it arrived. We had a lovely visit to my parents for Thanksgiving, which was delightful and provided me a much-needed break from paper writing, Greek translating, and general nose-in-book syndrome. We visited All Souls' for the Thanksgiving day service and enjoyed catching up with friends and church family before settling down at my parents house for a quiet feast.
There is so much to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is even being in seminary at all and having this chance to live into the place where God is calling me to be and to serve. If you had asked me last Thanksgiving if I could see myself here in a year's time I probably would have looked at you quizzically and laughed. But when God decides that it is high time something happens, well... just hang on and follow faithfully.
I want to participate in a question that was brought up on another blog: Dream Life Wellness Studio. Lori-Lyn is looking back over 2011 and celebrating it over the next month. Today's prompt really struck me:
Loving 2011: Day One - What surprised you this year and what gift did you find in that surprise?
What surprised me most is the redemption of sorrow and fear that has come out of this year. My husband officially lost his job January 1, 2011. I was only working part time and earning just slightly above minimum wage, and he struggled to know how to proceed in finding another job that would be able to support us. A chance conversation with a neighbor who happened to drop a brief comment about something heard on the news led him to contact a recruiter to find out about returning to the US Army, something he had wanted to do ever since leaving it many years ago. Within six weeks he signed, and the next day the age limit was adjusted again to the point where he would not have been able to return to service. At the same time, he encouraged me to speak to a chaplain recruiter. I humored him, feeling in my heart that after so many tries and denials in formal discernment processes that perhaps my call was either dead or I and my communities in which I had discerned a call to priesthood and service had misread God's direction for me. I made the call to the recruiter the last week in January. I spoke with my rector and diocesan bishop the first week in February. By March I was accepted into seminary and well on my way to doing what needed to be done to be ready to join the Army myself.
Out of this flurry has come a multitude of blessings and reminders that it is not only not in my hands, but also not in my timing. God is truly in control. I am learning so many things about who God is calling me to be, and who I truly am at my heart's core. The biggest gift of all has been the chance to rediscover who God created me to be and to live into that developing knowledge while leaning hard on the unbreakable silver strand of love that ties me irrevocably to my Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.