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This week has been physically and emotionally draining. Baby Boy is teething, which means we are both covered in drool, neither of us are sleeping well, and at least one of us is usually cranky. Then on Wednesday, I was spared from witnessing a young woman take her own life by just minutes.

At 12:55 pm, my co-workers and I were getting ready to take the children we work with for a walk, and right before we left, a 25 year old woman threw herself off a balcony of the 28th floor of the building next door, landing just feet away from our entrance. Inside our building, we just reached the lobby when someone stopped us, and we could see police lights flashing outside the glass doors.

When I heard that the person was a woman so close to my age, it struck something inside of me. A summary of my life flashed through my head, and I couldn’t imagine ending it so soon. Who was she? What was she like? What was troubling her? Did she know that there was a church right next door, where she could’ve talked to someone instead of doing this?

These are the thoughts that ran through my head when I saw the white tarp covering the spot where she still laid, surrounded by flashing lights, people in uniforms, and yellow tape.

Why do these things happen?

I couldn’t get my head around it.

While driving home from work, I pass by another church that has a bell and steeple. My mind was still buzzing, trying to process everything.

Traffic slowed down on the road in front of this church and I could hear its bell begin to toll the hour. Soon, the noise of traffic picked up, and cars slowly started rolling forward. Yet, I could still pick out the sound of that sweet bell above the roar of motors and the shrill honking. I counted its chimes for the hour and felt a sense of calm.

It was like God’s “still, small voice” piercing the clamor of the day, reminding me that even more faithfully than that bell announces the hours, God is always…always…good. Even when I don’t understand what is happening or why, I can always rest in Him. He is bigger, stronger, greater than any situation – beyond my own sight or understanding.

I still don’t know anything more about the young woman who died, but I think about her when I drive past her spot on my way home, and I pray. I pray for the family and friends she left behind. And I pray for myself, that I will never forget to cling to the hope that Jesus has given me. No matter what is going on around me or in me, I need to listen for that voice to guide me, to speak truth into my soul.

What reminds you of His voice? What or who is He speaking through to you?

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I’m not very good at keeping a journal.  Or a diary.  I never have been.  But I do keep certain things – important, impactful things – written down somewhere, so I remember them.  And these comparatively few things are usually the things that I will remember, because I wrote them down.

Yesterday, I was talking to God after a really rough afternoon, and I remembered a post from my old blog:

Psalm 23 (my notes in italics):

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. I will trust You unconditionally and unquestioningly to take care of me.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, I will trust You to bring me good things, to cause me to flourish and be refreshed.
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. I will trust You to take care of my safety and well-being.
4 Even though I walk through the the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Even when I go through the scariest times in my life, I will trust You to always take care of me. And I will find reassurance in Your authority and support.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. I will trust You to protect me and bring me honor in spite of those who may try to harm me or bring me down.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. I will trust in You and Your promises!

I want to make a better habit of writing things down – both the good and the bad – because it is good to remember the things God has done.  The saying, “time heals all wounds,” can be so true.  After so much time has passed, I sometimes find it hard to remember how difficult my previous trials were, and I face my current trials with despair, because I can’t see past them.  But looking back can give me the encouragement I need to look ahead, because now I remember feeling this sad/overwhelmed/angry before, but I also see how God was faithful, and He is always faithful, and He will get me through, just as He did before!

I don’t know if anyone else ever goes through that period of “What the hell am I doing here?!” right after they make or experience major change…but that’s how I’ve been feeling lately.  To sum it up, the past 14 months have lead to job changes for both me and Hubby, the sale of our house, a move to another state where we don’t know anyone (putting us further away from family and friends than ever before), and me being pregnant with our first child.  And it’s taking its toll…at one of my last doctor’s appointments, I cried uncontrollably the entire time, just because I felt so overwhelmed with all the changes (especially the pregnancy) and had no support outside of my husband, who needed his own.  The nurse handled it ok, but the doctor asked if I wanted antidepressants.  No!  I just want a friend!  Why did I have to get pregnant AFTER we left all our friends?

So, I decided to take a break from my pity party to do some actual reflection.  I came across two songs that said it all (don’t you love when that happens?).  The first is Painting Pictures of Egypt by Sara Groves, which draws a great parallel between how I’ve been feeling and how the Israelites felt when they were going through the desert in their escape from Egypt.

The other song is If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens.  I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself and accepted that God knows things that I have no way of understanding.  There’s a reason for everything.

I also remembered that I went through a similar phase when I moved to our previous state.  I left everything I knew and was in a place where I didn’t know anyone.  I spent 2 or 3 years openly expressing how much I didn’t like it there and my home state was so much better.  But eventually, I found a purpose, along with many great friends, and now I really miss that place.  God was faithful, and He will be again now and forever.

Isaiah 49:1-13

I once read a post on a friend’s blog – My Interior By Design – that went like this:

1. Healthy things grow.

2. Growing things change.

3. Changing things challenge us.

4. Challenge forces us to trust.

5. Trust leads to obedience.

6. Obedience makes us healthy.

7. Healthy things grow.

Change.  It can be so difficult.  It can be so good.  It can be a pain in the butt!  Changes have really hit me as I adjust to life in a new state (and yes, sometimes I walk around during my day with the David Bowie song, “Changes”, stuck in my head).  For example, in the state of Georgia, you get your driver’s license from the Department of Driver Services (or DDS), but then you go across town to a totally different office run by the county to get your car’s plates.  Never had to do that before, and the idea sounded awful – two different offices to complete a task that I used to be able to take care at one?! Come. On.  Well, it turned out to be a rather painless and efficient system, because it took all of 20 minutes for both my husband and I to get our car tags, so…yay! 🙂

Another thing I’ve been adjusting to is not knowing anyone around here.  Well, I’ve got my neighbor, who’s been really nice, but she’s much older than me, so we probably would run out of things to talk about if we ever found a place we both wanted to hang out.  I really drive myself crazy at church or Starbucks, which are both places I used to go and see friendly faces.  Oh, well, the faces are friendly enough around here, too, but none of them are familiar.  That doesn’t stop my from scanning every face, trying to find someone familiar!  Still haven’t found one.  😦

It’s hard to think back and remember that only 5 years ago, I was in the same situation in Virginia.  I had just moved from the Midwest, where I was born and raised.  Friendly strangers, low humidity, and cold weather were all I had known!  Needless to say, moving to the East Coast/South, living 20 minutes from the ocean was quite a culture shock!  I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t have a clue where to start!  Fast forward half a decade, and as we packed up all our earthly belongings (besides the ones that are still being stored in my parent’s basement), we said several teary goodbyes to people who had become close friends.  People who I had never known existed a few years before are now some of the dearest people to me. 

And now, I look forward to living that all over again, even though I have no idea what the process will look like, and it probably won’t be all that fun sometimes, but one day, I will be able to look at my life and smile at all the wonderful people who have come into it at different times, in different places, and made it so much more special.

So here’s to growth, change, challenge, trust, and obedience!