Having lived this end-of-July season for four years, I had no idea what it would be like on the other side. I’ve imagined it and in some ways even prepared myself for it, but there’s no way to actually know what it will be like until you experience it. Here is what I mean. This is the time of year when staff begin to return to La Paz, headed back to Highlands to greet new staff, prepare and hanker down into work week, and welcome students and parents back on campus. Social media blows up with stories and pictures about last minute goodbyes, eats, airplanes, and arrivals. For the first time, I’m not joining the crowd. Instead, I find myself sitting in a townhouse in an upscale neighborhood in Seattle, waiting for Summer Session 2 of classes at Seattle Pacific University to start tomorrow. Next Monday I start my job as a Principal Intern/Assistant to the Superintendent at Northshore Christian Academy, and ten days after that I am moving in with a different family about 10 minutes from NCA. Therefore, I thought I would take my last free Sunday night in the foreseeable future to reflect.
This season has certainly been a whirlwind. I can’t believe June and July have come and nearly gone. I drove 2,000+ miles from Iowa to Chicago back to Iowa to Seattle. Then I said goodbye to dear travel buddies and showed up on my family from last summer’s doorstep. Four weeks and two more grad classes are now behind me, and it still feels like there is plenty of summer left. Maybe because school supplies aren’t in the stores yet, or maybe because the weather has just decided to get nice- supposedly cloudless skies and 80s for the rest of this week! Or, maybe it’s because I’m not stressing about packing 120+ pounds into 2 suitcases and a carryon. And I don’t have a flight to catch in the next week. And I’m not eating all the American food I will miss and making a ton of Target runs. Part of my heart is still waiting. Waiting to see if all of this PNW life is real. Am I really not going back to La Paz this time? Perhaps all of it feels unsettling and unreal because I haven’t really settled and don’t know what my “new normal” will bring. I know that these classes, my current housing situation, my routine are all temporary. In fact, I am still living out of a suitcase and my trunk is still full of many of my belongings.
My this-season church, Bethany Community, has been doing a sermon series on Exodus. I’m telling you, God orchestrated them to do this series just for me! So many good truths have come out of the few week’s I’ve spent there. But the biggest theme is that of wilderness traveling. What were the Israelites doing in the wilderness? Getting to know the character of God. The wilderness means out of our comfort zone and out of control. Is God good? Is He enough? Is this calling He has given me acceptable? Will I choose to learn in the wilderness? Will I know in my heart that God is my provider, that He is enough, that He is good? I’m trying and giving it my best. I’m not going to understand this season overnight- it’s moment by moment, day by day, living inside of the journey. I see God providing for me in so many ways, and take time to celebrate. I keep thinking about when God asked the Israelites to put blood over their door for the passover in Exodus 12. I can imagine there were so many variances of faith. Some putting just a little, and some putting a lot. God doesn’t say “when I see your amount of faith” and instead says “when I see the blood” (Exodus 12:13). Rather than spending so much energy worrying about how much faith I have, I just keep making sure that Jesus is the object of my faith. So, this wilderness traveler continues on the journey, taking big steps of faith and embracing the story God is writing, believing this dream and the passion I have for leading others came from God, and believing that He wants to use a willing wilderness wanderer to make His name famous.