a new season

I think I've let most people know this by now. . . but I am not going to Bethel this fall.

If you received one of my prayer letters, you don't need to respond. If you happened to support me with a financial gift and have already mailed it, I will send it back with my deepest thanks.

Not too long after I sent the letters out, I realized my mom was just not recovering quickly enough in order for me to be able to head down to Bethel. Overall, she's recovering fine, but has had a few complications and bumps in the road, most recently dealing with severe anemia, for which she's now taking medication. She just doesn't have the energy back and hasn't been able to drive on her own yet because of how she's feeling. Right now I'm the only one in our house able to drive, so practically speaking I just need to stay for a little longer.

Like I said in a previous post - I've been here before. Plans change. Yes, I'm disappointed that I can't go, but thankfully, through this whole process I've found peace and an enthusiasm to come back to Jackson (which is what I plan on doing) and see what's in store there. I'm heading into a new season, literally and spiritually, and I'm excited to see what might happen. I really don't believe necessarily that God wanted my mom to be sick longer, or that it was His ultimate plan that I don't end up going - but I believe that anything Satan tries to throw at us to use for evil, God wants to use for good.

So I'm choosing to trust, which is hard, takes effort, takes determination. I'm choosing to believe in His faithfulness, reminding myself of the countless times He's already been faithful. It's a kind of learned optimism, as I was explaining to a friend over the phone the other day, one that's come from past experiences and not my natural tendencies, I must admit. I'm choosing to rest in hopefulness. Actually, it reminds me of a verse that's been important to me over the past year or so - "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer" (Romans 12:12 ESV). Honestly, I am not sure yet what rejoicing in hope looks like right now, I am still working on that one - am I supposed to jump up and down and say, "Yay, school didn't work out! Great!" I don't think so. I think it means rejoicing in Christ, who is our ultimate security and in whom we should place our hope, and holding all other things loosely, despite disappointments that happen along the way, because in the end they are transient and temporary.

Plus, I miss Jackson! I miss my friends, my church, walks and slushies at Cascades, bike rides on the Falling Waters trail, ridiculously adorable babies that are growing up way too fast, so much good coffee, hints and glimpses of renewal and restoration, all the things that have made Jackson my hometown. At the very least, coming home is always a good thing, in my opinion, no matter how long (or short) the absence has been.

I am looking forward to it. Really!

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