July 24, 2013

PROCESSING IT ALL.

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So I'm about to really just spill what's on my mind as of late. It won't be written perfectly, will likely end up in a long post, but will hopefully help me process (and give you a picture as to) what's going on in my mind as of late.

Cue dramatic music here.

These past few days have been hard. I've had a rough time writing about it because I haven't really come to terms with it all nor do I want to. But, I know that I need to. So I'm going to face my fears. 

Most of you know I graduated in March and that I want to be a teacher. Some of you also know that I need to go to more school to make this happen. This week, however, shook up my plans of doing so. The programs or colleges that offered these programs (the ones I loved most) have decided to end them as of next year (when I was planning to attend). When I discovered this, I instantly felt panic, disappointment, and pain. And I had a lot of unanswered questions that I wanted God to answer that minute.

I questioned if this dream of becoming a teacher was going down the drain. I asked myself if I've picked the wrong career. I even let myself ask why this had to happen to me.

But God stepped in. To be honest, I wanted to spend time alone; I didn't want Him to comfort me. I wanted to sulk and I most definitely did not want to be rescued. I didn't want the God who was letting this happen to me come in and comfort me.

But deep down, I knew that healing was the answer and I wanted to get rid of the ill feelings I had that were putting a damper on my recent sour attitude.

So I opened the door a crack. And that's when I felt Him open the door a little wider. Music from the radio poured in, words from She Reads Truth poured in, and most importantly, His love poured in.

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God reminded me that I'm not alone and that I'm surely not the only one who struggles and is unsure of the future. God also kindly reminded me that I can't do this on my own. I may try to be independent, but my attempts at planning my own life often lead mistakes or failure. I have a tendency to try and write my own story, closing the door on Jesus, and creating my own path. But when I'm a backseat driver and try to tell Him where to lead me, I don't go anywhere. I either stay there or I backtrack. So instead of taking the wheel, I need Him to lead me. I need Him to be the driver, the author, and the planner.

So no, I don't know what's next. I'm scared, to be honest. I still want to be a teacher, to be independent, and to have good medical insurance (one of my greatest fears right now). But over these past few days, I've felt God tell me that I need to focus on today.

Just take one day at a time and treasure the present.

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And that's where some of today's dreams come in (you know, the ones I was referring to here). While I have dreams of having good medical insurance, living on my own, and having my own classroom, I also have other dreams. I dream of turning my blog into a job (you know, a paid job), I dream of designing blogs, helping new bloggers, opening an Etsy shop and selling prints, and taking photographs for friends and loved ones.

I've seen so very many bloggers pursue those exact dreams and make successful careers out of them. And I would be lying if I said I didn't want that to be true for me, too. But I've never believed in my dreams because those bloggers were married, they had more money, and they are all older. And surely, they must have some financial assistance and security.

But you know what? Those excuses are really doubts. More specifically, doubts that God could provide for me if I pursued these dreams that could quite possibly be His, too. 

And those doubts and excuses also covered up fears. Fears that I wouldn't succeed. Fears that I would fail, would put more work and money into it than I would get out of it. Fears that people wouldn't take me seriously or that my Etsy shop would get cob-webby and slowly die off in the shadows of the big shops.

So I'm facing those fears. God is able. He will provide. And I'm learning and believing this more and more everyday.


If there's a road I should walk, help me find it
If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will, can You help me find it?
:::::I'm giving You fear and You give faith
I giving You doubt, You give me grace
For every step I've never been alone 
-Sidewalk Prophet's Help Me Find It

Note: If you're curious, I'm still unsure if I'll pursue those dreams in the end. I'm praying and asking God if my dreams are His plans. I'm praying that I'll choose to believe in Him instead of my fears and doubts. But I do know that He's much better at leading me through life than I am or will ever be. 

28 comments

  1. A few months ago I dealt with the sudden death of a dream. I was absolutely shattered. One day I was doing what I loved and saw myself doing for the rest of my life... and then it was gone. All of it. I'm still grieving but each day gets a little easier.

    One thing I learned in this time is that even though it FEELS like an end it is not, in fact, an end at all. As time goes on new dreams are birthed. New ideas. New ways of doing what I used to be doing.

    And just because it ended doesn't mean that I wasn't doing what God wanted. I know that I know that I know that I was right where he wanted me at that time. Didn't work out like I thought it would... but I was still in his will and I still am.

    So what do I do now? I rest. I trust. And as you said... I take it all one day at a time.

    I'm still processing what is in my heart and the hurt and healing isn't yet complete but I have learned so much in this season and I am super excited about what God has in store for my future... even though I have absolutely NO IDEA at all what the future looks like. All I do know is that when God says GO I'll be ready and willing... just like I was before the pain and death of the old dream.

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    1. You are so right. There are most definitely new dreams on the horizon. I'll admit, I'm still clinging onto my dreams of being a teacher because I think it is something that God wants me to do--just not right now. That's the part I'm still coming to terms with (especially when I find myself comparing my experience with that of my peers who graduated and are further along in their teaching journeys). I love what you said, "new ways of dong what I used to be doing." Love that. :)

      And I want to thank you for setting such a wonderful example for me--seriously, it is such a comfort to know that I'm not alone in this dream-thing and obeying and trusting God. It's tough, but so much easier when I know that I'm not alone and have someone out there (even if you are miles away!) to tell me that trusting Him is always the best answer. Even if it's the hardest!

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  2. What a beautiful post. Such wonderful words, and your gifts of design just added that much more to this post. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    Ellie
    www.ChoosingPeaceBlog.com

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    1. Thanks, Ellie. That means a lot. :)

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  3. ah! if i had a nickel for every time i had a "plan" for my life and God turned it upside down, i'd be rich. all through high school and college i thought i had my life figured out. then things would end up in the toilet and i had to figure something else out. there were a lot of tears. many majors switched...and in the end, i won't even really use my degree for my career. God the whole time had His hand in it though. it was so tough some years, i felt like i was alone in the wilderness. but looking back i know God was right there with me. praying for you sweet girl!

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    1. You and I both, girl! I think God loves to surprise us. :)

      There are definitely times when I feel like I'm alone in this journey (especially when I compare myself to my peers who graduated with me and are now teaching--that's probably the hardest part!) but you're right. I'm not alone. I have Jesus. And I have wonderful + encouraging friends like you, too!

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  4. Kiki, I know you are more than capable of rocking a blogging 'job'! Know that someday, I would totally buy a design from you. :)

    And just knowing you for a little time, I am positive you are great with kids (what grades are you planning on teaching??)

    Letting go and letting God is something I have been working on this month as well. I'm gonna be honest, especially when it comes to guys...if you know what I mean. It's just so easy to get too wrapped up in what I want and to be impatient; when I really should wait for God to reveal His answers in HIS good and perfect time.
    I have been reading this book called 'Preparing To Be a Help Meet' (OMGoodness such a good read!) by Debi Pearl. One of the many things it has already showed me (I'm only halfway through the book..) is that nothing good is going to come out of ANYTHING I try to make myself.
    I hope that was an encouragement...not just sounding like a Mom.

    Praying for you, Kiki!

    Love,
    Madison

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    1. Thanks, Madison! That encouragement REALLY helps. :)

      As far as teaching goes, I have the most experience with preschoolers (think 10-ish years experience in church, preschools, student teaching, etc.) but I would love to teach in an elementary school someday. And I do think that that is still in my future but I'm still coming to terms that that dream isn't coming as soon as I hoped (or as soon as it seems to be happening for some of my peers).

      I am comforted by that fact that we're letting go and letting God be the planner together! I completely understand with what you said about guys. Trust me, that's something I struggled with a lot and still do to this day. I remember distinct times when I would think that this guy would be perfect for me but in the end, God's got that part under control. I can't create my future husband, only God can. It's definitely easy to get wrapped into what I want. And it's especially hard to wait. But like you said, God has perfect timing and if He's provided me with other great experiences in the past, I need to remember that more goodness is still to come.

      And I'll have to look into Debi's book--thanks for the recommendation! It sounds like a great read and I'm actually looking for a new book, too! :)

      p.s. That was definitely encouraging and much appreciated, friend!

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  5. Letting go of fears and doubts is SO hard, girl. I feel for you. Finding that direction in life and trusting God to get us there takes a lot of courage, dedication, patience and hard work. The possibilities are full of hope but also loom ahead with uncertainty. It's so encouraging to see you take hold of God's hand and let Him lead you! Keep holding on, you are definitely in my prayers :)

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    1. Thanks, girl! It's so easy for me to cling to my fears and doubts and use them as a security blanket even though I know they're anything but a security or firm foundation for me to stand on.

      And thank you for those sweet words and encouragement. And prayers. I really can't thank you enough. :)

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  6. Fears and doubts are a part of life, and sometimes you wish you could leave them behind you. I have tried to do this many times... failed at it. Sometimes it is best to just have them, they help you figure things out, they help you find your way.
    I am sure you will be able to go one to study to be a teacher, especially if it is really what you want to do. And I am sure, if you were to open an etsy shop, or doing something else for that matter, it will turn out great. As long as you enjoy doing what you are doing.
    You will get there :)

    xxSusanne

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    1. If anything, it's realizing that I have fears that lead me to Jesus and remembering that in the end, He's the one who can take them from me!

      And yes, I do think I'll be a teacher someday. This post helped me realize that just because it's not happening this minute, it doesn't mean it won't happen at all. Patience is key and it's something I'm learning in terms of dreams and such. :)

      And yes, it is important to do something you enjoy--I've definitely learned that over the years!

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  7. Thank you for opening up and sharing your heart and what's on your mind, Kiki! :)

    You know, I really relate to this post so much. It makes me think of my time with grad school... I went into it with a plan that was fail-proof. That would grant me the perfect life and make me look good to everyone around me and give me a nice amount of money and security.

    But it wasn't right for me. It wasn't what I was meant to be doing and I could feel it with each day that passed. If stepping into our destiny is ecstasy, then being completely away from it is the opposite. And it's so hard to stay in a situation when you realize: this is NOT right. (Sorry I am kind of getting off track.)

    Anyway, what I began to learn is that maybe I had to take that harder road to get to where I am meant to be (because of my own stubbornness). I feel a lot more aligned with my purpose and who I am as of late, even though so much is up in the air. And I think part of it is... our own fears really do keep us back or keep us from serving others in the way that we're really meant to, at the highest... potential or calling or whatever that we could. And a lot of times, we talk ourselves into what's "right" or what makes sense... but we really end up getting in our own way.

    Like you, I've learned that when I let go and trust in God, trust in something higher, then a way is made. It's kind of like that verse from Proverbs 3:5-6?? Right? When we trust in God with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, he guides our path? There are some things that are beyond our understanding and... while it may seem like one path is the clearest and the one we should be going down, maybe there's something even better for us, that answers our heart's wishes better than we could have ever imagined.

    I think it's about becoming unlimited in our thinking. We come up with an idea, fixate on it, and think that's the only thing that could fulfill us or make us happy. But when we do that, we only suffocate ourselves. Instead, when we stop being attached to a certain outcome or path, that's when our world can become alive and we allow God to get really creative.

    Sometimes our circumstances help dictate actions we wouldn't be willing to take on our own. I know that has been the case in my life. So maybe that's what's happening here.

    Anyway, just a little thinking aloud in response to what you wrote. :) Thanks for sharing...

    --Erika
    http://www.chimerikal.com

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    1. Harder roads. Girl, I know exactly what you mean about that. I've found myself comparing myself and my experience with that of peers who are in teaching jobs and ask myself why I don't have one, too. But like you said, there are hard roads out there and while some things may come easier to others than for me, there are other roads that may be easier for me than them. It's those easy roads in my life that I sometimes forget I've traveled on, though!

      And you are so right about fears. They can definitely keep us from so many, many things. Too often I let fears come before my trust in Jesus. I also let my fears talk me out of different things, too. So I know exactly what you mean about "talking ourselves into what's 'right' or what makes sense" when that talk is really what gets in our way.

      That verse from Proverbs has been one of my very favorites as of late. I remember memorizing that verse as a kid and not truly understanding it. But it's this summer that I've realized that I can't live life thinking that I know everything, because let's face it, I don't! :)

      And thank you for your wisdom about not being attached to a certain outcome or path. what I've realized is that just because teaching isn't in my near future (at least in the sense I planned in college), it doesn't mean that it won't come at all. Let's just say this has also been a test of patience for me, too!

      I also love the part about God being creative. He definitely is and I've realized through your words that I've been suffocating His creativity by trusting in my plans instead of His.

      p.s. No need to apologize for getting off track! Digressing is my forte and I always look forward to reading what you have to say! I know I've said this millions of times before, but I love your comments. :)

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  8. You have every right to be scared out of your mind! But you put that fear in good hands when you leave it with God. It's hard when it looks like your plans won't work out: at least right now. But so freeing to go in with open hands, allowing yourself to accept whatever God has for you. Which is guaranteed to be better than what you would have picked for yourself!

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    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for that validation and your wise words. I'm definitely feeling the fear (especially as time goes on and people ask my what I'm up to...) but you are so right, putting my fears in God's hands is what's best. Sometimes it can just be so hard to give it all to Him.

      And you are most definitely right about the freedom that comes with letting God be in control. It's weird because it may seem like just the opposite; but letting Him in lets me just live and take everything one day at a time. :)

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  9. It's amazing what he does when he shakes up our plans.

    I too thought I'd be a teacher forever. During my student-teaching I started to doubt it (yes, that early). I knew i loved teenagers, I knew I had loans to repay, and I knew I loved US History - so obviously being a social studies teacher was PERFECT! But it wasn't. It never quite fit, despite the fact taht I still loved my kiddos. I taught for the semester after I graduated college (I was a december grad), and I moved to NY to work with a youth group soon after that. I thought I'd have a teaching job lined up by September and I'd continue, btu God shook that up. It took over a year to provide me a full-time teaching position (I subbed in the in-betwee, which I still do and LOVE), but that teaching job was AWFUL, and he used to to teach me that maybe that's not what he had for me long term. I gave it one last ditch effort the next school year when I was offered a "trial period" teaching job for five weeks (if it went well, I stayed, if not, I could keep subbing), and as great as the job was, as much as I loved the school, it just wasn't right.

    Now I'm in social work school, which is what I have felt deep down he wanted me to do for a long time, and I LOVE EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF IT. both of my internships so far have been LIFE-CHANGING AWESOME, as opposed to causing me to question my choices. I'v never felt so fulfilled and so on track with where he wants me to be. Seriously. There are so many times I mourn the death of that dream of being the inner-city midd-school social studies teacher, and I question my decisions, but then I remember htat he knows what he's doing, and I'm so much happier now.

    He has a good way of stepping in and redirecting us. Keep letting him do that. IT may take longer than you expect (if you'd have told me I'd be 27 and still not have a steady full-time job I'd have thought you were nuts), but let it play it's course, so long as you're being urgent in seeking his guidance.

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    1. You are so right, God does do amazing things when He shakes up our plans. That shaking process is hard to accept, but His plans for us are always good in the end. :)

      And I forgot that you studied to become a teacher! I love that we have that in common, too! I also love that you realized teaching wasn't right for you. I think that it still might be, but like you mentioned, I think it might take longer than I expected (which is something I'm still learning to accept--I'm a little impatient when it comes to having my own classroom!). I think it could also be that I might not end up teaching in the ways I thought I would (i.e. I might end up teaching in a different kind of school setting, age group, etc.).

      I also want to say that I've thought about doing social work. I love adoption and I've discovered a love of working with families and while I think it would be interesting, I also feel like it might not be for me at this time in life. But who knows? God just might lead me there someday!

      I definitely admire and am encouraged by your trust in Him. That's something I'm still learning to do to this day! :)

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  10. Girl, thank you for sharing your heart!! Those moments of uncertainty and not knowing what the future holds are seriously scary. I remember them vividly and still have them today! But... through those moments of desperation is when God finds us and molds our hearts. It's scary not knowing where we will end up in the next few years or even months--but know that wherever you are NOW is where God wants you...and he is preparing you for something far greater than you could ever dream of yourself. :) Just try and trust.

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    1. You said it--not knowing the future is definitely scary but I've definitely felt God molding my heart in the process through comments like yours and through His Word, too. Thank you so much for always pointing me to Him and for encouraging me, too. Seriously, I am SOOO grateful for you and our friendship! :)

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  11. i have been dreaming big too and this is such an encouragement. like you made me cry a little bit. I needed to hear this. and I am really excited - let's explore and run after our God given dreams together :)

    and as one who doesn't have health insurance either I am thankful that the state takes care of pregnant ladies just in case God has different ideas for family plans! ;)

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    1. Can we? I would be so encouraged, motivated, and happy to follow my God-given dream(s) as you follow yours, too! I know I say things like this a lot, but your words are a constant encouragement to me and your words are very much so appreciated, too. :)

      And that is such a blessing that you get care for any future pregnancy! I've never looked into that where I live, but what a great service that is!

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  12. Kinda fitting you call your blog in its time :)

    I think it's kinda exciting to watch (from my perspective not yours) because when crazy things all schools drop the program at the same time you just Know it's God. And it's cool to think about how His sovereignty is playing into this. Because it very much is. He's certainly doing something in your life for His glory and that is awesome.

    It is definitely so scary when things fall apart. But it won't be scary forever. You will one day get through it and it will make sense. Remembering that always helps me hang on when it's tough.

    All my love and prayers :)

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    1. I know, right? It's funny, no matter where I am in life, I find that that verse from Ecclesiastes is exactly what I need to remind myself of. Such a test of patience and trust but there's also so much hope in it, too. :)

      And you are right. It was when I had my top two schools drop their programs like flies that I realized that maybe, just maybe, I need to put a hold on the elementary school teaching thing. That's NOT to say that I don't want to teach or feel called to teach (because I really do and want to!) but maybe someday isn't necessarily next year. That's honestly one of the hardest things I've had to accept.

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Ashley. I really needed to be reminded me that life won't be scary forever. And I know for a fact that life will turn around and someday I will be grateful for this time in my life. :)

      Thanks for the love + prayers! They are very much appreciated!

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  13. Beautiful, transparent post, Kiki!! I'm so sad to hear that your chosen schooling has reached this major crossroads, that's a HUGE deal! But I'm so encouraged even in my own personal life with how you're still determined to find God's will within the mess! Thank you for speaking truth to all of us!

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    1. Thanks, Kellie! It definitely is a HUGE deal--especially when it seems like the people around me are judging me for not having my life put together and I feel like everyone else has their lives put together, too. In reality, though, who does? Only God holds our lives in His hands and only He knows what's going to happen.

      Thank you for encouraging me with those words! I am constantly encouraged by you and your posts so I love that I can be of encouragement to you, too. :)

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  14. -sigh-
    yes.
    the death of a dream...or at least the death of a particular path on the journey to a dream is hard and frustrating and creates a lot of questions and heart break.
    ::hugs::
    It sounds like a lot of readers have been able to relate with you, as i can.
    I went to school for youth ministry. my senior year i started working for a church as the youth leader (i had been working with them for a while, but i was then on paid staff). It was awesome, a highlight of my life, pouring into students lives and just being there....then...not even a year later the paster had an affair and the church fell apart and we shut down. Sides were taken, hearts broken, lines drawn...it was really really heart-breaking.
    I have barely stepped back into ministry sense. I've helped volunteer at a few youth groups here and there but the last few months i've not helped....because it hurts and it's painful.
    I've questioned if this is what God wants me to do...did he really call me to student ministry ...or was that my own heart....
    It's a hard journey one that doesn't have similar answers because everyones ministry is different and everyone has been led by God differently.
    I just wanted you to know you're not alone! <3

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    1. For right now, it really does feel like a path of my journey has broken (beautifully said, by the way). It's definitely still frustrating, it's raised a lot of questions, and it's also caused heartbreak, too. So thank you for those hugs, they're sooo appreciated right now.

      And yes! I had no idea that so many people would relate to this change in my life--especially because it seems like a lot of people I know in "real" life aren't facing these troubles--but maybe it's because they're not voicing them? I'll never know.

      And I am so sorry to hear about your heart break and journey in youth ministry. While I wasn't too involved in youth ministry as a teenager, I can say, that it takes amazing people with huge hearts to reach out and connect with those kids. It's really sad to hear that the church fell apart. It's always sad to hear that something like that happens and that it could happen at someplace like a church. :(

      I can see how that it's painful to help out here and there--I feel that way when I teach or hear about my friends teaching. It hurts to know that it's out there and that I love it but that it's not right in front of me (or at least not YET).

      Thanks for reaching out to me, girl! Reading this truly made me feel not alone.

      Like really. :)

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