Saturday, April 26, 2014

A peak into the next chapter of life

His timing is incredible. Absolutely incredible. 

     My last post talked about waiting for my shell to crack. It was about how I was losing steam, wanting someone to tell me what to do for the next year, rather than seeing how far I've come. Less than 3 hours after I posted that, I had a potential job offer. One that has progressed into an official job offer that I have just officially accepted!

Let me explain...

My Lenten observance was to go to church every Sunday to get back into a Catholic community that I had been missing. The first Sunday I went to church I heard of a website that connected me to different Catholic organizations offering volunteer opportunities of differing service lengths. On a whim I applied for a year long position with the Augustinian Volunteers. That Sunday I was praying for direction (like always). The day of my last blog post was the day they would be going over my application. After reviewing my references (a huge thank you to those who helped me out!) and application they sent me an email saying they believed I would be a good fit for a non-profit organization in Philadelphia.  I interviewed with the director in Philadelphia this week and a couple hours later they sent me an official job offer! Like I said-God's timing is incredible.

Now let me explain what I'll be doing during my year of service!

The organization is in South Philly and is called "Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor". You can check out their website here. I start in August and finish up on site in June. As the Administrative Coordinator I get to be involved in a lot different areas of the community. They are involved with different school activities like after school tutoring and ESL programs. They have a health clinic within the building and promote different social justice programs. All of these areas interest me so very much and I cannot wait to see what else I get to do!

I feel so great about saying yes to a year of service. I feel great about God's timing. After all the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety stemming from what I'd be doing come May 11th, I feel confident that this is all part of His plan. He provided me with what I needed-at what He knew was perfect timing.

The more people I tell, the more it hits me-I'm going to a completely foreign city next year doing something completely new. Many people have told me how brave I am for taking this "leap of faith", but truthfully, it doesn't feel like too big of a jump. Maybe because I am comforted knowing it was God's work and maybe because I love discovering a new city. He has more great things planned for me and I am so excited to keep discovering His will.

As I asked before going to Ghana, I am not asking for prayers of safety next year, but prayers that I can continue relying on God's plan.

I can't believe it! My shell is cracking!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The struggle to survive

So for Lent I vowed to go to church every Sunday. I know I know, as a good Catholic this shouldn't be something that I need Lent to make me do but I found myself needing some sort of external motivation and Lent was it. I admit, there was a weekend or two in there that I missed, which I tried to make up for by listening to a few online homilies by Father Gary in St. Louis. Yesterday though, Palm Sunday, I found myself in the second row pew at the Catholic church here. It was great.

The homily started with a metaphor of a young girl watching baby chicks hatch from an egg. She noticed all but one had fully hatched and the one that hadn't was struggling with cracking out of its shell. So like any good little girl would do she helped it out and finished opening the egg for the little chick, not knowing that it wouldn't survive. She went back to her mom wondering why the chick didn't live. Her mother explained that it is the struggle a little chick has to crack the egg that makes it strong enough to survive later on.

The priest related this struggle and desire for help to come from Christ. We want Him to do all the hard work. If He is the son of God, shouldn't He be able to?

But this hard work, this struggle, is what gives our spirit the strength to survive in the material world. I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken with friends in the last few months about how I just wish I could know where I will end up after graduation. I don't want to do the hard work anymore. I have even asked my mom to find me a job(she wishes she could sometimes).

It's hard to see more and more friends find out their plans for the next year or so. It's hard being told by organizations I've applied to that there isn't room for me. It's hard counting down the days until May 10 when I am no longer a student. It is hard to not regret my decision to go or even apply to grad school-then maybe I would have a plan.

With each rejection though, I know my shell is cracking a little more. I just wish God would have given me an easier shell to crack.

It is easy for me to cover up my fears by telling people "I can't wait to see where God takes me" but it is freaking hard to actually believe that. I admit, I am getting a little frustrated with God and His timing. I am beyond excited for my friends who are finding out where they'll be for the next part of their life, but it sometimes just makes me more unsure of my actions. I could've applied to more places. I could have made more contacts in college. I could have done more to secure a job or placement as soon as I graduate.

I have been so focused lately on what I could have done more of that I kind of forgot all of what I have achieved. God sees that and has been trying to send me little reminders-of which I am trying to dwell on rather than on what more I could have done.

Yesterday at church I sat next to a man and his wife. He had no idea who I was, he still doesn't. When the priest was giving his homily he mentioned how as college seniors we must be wishing God could break us out of our shell (he sure hit the nail on the head). As soon as he said this, the man next to me saw that I had a smirk on my face, confirming I knew what the priest was talking about. At the end of church the man asked me what I was studying. I told him my long list and he said "wow, you must be smart." At this I laughed and said "well, I try" and it felt like before I even finished what I was saying he was shaking his head say "no, no, no, don't you cut yourself short, you have to be smart." At that moment, he pulled to something to the forefront I couldn't see because I had been focusing on everything I was lacking. I smiled and said thank you, little did he know he made me remember something I had forgotten. He made my day.

I am smart. And I have worked HARD for my degree. To that end, I will be honored before graduation at a Phi Beta Kappa sorority ceremony for those in a humanities degree who are in the top 10% of their class taking a diverse coarse load. I also just found out that I will get to wear a special tassel as a Fulbright Senior Scholar-meaning I have kept a 3.8 cumulative GPA. Who doesn't love a special tassel??

I still can't say I am fully comfortable with God's timing. Even after I figure out the next stage of my life I am sure I will find something to worry about. But that's me. I have been given a tough shell to crack for a reason and I need to remember that I am working on my strength. If God were to do all the work, I wouldn't be able to survive. As I have said in this blog before, God didn't promise an easy life, but He did promise a full one.

Inch by inch my shell is cracking and I need to remember to see my progress before my set backs. It is in my progress that I find my strength.