This past May, I graduated from Culver-Stockton College with a B.A. in Music Performance, then married the love of my life, Joyce, three weeks later, and on August 27th, I started my first big kid job as the Youth Director/Worship Leader at Faith Presbyterian Church in Quincy, Illinois. Needless to say, it has been quite the season of new beginnings. Joyce and I had plans to move to Columbia, Missouri after our wedding, where she would finish her last two years at Central Christian College of the Bible while I worked at Starbucks. God had different plans. I ended up getting a job offer from the church where I had been an intern for the past two years. It was my dream job. I would be working with teenagers and leading a congregation in worship every week. When I told Joyce about it, her response was "It would be foolish not to take that job." So, we ditched our dreams in the bustling metropolis of Columbia and sat back and watched God's plan unfold in front of us. Joyce transferred to good old Culver-Stockton College and started her own major new beginning. It has been an exciting, busy, and very tiring season, and we couldn't be more happy to be where we're at.
This morning, I was scrolling through pictures on Tumblr of people in the mountains, sitting around a campfire with a log cabin and rolling hills in the background, and all kinds of other ideal picturesque scenes, just wishing my life could be more like that. So, I started working on a post talking about my frustrations with living in Illinois. As I was writing, I started to realize how stupid this was. I remembered how blessed I am to be in this very place at this time. I have always been a dreamer, always wanting to be somewhere else, wondering what life would be like if I was doing something different. Dreaming isn't a bad thing, but God is trying to teach me to be thankful for where He has placed me; not ignoring Him when He calls me to go, but allowing myself to be happy while I am here. Maybe one day, Joyce and I will end up in the mountains in a log cabin around a campfire with a bunch of friends, but that time is not now and I am okay with that. While I was writing this Tumblr post, I came across a passage in Hebrews that really spoke to my situation:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."I have been placed in an amazing Gospel-centered church with many strong believers around me, and I need to run in this race. With endurance! That's what I am going to do. I am going to take advantage of this cloud of witnesses around me, and use this time to be refined by Christ in every part of my life. Praise God for placing me in Quincy, Illinois where I have the opportunity to lead a group of teenagers into a relationship with Christ AND lead a local church body in worship every single week. There is no place I would rather be.