Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

Great Grace

on May 7, 2015
photo by AAB

photo by AAB

I remember this time three years ago when I was listening for God, trying to discern if God really wanted me to move to North Carolina for school. I prayed, “Lord, if this is you, please give me a sign by giving me a scholarship.” The financial aid office told me there were no scholarships available. The Dean of Admissions called me right after I heard from the financial aid officer. He offered me the Dean’s scholarship.

Then I said, “But what about housing, Lord? How am I going to pay for housing?” Not long afterward I received a broadcast email that offered a “unique housing opportunity.” I would live (for free) in intentional community with four others attending the Divinity School, in exchange for participating in a local church.

God gave me a connection to a church, connection to other students, and a financial boon to lead me forward.

The next year, on a whim it seemed, I decided to look into possibly going abroad for a summer internship. The committee selected me to go abroad. I thought South Sudan or Guatemala sounded interesting. The Lord sent me instead to South Africa. By the time my journey was to begin, the excitement of summer travel had worn off. I was exhausted from that season’s issues with classes, friends and dating.

I said, “Why are you sending me to this place, Lord? I’m getting on a plane for a two-day flight and have no idea what is awaiting me on the other side. All I know is I have no strength for any of it. I do not want to go. Oh, God, help me.” The Lord gave me not strength but grace. Great grace. He walked with me, and He talked with me, and He revealed a God, a mission and a me that I had never encountered before. My life was altered.

This last year of school, I wondered whether I should attend an academic conference in San Diego. I was not presenting a paper, nor was I trying to meet colleagues and network. I just thought it would be a good experience to go to a conference before I graduated. But how would I juggle my schoolwork or pay for a trip to San Diego?

There is also a back story. At the end of summer 2013, to celebrate the conclusion of my first year of school and the end of my first summer internship, I used my summer earnings to take a short trip to California. I decided to go to San Diego, since I’d already been to the LA and San Francisco areas a few times. I loved San Diego! Near the marina, I took a picture of a beautiful glass hotel. That is the hotel where I would stay the next time I visited, I promised myself. Of course, another visit was not likely to occur anytime soon.

photo by AAB

photo by AAB

Fast forward to fall 2014. When the conference was only a few weeks away I had to decide whether or not I would attend. I prayed, “Father if this is something I should do, please send the money for me to go.” The next week I got an email advising me that a pile of cash was being deposited in my checking account. Something about a reimbursement or refund. I was dumbfounded. I booked the trip.

Of course, it turned out that not only was I returning to San Diego sooner than I imagined, but that the main conference hotel was none other than the glass one I had photographed the summer before. The conference was amazing, and the people I met strongly affirmed my desire to become a scholar.

There really is not room to tell of all the Lord has done.

I am graduating. I am slightly afraid of what I see ahead and of what remains unknown. I feel too old to actually do anything of significance in the world. I feel too tired by life experience to be excited about what’s out there. I am embarrassed by my heart that really only wants the love of a man at the root of the root.

But I am joyful too because I am certain of the Lord. I am certain that God’s love for me, and His plans for me, for all of us, are grander and full of more goodness and grace than we could think of expecting.

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