Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Challenge Begins

So how is it I have gone from first grade school teacher on a summer mission trip, to middle aged retiree moving to Alaska? I prayed diligently (and I mean on my face like a raving lunatic) for God to open a door of ministry for me. I begged as if it were for my life, because it was. As I’ve written before, I was sensing that change was imminent, but I didn’t know where He was leading.
Then a door opened and, like Lucy with the wardrobe, I stepped in…..and kept walking. This summer has been a steady hike, not just to glaciers, but toward my destiny.
Why Alaska? I have no idea. At first I was sure God had me mixed up with somebody else. Historically, I have NOT liked cold weather. I whine in the freezer section at Publix. But very clearly God led me here.
I don’t want to sound too philosophical but here’s my take (don’t laugh):
I’m thinking that moving to Alaska in some ways mimics the widow journey. Alaska’s state motto is “The Last Frontier”. Isn’t that what I’m facing? You know, exploring the unknown, battling extremes, testing my stamina, going where no man has gone before (oops, digressing into Star Trek again. Delete that last line). If I can survive an Alaska winter, I can survive anything, right? I’m excited to see what I’m made of, physically, spiritually and emotionally. This is my climb up Denali. I’ve been at base camp for two years just staring up, wishing, wondering and hoping. Gotta reach that peak and stand up and declare my freedom. Bring on the snow and the subzero temperatures and the frostbite and the sunless days and the isolation and………..I’m staying in Florida. No I’m not, yes I am, no I’m not, yes I am, NO I’M NOT!!!!!! BRING IT ON!!!!!!! (I told you not to laugh)

Next day:
“I’m excited to see what I’m made of”. Did I write that????? Apparently I’m made of jello. Before I could even publish this post, I got a call from home that I have a leak somewhere and my wood floor is flooded. Really? I fell apart. I had already been feeling a menopausal urge to cry all day. Not sure why. Could be seeing all the happy couples up here doing ministry together. My dream, as yet unfulfilled. Could be the emotional impact of retiring from a 34 year career. (At one time I had planned to be the oldest working teacher in the US. Not long ago my pediatrician was on the cover of Parade Magazine as the oldest practicing physician in the country. I think she was 99. I knew I could best that.)
But God had other plans for me and now I’m in Alaska feeling energized, adventurous and totally surrendered. But when I got word that my beautiful house was buckling, I just cried and cried. I called a friend who spent three hours on the phone trying to talk me down. I feel better this morning and will start making calls to do what needs to be done. I had just postponed my return to Florida by a week so I can spend time in a tribal village (earlier post). I still intend to do that. But I’m so being humbled.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, but as myself, I’m just jello.

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