Our Journey of Hope

We’ve almost made it through another Michigan winter. Technically, it’s Spring. But I had to go back into the attic and get out my boots yesterday. My kids are still fighting colds, we see our breath in the air, and there is still snow. Calling this Spring is unfair. But, I have felt sun rays on my face so it means we’re getting closer. And as the last patches of snow make their way into the earth, I’m feeling so grateful for all of the blessing that has taken place in our family during the icy winter months.

Just after Christmas, Josh started a job at Hope College as Web Content Manager. Here’s why this is so fantastic: over a decade ago, when I was a student at Hope College, I met this long-haired boy at Barnes and Noble who was so different from every boy at Hope. He smoked Djarum cigarettes, climbed trees, and opened my world in a magical way that helped me peer over the walls of Hope College. The more I spent time with him, the more I felt whisked away from my world at my school. And even though I loved my world there, escaping it felt exciting, new, and even necessary. Josh challenged everything about the way I lived then. We merged our worlds somehow, but he is a big reason that I felt disconnected from the culture of my college. He liked Hope, enjoyed my friends, attended my events and lectures, and supported me. But, at that time, neither of us really celebrated or identified with the mission of Hope. In fact, in some ways, we tried to push against it.

It’s quite amazing how much can change in ten years. Josh now thrives on notifications from the Facebook group “The Reformed Pub”. The slight rebelliousness of his early twenties has turned into a fervent desire to submit to Lord and His church. He’s even trying to figure out how to be conservative without becoming too cranky. We both have grown and changed, of course, but I believe Josh has been remade. Over the years, he has been given opportunities for professional growth and God has blessed him with jobs that have been building blocks for what He’s doing now. But we have both known that these jobs have not been his calling or fulfilled his ultimate potential or purpose. As the provider of a family, this has a trickle effect and everyone has felt that subtle discontentment. We’ve pushed through, working on loads of issues we both carried into our marriage. And for a long time, we prayed for a job that would satisfy Josh, use his gifts, and ultimately contribute to the health of our entire family. The fact that God has called Josh to Hope College, trusting a piece of their vision to his care, and using his gifts to further their mission…it shows us how wild the ride really is where God is at work. He’s has been at this position for over three months and, let me just say, he’s rockin’ it. He holds his head higher each day and loves the academic environment. The job that provides for our family is also providing Josh with the perfect blend of confidence and challenge. And I couldn’t be more proud.

In the mean time, I’ve been settling in to my new life as a fitness instructor. I’ve been blessed by MVP to be given 2 classes each week, one on the bike and the other on my yoga mat. These are my two happy places where I build relationships, manage stress, and work on parts of myself that need attention and even transformation. I don’t think people realize what I’m actually at the gym to accomplish because so little actually involves the physical workout. And I’m blessed to be able to help others do the same. Holy Yoga at Beechwood continues to go well, and I’m still waiting with great expectation for what God will do with it in the long run. All the the training…the lectures, the millions of beads of sweat, the tests & assessments, interviews…it’s all been worth it.

And yet…

Last week, a dear friend gently approached me with concern. In talking with her about Holy Yoga, I was so greatly focused on the unknown, the questions, the direction…it’s as if I literally lost sight of the fact that I’m teaching Holy Yoga NOW and it’s beautiful. I so quickly can turn a season of blessing into a season of doubt because of the relentless question, “What’s next??” It’s overwhelming to think of where Josh has come, where is IS TODAY, and how grateful I am to watch him actually live out his dream in a surprising way. My friend had to remind me to be overwhelmed with gratitude in the same way for my own life, where I am today, despite the pile of unknowns at my doorstep. And I was reminded that I have a very real Enemy who wants me to always be asking for more, never satisfied with the portion I’ve been given from the Lord.

Psalm 131 says, “God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.

I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content.

Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope.
    Hope now; hope always!”

I wish I could say I didn’t want to be king of the mountain, because almost all of my energy goes into controlling chaos around me. But, as we usher in Spring, I want to cultivate a quiet heart. I want to be more than content with the grandiose blessings that have fallen upon our family. And, especially as I celebrate my husband and all that God is doing with him, I want to wait with hope. Wait for answers, healing, direction. Wait with the knowledge that His timing and design are so much better than my own plans. And at the end of the day, I want to say,

“Hope now. Hope always.”

 

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