Thursday, April 2, 2015

A look back at two years of progress

It's typical of me that I didn't realize it was Thursday until I'd finished writing.
When I started writing on this blog almost exactly two years ago, the original idea was to give myself a way to look back at the past and see God working in my life.

The first few posts were pretentious, at best. I think part of it might have been that I hadn't gotten into the routine of cutting needless information out of my writing, but it seems the very wording of the early topics is fluffy with the intent to deflect attention away from myself and my own issues.

They're filled with flowery language you might expect in some fancy bible commentary, and from my perspective, I did an awfully good job of pretending I was... something different. Take this next paragraph, for example, from the opening monologue:

"Now, that's not to say that we are not redeemed by Christ and signed by the blood of Jesus into the book of life, but though we are already saved, we are still surrounded by the sin we choose to participate in. The redemptive process, salvation, is nothing more or less than Christ's every day good work to make us more and more like the Father."

Uhm, what? Sure, I believe those words, but I feel like they were written by somebody else -- or at least with the intent to sound like somebody else. The next post, written about making plans without trusting God, is a little better, but there's still a strong sense of distance between myself and the reader. I offer two examples and analyze them as though I've come through hellfire and brimstone with some sort of higher knowledge, regardless of the fact that I was likely more mired in issues of trust than anyone who dared read my commentary.

It wasn't until a few weeks later that the current framework for the blog began to take place, beginning with a post about my thoughts, my fears and my concerns after finding out that I'd lost a job that was supposed to help pay for my newly leased apartment. Here, though it's brief and slightly isolated, I'm finally honest with myself. I finally capture something real: the fear surrounding where I would live and what I would eat.

That kind of fear has hit me several times over the last two years, including my first few weeks at my current job. I had to borrow money from a friend to pay for gas, and was living on two top ramen packets per day until my second paycheck arrived.

The fear hit once again when I was terrified that I'd managed to somehow strand myself in Finland without enough money to get home, and recently, fear arrived at my doorstep upon discovering that I was several thousand dollars in debt to the government after some mistakes on my taxes.

The Lord, faithful and true, took care of me and provided just enough to make it through having lost the job back in March of 2013. I got an unexpected care package of food from a family member that August to help me through those tough financial times, and God managed to barter down the price of a re-booking to get home from Finland so that I didn't have to borrow any money.

So as I struggle to wrap my mind around the next challenge, even after God blessed me a few weeks ago, I've never been more glad to have started this project and stuck with it, though spotty at times. If there's anything that I've learned through reading a few of the early posts, it's how God has developed a deeper honesty through my writing than I had before.

I'm better at threshing the wants from the needs, and I'm becoming a little bolder when asking for things. It's a process, and a slow one at that, but I feel as though God is setting pieces in place for a big move all at once.

Most of all, I see God's hand in all of this. It's an important reminder that God has taken care of me in the past -- and as God doesn't change, he will continue to care for my needs in the future.

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