I learned a really big lesson on my way to class this morning; some might call it a God moment. My tired eyes concentrated on the highway as my mind raced until -bam!- it landed on one simple phrase:
You have taken all of me, just as I am,
And are moving me to be closer to who You are.
It's a simple phrase, really, and it isn't even all that profound. But I found such richness in that phrase. God has taken a person who loves other people, but can be really selfish at times, and He is using that person to do things that are bringing that person closer to being like Him. I realize that this has little to do with food, but is heavy on the memoir side. Here a few reasons why I am thankful today:
I've been given the opportunity to get 2 master's degrees...an education that people around the world only dream of
2 deans are taking a chance on me to help them write their next book, and it's on a topic that they have lived and struggled through all of their professional lives
My husband has been an amazing rock in an incredibly treacherous part of my life
Key friends and family members have really encouraged me, even when I'm boring them with too much info about school
While I am stressed about money, school, life in general, forgotten people, policies & systems that aren't working, and my role in how I'm going to help make some sort of difference, FOOD and FAMILY have been amazing outlets in this fine balance of keeping it all together.
On any given day, I am wrestling through some problem that is bigger than me, but by some miracle, I usually sleep very soundly at night with little tossing and turning.
By the grace of God, I have just enough confidence to listen to people, hear what they're saying, look around and learn from others, and feel that I can do this--I can play a part in making life better for some people.
I don't talk about this a lot, and I certainly have never written the following out for all of the world to see online, but here's what I've really learned since moving to Waco:
Degrees don't matter. (the non-degreed are some of the wisest...they lived it) (if you aren't constantly asking questions inside yourself about the world as we have it today) (if you don't have tools for the taking)
Honesty and being completely real with where we are is crucial if we are to move forward.
Despite being overjoyed/triumphant when I FINALLY got a job at a grocery store deli, making $7.50 an hour (with a college degree and 1/2 a masters...how humbling), I WILL NEVER KNOW being poor like my neighbors and others around here. There's not an amount of role-playing or thinking or discussion or books in the world that can give me that education.
Life is hard, and God continues to be good.
I'm not sure exactly what I've gotten myself into, but I guarantee it's sticky and too late to back out now.
People need listening ears, love, and God's understanding, even if you never use the word "God."
Working 50 hours a week is nothing. Adding 15 hrs of grad school on top is tricky. But doable.
There's nothing like laughing. Nothing.
SORRY this has been a little heavy...I tend to go there sometimes. But it's not too mushy, I hope. I've learned a lot in the last 2 years. My first final is next Friday (3 of them that day!), and I'm nervous and weary, but this morning's lesson from God has given me renewed energy and purpose for why I'm combating these 4 years here. I am so thankful...even when there's a scholarship dinner tonight, I'm hosting a table, and have 3 papers to write afterward. I'm still thankful. I hope you find new ways to be thankful in your own life today. May God bless you in surprising ways.
(Sam is sleeping on the crook in my laptop...his little black hairs will be a nice souvenir on my little white computer.)