Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Update...

I sent the following email out to a number of friends this evening, and thought I'd share it here as well.


Dear Friends,

I realized the other day that because you're rather spread out on the North American continent and beyond, it's been a while since I connected with some of you and caught up on life over a cup of tea. For those of you I have caught up with more recently, well, you can either stop reading here, or consider the following a refresher on our conversations.

Many of you will know that the last year and a half have presented me with some rather unique challenges at work, stemming from a new hire who was particularly difficult to work with. In January of this year I began actively seeking other employment, went on a few very promising interviews, but nothing panned out.

However, just under two months ago there was a sudden change in the situation at MMI (the small Mennonite insurance company I work for), the challenging coworker moved on, and I was asked to consider stepping into her position. After consulting my parents and some trusted advisers, I decided to accept and officially became the Human Resources and Administration Coordinator at MMI. I still answer the telephones in the afternoons, and fill some of the administrative assistant functions, but I now do so from my office instead of the reception desk.

After such a stressful year of work interactions, I'm loving the new, calmer atmosphere in our office. I'm also absolutely loving my new position. My days are varied, and present a wide variety of tasks and challenges. They're filled with anything and everything - last week among other things, I worked on some graphic design projects, liaised with our staff benefits company, continued the process of learning the payroll system, organized an upcoming training event, and researched venues for a conference that MMI hosts each spring. And those are only the larger projects that I spent time on. I'm excited about the chance to develop professionally that this job has dropped in my lap, and am loving the fact that I finally have a job that requires me to use my brain!

Personally, this last season has been very challenging. It's been a year marked by emotional ups and downs, and I have at times wished for a way off of the roller coaster my life seemed to have become. I remain incredibly thankful for my family, my roommates, and a few dear friends - near and far - who have gathered around me with hugs, prayers, emails, phone calls, chocolate, and long venting sessions.

Health has also been a challenge - in large part because of the immense stress I was experiencing both personally and professionally. I was sick quite often, and struggled with lack of appetite, upset stomachs, and a fairly significant degree of weight loss. I am, however, very pleased to report that due to some combination of a significant reduction in professional stress, a strict regimen of regular meals and vitamins, the healing prayers of friends, and a consistent effort at finding rest, I'm slowly beginning to feel like myself again. I'm finding I have a bit more energy and less fatigue, and, while there are good and bad days and weeks, I'm feeling encouraged. This does, however, remain a significant challenge for me, and I would love it if you would join me in praying for continued healing and restoration of energy.

A few people have been asking me about upcoming travel plans. The answer to that question is that there is nothing major on the immediate horizon. I'm still dreaming of far away places (Peru, India, Africa, and a return to Europe are all in constant consideration) but am planning to mostly stick close to home this summer.

This will be the summer of weddings and weekend trips. One of my roommates and one of my long-time friends are both getting married out of town this summer, so I'll be making weekend trips to join in those celebrations. I'm also hoping to join another long-term friend for the final portion of a pilgrimage walk here in Alberta she's been praying about making for the last year or so. I can't walk the full several weeks and distance that she's planning, but am hoping to join her for the last day or so, and a few days at her destination.

This summer also holds yet another move. Because one roommate is getting married, the other one and I will need to find a smaller place that we can afford. Moving remains one of my least favorite activities of all time, and I'm hoping this will be the last move for a while!

While the new year (can one still refer to it that way when it's nearly six months old?) has presented some challenges, it has also brought things that have continued to grow my ability to trust Jesus deeply.

As the year began, I was reading a book about miracles in which the author challenged his readers to "be relentless" in praying for miracles. As I read this, I felt Jesus speaking to me about my own heart, reminding me that I am quick to pray relentlessly for the concerns and needs of others, but slow to come to him and trust for my own desires, needs and concerns. I felt Him inviting me to "be relentless" in asking Him to care for my heart, and meet my needs. As I prayed, a list of four items that I was wrestling with formed, and it was these things that I felt led to consistently bring before Jesus.

I'll admit that I've been less than completely relentless in praying for and about these things, but I am so thankful for the grace of a God who answers anyway, and from unexpected directions.

One of the items on the list was the provision of a new job - one that would better meet my financial needs and would have a lower degree of inter-office stress. I never imagined that it would be possible for those conditions to be met without changing companies, but God has worked graciously and unexpectedly, and I'm delighted with this new door that He's opened for me at MMI.

I am seeing slow answers to prayer in a second of the four items on my list as well - a restoration of health. I had the opportunity about a month ago to have some conversations with a dear friend that held a mirror of sorts to my life and health choices, and provided the impetus to make some badly needed changes and decisions. As I mentioned earlier, I believe I am seeing slow improvements in my health and energy levels, and I'm grateful for those of you who have prayed for and with me for continued healing.

I wouldn't be the true Grey's Anatomy geek that many of you know me to be if I didn't also say that in a year in which I've seen many relationships around me change in huge ways, the reminder in last week's season finale to make sure the people you care about know it struck a deep chord. You are each much loved friend, ans while I've been rather distracted by the many challenges life has thrown my way this last while, and perhaps haven't been the best at keeping in touch, I have thought of each of you and prayed for each of you often. I would love to hear what is going on in each of your lives, what Jesus is doing in your lifes, and to know how I can be praying for you specifically. And hey, if you live nearby, I'd even love to meet you for a cup of tea and do that catching up in person.

Lots of love,