Sunday, April 29, 2012

Peace in the Present

So I actually wrote this post on January 4th, 2012 ,but I never got around to publishing it.  But in the months it has been sitting in my draft box, it's message has continuously been relevant in my life, so I figured now is a good time to share it. :) 

I realized about seven years ago that you only get the present once--and then it's gone.
Seven years ago, I was a recent college graduate and had just committed to spending two years working for a non-profit {FOCUS} doing campus ministry.  As much as I wanted to serve God in this way, I was terrified of being asked to serve at a college away from my family in Colorado. 
The day I found out I had to move to New Mexico, I cried. 
And cried. 
And cried. 
I tried to put my heart into that year of missionary work, but in the back of my mind, all I could think about was moving back to Colorado.  Instead of fully living in, and embracing, my present state in life, all I could think about was the future.  It felt like my life was just on hold that year, and when I got back to Colorado I could begin living my life again.  Of course, I had some great experiences, learned a lot, and grew in my relationship with the Lord, but I always had my focus on the future.  

God answered my prayers, and the next year I got placed at a university in Colorado--but not without teaching me a lesson in the process.  That year in New Mexico, God taught me the value of living in the present, embracing the state of life He has placed me in at every moment, and finding true peace and joy there. 
God taught me that the present is precious--that each moment only lasts a moment--and that living for the future means missing out on great {and even not-so-great, yet precious, nonetheless} moments in the present.  I have FAR from perfected that ideal, but I try.

Do you know what I did after that year of campus ministry in Colorado?  I {voluntarily} moved all the way across the country to Charleston, South Carolina!  Something I never would have done a year earlier was suddenly the easiest (and one of the best) decisions I have ever made.  I was free to make that decision because I knew if God was truly calling me to that life, he would provide the grace I needed to survive--and not just survive, but to thrive.  That decision may have involved a certain boy who is now my husband ;) 

I stopped dwelling on what I might miss out on in Colorado and started focusing on what I didn't want to miss out on in Charleston. Though it had always been my "plan" to live in Colorado, that wasn't my reality, and I was finished letting that rob me of my peace.

Don't get me wrong, it is still a hope of mine to move back to Colorado one day (soon, perhaps!).  But I can honestly say that--almost six years later--I haven't obsessed about moving back or missed out on the joy of the present in anticipation of the uncertain future.  Virginia really feels like home--we have invested our lives here, made great friends here, and created many, many memories here that will last a lifetime.

I am glad God taught me this lesson, though I have still had to remind myself many times to stop fast-forwarding my life in my head! when Luke and I were engaged and I was SO excited to be Mrs. Vercollone! But, we tried our best to embrace the unique and fleeting life circumstances that being engaged present, and it turned out to be a very memorable and special time in our lives. 

So as the birth of my baby approaches, I do not wish these final days away.  Instead, I cherish my last days with just Augustine and Luke--as I cherished my last days with just Luke prior to the birth of Augustine.  I know our lives will be enriched by the addition of another little one, but I also know that I don't need to be in a hurry to get there.  That day will come fast enough on its own.

And I will rejoice on that day...

**As many of you know, "that" day--the birth of our daughter--came a few weeks sooner than expected!  And then, following Gemma's birth, she had some severe tummy issues that made her extremely fussy.  I was constantly reminding myself that, even when it was very difficult, this season of her life would pass ever so quickly and I didn't want to miss a second of it.  It was tempting to wish her out of infancy and into a calmer, more coherent stage in life, but I resisted and here, just a few months later, she has improved so much!  I guess I am constantly learning {and relearning!} that God's plans are always better than my own.  

And now with our move to Colorado "confirmed," this notion of living in the present is knocking me over the head on a daily basis!  I have to stop my imagination from running wild with scenes of Augustine and his cousins playing all day long while my sisters and I sip coffee and chat and remember to live each day in the present with peace and contentedness
...though a little joyful anticipation is never a bad thing either. :)

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