April 25, 2016
God works mysteriously. How cool is that! As someone who has a thing for a good mystery, I can really appreciate the moment when the mystery comes together. It reminds me of those Magic Eye 3D pictures in the '90s.
I had one of the posters in my bedroom. At first glance, all you see is a pattern of intricate colors, at most. But, with squinting concentration, and maybe crossed eyes, something emerges. Your staring contest with the thing pays off, eventually, if you're lucky and determined. A hidden scene pops off the page. Beneath the jumbled pattern lies a big picture, often something completely unexpected.
Life is like that. On the surface, it looks like a confusing jumble of colors. But, look closer, and more meaningful patterns pop out.
You have to pay attention to the patterns in your life to see where you’re going.
With our BIG decision to move to Wilmington, NC finally decided, the patterns in our lives started to focus. We could see how God had been working us toward this move. It wasn't just a job offer that did it, but many things converging to one place.
… Joe’s strange, but increasingly difficult struggles at work.
… Ethan’s interest in a NC school, and subsequently his struggles getting in to college (a post for another day)
… My beach-based novels and obsession with all things coastal
… Our longing to be at the beach, well beyond normal vacation desires.
... A boredom with what our locality had to offer
… A steady distancing from our nearby family that had been surprising and sometimes difficult (We moved to Williamsburg originally to be close to relatives)
… My difficulties in finding balance with writing and my day job, and my inability to leave that job on my own
… Our lackluster feelings toward many of our commitments
… Our prayerful hopes for more. Not more wealth, necessarily, but just more quality to our lives. More balance. More life to our lives.
Most positive major life changes don’t happen win-the-lottery-style, that is in a moment. It's a progression. The cool God-thing in this isn’t just the patterns, but the linking of patterns - when you see that your patterns fit into someone else’s.
For the last seven years, I’ve been the director of my church’s preschool. By my side, Lisa has held my hand the entire time. She’s been the Assistant Director for nearly twenty years. When my predecessor retired, Lisa wasn’t ready to take the lead, opening a door for me.
This time, our decision to move opened a door for her, and she’d recognized a pattern in her own life, leading her to it. I told her about our move on Friday. When she came in to work on Monday (she could barely wait to tell me), she said she wanted the job. With those words, a planet-sized burden lifted off my shoulders, knowing that I'd be leaving my job in the best hands.
Course, that vacancy opens another door. And so on, creating ripple effects across the tapestry.
All these patterns (and probably a bunch we don’t see) converge to make a beautiful, God-inspired picture. A mysterious picture that we may not see right away, but we know is there.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28 New King James Version (NKJV)