Tag Archives: grace

I’m moving to Virginia!

Since I’ve known since January, I figure it’s time I announce this. :) That picture you see is in the choir room at a school tucked away in the mountains in Virginia. So….

I’m moving to Grundy, Virginia to work at Mountain Mission School!

For those of you familiar with MMS, you know that this is such a unique opportunity – one that still makes me ask God, “Are you totally sure you have the right person for this?!” I’ll be teaching choir and living with the high school girls. For those unfamiliar with the school, the staff is full time. Like, full time: The staff members are teachers, counselors, mentors, shoulders to cry on, cheerleaders, etc – and I think those are just the roles they play before 10 AM. :) Life is lived day in and day out with these kiddos. It’s a mission of the neatest kind. Kids from 18 months through 20 years old are living and being raised to know Jesus at Grundy. I’ll be moving on June 29.

Common questions I’ve been asked recently:

Are you excited?

Yes, I’m excited, albeit completely terrified. I’ll be excited once the stress of the move is over and I figure out what I’m doing (And no, I haven’t started packing, so if you have any boxes you need to get rid of, I’m your girl! …or if you want to sell me a flat screen TV at a decent price :) Doesn’t have to be flat screen, but they’re easier to mount :) ).

How in the world did this come up?

Long story short, I heard about the job not being filled and tried to avoid it like the plague. SOMEONE (read: Dave Sims) told them I had a music degree and a background working with juvenile delinquents & teens in general. The rest is pretty much history.

Are you near the beach? (Where’s Grundy?)

The exact opposite, actually. :) It’s in Appalachia right next to the Kentucky border – about 45 minutes from Pikeville, KY. I’ll be about 6-7 hours away from FoCo. In other words, not so far that y’all can’t saddle up the horses and come visit. :)

Is that the choir that comes to Sterling every now & then and sings?

Sure is! MMS’s choir is a traveling choir (so much like Chorale, for those of you fellow IWU Chorale clods). I will, of course, post all tour dates. If you can, come see the kiddos sing! You will not regret it! Friends from college & friends all over, I would love to see you again if we’re ever singing in your area, and I know you’d be blessed by their songs.

How can I be praying for you?

Short answer? Yes. That’s how you can pray for me. All of the things need prayed for. :)
Allow me to be transparent for a second. When I made the decision, there wasn’t an, “Ah ha!” moment with God where the sky split open, a dove descended, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what I was meant to do. Quite frankly, I don’t much buy into this ever-present idea of seeking out a calling for one’s life day after day. I can tell you what your calling is: Go and make disciples of all nations (did I mention Grundy has over 60 countries represented there?). That’s what you’re called to do. You’re called to make disciples wherever you’re at. I believe God places calls on peoples’ lives, absolutely. Paul is a great example. But Paul was going about his business, doing what he thought he was supposed to be doing when God made his red carpet appearance (Granted, Paul was murdering Christians for their faith, but he was convicted that he was doing the right thing, and he pursued that. I’m not saying that makes it right. I’m saying he went about with his daily life and God stepped down into that to get him to go elsewhere. He didn’t spend night after night agonizing over whether or not he was “following God’s will for his life.”) All of that to say, I’m leaping in faith. I’m diving in head-first and not looking back. I’m doing it because I’m (at least somewhat) equipped to do it, and Grundy has a need. There’s the bare-bones answer. So I need prayer! Ways to be praying:

Pray for the kids. This whole thing is first of all about Jesus and second of all about them. They need your prayers to continue to grow and be shaped into the people God wants them to be. Pray that whatever it is God needs them to know, I get out of the way and teach it in such a way that it goes beyond choral music. Pray that this is never about the music, but that the music is just another avenue to glorify God. Pray for a smooth transition for them as they adjust to a new teacher!

Pray that I stay open to opportunities and surrender my abilities to God. I was recently asked to teach elementary music, and I have absolutely zero experience in that arena. I feel like the widow bringing two small coins. I have literally no experience, but I’m willing to try it. Pray that continues. I’m the kind of person that either shuts down completely when I don’t have immediate success, or I go all-out and fight to get to the top. Neither of those are healthy, obviously. Pray for balance and just a willing heart. That’s all God needs to work through people, if I remember correctly.

Pray that I would stay out of the way. If I’m going to do this and do this well, it will be purely because of the grace of God. Done any other way, it’s destined to fail. We have a huge opportunity coming up at the end of October and the only way it’s going to be considered at all “successful” (albeit in worldly, human terms) is through our hard work, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and God’s sweet & sovereign grace!

Building relationships with the students. This will have to have careful attention, especially this first year, as these kids neither know nor trust me.

Adjusting to Grundy life. It’s a total 180 from life as I’ve known it for 25 years!

While I’m very sad to be leaving Fountain County, I’m pretty excited (read: still terrified) for what’s ahead, especially considering some prayers I began praying and questions I began asking God around October of 2014.

Many people have also asked how all of this is going to work out now that I’m now dating someone who lives in South Carolina. I’ll tell y’all the same thing I’ve said since Grundy became an option in December when I wasn’t dating anyone: I’m not at Grundy for one year. I’m not at Grundy for 25 years. I’m at Grundy for however long the good Lord wants me there. If that’s one year, fine. If that’s the rest of my life, fine. If that’s 7 years, 8 months, 2 weeks and 3 days, then fine.
God has continually reassured me since making the decision (in January) in the gentlest yet most obvious ways that this is exactly what I need to be doing at this time. As I said before, there was never some moment of the sky being split open and I was given a 100% definitive answer, but since making the decision there has been continual reassurance that I’m walking/tripping/stumbling/skipping/falling flat on my face on the path I should be walking down/tripping all over/stumbling here and there down/skipping down joyfully/falling flat on my face on. :) I watched a video about adoption a few weeks ago and the mom’s words really struck a chord (ha! get it? Chord.. Cord.. I’m teaching choir….) with me: “Pursue it until God closes the door. If the door doesn’t close and you’re continuing to ask him to guide you, keep going.”

Truth be told, I tried multiple times to get the door to close. It didn’t, and it wouldn’t. I’ll be at Grundy until God grants me his blessing to go elsewhere or until he calls me elsewhere. I’ll pursue him where I’m planted, regardless of where that is, and I’ll continue to contribute to making disciples where I’m at, wherever that is. As for tomorrow, I’m not going to worry about it. Jesus can take care of it. I have enough on my plate today. And as for June 29, the day is quickly approaching, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t tear up even thinking about it. I’m leaving a lot of wonderful people and the place that has been home to me.

So there it is in a nutshell! I covet all of your prayers and cardboard boxes. :)
Pray. Seek. Do.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My 5-Year Wedding Anniversary

For the past two days, I’ve been pretty bogged down. Not in a depressed sort of mood, but times like right now, when the rest of the house is silent and all I’m doing is thinking about a lot, I’ve come to realize that I truly have not let go of some of the stupid decisions I’ve made in my life. I still beat myself up over them constantly. The past two days have been no exception. At one point last night when I was working, I literally became sick to my stomach. Guilt had never quite hit me like that before. I kept thinking about how I’ve ruined future experiences for myself.. How I’ve resisted God.. How I’ve run away as fast as I could.. How I’ve wasted SO much time.. It’s a lot for a person to carry around, y’know?

We’re all aware that God’s grace is enough to cover all of that, so please, no Sunday school answers needed. But after we’ve swiped the credit card of grace, we go on with our lives like nothing happened, but are we truly changed? I know a relationship with Christ isn’t about a feeling at all, but do we really have a heart-felt feeling of being forgiven? This has been my struggle ever since I started my walk with Christ; I never “feel” forgiven. I think I’ve finally figured out why..

The feeling of forgiveness isn’t meant to just come on its own. Hold on, stay with me. I know we don’t have to work for the grace of God, I know he gives it freely. However, I also believe that if you want that “feeling” of forgiveness, then you have to truly know the definition of repentance. Part of the definition of repent is “to turn,” as in, to turn in another direction. We can’t know forgiveness unless we turn from what we’re seeking forgiveness for. You can’t understand forgiveness until you learn to live in God’s grace. Forgiveness is far more than a feeling; it’s a release from being held captive by something that will consume and ruin your life. I’m starting to see that you can’t know forgiveness until you see the importance of living in God’s light and following his will. The importance can’t be seen unless you recognize that your life would literally be hell without his forgiveness and mercy. You’ve been trapped in Hell long enough; isn’t it time to walk away.. “to turn” away and walk the other direction and learn the depth of forgiveness?

I’ve started slipping back into some old habits again. I know the root of the issue, but my problem lies in the fact that I’m not sure how to fix it. Right now, I can do nothing about the true issue, but I CAN change how I deal with it.. It’s just very difficult right now, unfortunately. =/

A few mights ago, on July 23, it was an anniversary. The anniversary of my first re-baptism. (There’s actually been a third baptism in my life, but it’s more of a personal thing) My first year of CIY, I was re-baptized. I was baptized on Easter Sunday 2001, long before I understood the depth and importance of following Christ. I assumed that this just enabled me to take communion. Thus, I was re-baptized by a good friend at the time, Matt Shamp. I walked away with the assumption I knew what I was doing. I did, yes, but the understanding still wasn’t there, hence the third time. I can assure you the third time truly was the charm. Anyway. Back to the story. On July 23, you could say that was my re-committment to Christ. I’ve considered this the first of, hopefully, two weddings of my life. My 5 year anniversary with Christ. We’ve been “married” for 5 years. From the ups & downs, to me running away, to me ignoring him, to me coming full-circle and weeping at his feet for forgiveness. That’s what I did. What did he do? He waited patiently while I lived a sin-soaked life. He cried while I was crying because I was so numb to his love. He watched intently while I teetered on the edge of choosing our relationship against the world.. and furrowed his brow when I chose the world. He wept when I became so hardened to how to feel. He reached out to me when I was at the end of my robes begging for help, for something to change this. And finally, after May term, after nearly five long years of running and running fast, I was pushed over the edge and realized I’d missed out on five years of true love, true companionship, true relationship. It’s funny that some people consider the day they’re baptized their “spiritual birthday.” Indeed, it’s true.. birth into a new life.. but I like to think of it as something much more significant, something much deeper that truly displays Christ’s love for us.

The other night I did something a little out of character, but it was actually really good for me. I wrote a love note to my Savior. As I read back over it, I couldn’t help but notice how PERFECT of an example Christ is for today’s marriage. Obviously I already knew this, but it was one of those moments that it truly hits you as to how much men should be modeling themselves after Christ in order to be a godly husband. Granted, women, we need to model ourselves after Christ as well, but I was viewing this in the light of who I marry. I know I’ve been talking about marriage/relationships a lot lately and I feel as if it’s completely uncalled for almost, but I suppose it’s just been on my mind a lot lately, especially July 23. I was amazed at the close relation between what I’ve been looking for and what I’ve had the whole time! It also put sin in a whole new perspective. Every time I sin, I cheat against my Husband. Every time I choose the world over him, I choose promiscuity. Ouch. Dwell on that one for a while…

But there’s grace.. and repentance..

Lesson I’ve learned for the past week: Never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop searching the depths of Christ’ love for his bride, the church, and for his children.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Victoria Donner

Sometimes you can cattle rope your heart and sometimes you can't.

A JOURNEY OF FAITH

What God is teaching me in my personal journey of faith in Him

On the Shoulders of Giants

A lens on the world: faith, liberty, and economics

The Conformity Journey

On the road to Christlikeness.

adoptingjames

Read our Mission. Find out how you can help us adopt James.

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

[ausmé] fragrance of knowledge

walking through life and changing in the process

The Ole Perfesser

Just wonderin'...