God has been showering me with unexpected blessings these past few weeks.
But first I’ll take you back a little….
So at every CFW, there’s always a staff party. And at the staff party they say goodbye and commission staff that are leaving. And I had such a hard time whenever they did this, because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. It didn’t matter that for the most part, I’d just met the staff, it was just this attachment to IV, to a job that I love, to a calling that I’d heard once upon a time. I held it together as various staff approached me and thanked me for my service as they headed for the cabin door. Thankfully we were meeting during free time, so after most of the staff had left, I made a beeline for where I’d had my first retreat of silence back in freshman year. part of me hoped to be stopped, to be comforted, but the overwhelming feeling was just to walk quickly in hopes that no one would see my tears.
I walked along grassy paths, through the small winding ways near the boys’ cabins, until I felt the soft sand beneath my flipflops. At the far end of Cedar there’s a small strip of sand that leads to the woods on the other side of camp, and all along it there are rocks of all sizes, many large enough to just sit down and enjoy the view. Because Cedar’s out on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you’re just surrounded by water. It’s beautiful and so calming. I chose a the largest rock near the shore and sat down to find some one on one time with God.
I told him all about the pain I was feeling, and how I was of two minds–wanting to follow but wanting to stay.
And this year I’ve been drawing more than ever before in my journal, as inspiration hits during sermons, during ROS’s, etc. And this time as I was just resting, listening for God and staring out at the water, I just had this image of a boat out in the middle of water. Nothing’s around it, no land, no people, just a small sailboat. The sail is white, as though it’s a white flag at the end of battle, and I wrote the words “I surrender…” and “you are my only anchor”.
A few days later, interestingly enough, as I was doing my devotional through My Utmost for His Highest, the title was “What’s Next To Do?” And Oswald wrote “If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea. Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of his purpose…You are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God…”” I was out of the harbor and out at sea.
Little did I know that I really would feel so lost and without community this summer. InterVarsity gone, church falling apart…He has become my only anchor. Even friends that I relied on so closely this past year aren’t in my life in the same way anymore, through no fault of their own or my own.
So with Him as my anchor, he’s been blessing me in ways that I didn’t expect. Most recently the Shedd internship. I applied about a month or so ago to volunteer (general), and for 3 internships at the Shedd Aquarium–one for developing a staff training program, one of donor relations, and one in the fishes department. After a few weeks, I heard back from the staff training internship, asking me to come in for an interview. It went alright, but I forgot to tell her about all the team dynamics and training I’d done with the vision teams. oops. lol She even mentioned at one point “if this doesn’t work out, you should still apply for some other internships with animals that would be closer to your passions. not to say that this isn’t going to work out.” but after she said that, I wasn’t really expecting anything, though she told me that she had some more people that she was going to interview, and that I’d hear back in about a week. I asked the volunteer coordinator what the general followup process looks like for other internships, and if I should expect to hear something back or not. He told me that they’re only offering a few internships this season, and that getting one interview was lucky enough, and that if I did not hear back from anyone else, I should assume that they’re not interested.
A little less than a week later I actually heard back from the fishes department, and they wanted to bring me in for another interview! I spoke again with the volunteer coordinator, who told me that the staff training lady was interested in taking me on, but now with the fishes interview, he had to coordinate with the two of them so that there’d be no competition! I ended up being interviewed by a group of 5 people in the fishes department, and the main person who contacted me actually apologized to me. He told me that he was sorry for contacting me so late, but that they had only received one out of the two required letters of recommendation, and so my application was incomplete. After the interview was over, he also let me know that they had a number of other applicants that they’re looking at, but that they would be in touch with me by the middle of September.
God is so faithful. Despite the fact that these internships are targeted at graduate students and undergraduate students, despite the fact that my application was incomplete, despite all the other people that have applied (i’ve been told that they’re very competitive even though they’re unpaid), he provided two interviews, two interested opportunities, and actually gave me a position that is both animal husbandry AND some research experience!!!
Not only that but my animal hospital supervisor was not only cool with switching up the schedule I was hired for, but is also excited for me! I was really afraid that she’d fire me since I messed up earlier that week as well.
Wow. Thanks, God! I don’t know if it’s correlated, but I feel like He’s blessing me in my obedience to leave staff, blessing me since I got out of the boat and surrendered, blessing me as he became my only anchor.
“Man cannot discover new oceans
unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”