change

Be still, and wait

Ashley Danyew | Be still, and wait_1Image Credit: Lara Casey

It was March of this year - that's when I first felt the small tug on my heart.

SD and I had a heart-to-heart about where God might be leading us as we rode up the ski lift that next week, sun beaming down on the snow-covered slopes below us.

It was one of those conversations that stays with you, one I still cherish. It was a time and place in which we bared our souls in honesty and openness, unsure about what was ahead but willing to trust that God would make it clear in his time.

Change is never easy, especially when it's uncertain.

Certain change is almost easier, in a way. You know it's coming. You know what will change and how. You can prepare for it, or at least feel like you're preparing for it. But uncertain change requires a level of trust and surrender, believing that God will prepare you for whatever is in store.

Last month, we marked the beginning of summer with the sudden influx of several new and exciting prospects. Could this be the change God has been preparing us for? Are we witnessing his hands at work? The message was clear: Wait on me. Trust in me. Surrender to me.

Truth be told, I've never been very good at waiting. Waiting for that email to pop up in my inbox, waiting for that letter in the mail, waiting for the cake to cool before frosting. You know.

Sometimes, it feels as if nothing is happening. Waiting is stillness. All the while, I feel like I should be doing something - preparing, getting ready, making pros and cons lists (I am so Rory Gilmore). Tell me: How is waiting productive?

But I'm beginning to realize that in our waiting - our stillness - God moves.

So, we wait.

I'm learning to accept it, this season. I want to live a life of contentment, to rest in the unsettledness of life right now. I want to live in hope, not fear, and dwell in the security of God's grace and faithfulness rather than the insecurity of my actions and dreams.

Maybe you're there, too, in that place of waiting. Maybe you, too, struggle with the stillness. If so, I hope these words are as comforting to you as they were to me when I stumbled upon them while flipping through the hymnal last week:

"Only be still, and wait God's leisure in cheerful hope, with heart content to take whate'er thy Maker's pleasure and all-discerning love hath sent; we know our inmost wants are known, for we are called to be God's own."

- Georg Neumark (1657), translated into English by Catherine Winkworth (1863)

Be still, and wait on the Lord.

Life is Good

Oh my goodness, what happened to September?!  Suddenly, it's cold enough to need scarves and sweaters (and salted caramel mochas) and it's dark by the time we sit down to dinner in the evenings.  Yes, the weeks are flying by but every day is so fulfilling.  I absolutely love the work I am doing!  Life is full, life is busy, and life is very rewarding.

Life is good, y'all.

I used to be afraid of change.  In some ways, I still am - it's different, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar.  But you know what I'm learning?  Despite all this, change can be a good thing.  Really good.  The past few months have been full of change for us but it's good change.  It's a growing kind of change.  I jumped back into the life of a full-time student (which I love), Steve recreated his daily routine, we've been humbled by God's goodness to us (more than we could have asked for), we found a new church home (and joined the choir!), we defined our new "normal."  There have been a few challenging moments for sure but when I consider the number of wonderful, new opportunities we've both had of late, I find I can be nothing but grateful for all this change.

Every day is a chance to make things happen, learn something new, or teach something.  I came across an awesome quote in my reading this week: "Doing creates knowing" (Patricia Miller).  This holds so much truth in so many areas of my life right now.  Go and do this week.  Don't just think about it or talk about it or wish about it.  Go and love.  Go and teach.  Go and give back.  Go and live life to its fullest.  Go and make it happen!

xo, Ashley

P.S. Next month, we'll be celebrating our first anniversary!  Can you believe it?  What an adventure this year has been!  So grateful.

Go for it

Here I sit, surrounded by textbooks, paper rubrics, reading lists, and a 52-page teaching guide that I’ve compiled over the past several weeks. Can you tell I’m in the final week of writing a new course to teach this semester? It’s been a bit overwhelming at times. But, last week was very productive and I feel good about that. My class was assigned to a classroom in another building on campus – across the quad from the Fine Arts Building where I have been teaching (and will still be teaching this semester) and where my office is located. I’ve let myself get bogged down with worry: How do I get there? What does the classroom look like? What kind of technology will I be able to access? Will I be able to get in there with enough time to get everything set up before class? In addition, I’d love to have a piano in the classroom to use as a teaching aid and I knew that would only happen in the Fine Arts Building. Can you imagine? Talking about Copland’s “American” style and actually being able to play open fifths and octaves to demonstrate that signature sound. Then, I got an idea.

Why don’t I just ask to move to another classroom?

It couldn’t hurt to try. Go for it, I told myself. One email, one simple question. Within two days, my class had been successfully re-booked in a classroom with a piano in the building where I’ve been teaching (just one floor down from my office, in fact!). What a relief. . .and what a valuable lesson.

Why let yourself be consumed with worry or depressed by the dreams of “if only”? Go for it. Make the change. Ask the question. Run the risk. Take that leap. Make it happen.