Right now, for many reasons and in many areas, it is challenging for me to live presently, to focus all of me on right here and right now. Instead of listening to another 3rd grader tattling on his classmate, I want to think about my SIM orientation next week. Instead of giving my riding student my full attention, I’d rather my thoughts meander toward the next time that I’ll get to see Stephen. Instead of sitting and reading my Bible and journaling, I’d rather open my planner to copy down Sahel’s school schedule for the months of April, May, and June. Instead of dwelling in contentment and joy, I’m looking toward and longing for both the near and distant future.
And of course God knows this. (I mean, duh.) And that’s why He’s showing me what’s good and excellent and important and specifically-for-me in the here and now. Yet He’s also allowing me to look ahead and do a bit of planning, one of my guilty pleasures.
God focusing me here and now
Substitute teaching – I’m really loving it. I had a rough day in a 4th grade classroom a few weeks ago, but in general, this job has been such a blessing. I’ve been able to meet and spend time with so many students whom I never would have known otherwise. I participated in a beautiful discussion with 3rd graders about how all people should be valued because all people are valuable, no matter their skin color or the way they smell or what they look like. I’ve been able to sub in some high school English classes, too. It’s always nice to remember that I did actually learn and remember some things from Cedarville… 🙂
Teaching riding lessons– I get paid to spend time in a barn with kids and horses. Right? How great is that! And, get this: the barn aisle is heated, and we have an indoor arena. Yes, I’m completely spoiled and so grateful. Teaching at Willow Pond is still such a blessing. I do have a request, though: please pray with me that we’ll be able to find a replacement instructor for me when I go back to Niger. As much as I don’t want to be replaceable, I really do want a great instructor to be able to teach and love my students and lesson horses. While raising support is a big prayer request for me right now, so is finding another instructor for Willow Pond.
Growing in my relationship with Stephen– Gosh, he’s great. And you know, I really don’t want this blog to melt into a mushy don’t-you-wish-your-boyfriend-was-wonderful-like-mine kind of thing. I just want to publically praise God for His grace, His timing, and His wisdom. And I suppose I do want to give a few highlights from recent weeks of dating Stephen: cooking a rather delicious Valentine’s Day dinner together, joining his family in a snow ball fight, waking up to a text because he goes to work around 4am, praying together over the phone, planning our upcoming visits, trying to stay focused in the here and now of our relationship (even though “here” is technically different for both of us…), and looking to, longing for when “here” will be the same for us both. Hopefully that wasn’t too sappy. 😉
Raising support– The biggest blessing about support raising so far has been the groups that I’ve had a chance to talk with. I spoke to my dad’s Kiwanis club, a group of local businessmen who give and support and build into their community. They wanted to know about my time in Niger last fall and the opportunity that I have to go back. I also shared with my mom’s Bible study ladies; they of course have been praying for me all through last fall—and many other life phases. They graciously listened and assured me of their prayers. My time sharing with my own Community Group from Hopevale was exceedingly sweet, too. I’ve only been back in the States for 3 months, and I only really joined the group in mid-January. On top of that, we meet every other week. And yet—I’ve been so blessed by the acceptance, the discussions, the prayer, and the true biblical community that they’ve welcomed me into. It’s so encouraging. These opportunities to talk about my upcoming trip and my need for prayer and financial support—these have been a main source of encouragement for me in the past few weeks.
I’m currently at about 22% of my support raising for returning to Sahel. When the funds are in my account to buy my plane ticket, SIM will take care of that. I’d love to be able to fly out around April 10, and I’ll most likely return on or soon after June 10. If, dear reader, you are interested in supporting me financially, you can go to www.sim.org/giveusa. You’ll need my STA (Short Term Associate) number, 042528, and my full name, Abigail Cline. You’ll also need to know that I’m deeply grateful. 🙂
When I do indulge myself and glance into my next few weeks, I alternate between exhilaration and terror. There are so many unknowns, so many uncertainties. All I have right now, though, is right now. That and a really good, really faithful, completely sovereign God. Something tells me that I’ll be okay. Now I just need to listen.