Monday, September 7, 2009

A Message for Me

Can I just tell you the 5,678,231th reason that I know there is a loving God who loves and cares for me? A God who has a plan for my life and is leading me, despite my best efforts to live life on my own terms?

Here's the story.

I should start out by telling you a little bit about what's going on in my world right now. I interned with two law firms this summer and fully expected to get permanent offers of employment from both firms, which would mean that I'd pick between the two firms and begin working for one of them as soon as I graduated and took the bar.

However, in light of all of the economic woes of late, one of my firms (and many others have done the same with their interns) told me that they would be unable to extend an offer to me. I'm still waiting to hear from the other firm, but I won't be surprised at all if they don't extend an offer either. There really just isn't enough legal work to go around the market right now, and firms don't have enough cases to keep their attorneys busy.

I hadn't really given much thought to what I'd do if I didn't get a job from one of the firms I worked for this summer. Before this summer, summer interns were basically guaranteed jobs unless they had some sort of social mishap or turned in really crappy work (I did neither, by the way :)). And I didn't really have a backup plan.

The past few weeks, after hearing bad news from the first firm and expecting bad news from the second firm, I've felt kind of lost. Really lost, actually. I've second-guessed a lot of choices I've made, and I've been unsure of the Lord's path for me. I've been doing anything and everything I can think of to try to make something good happen for me--applying to other law firms, applying to clerk for a judge after graduation, etc. The frenzy of activity was consuming me, and I really couldn't think about anything else.

Fast forward to this weekend.

Micah and I went home to Josephine for Labor Day weekend. I had actually asked Micah if we could go home another weekend because both of my parents and my grandparents were going to be out of town and I wouldn't get to see them. But his grandma is sick, and he wanted to come home and visit with her, and nothing I could say or do persuaded him to put off the trip another few weeks.

So we went. We sat in HORRIBLE traffic on the way down, but we finally made it to Micah's parents' house on Friday night around 10:30. I visited with my sister-in-law and my best friend Saturday afternoon, and we ate dinner with his parents that night. After dinner, Micah went dove hunting with my brother (and killed two innocent birds, I should add), and I had a quiet night at his parents house, enjoying a long bath and a good book.

On Sunday morning, we got up to get ready for church. His dad was speaking at another church that morning, so Micah and I had to decide whether we wanted to go with his parents, or whether we wanted to go to our home church in Josephine. I originally thought we might go to church with his parents, but changed my mind at the last minute, thinking I might get to see some of my family at church.

We made it to church, and very little of my family was there (except Kim! So good to see you!). But we sat down anyway and prepared to enjoy some good gospel singing and preaching.

Little did I know that God had much more in store for me.

Our pastor began his sermon with a disclaimer, letting us know that he had originally prepared a different sermon, but that in his quiet time that morning, God had laid a different message on his heart.

He started out by reading Jeremiah, Chapter 1, telling us Jeremiah's story. Telling us how God had called Jeremiah to be a prophet and speak a difficult message to Judah and how reluctant Jeremiah was to fulfill that role. He told us about how God has called us ALL for a purpose. A very specific purpose. And that God has gifted us all in specific ways to fulfill those purposes. He also told us that we should be listening for God's direction in our lives. And that even if we think we're headed in one direction, we need to be ready and willing to follow God in another direction. That we should be willing to say to the Lord: "Here am I. Send me."

I sat in my pew, tears streaming down my face, feeling the Lord speak.

To ME. To Ryan Hargrave. To the girl who thought she had life all figured out and fell to pieces a little at the first sign that things weren't going according to plan.

It was the most beautiful, terrifying feeling. I know beyond any doubt that sermon was meant for me. That God called me to Dallas, to First Baptist Josephine to hear His message. And I heard Him LOUD and CLEAR.

I need to stop.

Stop doing.

Stop worrying.

Stop wondering.

I need to LISTEN. I need to be quiet and hear the Lord's still and quiet voice.

I need to look for the doors which the Lord has opened for me, and I need to stop trying to force my way through the ones He has locked.

I also need to be willing to be sent. Wherever He leads me.

And I felt convicted for having jealously guarded control of my life, when I should have been surrendering to the Lord's will. Hence all of the tears. I'm sure my pastor thought I was having some sort of a breakdown in my pew. And I guess, in a way, I kind of was.

Sorry this is so long... I just wanted to share the Lord's message with you. Maybe you're wondering where the Lord is leading you. Maybe things aren't going quite according to your plans.

Maybe you need to say these words with me: "Here am I. Send me."

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