Shifting Sand

20180610_071257Last year, hurricane season was particularly ugly to the Southeastern coast. For the first time in her 20 years of living on the beach of St. Simon’s Island, our beloved Gammy begrudgingly relocated to my in-laws to wait out the worst of the storm. It was a long week. While she was extremely comfortable, she worried about the state of her home, and her island.

When the waters of Irma receded there was no damage that was beyond repair. Soggy for a while, her condo development slowly returned to normal. However, East Beach had changed.

They kept warning me… “The beach is so, different…”

In the past ten years St. Simon’s has become a special place for me, a place for peace and renewal. The biggest change I had seen was the number of people (too many). I was not prepared.

When we walked the waves on our first day there, I noticed that the walkway from the boardwalk to the water was completely filled with sand… sand to the railings. And I could not run the full mile toward the pier. The water met me at the rocks and I could go no further. However, when we walked at the water, it did not feel that different.

Later, when we returned in the afternoon I was struck. We stood where the water had been and it felt like a miles sand stretched before us… keeping us from the waves. As I peered even further out into the water,  you could see that people were standing in waist deep water. Not what we were accustomed to.

This was not my beach.

I cannot lie, I was more than disappointed. For a little while, I was distraught. It seems so silly now, but when a place becomes familiar, and you spend most of your life avoiding “new,” I was not happy to be in “new” place.

But I rallied. In the din of dinner conversations, kids, and evening television I thought more about the fact that the tide was merely out. So I adapted. I looked up the tide schedule.

High tide would be at 7:00 AM.

So by 6:45 AM we were trekking across the sand to stake our claim on the closest sandbar.

And magic happened. 20180611_092112

I found my sea. I rediscovered the place I spend the rest of the year waiting to find. The sun still glistens on the water and the waves speak to me. A physical metamorphosis occurs with each  moment my feet and hands dig in the sand.  We explored; the shifting margins between land and abyss, longer is some areas, dwarfed in others. We discovered that these shifts brought about new residents; wildlife that we spent hours chasing and observing.

And I heard whispers…. prompts of a metaphor that I long to understand.

How easily I found joy in adapting to the subtle shifting landscape of a beach that has slowly become mine in our 11 year relationship.

20180612_133245And yet when I think of the relationship that brought me here, that afforded me this space I never knew I needed, those shifts in the landscape arise like seemingly  unmovable mountains and waves meant to drown me, not bring me bliss. I greet our shifting margins with defenses of anxiety and fear.

How different might my life be if I allowed myself to greet a different landscape with expectation, curiosity, and hope? What magic would happen if I believed that my Creator could be found in the new and unexpected instead of forcing my body, my beliefs, my schedule, hopes and dreams into a geography of 10 years ago? 

“Any landscape is a condition of the spirit.” Henri Frederic Amiel

20180611_201421I long for this place, physically and emotionally. The place where I truly am the best version of myself. This place where I look around aand live what I believe– that our lives are in constant motion– and each moment gives us glimpses of and brings us closer to our eternal home.

May we relish changing margins and look for the face of our Savior in whatever shifting sands we meet.

We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.”  2 Corinthians 5: 5 The Message

 

When you have a big announcement…

So, if you ever were a reader, or you just happened upon this, I … uh, dropped the ball a bit. Another move, a new job and I sort of set my writing to the side. I regret that, however… that time was probably spent writing lesson plans.

However, this seemed like as a good a time as any to jump back in. Bear with me, I tend to get wordy.

Recap: In May 2014 I finished a degree that I only pursued and completed because I’d made a promise. A promise to God. I try to be reasonable in my literal interpretations of scripture, but I had “vowed” to go to seminary as a wide-eyed 17 year old,  and I did not want to fall short in that. Something about not breaking vows….

Jesus kept me in the classroom, we moved, and I allowed the grieving process of “not serving in formal ministry” progress. I know that for many readers that may seem so dumb…. for someone who has always preached and stood by the truth that there is no line dividing our lives into sacred and profane… I still believe that lie sometimes.

However, as I threw myself into my new teaching position at a new school I did grieve…. properly. I soon could see daily how my classroom (or classrooms, depending on the year) really were my ministry….my mission field.  I have prayed with, and for students. I have been mentored by other teachers that in ways I could not have imagined. In the three years since I finished my degree, I have grown more and more each year as person of faith, learning to trust His plan with peace. 

My first year at a new school I was offered the opportunity to get my ESOL (English as a Second Language) Endorsement. I had just finished a graduate degree while working and thought, surely an endorsement won’t be so bad….. I was wrong. So very very wrong.  It nearly broke me. And I literally tried to quit. I turned in a letter of “I have to quit because I am going to fail and I cannot be a good teacher and mom and wife if I have to keep spending nine hours on piddly grades….” If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you might remember that post– aptly named “I quit.” The short story is, my school would not let me quit. I struggled through that program and cried a lot. But I finished. And at the end of it, I thought, “why did I do this?

All I knew was that when I had received the email, I had felt a nudge, a jerk, a pull– something in my gut that said: THIS. DO THIS. Much like my promise to go to seminary.  It was hard, but I did it.

Two years later, another new school, a class peppered of ESOL students,  my heart is full, and my skills are put to good use. Over the last year the tug has gotten harder. That tug that you can’t think about without tears falling down your face. That voice that is shouting so loud you keep wondering, “Why doesn’t anyone else hear this?” So much so, that you repress those thoughts anywhere in public for fear of concerning those around you.

When will you go?”  Image-1

So now friends, we are going. The path that has wound itself in loops and trajectories that made little sense,is now creating a circle. In July 2018 Nathan and I will be going to Romania with our church. We will be joining Tomorrow Club ministries and serving in an “English Camp” that will give children the opportunity to learn English and hear the gospel. And friends, I can’t even type this or talk about it without tears flowing. I am so excited and humbled and full…. And we haven’t even gone yet.

And so, I have an ask, which is hard for me. I am the last person that likes to ask for help, money, or a cup of sugar.  We do have to raise the funds to go. Which surprisingly, I have little anxiety over. I do believe that the Lord will provide. We also need people to pray. Pray so much. For us, for our team, for the hearts of the people we interact with. For my sweet Corbin and Gabriella, who understand why we are going, but still aren’t sure about us being gone for a week. For God’s grace to cover it all.

If you are able and  would like to donate, the easiest way is go to this website. You can donate funds securely through our church’s website. You only need to choose Nathan or my name from the drop down tab. If you would rather mail funds, email me  or comment below and I can send you an address.  Every small little bit helps.

If you are not able to donate, but are willing to commit to praying for us as we prepare, and while we are on the trip, that is also very needed.

So, there friends, is our big announcement! Our first foray into Missions has begun!

Thank you for all your support!

-Cody

On Ten

A decade ago you changed my life.

You started it. You turned a flighty girl into the fiercest mama bear the world will know. You gave me the reason and the bravery to run after and fight for the things we needed. Someday you will understand that you, sweet boy, are the reason our family is here. You made US. 


A week in, and we knew that your will would match mine. You were the hungriest baby and I have seen that turn into a symbolic hunger in all things. You are always seeking more and I admire it so. You helped me learn the true meaning of responsibility, love, and sacrifice. 

And so, Corbin Paris Williams, I hope that you know how much you mean to me. My love for you is deep and full of gratitude. We have battled mightily at times, but I am grateful for your quick mind and tongue– even when it does get you in trouble. A brilliant professor once told me that, “people are who they will be in character and personality by the age of 10.

 If this is true, I am the luckiest. You are brilliant. Your intelligence already scares me. You are musical, artistic, and witty. More importantly, You love Jesus. You already care about the heats of your friends. You are your sister’s keeper. Your consideration and kindness to your peers puts me to shame. Your heart is sincere in your desire to do good. 


I cannot wait to see where the next 10 years takes you, but I need you to slow it down. You feel nearly grown and Mama simply cannot deal. I miss my cuddly, squishy baby. I know you will do great things; this year, and in the years to come. However, you will have to excuse me if I kiss you in public and make you hold my hand when we walk. You will always be my baby boy.