(So...I've been trying for FOREVER to upload this update. I wrote it on the plane from tucson to philly on the 18th. I've been debating whether or not to post it after all...since it's working now. I decided to go ahead and do it. I haven't told a lot of you what it was like leaving the store, etc. so i thought you might be interested in hearing about it. I had a great thanksgiving in the UP and now I am spending three days in Hillsdale. It's wonderful seeing everyone again. I leave wednesday with Kristen and Jay to drive back to Philly. More updates to follow. with love! -Andrea)
My last night at work was really good. It was full of mixed emotions, that's for sure. I was telling Heather and Lina that I am ready to leave the store (I have no attachment to the corporation, that's for sure), but I am really sad to leave the people. Denise and Jim bought me a cake from the bakery...it said "Andrea we're going to miss you...good luck!" They also gave me a card that they had everyone sign. It was so special. I was in shock for a good while. I didn't expect them to send me off with so much love. It was a huge blessing. My two managers Naomi and Maria went together and got me a red fleece jacket "so I won't freeze to death!" I cried when I left. It was the weirdest feeling to walk out of the store knowing I will not be back in (as an employee). This morning on my way to the airport mom dropped me by the store so I could say goodbye to Anne Marie one more time. It was hard. She walked me out and we exchanged hugs and tears. I love her SO much. I can't even express it. She's so amazing.
It's crazy...this life. God has so much in store for us that we have NO idea about. He asks, "Andrea, trust me for this time. Let me take you to a new and exciting place." I say, "Please, Lord, make it quick. I don't want to work this job and I don't want to be home alone for this semester." Before I know it, it is all over. I look back and the time was rich...so full of blessings. Trusting God is such an adventure. When he puts me in these situations and I lean into Him, the reward is great. Thank you, Father.
I was telling mom this morning that I feel like I don't know where I belong on this earth. It's a hard reality for me to swallow sometimes but it's also a neat thing to be learning...this is not my home. I've experienced a lot of wonderful people and places...and I always have to say goodbye (at least for a time). I have a whole group of friends in California from a part of my life that is over (not that those friendships are over, I don't mean that at all). I have a whole group of friends (sort of a whole "life") in Hillsdale. I love them and I miss them. I look back with fond memories and strong emotions on that time. Now I have this life I'm leaving at Fry's. My relationships (at least some) will remain and grow, that's the beauty of being in relationship with others. I am about to step into a whole new life at Moody...new people, new places, new adventures in the Lord. It's amazing. Sometimes I feel lonely. That's probably a good thing because I'm afraid of earthly loneliness. God has shown me that this semester. He has also shown me that He is everything I need. And life in the will of God is better all the time. When I hear the Jonathan Edwards phrase, "Joy's Eternal Increase" this is sort of what I think. Even though his meaning was something different, I feel that life in the Lord is like joy eternally increasing. It's like Jim Elliot's "progressive joy." It's a wonderful gift.
Every once in a while I feel like my life kind of stops and I am in a spot where I can rest and reflect. I have a few weeks of that right now. In the middle of each new adventure is a wonderful "in-between" time...very daunting and sometimes downright terrifying. But always rich. Lot's of learning...lot's of surrendering...lot's of relying on the Spirit. Lord, take the glory in this life.
I am excited to see many of you again soon. This is another thing I love about building relationships....sometimes you say goodbye but then you get to say hello again :). Some might say it isn't worth it if you have to face the pain of saying goodbye. To that I say "bologna!" I will steel some of Lewis's brilliance and say "The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That's the deal." It is so worth it. I love meeting up with friends again...old ones, new ones, whatever!
I love people. I love that we reflect the image of God by our relational nature. I don't want to blab much more so I will just say this. Invest in people. Invest in people for the Kingdom of God. Trust Him to take you places that you are afraid to go...trust Him.