Friday, August 17, 2012

A new address...

Dear Family & Friends, Where do I begin? It is overwhelming to try and communicate briefly what the LORD has done in my life in recent weeks! But He has been so faithful and abundantly clear in providing for every decision and every need! First I want to thank you so much for your committed prayers and loving words of encouragement throughout this whole process. As many of you know, I came to Louisville a couple months back with my mom for a job interview at Southern Seminary. Although I did not get that particular job, the Lord used that experience to make me more aware of His drawing me to pursue something different with my life. Ever since I finished my master’s degree in biblical counseling, I have been searching and praying for God’s will to be revealed in how I could be more useful in the ministry for the Lord. Being at Southern started to deepen my interest in possible PhD studies, as well as broaden my ministry experience opportunities. After returning to Florida, I continued to pray that the Lord would make it very clear if I was to consider relocating to Kentucky, and that if I were supposed to do that, He would make it so obvious that there would be no confusion or heartache over it. The Lord truly heard my prayers! After resigning from my job at Riverbend Academy mid-July, I embarked on a month-long road trip, ending my time in Louisville to visit my dear friends, the Clutterhams. First I enjoyed some time of spiritual refreshment and fellowship at Riverbend’s youth camp, then I spent a couple days with a college friend and her new husband in Maryland, and then I was able to relax with my sister and here family for ten days in Rhode Island. I have to say that God was so gracious to give me this extended time to encourage these precious people He has placed in my life, as well as giving me time to reflect on the past couple of years and the future. Ever since leaving my job in Florida and throughout my road trip, I have been sending out my resume to many places in both Florida and Kentucky. Florida has been completely silent! Kentucky, on the other hand, has been filled with phone calls and job interviews, none of which seemed to work out – until the day I had planned to start my drive back to my home in Ormond Beach! On that final day I received a very promising call from a classical Christian school nearby to the seminary – they asked me if I could come the next day for an interview and if I would actually be willing to work 5-6 hours helping them with some computer software issues in their administrative offices (for my Academy friends, RenWeb – need I say more?). So the Lord provided a potential job opportunity as well as some needed income after being unemployed for about a month! Sayers Classical Academy is where I will now be working as the Support Services Coordinator, which is basically a liaison between the school families and the teachers. This school has a two and three-day program allowing families to have their child(ren) taught by an instructor part of the week, and then at home the remainder of the week. My job will be to prepare the curriculum for the parents/students for home, and make sure it stays aligned with the teacher’s programs in class. About 85% of their employees also attend Southern Seminary. I will also spend some of my job assisting the School Director with correspondence, editing and basically representing the school through the admissions process. The beauty of this type of school is that I am already familiar with much of what they do from the similarities it has to Riverbend, yet the partial scheduling allows me the flexibility to take some classes at Southern. I am also in the final stages of interviewing for a part-time evening position as an Enrollment Advisor at Southern Seminary. I will find out early this coming week if I am getting that job. Together, these jobs will allow me to make a living and pursue my PhD, as well as provide many opportunities to minister to college students and families. Originally I thought that if I found a job here I would come home and spend a couple weeks packing up and saying my farewells and then return to Louisville. However, I think the Lord knew that it would be better for me to get settled here and come back to visit Florida in a couple months – my heart could not handle such a dramatic goodbye! School started at the seminary this week and at my new job in another week, though I am heading to work this Monday already! Every detail has been so orchestrated by God that there has been little wavering in my spirit about it. My heart will always be tied to Riverbend and Ormond, but the greater part of me has grown into a stable and settled piece of mind that the Lord has called me here for this new season. Every need has been met so far, and the ones that have not, I know they will be soon! The same day I got my new job, I went to the housing office at Southern and was able to find a large single dorm room for the semester, which will give me until December to get acclimated and find a suitable apartment. I have already met a really nice young lady who is a potential roommate! Meredith’s husband, Joshua, was able to help me make decisions about what classes to take and how to navigate the waters of PhD-land. My mom and dad have been cheering me on the ENTIRE way – Mom and Summer are already on top of coordinating how my apartment back home will get packed up. And when I called the Wheaton’s to tell them my news, they offered to help bring some of my stuff up in a trailer in a couple weeks (thanks so much Ernie & Kelly)! Do you see how carefully and abundantly the Lord cares for His people? Never have I seen it with such clarity! There is no human explanation for how sweetly God cares for me, and yet He does. And even in the moments when my heart jumps and I think, “What have I done?” one word comes to my mind – JESUS! In the past couple of years, I have pleaded with the Lord to help me just love Jesus and to always look to Him as my closest confidante and the true lover of my soul – and HE has become that most assuredly! Scripture has come to my mind the past couple of days like a flood every time I sense a fear or doubt well up in me. When I wonder how I am going to pay my tuition bill this Monday or how I will be able to sleep in a musty and empty room for a couple weeks until my things arrive, He is there. I am absolutely certain that my God loves me and will take care of me in every possibly way! And that is only because He has taught me (sometimes through fire and storms) to love Jesus! I could go on, but I am sure you don’t want to read such a long letter. I wrote mainly because it has been a crazy week here and I cannot possibly answer every phone call or text as I try to register for classes, buy my books, move into my room, figure out where to buy my groceries, how to cash a check when my bank doesn’t have a branch here…it goes on and on! So by writing this letter, I hope you feel like you are a part of my story – you are! Whenever people ask me about my church and my friends, I can always say that God has given me far more than I ever thought possible – and that truly is why I wanted to do something like this. Because I don’t ever want to regret selfishly enjoying those gifts without seeking to become that to others. PRAY for me! That the Lord would truly use me and mold me to become as useful to Him as He desires, and that He would enfold me in His presence as I adjust to this new season. I will miss you all so much, and miss our dear fellowship and mutual ministry to one another. But I cannot wait to send you further updates and to praise God with you at all that He has done! Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well Free and changeless is Hid favor, all is well Precious is the blood that healed us Perfect is the grace that sealed us Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us All must be well (Matthew S. Smith) Your Loving Daughter and Sister, Melissa

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