Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Minnesota Fish out of Her Water

It's been over three years since my life changed for good and for the better. It's been about five years since I told God "Yeah, there is no plan. Your plan is my plan, let thy will be done."

That prayer has led me across the United States into territory quite unknown. It started with a tiny house inhabited by an equally tiny, old southern lady in the mountains of Tennessee. I took care of her 247, and she fought dementia and made biscuits and fried chicken.

There has been so much that has happened since then. Things have happened to me and been experienced in the blink of an eye. I am now understanding on a personal level what it means that "the older you become, the more time flies." Sometimes I feel like the current events have not caught up with my soul, but here I am, a Minnesota woman who may never become "country" but lives in the south.

I have experienced culture shock before, have you? That out of body feeling where your senses are screaming "this isn't home!". I experienced it when I flew to Cambodia with a performing arts ministry after my High School graduation. I remember the thick, hot humidity, the sick, intense smell of incense and the fact that I was an outsider with my group coming into unknown territory. There was no good chocolate or coffee, and you had to squat for every single indoor and outdoor toilet. But it was beautiful in its own way, and after three weeks as we boarded the plane back to the US, I was hopeful for the day when I could visit again.

Living in the south has been a different kind of culture shock that tends to comes in waves. Sometimes I go to a Target or a grocery store and see and hear all kinds of people, making me feel less far away from what was. Other times I will go to places like my new job, which is a small yet busy family owned pharmacy where all my coworkers have been born and raised here, they talk like each other and know each other. The same goes for the guests that come through the doors. At a pharmacy, most everyone is a "regular", especially if you are over 65. The pharmacists have known these people for over 20 years; it's like a big family, and yet I feel adopted.

I answer the phone with my Midwestern voice, only to barely understand the thick, country accent on the other end. I continue to smile and try to hear all of the correct vowels in their names, but seem to fail nearly every time. And yet I know that God has called me here and will use me according to His will. I may not sound like them, but I love them, and I'm hopeful that they will learn to love me too, with all of my Midwestern "ism's".

I love the south, I truly do. I love country people, that's a fact. But to go from a land of "Minnesota Nice" to "Southern Hospitality" has been a bigger transition than what I every imagined. God used a little old southern woman to get me here, and a handsome, God-fearing mountain man to keep me here.

When we say "Lord, do with me as you will", He will do just that. I guarantee that you won't know what it looks like in that moment, but that moment will arrive faster than what you realize. As the scenery of my life continues to change, so do I. Isn't that what life really is? A massive set of changes that have taken place, will take or is taking place? Life is wild, but we serve a wild God who is truly out for an adventure, ready to see Himself glorified through our willingness.

Are you willing? Do you find yourself in the midst of "how did this happen?" or "how do I get out of this?". God is asking you to trust Him and hold on. He has asking you to surrender the reigns of your life and let Him lead. It may be into a territory where you feel so small, but remember He is SO big!