By Elizabeth Prata
Yesterday was the last day of school for teachers. I said goodbye to the kids on Tuesday, ending a year of COVID, stress, uncertainty, perseverance, and eventually, victory.
I said goodbye today to my dear friend and boss of ten years, the person who hired me, supported me, encouraged me, prayed for me, and loved me despite my ridiculous quirks, Angie. After 32 years of service in this same school, she retired. I also said goodbye to sweet friend and sister in Christ, retiring school secretary Jeannie.
Also in the last week, I gave up my new stray cat Sully to the shelter, since he was so unhappy and never adjusted to inside life nor to me, and I was unhappy since I could not comfort him enough for him to calm down, but I’m still wracked with guilt.
I was given notice this week that sadly a chapter at my apartment was closing and I needed to move to a new place. I could not find one. Thankfully friends with contacts unearthed practically the last place in my County available for rent and I will be spending this Memorial Day weekend packing up a life here and starting a new life there. The thought of packing up every single thing I own and moving is overwhelming but friends will help me and I’ll get through it.
As I look around and note the things that need packing, I’m seeing just how much of what I have were given as gifts. The handmade quilt. The Quilling teapot scene. The hand drawn and painted cardinal card. The crocheted coasters. The pieces of art. The ghost chair. The recliner. I am truly, TRULY blessed. The Lord provided me with elders who care and He caused the apartment to come about, not to mention the almost 13 years here in a cozy, safe, quiet apartment with a wonderful landlord living nearby.
He gave me a good job and a good boss, and the next boss who is stepping into the position is also great. I’m sorry Sully didn’t work out. I console myself with the fact that He gave me an answer to prayer, not once, but thrice. I’d asked for, “a little fluffy animal” to love and care for who would be sweet. Bert, Luke, and Murray were His provision. He gave me a wonderful ministry and through it I’ve connected with great people all over who inspire me and encourage me.
My church is fantastic, with exceptional preaching, solid teaching, a loving church family, and great music.
I could focus on the trauma of transition and loss (it’s traumatic to me, though I know people are going through far worse). But I don’t want to do that. I want to focus on the positive, thanking the Lord for what He has done. I remember the Janet Jackson song from the 1980s, “What Have You Done for me Lately?” We should not remember only the most recent gifts and providences and graces the Lord has provided, but thank Him daily and always remember His kindness to us. To me. Forgetting His past providences is an ingratitude I don’t want to display.
I also want to choose to focus on God’s future providential care, that’s called trust. Trusting Him to come through with Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” He has a reason for my season here ending and a reason for the one beginning at the new place. I trust Him that I will be able to afford it. I trust Him that it will be good to live there. I trust Him that he will sustain me as I continue in this ministry.
I tell myself all this. I believe all this. Now I must live this out.
God is good. He is better than we experience and more than we imagine. He is high and lifted up, but He is our Father and cares for us, His children. I know that I know that I am not an insignificant dust mote drifting around on this earth. I am more precious than two sparrows. I am His daughter, and He is my Father. It is literally all good.