Finding Faith in the Seasons of Mundanity

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I’m reading in Genesis right now, smack dab in the middle of the story of Joseph. What a crazy life. Born a favorite, naively arrogant to his brothers, betrayed and sold, escalated to the highest serving position in every single circumstance he found himself in, ran Egypt, and eventually forgave his brothers and reunited with his father.

Pretty exciting events in there. But what struck me was the amount of time Joseph spent in each season. It’s not absolutely clear in the Bible, but let’s assume Joseph was 17 when his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites. He was 30 years old when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. 13 years in between. Think about 13 years ago for you. I was a freshman in college. 9/11 happened. Think of all that’s happened to you since then.

We know Joseph was in prison for 2 years, so we can assume he served Potiphar for 11 years. How in the world did Joseph get through those long stretches of time?

Everyone has a plan for their life. What was Joseph’s? Did he try to figure out a way to escape Potiphar and get back to Canaan in the early years and then finally succumb to his lot and accept being a servant? Did he try to find the positive aspects of the situation and serve joyfully? Did he ever get to the point of despair while in prison? How did he keep his faith in God through those times?

It’s easy to praise God in the really exciting happy moments – the birth of a child, the marriage of two people, the achievement of a degree or passing a test, reaching a long, sought after goal. And it’s easy to cling to God in the dark moments – the death of a loved one, loss of a relationship, job, or identity. But what about the other 99% of life? The day after day after day after day after day? Sometimes I feel like I’m trudging.

My answer is I don’t know. Or maybe it’s one of those things that is simple and hard at the same time. The truth is, it’s not glamorous. It’s getting up 15 minutes early to read a passage of scripture you don’t understand half the time. It’s trying to keep your thoughts from distraction during silent prayer. It’s saying, “Oh Lord” every morning when you get in your car to go to work. It’s extending grace and forgiveness time and time again to those around you – and yourself. It’s serving at your church every other week, making dessert for this or that event, tucking in your kids every night with “Jesus Loves Me.”

Strong faith comes from incremental decisions. Disciplined effort. Non Instagram-worthy moments. Obviously, there are amazing times of clarity or insight, and of course it’s all worth it. There is an end goal. Reading scripture in the morning will set your priorities for the day and detox your soul. Prayer will keep the world in perspective and God in control. You just may not see it everyday.

Whether you are exactly where you want to be in life, or feel like you’ll never get there, continue to seek God in the mundanity, wherever you are. After all, loving you is never mundane to God.

Iowa

I wrote this on Sunday night and then realized the time synchronicity would be off because it’s being published on Monday morning. But I’m too tired to change it all, so get in your Delorean and read this on Sunday night.

I’m sitting in a hotel room outside of Des Moines, Iowa. Tomorrow I start my new job as a hospice music therapist. I feel like one of those people who travels for work, with my carry-on and eating dinner in the hotel restaurant alone with a glass of wine (it was a stressful drive in the snow).

How in the world did I get here? So much has happened in the last two weeks I get worn out just thinking about it. Two weeks ago my internship ended very well – it was such an amazing and rewarding experience. The next day our family had Thanksgiving dinner. The next day I drove 8 hours to visit friends in Virginia and Maryland for a week. It was a great time of catching up, sitting around watching TV, and growing important relationships. The following Saturday I drove back to Ohio and 10 minutes after arriving, helped load a U-haul full of all my stuff. Sunday was spent resting and seeing “Frozen” with my mom. Monday I left at 6 am for Iowa, and got there 11 hours later. A couple hours later my parents arrived with the trailer and we unloaded everything into my new (nice!) apartment. The rest of the week was spent at my brother’s house in Nebraska, what will become my second haven after my apartment. Yesterday I drove back to my place and spent the rest of the day organizing my stuff and putting things away. I also put up my Christmas decorations, which made me feel a lot better. Today, I tried out a new church, unpacked some more, did laundry, and took off for the hotel. And here I am, watching HIMYM in a hotel room with 2 queen sized beds for little old me.

Not gonna lie, I feel pretty alone. I’m trying to focus on all the positive stuff – a JOB, having my own kitchen, being close to my family in Nebraska. But this is hard. Really hard. I remember saying 2 years ago: all I ask is not to have to move to a new place all by myself again. … And now here I am. I guess God needs me in Iowa.

I never expected to end up here, that’s for sure! But, the people in my small town are nice, the cost of living is low, and I’m close to my dear family.

So, there’s my quick update! Hopefully I’ll get back to music therapy and Jesus posts soon!

Oh, and I technically graduate next Saturday. Yay student loan six month grace period!

– Sarah

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