Beginning New

by 9/02/2015 0 comments

New Beginnings. Beginning new. NEW. Not just renovation, but revitalization from the dead. That’s what happens when Jesus takes root in our hearts. LIFE and life to the full. This past semester I have gone through an incredible learning season. I guess I could really say this about every time period in my life; right when I think God has done the biggest refining process possible in my heart another season of learning begins. However, this past semester is still fresh on my mind… I unexpectedly was diagnosed with severe scoliosis and had to have a full spinal fusion all within a month of my plans of going back to school for my fall semester at Carson Newman. Needless to say, plans changed. That’s what God does, He loves us enough to rewrite our plans to bring us exactly where we need to be.
The surgery and hospital experience were literally the hardest and most humbling experiences I have ever had. I could not move by myself at all. I could not go to the bathroom on my own. I could not be in control and I experienced the worst physical pain that I did not even know was possible (except for maybe someone who happened to survive a jump off the Empire State Building). I struggled spiritually, physically, and emotionally. All I could say to God was “I trust you” and most of the time I could only say that because deep down on some subconscious level somewhere there was a vague and distant memory of being near to God and his faithfulness being proven true.

After I got out of the hospital and tried to erase the experience completely I walked with a walker and had a hard time doing anything on my own. God met me where I was. That’s what He does. He loves us enough to meet us where we are. For the first time in my post-infant life I had to be dependent on others for everything. He continued a work in me to teach me who He is. He showed me how capable He is to provide. He showed me that He is enough. He reminded me that I am passionate about little things and ordinary people and so is He. During the process of having back surgery, a local children’s home in Murfreesboro, Good Shepherd, asked me to help teach at their school during my semester “off.” The thought of being back with the kids that I had grown to love and care deeply for, pushed me to recover as fast and as safely as possible.

Two weeks after surgery I was back at Good Shepherd helping as a teacher and living-life with kids who have so much to teach the world about love, adventure and pure joy. It was a place where I questioned what I want for my future, what I believe about certain issues and what it looks like to pour out more than you think you have to offer, even when you feel unnoticed and unnecessary. Life as I knew it as a perfectionist student, world-changing dreamer paused for a little while. Life was busy, but simple. The kids at Good Shepherd reminded me of the kids that I have met and loved deeper than I thought was possible in Haiti. They reminded me that people are people wherever we are and wherever we go and that individuals have to matter before any world-changing plan can take place.

Over and over again God’s faithfulness, grace and complete goodness is being unveiled through the messy and crazy adventures of my life. I am being challenged and hopefully you are too. If we become blind to what is right in front of us because of an idea of the future we are not yet living we are missing the extraordinary opportunities that God does with the ordinary people and circumstances right before our eyes. We all need to be continuously asking for eyes capable of truly seeing. We need to see the hurt right in front of us; we need to see the damaged places in our own families; we need to see the brokenness in our fellow students and coworkers; we need to see the desperation hidden in the darkness of a ran down motel across town; we need to see the cries of the weak across the world in places where life is based on day-to-day minimal survival; we need to SEE. Not only do we need to see, but we need to feel. We need hearts that are capable of breaking alongside others so that our actions can reflect a love that is capable of changing the world.

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” –Albert Einstein

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” –Edmund Burke

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” 
― William Martin

-Shelby Hardison


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