Sunday, May 2, 2010

Atlanta from Ashes

In all my enthusiasm about the jobs the Lord provided for me in California and Texas, I almost forgot that there is an equally cool story about my job in Atlanta.

I received a phone call just before Thanksgiving in 2002, which was my final year in Grad School. I was told that a mistake had been made and I could actually graduate in December instead of waiting until the Spring! This was great news on many levels, but did leave me feeling a little directionless at first. I went ahead and graduated and moved in with some friends from church. I got a job on campus and began praying more pointedly about the future. My Undergrad Degree was in Christian Education & Biblical Studies, and my Master's Degree was in Education Ministries. Despite this, I did not technically have a teaching degree or any formal teaching experience outside of the youth ministries I'd served for many years. I had been offered a job in Atlanta to teach at a small Christian School geared towards at-risk youth, but was cautioned against this by some, due to my lack of experience. I didn't know what to do, and was a bit torn up about it. I was struggling with a fairly serious bout of depression at the time, and found myself significantly paralyzed.

I began taking medication to help clear my head. Fortunately my body responded quickly and rays of hope seeped into my heart again. I went to the library and checked out the 7th edition of the Frommer's Travel Guide for Atlanta. On the first line of the first page it talked about the statue that is pictured above called, "Atlanta from Ashes." It is a woman holding a Phoenix, the bird that rises up out of it's own ashes, and is symbolic of Atlanta being rebuilt after the civil war. As I was reading about this statue the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "I want you to move to Atlanta. This is what I'm going to do in your life. I'm going to rise you up out of your own ashes." And that is exactly what happened!

When I got to Atlanta and started working, I realized that there was a tattoo parlor half way between my house and the school, so I passed it twice daily. I started asking myself what indelible image I might want permanently imbedded into my flesh, and what story it might represent that I never wanted to forget. I remembered "Atlanta from Ashes," and now have the continual reminder on the right side of the small of my back that God will give beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3) when we lay our ashes at His feet.

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