A Shifting Season: January

Life is taking crazy and wild turns and I am jumping in. Read all about it here and check out how you can help (bottom of post) by playing a part in what God is doing and has done!

 

“Behold, I am doing something new! See, I have already begun! Do you not perceive it? 

I will make a pathway through the wilderness and rivers in dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

 

There have been a lot of changes over the past few weeks. I am currently spending my next three weeks in Savannah packing and preparing for a big move that God has (unbeknownst to me) been preparing for me for some time now.

 

 

A Shifting Season

Where to begin? Well, when I started working as an art teacher at a private school this year I didn’t think God would call me away from it mid-year. Although, I guess if I had thought that I never would have taken it, and I guess it was important for me to be there and begin a shifting of sorts there. At 27 it is SO fascinating to look back at all the little seemingly innocuous things I’ve learned and reflect on how they perfectly align with the seemingly innocuous things I’m doing right now. After all, here I am happily in Savannah, which is a big deal considering my sentiments upon first arriving here. I have amazing community, which I cried out for over a year ago now. I have a steady job and a house that I rent with two fantastic roommates. While this is all awesome and God-filled, it is all about to change, and that’s the way it is (and has been) with God isn’t it? Following is about taking leaps into unknowns and being wrecked for ordinary things, right?

 

A Call and A Story

The call is different for everyone, it all sounds and looks different and unique in its intricacies. It usually begins with some heavy wreckage.

The process of wrecking began early for me. It started as a kid. I recall being in children’s church at age 5 and going up to “accept Christ” every Sunday until someone told me I only had to do it once. So, I kept going up each Sunday to sit and experience God capturing everyone else’s hearts for the first time. I felt the call when I invited the outcast girl to come to a sleepover at age 9. Among other times of calling out, God led me toward and away from people and things. At times so broken I could barely breathe right, it somehow not only got better amidst the wreckage but this wrecking actually transformed into something so much more incredible!

I was wrecked throughout middle and high school by participating in youth groups and churches that were surface level at best. I knew I agreed and disagreed with certain things and couldn’t articulate it. So, I went through years of guilt and fear and abandonment without the church, and sadly at times with the church instigating these things in me. Then working with Camp Dixie starting in 2003 I finally began to learn about how much God loves me and about redemption and grace. “WHAT?” my mind said, “Freedom? Grace? Where has this been all my life?” My mind was blown to pieces. Somehow God led me back to work in a church affiliated school after college and began a healing process and deepening my faith and furthering the wreckage.

In 2007 God was like, “Africa”… AfricaAfricaAfrica. It was like a heartbeat I had. I HAD to go. I found Adventures in Missions in a search and found Swaziland. I didn’t renew my contract with my job and I went. Three months there and major wreckage later, I returned home in a very parallel universe-y kind of way. What just happened and WHAT am I doing in NC and why!? “Youth” was the call then. I began working in schools and mentoring girls and being wrecked by their stories and how God brought me kids who needed His healing. He began entrusting me more and more. I eventually led a trip to Ireland this past summer to be wrecked even more and entrusted with more than ever before. So, that leads all the way to here.

 

January: The New Wreck-oning Call

This year God has been speaking “January” and that I will be working with youth in a “different” way. So, everything that came up was “January” and I was beginning to get flustered. God provided a job for me after all and that lasted until June. What was He up to asking me to leave it so soon?

I held on to the notion that God would just hold whatever it was until June and pressed on. Then God was whispering all of these lovely things over me and telling me about the amazing things He had planned that required courage and trust and faith. I began to think I had no faith at all because I was less than ready to jump off a cliff into unknown. My rule-following side cringed at the thought of explaining the unexplainable to my boss. Quit my job? Unheard of if you ask me. No one ever does that. No one named Toni-Lyn ever does that, right? Right!?

God pressed on, totally un-phased, as usual, by my higher-than-average level of skepticism. Every time I prayed for a sign He would give me one greater and more glaringly obvious. Eventually it came to me lying in my bed saying, “Go or stay? Go or stay? Go or stay?” I lay there staring at the wall repeating this in my mind and then heard a voice, out loud, say to me, “Go!” It startled me at first and then it sunk in, “Oh, all these signs mean I should GO?” Ha! It’s so encouraging that God knows me so well. I mean, honestly, I bet He would have shown up to tell me if I kept on being skeptical. Seriously. So, I told my boss I was leaving, I met with all of my amazing college girls here and told them what God is doing and received more and more confirmation along the way. “I knew it!” was a common sentiment I received heartily.

 

The Jumping Stage

I’ve spent the past week explaining to my older students why I am leaving mid-year. It was exhausting but redeeming. It was the chance to tell the teenagers what it truly looks like to follow God, that it really doesn’t make sense half the time. Then I encouraged them to follow when God calls them.

 

This Next Season

Then, and only after the leap into unknown, did things click further into place. I received a literal call from Adventures in Missions about their apprenticeship. Shockingly enough it begins in January (dramatic gasp!) and will last 8 months and I GOT IT!

 

– That is 8 months working in the Adventures in Missions (AIM) offices, living in community, and being discipled.

– This is 8 months of honing my creativity (that was jump started/revived at SCAD this past year) and furthering God’s vision over my life of speaking freedom and healing over young women.

– This is 8 months of mobilizing others toward this crazy and wild utterly wrecking freedom.

 

Without realizing it at first glance, God is answering so many prayers that I’ve had for years and years. A season is fading into new birth in a new place.

 

 

Journeying Together

Whenever we jump, it is God’s intent that we are not alone. We are a body with many parts, after all. So this one part is jumping into the water to swim and is inviting you to be a part of navigating these waters.

 

The LOGISTICS…

In order to work for a non-profit missions organization I need to raise support for January-August 2012.

I have to raise: $3500 before January.

From March onward I have to raise: $1500 per month.

SUPPORT ME?:

Prayer (YES! Excellent!) **Matt. 18:19-20 says that where two or more are gathered God is there in it.

Financially (Tax Deductible!) @ AIM’s website

* Monthly donations or a one-timer!

 

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Another easy way to help a sister out:

I am making and selling these infinity cowl scarves for $34 each. Just choose your color scheme and I’ll make it. Free shipping to US! (below)

Email me @ tonilyn.keller@gmail.com for orders.

I am also creating some illustrations, prints, and batik pillows that you can look out for in the near future!

 

**Thanks for believing in God’s plan with me, for following with me, and for your love and support. Prayers are always felt and encouragement always a blessing.

Travel onward and take jumps!

TL

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2 thoughts on “A Shifting Season: January

  1. Seth Barnes says:

    Tonilyn, Great blog and I’m trusting this next step will be God working in your life. Look me up when you get here. I so appreciate your responding to the Lord’s call to Swaziland and then allowing him to wreck you.

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