Monday, April 24, 2017

What should I do?

Good morning my sisters-

I woke up to a very noisy puppy this morning at 5:15 am.  You see she has already learned if she howls enough people will come running.  As I watched my husband hold her close on Saturday, I thought this is a big mistake and it so was.  He just wanted to love her, protect her and show her she could trust him but the more he held her the more she realized, "I've got him!"

Babies can manipulate just the same. Now of course we are to hold our babies but I'm talking 8 months in when they really should be sleeping.  That was my life, two babies every two hours for four years because my husband couldn't stand to hear them cry.  Well I know the pattern well and I'm about to break this puppy of the howling and crying just to get her way.  I will still love on her and love her but I have to teach discipline and independence early on, or this will be a train wreck.

Going through this over the weekend it reminded me of the decisions I have made my whole life to protect the weak and to redirect others anger and responsibilities onto my shoulders. I can't tell you when it started but it was early.  If someone hurt my mom, I wanted to say something. If someone was in the hospital and I didn't like the answers I was getting, I would question them and often, push them to finding the right answer and if I was with my boys I would want to protect them from the cruelness this world offers, which by the way may not be the best answer.

Work has always been a part of my life. I learned early to not count on people if I wanted security.  This doesn't mean I had a bad childhood because I didn't. It means I was a stubborn teenager who often believed she could do anything. I worked three jobs to pay the rent. I walked to work for almost a year until my dad bought me a cheap car and when the transmission went out I bought the most expensive Plymouth Horizon on the market. I was stubborn and I worked hard and I didn't ask for money, mainly because my parents didn't have it and also because my mom was strong enough to say "Sorry, we can't do that for you."

You think with that kind of mentorship I myself would be that parent, right?  Well, I haven't been. I've been the one feeling sorry for the hours I traveled and had to work. I've been the one full of shame because I wasn't at every major event.  I've been the one to hold onto protecting my child when he is a man and needs to protect himself.

I can't speak for every parent but I can speak for myself and I realize I made some bad choices along the way. It's like holding that puppy too long and her thinking she controls the house.  She controls the house only if we feel bad for her and we don't teach her the error of her way.  If we don't do that, it's not her fault, it's ours.

So as I contemplate what I should do next, I have to start moving in a positive direction with all my relationships. I have to stop protecting and I have to let go of the responsibility.  Young men need to work and we all must have consequences for our actions. And I need to do what I know is important and step up to the plate and let God lead my son and me.  Leading doesn't mean I get to sit by and watch life go by. Leading means I surrender my will to His will and I do what He would have done. Jesus never sat around waiting on opportunities to talk to people. He walked the crowds, He went and prayed and He spent time with His Father. He prepared daily for His work and spent countless hours mentoring the disciples. He worked hard and so did they. 

So if you are sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, make something happen. Stop wandering mindlessly.  If you're asking yourself right now, "What should I do?" Do something!  Volunteer your time while you're writing you devotional.  Apply for so many jobs that one has to fall.  Spend time with our Father to understand His direction for your life and then go forward dear soldier.

Everyone has a moment when life truly pushes them to the brink of despair. I get that but it can't eat you. So as the weeks tick by and my salary is about to stop, I, too wonder, what I should do and then I think move forward and God will provide.

So, I'm moving forward. I'm cleaning out closets, working on cover letters and applying for jobs. I am putting my hope in the unseen and asking God to provide the way. And finally, it's not my job to protect and provide. Wherever you are today, know this, God understands.  He sees you lying around wondering what the next steps are and silently, He is encouraging you to cross into the promise land without fear, you can conquer the enemy, most of the time it's the person in the mirror.

May God hold you and keep you today as He guides you through the unknown. May the light of the world rain down on us and may the Holy Spirit guide us.  In Jesus Name I pray.

2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Zechariah 9:12 NIV:

Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

The unknown..the unseen...the God of the Universe

Good morning all-

Several weeks ago I was laid off from a job I absolutely loved.  My journey to that opportunity started with me leaving my current employer to embrace whatever God had for me.  I had never left a job without a job.  I also have never been laid off.  In my career, I have been through at least a dozen layoffs and in each one I kept my job, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I had just completed back to back shows for this company, only to find myself jobless.

I am human so the questions started coming one after one.  What was God up to?  How did this happen? Why didn't I see it coming?  Why? Why? Why?  If you have ever been in this position you know exactly what I'm talking about. Vulnerability hits you like a hammer and your mind goes to self-defeating shame, fear and a myriad of questions. All that and more came upon me and I embraced each one with the tenacity I take on a challenge and before I knew it I was trying to turn those feelings into opportunity.  But the vulnerability made me feel weak, emotional and completely sad.  I loved this job. I loved the technology, the vision and the idea that I would be selling something that would protect people and the environment. That excited me. The other thing that excited me is that I might be a millionaire. Most people on the ground floor of a start up with a good product will become millionaires and believed that I was on a journey toward security.

Well security is not in my cards obviously, at least not worldly security.  I once again lost sight of the fact that God was in control of my life and my life is a canvas to encourage others away from the world and toward the only security we have, eternal life through Jesus Christ. Wow! Did it take a loss for me to see this once again? I would say that it did and the only good news I can report is I didn't see it as a punishment from God, I am looking at it as a faith journey.  I never felt angry at God or questioned his authority. I never felt shame because I knew that I had created opportunity and a sales plan that was working. I knew that I had given my all to this company and I was making an impact.  I just didn't see this train coming to a stop and moving this opportunity out of my life. I have to believe that He knows what's best and the only way I really even know He's in it-- is the peace I feel, the Scripture I've read and the odd chess game going on in my head.

My future is unknown. I'm navigating a land I have no experience in. I can't see ahead and my heart feels like I'm in a desert or a row of trees that are so dense, I'm unable to see beyond to the opening I know is there.  I have been praying three things: that I wouldn't have unbelief in my heart; that I wouldn't build a golden calf; and that I would trust like I've never trusted before. I can't hear Him, I can't see Him and in this fog I just have to trust in a God I have never seen. I have to trust in my Father because He tells me to.  I have to believe Jeremiah 29:11, my life verse in the same passionate way I did last year. I need to embrace the challenge to move from the world into the supernatural.  As I write this, I know my prayers are correct and I know that I have been questioning my purpose and why I believe everything is on me.  What am I supposed to learn from this trial?  I have decided to do what God asks of us and take it one day at a time.  I will live in Him by washing my heart with Scripture, asking for my mind to calm and rest in Him. I will trust in the unseen and give everything to Him and like last year, He will deliver me and I will grow in Him.

I know how scary the unknown is. I know how disheartening the storm is but I refuse to not hope for a future that is propelled by the God of the Universe. And as you read this, I pray that you too will release your fears, your insecurities and your future to Jesus Christ.  He never put His security in the world, He put it into His Father's will and that's where I must put mine too. Life is short and I have a purpose.

So if you were just blown away with bad news, you feel unbelievable shame, you wonder why your life is not going the way you planned it, my hope is you will read this and know that I am just like you but I believe that God loves me and that He will use all of this for His good.  I hope you can trust Him and believe it. Obviously, this doesn't feel good but neither did dying on a cross. He didn't do that for a selfish purpose, He did it to save us and we are blessed because of His sacrifice. He trusted that by giving His cup into the hands of His Father--His life would bless many and it has. In the dark, we must move toward the light, the hope of a new day and Jesus who will guide us through the unknown and into the promise land.

If you don't know who I'm talking about, please ask Him in prayer to reveal Himself.  He is the exact answer you've been waiting for and His people all over the world are going through tremendous trials to show you that He lives, He loves and He forgives. We must believe and we must trust Him.

Here's a few Scriptures that have ministered to me this week. They are:

Proverbs 16: 1-4 NIV

1 To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

4 The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

11For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

May Jesus minister to you the way He has to me.  Thank you Lord for I believe you will show me my way in the dark and you will reveal the unknown for your purpose.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

When one door closes...

Good afternoon my beautiful sisters-

I come before you a lamb of God and guess what so are you!  This week is one of those weeks you wish you could rewind back in time and say," Hold, stop and don't go forward."  On  Monday I was laid off without any warning and found out my youngest son's secrets.  All in one week!  Oh and it's going to be Easter tomorrow and I'm supposed to be concentrating on why I'm here in the first place.

If you're reading this and you are thinking, that's me exactly, I feel you.  It seems Christians all around the world are facing incredible hardships.  Some are starving, some are in war, some are mourning loved ones and some are being persecuted.  The news reads of ISIS, hatred and mass chaos and all I can think about is me.  Not a pretty picture but a true representation.

That's until I read a post by Beth Moore and then another from Anne Graham Lotz and my point of focus changed.  It was slow at first but as the week wore on, I started seeing Jesus everywhere.  He was in the sky as the clouds rolled in on the back of 35 mile an hour winds.  He was heard in the singing of all the birds dancing in the sunshine and frolicking in the trees.  He was in my head saying, "I'm here."  And of course, He was in the Scripture I turned to about His will being released to His Fathers and in the coming events toward Good Friday. He's been everywhere, at least when I've come out of myself.

As I walked my dog today, I felt Him in every step.  I thought of footprints and how he carries us when we don't know it.  I thought about how much I have learned to trust Him in the dark and look for the light even when a door closes and man did it close this week.  I never saw it coming. And it was as tears flowed down my face and I realized it was wet that I knew that this door closed for a reason.

As I sit writing I can tell you two things: I'm human and I'm scared to death.  I can tell you that I have been in mighty prayer for my oldest son to get a job and for my youngest to confess what was keeping him in the dark.  I can confess that I've been hurt, angry and totally in shock. I'm 51 years old and what am I supposed to do now?  That's the question that is turning and burning in my mind and yet, in the quiet there is this peace that I can't explain.  It's like when a storm hits and all the animals are quiet, that's how my heart feels and it continues to ask, if this door closes, what's next?

So here I am a week into a journey that caught me by surprise and I'm thinking it's time to quit feeling sorry for myself and to concentrate on the one who made me. So instead of a state of bliss, I'm once again in a powerful spiritual battle. Have you ever been in this place?  Have you had a door slam in your face when you least expected it?  Have you wondered, what in the world just happened?  Well then, I guess you live on this earth because it's happening to humans in every nation.

I definitely don't have all the answers and for me, this isn't the last of my little pity party I'm sure. The door was slammed and I have to trust that God knows best and He will move me forward with purpose and thanksgiving.  In the meantime, I have to hold onto the truth of Jesus Christ's life and resurrection. I have to take one day at a time and ask His will to be my will. I have to confront my fears and live with courage. I must believe that He knows why He shut that door and I have to continue to pray for the nations, for peace and for God to return to His people.

My bubble just burst. My next action has to be to repent, forgive and take courage in the face of my  loss. It's time to move on to moving mountains and asking until I get an answer. So that's where I stand on the eve of the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  My fingers are typing while the wind howls and the clouds roll in. And I'm here asking the Lord to reveal to me His purpose and forgive me once again for all my sins. I'm far from perfect and once again, this week has taught me that life happens and sometimes it just doesn't feel good.

Please join me in prayer for every family that is going through loss, for every child that doesn't have food, for our leaders to be wise during this heightened time of hate and fear.  Jesus was born in a time not much different than this. He might not have experienced a super bomb like MOAB or warships with planes but He knew they were coming. He knew that there would be tension between nations and that there would be rumors of wars. He knew that He would have to hang on a cross for my sins and He did it sacrificially.  He did it so that we might have hope, light and eternity.  If you're facing trying times and blaming God, I would ask you to praise Him instead.  We think we know what's good for us but we don't.  We live in a time where everyone thinks they are smarter and wiser than the almighty and we aren't. And if like me, you've just had a door close, let's take hope that He has an even better door for us to open and walk through.

Romans 8:34 - Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

1 Corinthians 15:20 - But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Romans 14:9 - For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

To my Lord and Savior may your peace rain down on this earth and may your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Happy Easter everyone!  Jesus is the reason we live, glorify the trinity and like me bow down to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.