Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Understanding vs. His Plan

Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.
These were the first verses that made sense to me after I was saved 15 years ago.  The first ones that I tore out of a bulletin at CFC and took back to college with me and pinned up on my bulletin board.  I think it comforted me to know it was safe to trust Him and that I shouldn't trust myself and my ideas over Him.  But, it has continued to be one of my favorite passages - it always, always seems to apply.

The devotion out of Jesus Calling for January 27th (I was off a day this morning - oops!):
Trust is a golden pathway to heaven.  When you walk on this path you live above your circumstances.  My glorious Light shines more brightly on those who follow this path of Life.  Dare to walk on the high road with Me, for it is the most direct route to heaven.  The low road is circuitous:  twisting and turning in agonizing knots.  There the air hangs heavy, and dark, ominous clouds predominate.  Relying on your own understanding will weigh you down.  Trust in Me absolutely, and I will make your path straight.
This week I continue to struggle with anxiety over the timing of the house sale.  Shocker, huh?  Ha ha ha...believe me, I wish I could get past this!  The devotion above described how I've been - twisting and turning in agonizing knots - heavy air - dark clouds - weighed down.  And why?  Because I am leaning on my OWN understanding.  MY understanding says - life will be better if we don't have two house payments.  But, I am not trusting Him with all my heart.  I do at times.  I want to all of the time.  But it is a constant and conscious submission that I have to exercise.  I used to think that I was weak when I had to give Him things over and over, but now I know that this is a part of life.  And, as I continue to turn things over to Him and exercise my faith and trust Him with all of my heart - habits are formed and I get better at it...  I'm getting there - so thankful for continued reminders, teachings, and rebukes that He sends my way through songs, devotions, somethings someone says, a sweet message, etc.  He is so patient with us...and so caring.
Lord, help me to walk with You above my circumstances as I completely trust You with all of my heart.  Let me not think about and dwell on what 'makes sense' to me.  Help me to submit fully to You - You have control - it is better that way - because your plans for me are good.  I have been complaining that I can't fully enjoy it here because our house hasn't sold - that is a lie because I can do all things in You.  You can allow me to enjoy life to the fullest now - not later after things are 'better' but NOW.  Forgive me for pouting, for wanting my way - and thinking that my way makes more sense.  Lord help me to rest in Your plan, Your perfect plan.  I want to enjoy the straight path that You make for me - no more twisting, knotted path that I make for myself.  Please help me to draw from the strength that You have placed in me and to trust in You completely.  Thank You that You are so patient and caring with me.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some JOY set before us!

Yesterday was one of those days.  Do you ever get tired of being 'positive'?  Or grow weary in having faith that even though you have a big problem - "everything is just going to work out fine cause God has it under control."  Some days that just sounds like a cliche.  Yesterday I just wanted a break from being strong is what I told myself.  Felt like it was the hardest thing I could do to put one foot in front of the other and continue just being strong.  I was, again, after signing the kids up for the over-priced sports programs here, angry at Him for having us in this situation with two house payments.

This morning these two verses came to mind:

Galatians 6:9   "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Hebrews 12:1-2   "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

I described myself to several people yesterday as feeling 'weary' - and it felt like it was weariness from doing good - having unwavering faith in a situation that doesn't seem too great.  (And of course, I know that our situation isn't horrible compared to so many that people are facing right part of me doesn't even want to write/talk publicly about this, but this is how I feel...)   So I felt attacked...weary, TIRED of being positive.  I wanted to whine.  But, Galatians says we will reap a harvest (obtain a return or reward) if we do not give up.  So, I will obtain a reward for my faith?

I love the verses in Hebrews - always have.  But when I read them this morning - WOW!  It is what I needed to review and see in a new way.  I need to run this race (this life) with perseverance the way that it is marked out for me (not necessarily the circumstances and path I would have chosen, but the one that is marked out by Him.)  I can do this easier if I throw off the stuff that hinders me and sin - casting my anxieties on the Lord because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).  I can also do this easier if I keep my eyes on Jesus - HE went ahead of me in this world and had to have faith - He finished the race - He knows how hard it was.  He endured difficulties and uncertain situations and circumstances for the joy that He knew was yet to come.  Philippians 3:20-21 says,  "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."  And from Revelation 21:4 we know that in heaven, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  

Now THAT is some cool stuff to look forward to!  I would say that that is some JOY set before us!  And I can say once again that I can perserve!

On some another notes...
Got some more painting done downstairs - kitchen and mud room.  And, I am now an Initials, Inc. rep.  :)  I talked with my friend Shawna who used to sell ThirtyOne and she encouraged me to see how many ThirtyOne reps were around - there were a TON...and then look into this company.  Initials, Inc. has super cute bags, purses and other items that you can personalize - embroidery is always free!  Check out my website:

And I haven't said this in awhile, but thank you so much to all of my friends and family that support us and pray for thankful for you all!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Watchful and Thankful

I had to get this as a great reminder to us.  It says "The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."
So, I begged for clarity.  I kid you not, the next day it came.  Clear as the Carolina skies like I asked for!  Don't you love it when God gives us what we ask for - and we KNOW He's the One who gave it to us?

I got to speak to someone about the RN position - it was a full time M-F job as a Case Manager for Worker's Comp.  Some of it was from home (paperwork) but majority of it was driving around following the patient, place of employment, attorneys, and insurance.  It was clear that this was too much of a time committment here in this new city.  I then pretty much knew that I don't have anything to lose by signing up to sell ThirtyOne.  I am also hoping to help one of my neighbor friends who opened a consignment shop with some advertising online.  So, that is what I'm going to do so my little rugrats can do some extra activities.  I also am feeling more at peace about leading a Bible Study at the house.  I had to tell what my spiritual gifts were on my 'application' to be a leader.  I looked up my test but I took it probably 5-6 years ago.  My gifts WERE:  Knowledge, Service/Help, Leadership.  But NOW they are:  Knowledge, Leadership, Wisdom, Discernment,Teacher, Administration, Exhortation.  And it seems like over a lot of the areas the scores were a lot higher.  I asked the Life Groups pastor whether your spiritual gifts change over time.  He said definitely through spiritual growth and maturity your gifts can change.  So, as I see what my gifts are (Hospitality scored high too, but not as high as these) and what I know my passions are (connecting women to others and God so that they feel encouraged and loved) it seems clear to go forward with the Bible Study - trusting Him in the unfamiliar territory.  I also got word just a bit ago that the PTO actually decided that they do not want to move forward with the Spirit Rock - which was a bit disappointing to me, but it frees up something else that was on my plate that was just extra time that I was going to have to give.

Evan is having a hard week.  Grandma Judy (Jeff's mom) had total knee replacement surgery yesterday.  We have been talking about it and we packed up a fun care package to send her way.  He is really worried about her though.  His teacher said he was a bit 'off' yesterday and he has been extremely whiney and negative about everything ever since school started back up.  We will call her this afternoon - hopefully that will help some.  Not sure what is going on.  Mrs. Gordon and I are working on it. 

We have gotten the living room and the morning room painted.  I feel like I have tunnel vision right now trying to get as much as I can painted downstairs.  I love how it looks.

So I prayed for clarity and I got clarity.  Too bad it doesn't work that way everytime. Some scriptures make it seem like all you have to do is ask and 'poof' you get it.

Matthew 7:7 " Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

But, it seems like your motives probably need to line up with what God would want...

James 4:3  "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

So, yes, He gave me clarity because I asked and because my motives were pure - I do not want to do anything that He does not want me to do.  I want to spend my time wisely and allow Him to be able to work through me.  But, He also may have chosen not to answer that prayer.  And there are other prayers that He has not answered. selling our house.  First I think - am I asking with wrong motives so that I may spend what we get on our pleasures??  Hrm.  I have to think about that.  WHY do I want our house to sell?  Just because He hasn't answered them yet doesn't mean our asking is wrong.  His timing is completely perfect and the sell of our house is NOT overdue.

Habakkuk 2:3 TLB  "But these things I plan won't happen right away.  Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass.  Just be patient!  They will not be overdue a single day!" 

In my devotional book today I read that presenting what I need over and over to God keeps my needs/concerns in the forefront of my mind - keeping me in a state of tension.  Instead, pray with a thankful heart and thank Him for the plans He already has for our house to sell and the plans He set into motion long before we could discern results.  "Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promises."

Colossians 4:2  "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Praying for Clarity - as Clear as the Carolina Skies!

Happy New Year!  Yeah, I'm a little late with that!  We had a fun time with Steve and Wendy and their girls on the 31st...but by the time they left I was feeling pretty rotten again.  The next morning I was congested and clogged up and low on energy (and it wasn't from lack of sleep - I was in bed before the new year unfortunately!)  So...we didn't get to church or the small group that we were going to go to.  I just did not have the energy in me to go and meet new people.  But, we are still on track to meet up with this Life Group at their next meeting time - next Sunday after church.  Jeff had Monday off and the kids headed back to school.  It was fun getting to hang out with him all day!  The kids had a rough week getting back into the groove of things with getting up early.  Evan tried to push his limits a bit by perfuming the cat and flushing a plastic dixie cup down the toilet.  After I freaked a bit and poked holes in the cup by using a utility knife (which only lodged it so deep I couldn't reach it), Jeff saved the day by pushing it all the way through with an auger. Which totally reminded me of the time that Evan put a very teeny Polly Pockets plastic hairbow up his nose and right when I thought I was going to get it out he snuffed and it went up so far I couldn't see it.  Jeff couldn't save the day that time though and we had to have the Dr take care of that!  Emily and Jeff had their first basketball game on Friday night.  She played hard the entire game - even though they lost.  They have a lot of timid, first time players on the team who don't know the game - Emily is playing with girls 1 and 2 years older than her, but you wouldn't know it.   It was hard to watch, but they only have room to improve from here!

The bunco group in the neighborhood is a go!  We didn't have any problem getting 12 regular players in the neighborhood and 3 subs...and people are moving in all the time with houses going up like they are.  I will be hosting this month and teaching everyone how to play - not sure anyone has played! 

I started painting our downstairs living room on Thursday.  I am on a roll now and have painted some every day since then!  The living room is tan and a darker tan - I will probably extend those two colors into the kitchen as well.  I got some green for our morning room today.  The painting will continue this week!  Pictures will come soon!

Monday morning I met with Kathy about the ministry that they have at our church for women.  She is the unofficial volunteer in charge.  I asked her what she thought about me doing a Bible Study in my home one morning a week.  She thought it sounded great - definitely something they need (they only have two going on - so this would provide another opportunity for women).  The problem - they don't know me from anyone.  It was so different for me to be told that after being so involved at CFC in Evansville for so long that enough people knew me and could 'vouch' for me!  I totally respect that though.  She ended up talking to the LifeGroups Pastor and they want me to take a short class about Southbrook and what they believe and then Kathy would be a part of the Bible Study for the first few times so she can observe/be there for support and back up, etc.  I am still praying about this.  I want to make sure that this is what I'm supposed to do.  I'm not completely convinced I don't think.

I am praying for clarity on the above and also whether I need to do something for just a little bit exra income.  The kids are going to need to be signed up for spring sports soon which unfortunately are very much more expensive than in Indiana.  I am considering selling Thirty One (purses, lunchbags, cutsie stuff with embroidery).  That would be fun, something I can control time involvement/committment, and just a bit extra to use on the kids activities.  Ironically (or not), I also received an email this week from Uncle Tony  telling me that he knows of an at-home RN job in Charlotte.  I am getting more information on this.  I am not positive that I am interested, but it doesn't hurt to see.  I need clarity on what my purpose here is.  Jeff does not say I need to work.  When we chose to move here we decided that I would not have to.  He will support me if I do though.  I want to be available to the kids and be able to spend time volunteering a school and church as much as I can, so I am not sure that a 'real' job fits right now...but God will show me I'm sure. 

Church this morning was awesome!  It is so nice to already start recognizing faces.  The music, worship, and message were all great.  Some notes I took:  Few people make a difference by accident.  No one makes a difference without passion.  The pastor asked us to uncover what we're passionate about (spiritually).  I think I can answer this.  Connecting people.  Serving others.  Helping them grow.  He suggested that we let what we do be driven by our passions. 

I have been praying a lot while painting this week about where I should serve, what I should do, do I need to work?  Should I get involved with this or that?  I need clarity!  It seemed clear during church today that if I know what my passion is - shouldn't what I'm doing line up with that?  So, it seems like hosting a Bible Study lines up with that.  I am nervous about it though.  I guess since I will be observed...and technically, I really haven't facilitated one before.  I've filled in for others, I've done short talks, I 'led' a small group with Jeff...but I haven't done this.  Am I a good hostess?  Although, I have felt the need to open our home since we have the room for that now.

I still feel confused though.  Confusion is not from Him.  Praying for clarity...