Monday, January 26, 2009

a story...

This weekend and today as I pondered on the Lion book and things that God has been showing me as a result of looking at things I have always felt I was afraid of... He reminded me of an incident that really goes along with facing a lion and defeating it.

A long time ago... early in our marriage... we rented a house out in the country. The owners of the house were farmers. They lived in a beautiful house a few miles away. The little house we rented from them sat on a few acres where they kept some black Anges cows. Now, I was never a big fan of cows and these cows I grew to thoroughly despise! They got out quite frequently and we would have to chase them down and get them back in the pen. One particular time these ornery devils got out and Doug and I had gotten them all in... except one. This particular one was a young bull. He wasn't quite huge yet but he was still a bull. This guy decided to be a thorn in my flesh and took off in the opposite direction of the pen. For some reason Doug stayed and closed the gate on the rest and I was the one who went after this raging, black, stubborn cow. I remember walking out to the field with a big stick in my hand. I rounded the corner and this guy was looking right at me and we had a stare down.... and then he charged... right at me. Yes, he did the stomping of his foot and CHARGED. As he was running toward me and coming fast... did I run? NO! For some reason all the anger that was pent up inside me caused my feet to be planted firmly in the ground. As he got closer and didn't let up on his speed I took my stick in my two hands and raised it out in front of me and said in a very loud voice "NO!".... and he stopped... just a few inches in front of me. We looked at each other and then he calmly turned and walked back to the pen where he belonged (and I'm pretty sure he had his tail between his legs). I followed him back to the pen and was very happy to see him locked up again. I knew that day an angel had kept that bull from running me down - he probably could have killed me but I was protected... 

As I was pondering on Beneniah's story today the Lord gave me a visual picture of facing a lion. This bull was probably about the same weight of a lion and he was bent on taking me down. However, he didn't win. I realized when God brought this moment back to my mind.... I wasn't afraid of that bull. That sounds crazy and yet... it's true. 

Maybe God allowed that moment in my past to be a visual aide for this moment in my present as well as in my future. 

I think so many times I have been afraid of things that only appear to be huge on the outside when in reality... my God is bigger and stronger and He will take care of me. He didn't let anything happen to me that day because He wanted me to see that His protection covers me. That His angels surround me and will stand in the way of the enemy when it's necessary. 

How does that apply to right now? I have always been afraid of Algebra, Biology & Chemistry because I didn't do well the first time around and yet... they're just subjects. They can't hurt me and I have God to call upon for His wisdom. Afraid of being turned down for a job or position and yet... it's just a door that closes and another one will open. I pray daily for His wisdom and the clarity to hear His voice. I have been afraid of confrontation and yet... why? Because I don't want to look foolish? God will give me the words to say... and if I look foolish to some... God will be proud of me for standing up for what I believe in. His opinion is the only one that really counts! I have been afraid of sharing my faith and the fear of not saying things in the right way to get the person to believe and yet... I'm reminded that one plants the seed, another waters and another brings the harvest. All I have to do is plant the seed and God will take care of the rest. 

So with this in mind... Help me to stare down the lions and the raging bulls that come across my path. Help me to remember that You will stand in the way of the enemy and that You will take care of me. Help me to run toward those things I might be afraid of rather than running away.... and give me the courage and the strength to do all that You ask of me. Again I pray the words of the gentleman last Sunday... Open my ears to hear Your voice. Open my heart to receive Your words and I would add on, open my mouth to speak Your words. Give me the courage and the strength to do all that you ask.... and always stand between me and the lion or the bull so I don't get trampled!! =) 

I love you Lord and I just want to do what You want me to.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

taking time...

Yes, it's true... I've been rather quiet lately. For the last two weeks I have really been seeking God on what He would have me do about my job as well as with my life. I would like to share a little bit even though I know there is so much more that is yet to be discovered.

When I was in Texas, God placed in my hands a book that He is using to change my life and my perspective on things. My nephew is a Pastor at a Church in Oklahoma and my oldest sister (his mother) is a Sunday school teacher in the same church. At the time, they were studying a book in the class and he pushed it over to me and said "You really should read this book." Over the last month or so I have been reading this book rather slowly and really pondering on what God was wanting to say to me. The book is called (because I know you are wanting to know...) "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson. Powerful book!

I'm not sure how to put everything I want to share into words so I'll try to sum up what has happened in the last two weeks.... In the book he talks about how there were ten days between the ascension of Jesus and the day of Pentecost. He posed a question that really struck me. Basically it was what if, when we are faced situations in our lives, we took ten days to really seek God on what He wanted us to do... what would happen? I was challenged by that and began really seeking God over the course of the next ten days. Last Sunday I went forward for prayer and just asked for wisdom and clarity to hear God's voice. There were two people praying for me that I had never met before. One prayed that God would open my ears to hear His voice, that He would open my heart to receive His words and that He would give me the courage and strength to do whatever He asked. Then the other person just spoke gently to me about how precious I am to the Lord and how much He loves me. It was a powerful moment.

This book talks a lot about facing your fears and chasing after them rather than running away from them. I have come to really see how fear holds me back from so much. God wants me to face those fears head on and in the process I will be changed... and will also see that I really had nothing to be afraid of.

In regards to my job... I have been so afraid of the "what if" factors that I have stayed put in a job and company that I no longer enjoy. I have stayed because of my friends and while I love them very much I have allowed them to be an excuse to stay stuck. I have been afraid of leaving what I KNOW even though for quite some time I have wanted to leave to learn new things.... I just didn't know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. 

I remember when I was about to be offered a position that I really didn't want, I told my Senior Manager that I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but I knew that it wasn't that job, I told him I felt like I should wait to figure out what it really is that I wanted to do with my life and career path. Well... I believe God has shown me what that is.

Sunday I was prayed for. Monday God dropped a dream in my heart. Wednesday we were informed that lay-offs are coming at work. Thursday I saw how there is really no concern for the associates any more. Friday I was sick to my stomach because of the lay-offs that are ahead this week and knowing there is a strong possibility that I will be loosing my manager and senior manager very soon. Last night and again today as I began sharing my dream the excitement has increased. Over the course of the week I have really felt God saying that now is the time to start really pursuing the change in what I do. 

The dream... is to work part-time and go to school full-time... to be a Physical Therapist!  This is HUGE for me because I have had this desire for a really long time. I was always afraid of pursuing something in the medical realm because I wasn't a very good student in High School... especially in Algebra, Biology and Chemistry which are all important classes to do well in if you want to go into the medical field! So I've always just pushed it aside and done other things that were more SAFE. I was afraid of taking those classes at this stage in my life because I didn't want to fail again. Plus, it's been so long and now I'm not so very young anymore! However, through what God has been showing me through this book is... I'm not too old and nothing is too hard when it comes to something God wants you to do! I always said I can't do that but God has clearly been saying to me that I CAN do ALL things through HIM. The final confirmation in this was when my husband said to me last night that I should talk to one of the financial aide people at Metro (the community college) to see if there was a way I could go to school full-time - this was HUGE because it showed me he was okay with this crazy dream of mine! 

Today I completed an application to do a job shadow with a Physical Therapist which is recommended before entering the program to be sure it's a good fit. I also completed an application for an Office Associate in the radiology/oncology department at a local hospital. I did this just in case I still need to work full-time or if I do the shadow and don't feel it's where I belong. My second choice for school/career would be an ultrasound or x-ray technician. Either way... it's progress. Monday I'll call the school to schedule an appointment with one of the financial aide counselors, then I will schedule an appointment for the math placement test and then... see where God leads me from there. 

I am SO excited about the possibility of what lies ahead!! Please pray that He will continue directing me in the path He wants me to take.... that He will continue to give me the courage and strength to do what He asks and that my ears and heart would remain open to hear and receive all that He has to say to me. Until next time... Blessings to you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This morning I felt the Lord speak to me in regard to my heart and its state lately. There were two phrases that just spoke loudly to me:

First, "the circumstances you complain about become the chains that imprison you. And worship is the way out." Wow... that alone just... is such a powerful statement. Why would I want to become more bound up by my circumstances? I was reminded of all the hard times in the past where I have been in difficult situations and I had to literally force myself to Praise the Lord and worship Him for His goodness in spite of how things looked or even felt. I know I am at a similar place again. I have a heavy heart and I have been imprisoned by my complaints. As I was driving this morning the words of another song came to my mind and I began to sing it quietly...

All of my life,
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

It was all I could remember at the time but somehow I knew it was a good place to start.

Then a scripture was shared this morning which included "save your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day is out." ... I was struck with how it easy it is to complain and be critical of others because we base our complaints on our perspective alone. At this moment I am reminded of something I told my son last night... People are just people, they aren't perfect and they will fail or disappoint us. The amazing thing is though... GOD will NEVER fail us. He is still and always will be GOD.

The chorus of the song is a fitting conclusion:

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here.

The song is called Desert song (by Hillsong).

What an awesome God He is to remind me that I have a reason to worship. He really is good, isn't He?

Friday, January 9, 2009

He is with me....

Have you ever noticed how God speaks in the little things? Today for example, was a rough day from the start at work. Then, I received an email forward from a friend. It was just a little thing and to be honest I was rather annoyed when I first read it but then later.... it came back to me loud & clear. It was a forward on little things to be thankful for such as I'm thankful that my gutters need to be repaired because it means I have a roof over my head and I'm thankful that my pants are too tight because that means I have plenty of food to eat.... and on it went. I shook my head and closed it and moved on to the next email. Then later at lunch with my friends we were airing our grievances on things going on and that email came back to me and I knew... the Lord was speaking to my heart. I found myself telling the girls about the email and I said, "so that means I need to be thankful for my job because even though it's a crazy-maker, at least it put a paycheck in my bank account today and I'm thankful that I even have a job". They all agreed. Even though it was hard to be thankful, I knew that's what God wanted me to do in that moment. 

For the rest of the day I found myself dwelling on that. Trying to be thankful even in the hard things. So tonight as I was out shoveling I felt impressed to come in and once again write about 10 things I'm thankful for.

1) My job and the paycheck it provides and that for right now... it's where I'm supposed to be.
2) My friends and the relationships that have developed over the last eight years. We agree, the relationships are what have kept us there and that we're more than co-workers, we're a family.
3) My manager was able to get approval to step down into another position rather than something far worse and that even if I don't like it.... I understand... and even if it's hard, at least she'll be there for a little while longer.
4) For the pretty snow outside tonight that I went out and shoveled. It was beautiful and was a reflection of the purity of God. It was an opportunity to go outside and breathe fresh air and to think and pray.
5) For my sister being the voice of God to me tonight and recommending another good book but more importantly, offering to pray for me tomorrow.
6) For the Word of God and the peace it provides to my spirit. "God can do anything, you know". There is nothing that's impossible for God. There is no situation that's out of His reach.
7) For my friends outside of work who mean so very much to me.
8) For my family and the wonderful gift from God they are. Each one is special and unique in their own way and I love them dearly.
9) For lunch dates and movie nights that will make me smile tomorrow! =)
10) Most importantly, I'm thankful for my Father in Heaven who is my best friend, healer, guide, provider, peace, shelter, confidant, and ever present help and anchor in the storms of life. I know I couldn't live without Him.

Thank you Lord for the encouragement and love you have shown me today. Thank you for being with me each step of the way today. Thank you that you never leave me or forsake me. Thank you for gently nudging me along. I love you Lord...

A verse my sister shared with me tonight:
"God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently with in us.
Glory to God in the Church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia!
Oh, yes!
Ephesians 3:30 (the Message)

Today... His Spirit deeply and gently nudged me... He's so Great isn't He? 

Good night.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Power in a song...

Today while at work, I was listening to my ipod... trying to drown out the noise around me and the frustrations in my spirit and then this song came on and just... arrested me. I stopped and listened and then played it over and over. Granted, this is a song I've had on my ipod for quite awhile and yet... today it just was so... powerful to me. Even now I would like to type it out for you but can't. Take a listen... The song is titled, "Over My Head" by Starfield...

The most powerful part to me is toward the end when he sings:
Ruined for anything other than Your love
I'm desperate to know You, Lord
Desperate for what's in store
Finding my hope in only You, in only You
Take me beyond this door
Lead me to something more
Open my heart up for more of You, more of You

As I listened at work and was overcome by the power of God's love and the power of this song. I was struck by this last part... to be ruined for anything other than Your love (to want nothing BUT His love)... I'm desperate to know You, Lord, desperate for what's in store. Finding my hope in only You, in only You. Take me beyond this door... lead me to something more. Open my heart up for more of You. 

I find myself praying that... to be desperate to know Him more... to be desperate for what HE has for me... desperate for HIM. To find my hope in Him alone. Take me beyond this point in my life spiritually. While walking through a new door physically in terms of a job is important to me... walking through the door to something more in the spiritual realm... more of HIM... just overwhelms me.. it's over my head. Open my heart up for more of You Lord. I want to be lost in your presence Lord.... like I am in this moment and yet to go deeper still. 

Open my heart to see Your beauty around me. Open my heart to experience more of Your friendship... to experience more of YOU.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Little nuggets...

It always seems to amaze me how the Lord drops little things along the way to remind me of His presence or His love. This morning for example as I finished my Bible reading (in my one-year Bible) there was just this little bit that said:

"But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm." Proverbs 1:33

I keep going back to it... it's so simple and yet so true. I began to reflect on moments recently.... A moment of panic and I heard His whisper, "It's OK... I'm right here. I haven't left you and I will take care of you."... Peace instantly came and flooded my heart. Or a moment of uncertainty and I heard, "Just listen for My voice and I will lead you and guide you in the path you should take." Isn't it amazing? Just to know in those moments that no matter what I'm facing, He's there... to comfort, to guide, to soothe, to love... to meet every need I may have. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still have those moments, don't we all? Always without fail though, if I just take the time to listen... I can live in peace and not be troubled or afraid. He has me covered and He loves me no matter what. 

God's just so amazing... isn't He?