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Posts Tagged ‘growing in faith’

 

I have been in Georgia for almost 6 weeks now. Things have not gone according to MY plan! I planned on coming down here and immediately getting plugged in to a non profit ministry for single moms. I had this set up before I moved here. When I got here, the organization only needed volunteers in the thrift store. I did volunteer in the thrift store a few hours, but then had to seek God’s guidance and re-evaluate. I wanted to work with single moms. That was my heart and so I let this go.

Before I moved down here, I had planned on being involved with an emergency shelter for women. It was a mix of women from different backgrounds, not just single moms and that was fine with me. I have a heart to see ALL women made whole through Christ. I was actually offered a job as an assistant house manager. I was given a sample schedule to give me an idea of the hours I would be working. When I started to calculate the hours, I started to panic a little. Every other week from Monday to Monday, I would work 108 hours; 4 over night shifts from 5 pm to 8 am and then the weekend from 8 am Saturday morning to 8 am Monday morning. The pay period was a total of 123 hours, ALL at minimum wage (7 something an hour). Over time was not given. After talking to my 3 daughters, who all said that they would not do it, I declined the offer.

At that point, I was discouraged. Okay God, what now?

I found another single mom ministry in the other direction and tried there. This ministry has monthly meetings for single parents, so I contacted the executive director and offered my help. I received one short reply and then nothing. I messaged a couple of days before the event, again offering my help and asking when I needed to arrive. I know that she saw my message the same day, but I did not receive a reply declining my offer of help until 2 hours before the event.

In the meantime, I have been filling out applications for every job possible and getting nowhere. Not even an interview.

Okay God, what’s the plan?

I had found a program for certification for Biblical lay counselors back in January. I had pursued a degree in Psychology at one time, but really wanted to become a Biblical counselor. When I found this program, I prayed and prayed and decided that if this program was in God’s will that He would provide the funds for the program. I told God that I would know it was His will if He provided the exact amount I needed for the program. I never told anyone. It was between me and God. I waited and prayed. Right before my birthday (which is June 8th) I received the exact amount of the program in cash. I am now pursuing a certification for Biblical lay counseling. I know this is God’s will, but what am I going to do with it?

In my daily devotional time, I was crying out to God for an answer. Eventually, my money will be gone and what then? I felt this whisper in my spirit, “get connected to a church.” I had visited one church and didn’t feel like it was the one for us. We visited another church this past Sunday and I am going to give it a chance. I am going to connect there and see where God leads.

So, I am digging into God’s Word and growing in my relationship with Him. I am the kind of person that needs to see the big picture. I need to see 10 steps down the road so I can prepare for what is to come. God doesn’t work like that. He gives us one step at a time and then tells us to wait for the next step to be revealed. Maybe, my plan to serve single moms is not God’s plan for me. Maybe, I am to counsel women from ALL walks of life who are hurting and have been broken by the chaos in this world. God knows that I am more than just a single mom. I have had enough painful life experiences that I have a true compassion for ALL women who are suffering. If this is the plan, I am okay with that. I just wish God would give me a clue!

I have to admit that my biggest worry is money. But, I hang on to faith and trust in a God who provided the funds for my counseling program and who has never once failed me in any way. It is a stretching of my faith. I pray. I dig into the Word of God. I work on my counseling program. I grow in my relationship with God and I wait (somewhat patiently) for God to reveal the next step. It is making me completely vulnerable and dependent on Him. It has thrown me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to surrender ALL of MY plans. I am empty of myself. I am completely and wholly at God’s mercy. I am a vessel totally surrendered to Him and ready to be used. He has brought me to a place of complete and total dependence on Him. Isn’t that where He wants us to be?

I will continue to update as my journey in Georgia continues. I have to say that I love it here. I already feel that it is home.

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I have been reading a book on prayer, Busy Lives and Restless Souls: How Prayer Can Help You Find the Missing Peace in Your Life, written by Becky Eldredge. In the book, Becky talks about the instances when God says NO! to our prayers. She asks us the question, “Would you still be willing to say Yes! if God’s answer is NO!?”

As I pondered on that question, I realized that there have been times when God did say NO! or NOT YET! and I still found myself trusting Him. Hanging onto Him until the storms of life passed. Yes, I have struggled through a divorce and the transition to single motherhood. I have struggled with poverty, chronic illness, and anxieties. I have prayed for God to alleviate the pain that these issues have caused. I have prayed for God to work in the tough situations of my life. I have heard my fair share of God’s NO’s! I still struggle. I still deal with the same situations. 17 years later and life is still a struggle. But, I have NOT prayed for the healing of a child or spouse and still had to watch them die. I have NOT lived through a mass shooting or a terrorist attack, praying for an answer and never seeming to get one. I have not tried to save a fellow Marines life while in the middle of a firefight, only to see him die and trying to find the Why in it. As much as I have struggled in life, as many times as I have prayed for help, I have not had to live through a life altering trauma such as those listed above. If I had to live through such a tragedy as any of these, could I still say, Yes! to God. Could I still say, “Thy will be done”?

Luke 22:39-44

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 

Jesus prayed for “this cup” to be taken from him. From my perspective, this can only mean that Jesus did NOT want to die. He knew the suffering that He would soon endure and He did NOT want to face that suffering. But, in the same breath, he says, ” yet not my will, but yours be done.” Remember that God said NO! to Jesus. God said NO! to His beloved Son and Jesus still had faith enough to trust God’s will.

If Jesus, facing death, and dealing with human emotion, was willing to say, “thy will be done” when God said NO! than I should be able to follow that example when God says NO! to my prayers. But can I? Will I? I wish I could say that I knew for sure that I would still say YES! to God in that type of situation, but because I am human and I do deal with anxieties, I honestly don’t know.

This is something that I am working on. I continue to pray. There are times when God says YES! and there are times when God says NO! I continue to go deeper in my relationship with God. I continue to push myself to where I can say YES! in any circumstance. I continue to grow in my faith.

CHALLENGE: Reflect on the question, “Will I say YES! when God says NO!?” Be willing to get real with yourself. Don’t be afraid to admit that you would not say YES! Don’t be afraid to admit that you are still growing in faith. That’s okay. Most of us are. Get real with God and find out what you need to do to get to the YES!

In the meantime, I am always here if you need me to pray with you or journey with you. You are NEVER alone!

 

 

 

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