Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Show Me the Way

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life...
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143: 8,10
Psalm 143 was the focus of my quiet time yesterday. And I suppose it is little wonder that I was drawn to verses 8 and 10. Because yesterday I had my first job interview since I started sending out resumes last week. And all I want to do is to go where my Lord wants me to go.
Truthfully, going into the interview yesterday I was super excited about the opportunity. Thought it sounded exactly like what I wanted to do. And that it fit so well with how God has wired me and filled me with passion. But when I got there, things were not as I'd assumed they would be. I discovered a couple pieces of information which reigned in my excitement a bit. And as I was leaving the interview I started thinking, Hmmmmm. Maybe Job Opportunity #1 isn't the place for me. Because "this" isn't what I was expecting. And "that" is not what I'd hoped for. Maybe Job Opportunity #2 (for which I am interviewing in a couple weeks) will be the one. Or perhaps I'll get a call from one of the other places.
Right on cue, I sensed God's Spirit nudging my heart.
Perhaps. Or maybe My idea of the right fit isn't quite the same as yours. Although "this" and "that" seem out of line to you, maybe I am looking at "the other thing." Be careful, My dear, not to confuse your will with Mine. As you go through this process, be sure to keep your heart open to everything Mine wants you to do. Remember - My plan might look different than yours.

And what can I say to that? Nothing but, "I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go. Teach me to do Your will. Lead me on level ground."
And so shall my prayer remain as I go through these next weeks. Show me the way.
Because all I want to do is to go where my Lord wants me to go.

P.S. I am driving to Wheaton tomorrow to pick up my girl for Christmas vacation, so I am officially beginning my blog-break...NOW.
Planning to re-enter the blogosphere January 4.
Until then, I wish you a very Merry CHRISTmas, and days filled with love, peace, and joy from on high.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I Believe

I sat in church Sunday morning thinking I was "good."

That is, when the pastor asked the question, "Do you believe God is mighty?" I was full-on, YES!
And my mind immediately went to people for whom I have been praying. LORD, You are mighty to bring healing to Patty. Please fight for her. You are mighty to heal Greg and Dot. You are mighty to lead Ashley. You even have the power and ability and wisdom and might to manage the mess our world is facing today. I'm sure of it.
I sat in the pew, listening to the sermon, believing I believe God is mighty.
Yep, I thought to myself. I have faith. I'm good.
But suddenly it was as if God were tapping me on the shoulder asking, Oh, really? Then please explain to Me what was going on last night.
And like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar, I felt the need to quickly concoct a story to explain away what appeared to be a lack of obedience.
Because I knew exactly what HE was talking about: Saturday night I had been sitting on the couch with Brian, lamenting my concerns for a certain teenage son of mine. I was frustrated with particular behaviors coming from this man-child. I was second-guessing my performance as his mother. Have I failed at teaching respect? Should I come down harder on specific actions? Or non-actions, as the case may be? If I had done x, y, and z when he was a toddler, would things be better now? Am I being too uptight? Or is this simply a result of him being almost-18, and feeling the need to exert his independence? Yes, I was sitting on the couch giving in to feelings of despair. Allowing frustration and unmet expectations to cloud my heart.
Sunday morning I found myself sitting in a pew with the distinct sense that God was asking me, What about your troubles, Karen? You believe I can handle things for your friends, and that's good. I'm glad you trust Me for them. I'm glad you pray for them. But what about your troubles? Do you believe I am enough? Am I mighty enough to fight for your son? Am I mighty enough to lead you through this phase of parenting? Am I mighty enough to manage the mess you feel is closing in around you as a mother? Am I? Am I???

Uh, yeah. I was feeling conviction, for sure.

And here's a peak at my bulletin - and the thought-process through which I went during that exchange with the LORD:

How about for you? Do you believe God is mighty enough to handle your circumstances?


Monday, December 14, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

HE Wants Me Right Here

Over the past 72 hours, God has kept me quite busy.

I've spent a significant amount of time on the computer searching job openings and graduate studies.
*Ruled out going back to school.
*Found several positions which interested me. Discussed them with Brian.
*Updated my resume and drafted cover letters.
*Applied for three of the positions.
*Scheduled an interview for one.
*Learned about another opening and applied for it.
*Waiting on a small detail before I submit the fifth application.
And with every move I make, I ask God to lead me. I seek Him because - with all my heart - I want to go where HE wants me to go. Remembering all the way that I can have courage, because God has a plan.

Oh, I still do not know what my future holds. A significant part of me would really like to have a travel guide detailing the steps I am going to take over the next weeks and months. It would be so comfortable to know. Yes, to know where I am going and what I am to do.
But that just isn't the way my Father is operating with me. HE is requiring me to trust. HE is enjoying my dependence - listening to my prayers and providing peace for my anxious heart. And I am realizing, in this moment, I am right where HE wants me to be. I am doing precisely what HE wants me to do.
That is:

I am at God's feet relishing in my complete need for HIM.

And if not knowing the details of my next weeks and months, if being constantly "on my knees" makes me a bit uncomfortable? Well then, I suppose I have learned that God is a whole lot more concerned with my position in Him than He is with my comfort level on my own.
And I, for one, am grateful.

How about you, friend?
Are you walking in dependence on HIM today? Or trying to figure life out on your own?


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Speak, LORD, for Your Servant is Listening

Six years ago, I wrote about my placement in remedial Sunday school.
And this past weekend I realized - I'm still there.

I had looked over the lesson ahead of time. I knew we were going to be hearing about the Christmas story from Mary's perspective, and learning that we can have courage because God has a plan. And I familiarized myself with the activity we would do during small group time. Felt quite prepared to lead the girls in their lesson, thank you.
It wasn't until we were well into the large group presentation that it occurred to me: the lesson might actually be for me, too. I sat there listening with my girls as the teacher presented Truth. No matter how uncertain a circumstance, no matter how frightened we may be of the unknown (like Mary must have been)- we can have confidence because God has a plan.
OK, honestly, that was not new information to me. I've heard it hundreds of times before.
And I believe it!

But hearing it in the midst of my NOW was just the thing I needed.

Because this is what my NOW looks like:
Part of me wants to spend time volunteering with Hospice - because I want to be to someone else what Hospice workers/volunteers were to me.
Part of me wants to explore a profession in the care-giving/counseling industry. Which looks like it would require further education of some sort. So I'm looking into it.
Part of me is interested in other volunteer opportunities with prayer/legislation movements about which I am becoming aware.
Part of me wants to spend the entire day praying our nation through the troubles we're presently facing.
Part of me hopes my summer is going to be busy competing with America's Got Talent. (I went through first-round auditions a month ago. Won't know until the spring if I get to audition in front of the judges on the show.)
All of me wants to do whatever God wants me to do.
If only He would tell me what that "whatever" is.

Soooooo, we finished large group and went back to our classrooms for small group. At which time we were to look up and talk about a few Bible verses which would remind us that we can have courage because God has a plan.
These are the verses we were to discuss:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

~Joshua 1:9
"For 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."

~Jeremiah 29:11
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

~Psalm 32:8
As we reviewed the verses, I'm all, OK, LORD, I get it. You have a plan. You know the path I should take, and it is good. I can trust You to teach me the way to go. You are always with me, so I don't need to be afraid of the unknown. You will work this all out. Thank You.
And as we were closing our Bibles after that last verse, I could have sworn I heard a whisper in my heart say something like, Need I say more?

What are you waiting to hear?


Monday, December 07, 2015

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

HE is Faithful

I have been so absolutely blessed by the time I have spent with the LORD lately.
I mean, I have always been blessed in spending time with Him. ALWAYS. It's just that yesterday's moments were especially wonderful and I simply have to share about them with you.
I entered into my time with God with a fairly heavy heart, because of so many needs which have been made known to me. My desire was to spend time laying the needs before Him, trusting and thanking Him for meeting every one. So I knelt down and wrote out my thanksgivings and requests and then my eyes fell upon this scripture which was printed in my prayer journal:

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.

~Isaiah 42:16
I read those words, and then read them again. And I felt pretty sure God was giving me His plan for how He was going to care for these people whose burdens I carried in my heart.
Because several of them are blind right now. That is, they've never been to this place before and cannot see what is ahead of them. They cannot see how their circumstance is going to work out. They cannot see the path they should take tomorrow, or next week, or next month.
They cannot see.
But HE can.
And HE promises to lead the blind.
Others for whom I was praying seem to be facing a dark darkness. They are consumed by sadness and sorrow. Fear is overwhelming them. They're experiencing pain and confusion and unknown endings. And it all looks so dark.
But God says He will turn the darkness into light.
He says He'll do it, and He will not forsake them.

I have experienced God enough to know that what HE says, HE will do. So it is with rejoicing that I trust HIM to lead these who are dear to His heart, and to turn their darkness to light. Thank You, LORD, for Your unfailing love. Thank You for seeing everything we cannot see. On a daily basis. I praise You for Your faithfulness, and commit to trusting You. Please show the way to these on my prayer list today: Susan's mom and dad, Melissa's family, Autumn, Ashley, Noemi, and Michaela.


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Go Ahead. Make My Day.

Last weekend, Josh went fishing with a young man who subscribes to Josh's Youtube fishing channel. This boy (I don't remember what his name is, but I'm going to call him "Randy" for the sake of making it easier to refer to him) is 15 years old and thought it would be really neat to go fishing with Josh - rather than to just watch videos of Josh fishing.
And so they went.
Randy's mom drove Randy to the fishing spot the boys had agreed on, and the two of them got busy fishin'. Only problem was, the fish weren't biting.
And after a while they talked about trying someplace else.
Josh was relaying this story to me at the dinner table that night and told me he'd suggested Randy call his mom - to make sure it was OK with her that Randy ride in a vehicle with Josh to another location. And when Randy said he was sure it would be fine with her, Josh held his ground saying, "Yeah. But just call first to make sure."

At this point in the telling of the story, I am not sure which was more pronounced: my smile - which I am sure must have been at least twelve inches wide, or the giant gap in my face from my chin hitting the floor.
I mean, here is this teenage son of mine - who, by the way, used to get irritated because I always called his friends' moms to make sure they were going to be home when Josh was over, etc. - encouraging another teenager to touch base with his mom before making an unplanned move.
MY SON was thinking outside of his teenage world for the benefit and well-being of another individual - and encouraging a call to MOM.

Oh, be still, my heart!

That moment absolutely made my day.

Honestly, I thought I was going to have to wait another 15 years, or so before Josh started showing signs that he thought my parenting m.o. made any sense. Yet, there it was - happening right before my eyes.
So I picked my jaw up off the floor and whispered a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

Is there something you've been waiting for, which feels like it's forever away? Be encouraged today to know: God has not forgotten you, and HE will bring your wait to an end in His perfect time.