I have decided to go on a short fast. Normally, I wouldn't announce it (the Bible tells us not to do that), but since I have never actually done one intentionally, I thought I would chronicle it for posteriety. My goal is really two-fold: one, to honor God (always); and two, to pray for some very specific needs in my life right now. Most of these needs are well-known (I have blogged about them before), but I feel the Lord impressing on me to fast over these specific items now.
All of of this came about today, and just recently (like within the last 20 minutes) came clear to me. Here is a little background on what prompted my decision to fast:
Today, my Mom and I went shopping and ended up at Target. We needed a few items, nothing much, but at the checkout, my Mom blurted out the following question to the young sales man at the cashier: "So, how old to you have to be to work at Target?" He sheepishly answered: "16." He looked about that age, about the same age as my son.
My Mom and I had been talking about jobs (again, jobs -- ugh!) and the conversation turned towards my son and him getting a part-time job. Neither my parents nor me have any real issue with him working; it has been moreso an issue with logistics (not having transportation and such). My son actually would like to work, and has been asking if he can get a job for about three-four months.
Part of my delay in getting him a job had to do with the uncertainty of our future. Right now, I don't know what is up. I mean, I have been seeking work for almost 7-8 months (closer to 8) and nothing has materialized. I am presently living in my own home, but my husband is here, and our marriage is in it's last stages of death. He has not made any effort to stay with us, other than staying here and paying some of the bills. He doesn't have enough money to move out, so he is here by default. I cannot pay my own way, so I am still dependent on him to provide for these items. It is a weird-mixed-up and awful place to be -- neither independent nor single. I am married, still living with my husband, but am estranged from the man I married nearly 26 years ago. He is involved in online dating, and has for the most part, decided that he needs to find a new companion. That decision has left me and my son in this quasi-land of simply not having any firm footing -- do we go or do we stay? How long should I continue to remain married to a man who doesn't want a relationship with me? If I cannot afford a divorce, and cannot provide for myself, do I remain married and allow my husband to do as he pleases so long as he foots the bill for us? I don't feel good about any of it, and the tension has increased and the unfriendliness has acclerated. This leaves me in this spot: I am hanging on to an almost dead relationship, unable to cast it aside because there is stil a little life left in it.
I have not heard any confirmation on the out-of-state position I applied for back in April. I did get confirmation on another job (same company) and that position (locally) has been filled. On all the other jobs, I have either seen the post that they have been filled with internal candidates or I am still waiting for some word whether they are open or closed. I cannot do anything -- move forward, move away, stay put, etc. until the job front is settled.
Furthermore, I am getting heat regarding my being unemployed. Some is from well-meaning relatives, but mostly it is just grating on me. I certainly want to work, and have tried my best to get a job. Then there is the issue with my son. Some relatives think that it is shameful for him not to get a summer job. After all, they say, he is 16. It really isn't that he doesn't want a job, but rather that a job could prove difficult if the Lord chooses to move us away from Phoenix.
So there you have the long and short of it -- why we have been stuck in Phoenix, not moving forward, and why I am so frustrated at everything that is going on.
This frustration has been building for a time, with me trying to give excuses why my son is not working, why I haven't tried Target or Walmart, and why I am still waiting to get into the University when they obviously aren't getting back to me. My family is pushing me in one direction, and I feel the Lord leading me in another. I am stuck in the middle -- wanting to please the Lord, wanting my family to back off, and wanting all this mess to go away. Yuck!
After getting home from Target, I sat down at the computer and went to their website. I clicked on careers and saw the online application. I asked my son if he would be willing to work at Target 20 hours a week -- he said yes. We sat down and filled out the application (and found out that our local store is hiring part-time employees right now). I calculated what he might make over time, and it came out to quite a nice little amount of pocket change. I then decided he needs a checking account.
I popped over to Wells Fargo and saw that they offer teen checking for free. I read through the information and lo and behold saw that he can get a free debit card (Visa) with his account. Ok, my little brain is jingling -- that third piece of ID needed by the MVD for an AZ ID card could be a bank card. I didn't have a way to get him one (didn't think it was possible), and then wham! I see it online. Now I am thinking to myself -- "OK, this would make it possible for him to take classes at the CC and register for the ACT test come September."
Who'da thunk that filling out an online application would shake loose some of the missing information to help complete my life's puzzle?
I sat there for a moment, and then went and called my Mom. She was happy for him, happy for me, and glad to hear about the potential outcome. There are still many unknowns, but this is for sure. Part of the puzzle is coming into focus now. My son needs a part-time job because we missed the deadline to register for CC classes. This whole process of getting him to school has now turned itself around. I have a good plan in store for him, and everything seems to be falling right into place. He can get a job, start earning some good money, get a bank account and card, which will inturn allow him to get his driver's permit and license (and ID card first). He can then take the ACT test and apply to Southwestern College for fall 2011 admissions. It all makes sense now, and I see how that one little step turned every light on in my life.
This is why I am fasting. My reason other than glorifying God is to help turn the other lights on in my life. I need that job for me, I need that clear path, and open roadway. I believe I am doing the right thing, I believe I am moving with His blessing -- but there are some mighty big boulders ahead of me, roadblocks that have stopped my progress. With prayer and fasting, my hope is to receive guidance and to know what to do next -- to be committed to whatever the Lord tells me to do.
That is my plan, anyhoo.
BTW - I didn't mention what kind of fasting I plan on doing. The traditional fasting of no food or only water/juice won't work for me. I get really sick if I don't eat anything (it is a condition of my low blood pressure), so I need to do a special kind of fast where I can still observe discipline for His name, but not restrict myself to no food or to only water/juice.