August 31, 2010

Apple is Calling

I got an email this afternoon telling me that Apple would like to interview me! Praise the Lord! I am so excited, and I really feel (FEEL) that this is the Lord's will for me. I just know it!

It was just like with Macy's. I had this feeling that the Lord had opened up an opportunity, and that all I needed to do was walk on by with Him. Everything was in the bag, so to speak. I can remember sensing this feeling like I wasn't really in control of what was happening, it was more like He did it and I just followed. This is how I feel now, I cannot really explain it; but I feel like I am doing this, yet not really.

I prayed about this very thing today. I said, "Lord, yesterday when I went through my interview at Rio Salado, I felt like you were 'not in it' with me. It was not like it was at Macy's. I felt all alone and like it was up to me to do a good job and go through the process." The Lord replied, "I was there with you; just not faciliating the interview for you." Huh? Well, what I have learned about the Lord's will and such is this: the Lord always faciliates those items that are within His will for your life. He makes the way smooth, He prepares our words, gives us the right answers, and just goes before us to enable our success. If the thing is His will, then He makes it come to pass. If the thing is not His will, or not directly what He wants for us (within the scope of His will); sometimes He lets us go through to gain wisdom or experience or simply to test/try it out. There is a keen difference between having Him faciliate something and doing it on your own. Once you have experienced Him doing this for you, you just don't want it any other way.

I have experienced His faciliation twice now. The first time was when I bought my little car. I did it, of course; but the Lord led me through the process. He gave me guts and hard words for those salesmen (you know used car sales people -- they are tough as nails). He strengthened me, and made me stick to my guns. He did it, He negotiated a sweet deal for me, and I walked away thinking 'how did that happen?' Yes, the Lord of Glory went before me and made a way for me to get a car.

The second time was when I went to interview with Macy's. He told me that I would get this job. There was no uncertainty in the matter, the job was mine. I was still nervous, I was still anxious -- after all it had been almost 20 years since I have interviewed. I went into that job interview, experienced total chaos -- the schedule was messed, the person I was supposed to meet with was out of town, etc. -- yet, God faciliated it and I got hired. I remember sitting there and the words just came out of my mouth. I didn't think about what I was saying, I just answered the questions. The HR manager kept asking me if I wanted to be hired, if I would work days, if I could start right now. I just kept saying "yes, yes, yes." Just like that -- I only said "yes."

I feel the same way with this job. I don't think it is because I am all hot and fired to work in retail with Apple; no, not at all. I don't think it is because finally they have called me either. It is more so a sense that tells me, "This is my will. This is the job I have chosen for you to do."

Yes, Lord; I am here to do your will. I am ready for the job you have chosen for me. May your way be smooth, may my day be conformed to whatever job you want for me. I am yours, and you are mine. I love you Lord, and I love the plans you have for me. May God be praised forever more. Amen, amen, amen. So be it, thy will be done.

The Next Day

You know how it is -- you always feel a bit more clear headed the DAY AFTER some event. This is how I feel today. I had a so-so night, nothing too upsetting, and I think I rested fairly well. I started sleeping on two pillows, and have found that I seem to fall asleep faster, and then stay asleep longer. Who'da thunk that an extra pillow might be the answer to my night time woes? And a cheapie $5 pillow from Target to boot! LOL!

I think I did dream some last night, but only remember a fragment of the imagery. I recall seeing a snake, a rattler that was hissing and spraying out venom (do they do that? In my dream it did -- what is that snake that shoots venom at it's prey? Oh well...dreams are messed up like that at times -- a hodge podge of images pasted together from your memory cells! LOL!) I remember thinking that I didn't like what it was doing. It was trying to spray on little animals, helpless and defenseless animals (and me being an animal lover -- this was definitely bordering on a nightmare). Nothing came of it, I just witnessed the snake shooting venom at helpless animals, and then I must have awoken. Weird stuff, Maynard?

In Biblical terms, the snake represents Satan, and one could logically draw the conclusion that his venom is really all the garbage he spews at us (lies, deception, trickery, false idols, cursing, etc.) The helpless animals could be representative of us, of people, the sheep of the Bible who long for a Shepherd to care for them. It is possible my dream was particular to what I was feeling yesterday -- sort of a quasi-indictment of my interview behavior. I was horribly tormented afterward, much more so than ever before. I was accursed on grounds that typically fall away -- things like my words, my answers, etc. I was being criticized (in my head) for my entire experience as though I had done something wrong, as though I had been deceitful (which I was not). This loathing experience lasted well into the night, even though I did try and defend myself with Scripture. I gave myself a good talking to, telling myself that I did my best, I said what was true, and I acted like myself. I cannot really explain why I felt like a "deer in the headlights" during that interview because most of the time, I am fairly sure-footed. I can handle difficult situations with ease, and I can usually deal with stuff coming at me from no where (you know -- catch the hot potato game?) But, the entire interview from start to finish was like one bad experience -- it wasn't awful, it just didn't feel right (KWIM?)

This was just a difficult experience for me, and I still don't have a clue why it was the way it was. The good news is that I am content to let the Lord lead me on this job. If this is His chosen venue for me, then it will be. If not, then it will not be.

On another job front, a received a call from the Apple Store in Phoenix. They didn't leave any voice mail, which is a bit disconcerting. I checked the phone number and it was definitely them. I am not sure why they didn't leave me a message, but perhaps they decided to put off calls or just were short handed that day. I looked online and see that they don't have a store manager -- perhaps that is the issue, perhaps the person who would normally do the hiring is not there, so someone else is filling in for them? Oh well...nice thoughts any way.

I am now reconsidering working for Apple, should they call me. I don't want to look down upon the Rio Salado College job because it is a good steady position. It is just entering web content into Dreamweaver, that is all. It is not designing course content or even managing it -- it is simply entering it into the program to put it up online. I wonder if I would get bored with the work? Gosh, that sounds so trite doesn't it? I mean, here I am blogging about needing a job, wanting a job, getting desparate for a job -- and then a good one comes around, and I am saying "Oh, maybe I would be bored?" Slap, slap, slap!

The truth is though this is often the case when you are looking for work. I don't think there is anything wrong with seeking a position that is challenging and stimulating. I am all about doing good work, integrity and honor are key for me, but also I am all about people building and leadership and this job has none of that. I would sit in a cubicle all day and code HTML. The more I think about it, the more I think I might prefer the freedom of selling Apple products. I mean, I am a people person, and I like talking to people, ministering to people, and reaching out and helping people. This job has none of that -- just coding all day long.

I am too old, I think for this type of work. I am over qualified, and I have higher aspirations. I don't mean to put anyone down, in fact; I said to my 17 year old son -- "this job would be a great start for you." It is true. For a newly graduated person, what a great job opportunity. For an almost 50-year old woman -- probably not. They want someone to do this job for several years (they said that) and I have done it for 10 already. I am ready to move on, I wanted to do something different, and this job is really less than what I did in my own business. I was the boss, the creative designer, and the production techinician all rolled into one -- now I would just be a "producer" as they called it.

Well, I think I have my answer. I might have to take this job, and I would work unto the Lord in it; but I think I am better suited to a more in-person type of job whereby I can reach people. Ok, Lord, I see your point, I get your drift. I am ready to assume managerial responsibility for people and product at Apple.

Dear Lord:

I understand now that getting a job is not just about experience and qualifications, it is about satisfaction and that sense of accomplishment. I am all about people empowering and encouragement, and at this stage in my life, I believe this is what you desire me to do. Please bring me a job where I can do your work and your will and give you all the Glory. In Jesus' Name I ask, Amen. So be it, thy will be done.

August 30, 2010

What If

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." ~Psalm 37:23 KJV

As I sit here and blog, I am reminded of this Psalm which tells us that the Lord orders (establishes or makes firm) our steps (our goings). I like the second part whereby the psalmist says that "he deligheth in his way." What is noted here is that the Lord establishes our going in such a way that it brings Him pleasure -- it pleases Him to set our course, and direct and plan our way.

How many times have I asked the Lord to direct my steps, only then to choose my own way? How many times have I come to a fork in the road and wondered which way to turn? When I inquire of the Lord and ask, He Graciously tells me; but then I choose to go the other way. Why? Why do I do this all the time? Is not God's way best? Is not His ordering of our steps for our benefit?

Yes, and yes and yes, again. I believe this, I sincerely believe it. But, no matter how much I say I believe it; my heart tends to belie that statement. My faith and my works do not equal, they do not complement each other. I say I have faith, but my works do not demonstrate what I say. I often have works, but there is no faith in them. Why? James writes this of us in chapter 2 (NIV):

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Argh! I suffer with this very thing, and today, of all days, I am sunk. The truth has borne itself out. I went to that darn interview with my faith in my mouth; but when it came time to put my works to the test, I simply rolled over like a whipped puppy (ew - that is not a good saying! How about "tired puppy"? I like that better.) What I am saying is that when I was tested on this point, I failed. I lost the battle when it came down to putting my money where my mouth is/was. Yes, I did it. I lost the battle simply because I refused to believe what the Lord had told me, and I refused to listen to Him, and then abide in Him (and in His decision).

Dear Lord,

I understand now that I have been tested today. This job interview, whether it comes to pass or not, has shown me how my wavering faith can get in the way of your plans for my life. If I say I believe what you are saying, then I must act as I believe. I didn't do that today, and I now understand why. Please forgive me for my lack of faith and my unwillingness to trust you. I ask you now to help me trust you in the plans you have for me, and I ask that you would show me what I am to do from this point forward. I praise your Name, and I give you all Glory and Honor. In Jesus' Mighty Name I ask this, Amen.

Why Do I Feel This Way Right Now?

(besides being stuffed -- just ate dinner -- LOL!)

Since I got back from my interview, I have racked my brain over what I should have or shouldn't have said during the time I was being questioned. Yes, I felt like a criminal under the hot light of interrogation (no, not really -- they were very cordial to me) -- and I didn't think well on my feet. I am not the most quick witted, you know. I tend to need time to evaluate, to think things through clearly, to sit and stew a bit -- and then I usually can find the best answer to the problem. I just don't do well "on the spot."

In the past whenever I have had an interview, I almost always met with one person only. It usually went well, and the questions were typical about your background, previous experience, etc. This was more like an oral exam whereby I was asked to explain something I didn't really prepare to explain. Yes, that is it exactly! I get it now...

You see, I am a control-freak (sort of, well, I am recovering now, LOL!) I am not as bad as I used to be, but I am the type of person who needs a set schedule, a list of things to do, and boundaries for my life. I function well within boundaries. This interview was like playing a game, yet not knowing the rules. The other players knew the rules, so I was at such a disadvantage. I didn't even get a warm fuzzy, "welcome to our college, how are you, good?" type of feeling. Nothing, nada. It was down to brass tacks and I was stuck there trying to answer questions when the answers were very open ended. I would have done better with a written exam (LOL!) That is true, really true. The interviewers had papers with exam questions on them, and I wanted to say "can I have a copy and I will write my answers out to you." I am not joking here -- this is exactly how I felt -- I felt like a kid who shows up for class unprepared for the exam. And know this -- in my 2.5 years of college coursework (for my BA), I never showed up unprepared. I always was prepared, well prepared.

Today, though, I was thrown to the lions, and I survived it whole. I don't have a clue if I am to get the position or not, or even if they liked what I had to say; but at the least, I made it home in one piece. Hooray!

I asked the Lord: "why do I feel this way?" and this is what He said to me. He told me that I feel this way because I am in need of being prepared and in control of the circumstances in my life. This interview was a test of sorts, to see how well I would do in a situation whereby I had no knowledge of what was being asked of me. I was sent in blind, and told in essence to "sink or swim." I chose to swim, and I did my best; but I felt so inadequate and unable to really grab hold of anything at all -- no sense of "I am doing OK" or "they bought that answer." Nothing, nada. Instead, I just did my best to swim with them, and then I swam to shore. "But why, Lord? What does this benefit me?" Answer: "this kind of scenario helps you develop confidence in situations when you clearly are out-numbered and out-gunned. You have to think on your feet, maneuver, and do your best." Well, I did it, at the least I think I did my best.

I am still uncertain if this job interview was a test in the sense of just testing my skill at interviewing or if it really is the Lord's will for my life. It is OK if it turns out to just be a warm-up exercise to something else. I won't mind. I like the job. I like the work. And, the pay would be good enough for me. Is it perfect? I am unsure. It is something I can do, and I can do it well. But, am I really a do-diligence type of person (yes, I am). Am I Ok with doing web design for the next two years? (yes, I am).

Oh Lord, so why do I feel the way I do? His response is just this: I love you, Dear Little One. I love you very much. My plans are good, your life is good, and I know what I am doing. Trust Me.

Ah, those two words -- the two words I have come to expect from Him time and time again. He knows what is best for me. He knows me best. And, if He thinks this job is best, then so be it. I am OK with it, I am willing to do it, I am agreeable to the whole matter. So be it. I will let it be for now.

I'm Back

I am back from my interview at Rio Salado College. Wow! What an interesting place. First of all, the administrative building is more like a corporate office complex, than what you would normally find on a college campus. The building is very nice, and has all the features of a company complex (fitness center, wellness rooms, media and conferences rooms, etc.) The Employee Services office is a series of 3 conference rooms and a receptionist/lobby area. The interviews are conducted in one of the rooms, and usually have anywhere from 1-4 or more people doing the reviews. It was a bit intimidating, even though their process is pretty simple. They ask you a series of 10 questions, and you answer them. You then get to add some comments as to why you are a good fit, and that is it.

My appointment was a 11:30, but they were running late. I didn't actually go into my interview until 12:00 and then it took about 45 minutes. I think the people were hungry, and they wanted to go to lunch (bad sign?) I was nervous, and I rambled -- another bad sign. I just couldn't read the people, and being a visual person, reading someone is what I do best. I get a feel for what they want to hear or what matters most to them, and this process eliminated that completely. Perhaps that is the design of it -- to keep the playing area level. It would make sense, don't you think? I mean, if you are judged on a even keel, then everyone's chances are exactly the same. I am just so much a people person, and seeing response is vital to help me feel comfortable. If I get no response, then my initial reaction is to assume I am not communicating effectively. Oh drats!

Well, the job is a good one. It is different than I thought, er that's not really the case; just a bit more involved than I thought. It is creating the web content for the online courses. I would just produce the web pages, not design them. That's ok -- I just think I gave them the impression that I do more design than actual production. Oh well...

I do know that they are hiring for three positions, which is a surprise to me. In the beginning I saw three openings, but when I checked recently, there were only two showing online. One said "internal" and one said "external". Does that mean that they have already hired internally? I don't know. The man who conducted the interview said they were hiring 3 people -- perhaps they haven't hired anyone at all yet? Perhaps.

There was a girl in there before me, and I don't know how well she did. I don't like that when you go in for interviews behind someone else. It is a weird feeling to think if you are better than someone else. I didn't appear too confident, and I said some things where I thought I blundered. Rats.

Oh well, here is the rub of it: if I feel desperate, then I appear desperate. I am neither. I do need a job, and the Lord knows this well. If this is the job for me, then it will come to pass. If not, then I have some more interview experience to add to my job hunt. God is good all the time.

It's The Big Day

Today is my interview at Rio Salado College in Tempe. I am excited and nervous about it. I am confident about the job, it is not very difficult for me (in my field, and fairly easy for me to do); it is more so just getting passed this first screening. I don't want to goof up, say the wrong thing, or give them the impression (any impression) I am not a good fit for their school. Oh Lord, please prepare my way!

One of the other reasons I am nervous out this job interview is that this is the FIRST serious interview I have had in nine months of applying for work. Granted, I did interview for Macy's, but that was different. I knew going into it that the position was for part-time work, and that it would be evenings and weekends (aka, just extra hours). This job has the potential of setting things right for me, of making a new start and beginning, and of opening up new opportunities for my future. Not only will this job enable me to live on my own, to pay all my bills, and to have some extra left over each month; but, it will also establish me as a single working Mom. In short, this is the job that could end my marriage -- literally.

My DH has been waiting, I believe, to move out until I had full-time work. He made a comment the other day that I "couldn't live on part-time work," as if I didn't already know that one. Uh-huh, gotcha covered on that one! I believe that if I am hired today (or shortly thereafter), he will tell me that he has another place lined up to live, and then he will go. I have been waiting for this day to come, and I have known that it would be very soon. I haven't known the exact timing of it, but I just sensed that it would be very, very soon.

I have prayed for a full-time job for such a long time. I have applied to over 40 good positions, all paying what I need to live on, and I have waited for some response. This is the job I really thought wouldn't even come to pass. You know how that is sometimes -- I applied half-heartedly after submitting a half-dozen resumes on the internet. The Lord prompted me to apply for this job, and I looked over the qualifications and requirements and recall saying to Him: "Gosh, Lord -- this job would be perfect. I can do this, and I have all these qualifications. The pay is even good. What chance is there that this one will come through (with a disgruntled voice under my breath)?" I was pretty fed up with the Community College system at that point. I had applied ten times prior, all to positions I thought I could do, but to jobs that were a little bit of a stretch for me. If the job posting stated ten things that were required by candidates, I would have nine of them. I submitted those resumes anyway, thinking that "if only they will look past that No. 10 item," then perhaps I would have a shot, a chance at getting the job. Perhaps this last item was what tripped me up each time I applied; perhaps HR simply was not willing to look past a missing No. 10 on their "must have list." So here I am getting ready to go and interview for this job, the job I didn't think would come to pass because of the college system's way with hiring. And yet, a door has opened,a door that I thought it was bolted shut.

Yes, I believe that the Lord knew this job would get me past the front door. This job had five items on the must have list, and I had all five of them (and ten more to boot). I am clearly over-qualified; but in this day of unemployment skyrocketing higher and higher -- you are blessed to be considered for ANY JOB. And, that is right where I am today. I actually would like to do this work, and that makes me all the more nervous. I will feel really bad if I don't get hired -- not just because the full-time position is what I need, and not just because it will set me rightly on my own two feet -- but rather, this job fits me well. It would accomodate my graduate studies, and cello lessons, and would allow my son to go on to the JC for free (a triple-mileage bonus in my book). There simply are too many good things about this job for me NOT to feel bad about losing it. Oh may it never be!

Dear Lord,

I confess to you that when I submitted this resume, I wasn't too fired up over this job. I actually do recall telling you that I thought I would like to do this work. I just didn't think the CC would consider me because their track record has been to hire almost exclusively from inside. I am asking you now to forgive me for my attitude about this job (not believing you), and then I ask that you would establish my feet, set me up, and prepare a place for me to work in this field. This, I believe, is your will; therefore, I ask in Jesus' Name for your will to be done this day. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah (pause and calmly think about that)!

August 29, 2010

Rain, Rain Come Again Another Day -- Today Perhaps?

We had a good monsoon last evening. My son and I had taken his electric guitar up to AZ Music in North Phoenix. He needed new strings and a small repair, so we brought it up to their repair shop around 4:00 yesterday afternoon. He browsed around, looked at guitars and amps, and then asked me if we could drive over to Scottsdale to Guitar Center. It is quite a drive for us, about 15 minutes on the freeway, and being that it was late in the day, I really wasn't too hip to go. I relented, of course; especially after he gave me that pleading look that said, "Mom, I really will die if I cannot go and see all the new guitars and amps there."

Off we went, and we got to the store about 4:30. The clouds were dark and stormy over the Salt River Indian Reservation, but I didn't think too much of it. We must have been inside the store for an hour or so (they were packed), and when we finally got ready to leave, we saw the rain coming down. Well, let's just say we saw sheets of rain, and very little else. It was raining so hard that car alarms in the parking lot were going off on their own. We ended up having to stay for about 25 more minutes, just to wait the rain out. Finally, we left for home, but stopped to eat at Arby's first. By the time we got home it was 7 p.m. Our house got a good wallop of rain as well, but everything here seemed OK. Lots of tree debris in the street, and my Mom said that a tree fell on a car in the Fry's Grocery store parking lot (down the street). Overall, it was a typical monsoon storm, and it gave a good dousing of rain.

As I think about the rain, I am reminded about Elijah and his answered prayer. Elijah prayed for there to be no rain, and there was no rain for 6 months. He prayed again, and the heavens opened and the rain began. The power of prayer is beyond our imagination and our understanding. We pray in shallow little bursts, typically about silly little things, without any real thought to whether or not they will be answered. We want them to be answered but our line of thinking is like this: I prayed, and now am trusting God. Yep, that is it. One prayer on the matter, and it is it. Now I am not saying that we shouldn't trust God for answering our prayers, but the Word in James 5:16 KJV says a "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Prayer can change our lives; prayer can bring healing of all sorts of distress. The key in James is this: the pray must be offered up after confession, and on the part of another (not just yourself). Then clearly the Word tells us for prayer to be effectual (to have effect -- to work), it must be offered by a person in right standing with God (righteous). Therefore, if you are praying about yourself all the time and not receiving much answer or healing, consider praying for others and see if that doesn't just shake loose some power from heaven.

I confess to you now that over the course of this past year, I have prayed 99% of the time for myself. I have prayed for my husband, and I have prayed for my son as well as my parents/parents in law. But truthfully, the majority, the super majority of my prayers have been for myself alone (for healing, for comfort, for needs, etc.) I do believe that we should pray for these things as well as pray for others; but we know in the Word that when we pray for the needs of others, we unleash healing into their lives. I believe (and while I have no documentary proof of this -- only experiential proof) that we also receive healing by extension. Therefore, my faulty logic suggests that if we devoted 99% of our prayer time to the needs of others, we would not need to spend so much time praying for ourselves. Our lives would be radically healed and changed simply through the effectual prayers on behalf of our friends, our family, and our church.

Dear Lord,

I confess this to you now that I have spent far too little time praying for the needs of others. I have focused on me and my situation, and while you have Graciously healed me, and helped me -- I know that there are effectual prayers waiting to be received up into heaven if I would only offer them on behalf of others. I ask that you bring someone to my rememberance today, someone that I could recall in prayer and then I ask you to do whatever it is that they need done. I ask this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

August 28, 2010

Faith

Last night I spent the entire evening tossing and turning in bed. It was horrible. The boys weren't actually to blame (huh? they ALWAYS are to blame! LOL!) I had another night of vicious dreams, dreams that seemed to never end, and dreams that woke me up. I just do not like the fact that I dream so much, and that my dreams are like this. My son has similar dreams, and has so since he was a baby. I did as a child too, but most Dr.s and Psychologists say that you outgrow them by a certain age. In our case, we still have them (he is almost 17, and I will be 48 in October).

Our dreams aren't the usual "tornado" or "stuck in the toilet" type (I had my share of those kind too). No, our dreams are always spiritual dreams, dreams of darkness, and dreams where we are asked to confront Satan or one of his workers. In every instance, we both hear ourselves confessing Jesus as the Christ, and claiming victory in His Name. Sometimes this occurs while we are still asleep, in that weird dream-like place. Other times, we wake up and sense some presence or just feel the darkness (like if darkness could get any darker -- this is how black it appears). We then begin the process of confessing and casting out. It works, and we find relief and peace. I have put up with this for years, at least 32 of the last 48 (almost) have been this way.

In my dream last night, I don't recall much detail, which is unusual. I simply remember crying out the word "evil" and then being awoken. Once I woke up, I knew immediately what was what. I felt the shivers come over me, and movement across my body (which is also unusual). I just said to the Lord: "Oh no, I will not stand for this again." And, then zap! I just unloaded about ten minutes of praise and worship along with some casting out. I am so downright tired of this stuff. I want it to stop, and I want to live in peace.

The Word has been coming to me every morning (well, almost every) from this Psalm:

Psalm 120
A song of ascents.

1I call on the Lord in my distress,
and he answers me.
2Save me, O Lord, from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
3What will he do to you,
and what more besides, O deceitful tongue?
4He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom tree.
5Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech,
that I live among the tents of Kedar!
6Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.
7I am a man of peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.


I live with a man who is for war. Granted, I am not speaking about physical battles and actual fighting; but I am speaking figuratively about spiritual warfare. In my home, there are two forces at work: one belongs to the Living God, who lives and dwells within me and my son; and the other belongs to the ruler of this world, who is working and attempting to live within my husband. Now, know this -- not all marriages made between believers and unbelievers are at war. Many non-believing spouses are agreeable to the presence of God in the lives of their husbands or wives. They do not disagree or go against what the Spirit wants to do. However, when a believing spouse chooses to forsake Christ in favor of the enemy, something powerful begins to happen. That person, unless they are turned around, becomes a chief prize that the enemy seeks to destroy. It is like Capture the Flag -- your goal is to capture the enemies flag to win the game. In Spiritual warfare, your goal is to capture as many believers as possible, so that they no longer confess Jesus Christ or they become ineffectual for His Cause. In some cases, the goal is simply to derail the other believers in the home through torment and persecution. This is our case precisely.

I have stood my ground for all these years, defended my person and my home from harm, and protected my child from these types of assaults. There really are two reasons why this happens to us and why this is different from most situations. One has to do with my specific calling to ministry (and my son's as well); and the other has to do with the fact that my husband opened up the door to Satan through occult practices. Once you open that door, you allow Satan to come in and torment everyone you are associated with on familial grounds (meaning who are tied by blood or marriage vows). Satan cannot hurt us; but he can torment us with dreams, with visions, and with sensation of things around us. Add to the fact that I have the gift of discernment (as does my son), and we are especially receptive to these types of attacks.

Many Christians are attacked like this, but they do not discern the spirits. We are told in the Word to discern the spirits (to test them) and see if they are true or not. Apparently, in the early church, there was a lot of heresy (spiritual teaching) going on. I think also (though the Word doesn't clearly say it -- but we know that demon possession was a huge problem for the early church) Paul was speaking to us to warn us about anyone who may come in spirit form and bring another message. This might not have been as true then; but it sure is now. If you look on the internet under Angels, Spiritual Guides, Mediums, etc. you will find instructions on how to open yourself up to these messengers. We know that God forbid Israel from allowing anyone who practiced divination within the boundaries of the nation (be it a village, a town or a city like Jerusalem). Psychics were routinely stoned; sorcerors were to be burned. This prophecy in the New Testament warns us against those who practice such things, and puts the onus on us to keep ourselves from any relationship or interest or even discussion of such things.

Christians who follow astrology, numerology or any other ancient eastern practice are especially vunerable to attack. Many may not even know they are being attacked. Not all attacks come the way they do to me. Many attacks are physical as in illness that will not go away, mental distress (confusion or inability to make decisions). Moreover, many attacks are progressive. They are devised to weaken the person so often they are prolonged -- the more weak the individual becomes, the more unable they are to stand and fight off the enemy.

Why then is this happening to me and my son? I can only think of these two reasons. I have had these kinds of attacks before my marriage to my husband. I have experienced these things since I was a child; therefore, there is something about me that is a great interest to Satan. Perhaps it is what I am to do in ministry later in life? Perhaps it is simply my faith now. However it works out, one this is for sure: over the course of time, I have become strong through these constant skirmishes. I no longer fear them -- I simply detest them. I take them head on, and just get it done (like Larry the Cable Guy would say). It is best to do it right off, and get the matter resolved. I do that now. The problem I face is really the issue of how this constant battle wears at me. I have prayed and asked the Lord if this will go away or stop when my husband and I are no longer living together. He has promised me that it would.

Dear Lord,

I stand on your Word to me today. You are my Protector and my Provider, and I know that this present warfare will cease soon. Give me today the stamina to endure this trial, to bring you glory, and to exalt your Name on high. I give you all the Praise now, and thank you for your constant protection and your presence. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

August 27, 2010

Good Things Really Do Come in Threes?

Or perhaps twos?

I blogged about getting a call back for an interview at Rio Salado College in Tempe earlier today. Later this afternoon, I get a call from the Apple Retail Store at the Phoenix/Biltmore shopping center. When it rains job opportunities -- it must really pour, eh?

I am overjoyed, I am excited, and I am a bit overwhelmed (now in a good way). God has unleashed His storehouse of blessing upon me today, and I am giving Him Praise for it. I was so low and feeling confused and confounded just yesterday and now, I am contemplating the potential of two jobs. WOW! Is God GOOD or what? He is Good, He is Good, He is Good -- all the time!

Miracles Really Do Happen

Oh my goodness...what a day! First off, I had a miserable experience yesterday -- just all around feeling lousy, bad attitude, and thoughts of condemnation. I was lower-than-low, and feeling as if nothing was going my way. I even tried to pray my way out of the darkness, and instead of feeling liberated, I just sank down lower. It wasn't until late last evening that it dawned on me -- that I figured out what was going on.

I had asked the Lord if there was anything I had done to bring on this darkness, this feeling of being confused, and this sense of just overwhelming loss. His answer was yes. I had asked Him about this same thing earlier in the day, and already was feeling like this was of my own doing. I just didn't realize exactly what I had done nor did I understand what I needed to do. I just was out of it, and was so lost, that I couldn't even cry out to Him for help.

After wallowing around in the muck at bit more, I finally gave in, and just confessed everything I could think of (I am the "clean sweep" kind of person -- just clean until you find the dirty spot). During my recitation of the litany of wrongs and offenses I had perceived doing against the Lord, I figured it all out. You see, all along the Lord has said one thing to me consistently: Trust Me. He tells me this every time I question whether something is right, or true, or potentially coming to pass. I ask Him all the time to prove to me, to show me, to tell me what is what. Normally, He does it, but for a while now He has just answered me with these two words: Trust Me.

As I cried out to Him, I actually said: "Lord, I do trust you." His reply was, "Yes, you do. But, not in the way I need you to trust Me now." Ok, so color me really confused. How can you trust someone yet not trust them? Apparently with God it is very possible. In my thinking, I was indeed trusting Him. I believed in Him, I believed what He was telling me, and I believed in the plans and promises He made to me. Where I was lacking or should I say, where my faith was lacking, was in believing that these things WOULD come to pass. I was believing that they COULD come to pass. There is a difference here -- slight -- but in my case, a huge difference. Believing that something can come to pass is like accepting the fact that there is possibility without believing that there is also reality. Believing that something will come to pass is accepting both, possibility and reality. In short, one is putting your faith into simply the possibility or the chance of said thing happening; whereas the other is putting your faith into the completed action of said thing being done.

With God, His will is done. His Word is done. His Promises are yea and amen. They are never supported by possibility, only by fact and reality. The truth is that God is true to His Word. He is true to Himself; therefore, if He says something will come to pass, it is a done deal. It is never just a potential solution -- it is always a completed one.

I was believing with half a heart, just like James says we are not to do. I was wavering, hedging my bets, and taking my chances with God. Perhaps He will; Perhaps He won't. In truth, He always will if that is what He says He will do. There is no doubt. He is; therefore He will do what He has said He will do.

So where does that leave me (did leave me last night)? Well, I rested well, and I woke up more willing to accept the truth, and then live with the consequences of my lack of faith. I have had ample opportunities for work, but I have not believed that God would do as He said. I didn't believe Him. I believed that He could bring such and such a job; but, not that He would do it. Why? I think it just comes down to habit on my part. I have lived with such disappointment, that I no longer want to risk more. I would rather believe with half-a-heart and then say, "Oh well, it wasn't meant to be" then to have to admit I trusted in the wrong person, the wrong thing, or the wrong way.

I made the decision today to stop doing this, and something miraculous occurred. After I got up and moving, the Lord had me review some of my applications -- some that were potentially sitting out there, undecided. I did this, and then I took my son to the Orthodontist for his checkup. On the way home, I checked my cell phone to see if my Mom called me (she does this often). Sure enough there was voice mail, but not from my Mom. Nope, there was a message from HR at Rio Salado College asking me if I was still interested in interviewing for a job as a Course Specialist II. I sat there stunned, and I mean really stunned. I don't even remember when I applied, perhaps it was in June? Everyone and their brother said that it was "next to impossible" to get into the Community College district. I have applied to eleven positions since last December -- none generated any call backs. I took the work at Macy's because they were the only one's to interview me.

I made the call, and I am scheduled for an interview on Monday. I cannot believe it myself, but it is true. This would be a full-time salaried position -- with benefits. It would provide enough for me and my son to live on modestly. It would also open the door for me to move into other positions within the College system. I am stunned, literally stunned.

Now, here I sit after eating lunch, and I am saying to the Lord: "Lord, please don't let me mess this one up." Yes, yes, yes -- thy will be done. I believe Thou, O Lord; I believe.

August 26, 2010

Poohster

What can I say? I am sitting here at my computer and my cat, Winston (aka, Poohster) is right next to me. He is actually being passive for a change! LOL! Last night, he attacked my window blind at least four times, and now it has little holes in it so that the light sparkles through it. Sigh! I was up every hour on the hour, either letting the boys in the room or sending them back out. It was a constant battle for me -- in/out, in/out, in/out. If I ignored them, they simply attacked the bedroom door. If I let it be, then they attacked me or the window blind or each other. It was just a wild night, and I am exhausted. Who said raising animals was easier than raising children? Nah!

Today was to be my first day off of six in a row. Before I left work last evening, my manager asked if I could work a shift today to cover for some people who have called in sick or were simply no-shows (who does that? I guess young people do.) Well, two of the older ladies are really sick, and then two of the younger girls just didn't bother to show up. Rats. Our department has already lost about eight people, so that leaves it very stretched thin. I said I would if necessary -- yeah right -- well, I am working today (I guess it was necessary). I got a decent shift, 1-5 p.m., and the extra $40 will be good to have on hand. I am still waiting to purchase my new cello strings and bow, and now I will have a bit more money to cover that expense.

I have no other news on getting a different job or another job (as in a second part-time position). I know that I could pick up extra hours at Macy's, but truthfully, I am not sure my feet/back could take another 20 hours each week. I am getting used to standing all day, so perhaps in a week or two, I might have a change of mind. We will see...

On another path entirely, I spoke with my son about schooling this year. I know, "Kinda late to be making this decision, Carol?" Yes, I know. I have waffled over our home schooling since I began home schooling. This time, though, the decision hasn't been about which curriculum to use; rather it has been about whether or not to continue to home school given my current situation. Some options I have considered included: going back to PS for 12th grade, continuing to home school; and early graduation. I have actually processed all three options, carefully looking them over, and then deciding that two of the three are more hassle right now. This leaves only one option as I can see it and that is to continue to home school one more year -- and -- trust my son to complete his work on his own at home.

I am hoping to switch Macy's schedules from variable (whatever) to steady (days) in the next week. There is an opening in the fitting room which would be 12-4, Th-Sun. This would be OK, and would allow me to pick up hours at another job on M-W. If I could make this switch then at the least I would be home Th-F in the am. Perhaps the second job would offer a late start too, and then I could be home in the morning as well. We will see how that works out.

In the mean time, I have asked my son if he is willing to do another year of school at home. He said yes. I know he wanted to go to college, but there is great advantage to taking a couple more advanced classes before attending college. I have done some more research on University's offering the program he wants to study, and the more advanced math and science -- the better chance you have of getting into them. There are programs that are easier to get into, but if you want the more high-end school, and the prestige that comes with attending there (and the possibility of a good job); well then, you have to make sure you have all the necessary credits.

Therefore, our potential school schedule looks like this:
  • Bible - Explorers Bible Study Quest - Faith in Action. 30 lessons covering Romans and James.

  • English - British Literature using BJUP's textbook and perhaps some novels we have missed over the years.

  • Math - Advanced Mathematics using Saxon. This course is recommended as test prep for the SAT/ACT and we need all the help we can get. Also, it is considered college level mathematics. We will use the DIVE or Saxon teacher cds.

  • Science - Apologia Advanced Physics course with lab set. My son's intended course of study is Audio Engineering, and advanced science and math are pre-requisities at some schools. It is better to do this now, then to wait to take these courses at college. This is a college-level class.

  • Russian - Ok, we are back on the Russian bandwagon, so we will attempt to get through level III this year. Just for fun.

  • Programming - continued study in Objectiv-C so my son can learn how to write apps for the IPhone.

  • Music - same as always. More opportunities for chamber and band practice.

  • Social Studies - US History from BJUP along with the student activities book. We missed the Civil War era so a reading knowledge and some map work will be all we will do before graduation.
Lastly, this will enable my son to graduate with his friends at church. Our church lets the graduates get up and tell about their plans for college and such. I don't want him to be left out. He can also have a party -- something the family was upset about if we chose early graduation. It will be OK, and he will do just fine. I will make the arrangements for him to go through the home school ceremony next year, get him a cap and gown, and order a new diploma. It will be nice, and a good way to end our schooling.

Part of the reason I am choosing this route is simply because it is not fair to short-change him just because his dad chose to move out on his own. All this schooling comes down to me, and my husband hasn't said a word about it. Frankly, I don't think he has ever cared, just so long as our son looked "busy." He never really asked me anything other to critique our schedule or tell me that I wasn't being "hard enough" on him. When I tried to share my concerns or thoughts or plans about curriculum, he pretty much ignored me or would tell me that I was not strict enough, didn't give him enough work or was not making him have a strict schedule. I have home schooled on my own for the past six years. It is a miracle that our son is graduating -- and is so well rounded and well spoken. I am pleased with his progress, and I know he will do just fine in college. I just don't think that he needs to give up graduation ceremonies and parties on account that our life pretty much is in the refuse bin right now.

Oh well...my plans may change, but for now, this is what it is. God is always so Good to me.

August 25, 2010

Thinking Clearly

Ok, well so much for my day off! LOL!! My manager called me to ask if I could work tomorrow to cover some no-shows. I had told him that I would, but only if they really needed me. Well, they did, and I am working from 1-5. Not bad, and I get to sleep in and run errands in the a.m. It is OK, so long as my feet don't hurt tomorrow.

I just got back in from my parents -- dinner with folks -- and am settling down for the night. My son is watching "Bear Grylls" on TDC, and I am out in the office on my blog (yes, you knew that already! Sigh -- it was a long day at Macy's!) I have been thinking about my work schedule, and how things might just work out for me. As you know, I have applied to nearly 40 jobs and nothing has come through for me yet. I recently applied to Apple Computer to work in their retail store. My nephew works in Simi Valley and makes twice what I do at Macy's. I don't know if salaries are consistent with location or what, but even a smidge over minimum wage would be appreciated.

Now, I am trying to figure out how this might work to my advantage. I haven't heard from Apple yet, but am hopeful. I mean, would they hire me or go for that young kid who cannot speak anything other than "text speak?" I hope they would overlook my age, and go with a person who loves Apple, and knows how to use the stuff (and all the apps). Sweet!

My thinking is this -- if they should call, I would take PT hours through the holidays. I would work at Macy's as well, and hopefully could balance the two so that I could do both jobs. Then after the first of the year, I would try and get into the retail store full-time. Perhaps by then I could do something more advanced, something requiring more experience?? I have oodles, and I understand that Apple likes to promote from within. Ok, that is my plan -- so will it come to pass? I am not sure, but I am hopeful.

New topic -- home schooling my son this year. I was about to order some materials online today, when this whole kafluey thing came to pass at Macy's. I am now uncertain as to what we should do. I mean, if we go with PVCC in the Spring, then I really only have to complete 1 semester of classes. If we go for the full year, then I can just plan out his schooling like I normally would do it. Hmmm....which is best? I am thinking to do a full-year and then perhaps my son could attend a more prestigious university (like ASU). We will see, we will see.

News of the Day

I sruvived another day at Macy's. Today, I spent the day working in Young Collector. This is probably the largest department in the store. It is always busy, and my 6-hour shift just zoomed by. I also open my first credit account (hooray!) I only need two accounts per week to make my goal, and I got one today. I am pleased.

I also got some news that my department manager has been promoted to a new department. He is a nice guy, and has been working very hard to accomodate my scheduling requests. The assistant manager is very sweet, so I think it will be OK; but it now begs the question: "If I felt loyalty to my manager before, should I remain loyal now?" It is not his fault -- this was a great offer made to him. And, good for him. However, I felt pressured to remain there for a time, and now am wondering if it isn't "every man/woman for themselves?" I mean, everyone else does it, so why shouldn't I?

I am contemplating what I could do in lieu of Macy's. I like the people, and the work is not difficult. It is hard to stand all day long, but other than that, it is actually OK work. There are a number of disgruntled people who work there, and that is a bummer -- but heck, isn't that the case anywhere you work? Probably so.

As I came down the escalator today, I asked the Lord what His opinion was on the matter. Really, I just asked Him if I was doing what He wanted, and whether or not, I was choosing my own way over His. His answer -- yes! You see, I have felt pressured to be responsible for my life. Now, I am not saying I shouldn't be responsible; rather, I am saying this: I am thinking I need to be responsible for things that the Lord has not clearly called me to do. I should be responsible in the sense of always doing what the Lord expects of me; but, I don't have to bear this burden alone. I have lately -- in fact -- I have since the beginning of this whole mess.

Just today, I surrendered my husband to the Lord. I literally gave over the burden that I have borne for some many years, the burden of carrying his load in addition to mine. I took on his load when he failed to take care of it on his own. I did it to protect myself from harm, and my thinking was this: if I do it, then I can be assured that nothing bad will befall me. In turn, everything bad did befall me anyway, and over the course of time, I have simply become worn out, and used up. Now that I am on my own (almost), and having to walk alone, it is imperative that I don't continue to carry his load. He must be made to be responsible for his own faults, his own failures, and the consequences of choices he has made. I am no longer his go-to person, the one who would smooth it all away, and make the matter disappear (I took over for his mother in that regard). No, I must only carry that which the Lord has given to me -- nothing more, and nothing less.

So there I was riding the escalator down and thinking to myself -- whatelse am I doing as far as bearing the burden of something not rightly mine? The answer: everything! As I drove home later, I said to the Lord: Lord, it is your responsibility to find me a job -- not mine. It is your responsibility to provide enough income for me to live on. And, it is all yours do care for us and see that your will is brought to completion. As I meditated on this fact, I felt the burden and heaviness of trying to make all this happen float away. I am not called to find myself a good job. No, that is of His hand alone. He has to carefully orchestrate these details, and frankly, I will just get myself into a mess of trouble.

So, Lord -- have at it, do your thing, and may your Name be praised forevermore!

Still Faithful

I am in crisis today. I was in crisis yesterday, too; but, I was busy at work and didn't have a lot of time to think about it. Once I got home, ate some dinner, and settled in for the night -- I started to panic. It seems that nothing is coming to pass as I expected. I am doing the same thing every single day, and waiting for God's promised rescue to arrive. It hasn't come yet, and I am getting worried. Worry is the result of fear, and often we worry about things we cannot control (yes, this is something I cannot control). Generally, worry is a lot of hooey, in the sense that we tend to worry about green monsters and giants that are really just every day concerns made up to look like green monsters and giants. Worry does that -- it escalates the little into the mighty and the longer we look at the illusion the more dismayed we become. The key to battling worry is to simply consider the original thing, and then keep it squarely and firmly within reality. If we look at something as it really is, then we are better able to keep a right perspective on it. If we allow it to morph into some big bogeyman, well then, that is what we fear and end up having to deal with by running scared.

I am in this boat, though my bogeyman is pretty real. I am in a tight spot whereby I see no solution at hand. I have real fears, real worries, and they are getting bigger by the minute. The problem is that my fears and worries are escalating out of my control, and not by my own hand. For example, an unpaid utility bill that was $200 last month has now become $550 this month. If the bill goes longer, it will be $700-1000. Moreover, how long with the ulitity company allow us to keep our service on if we do not pay our bill? In AZ, in the summer -- we must have electricity to power our AC for without it we would suffer and potentially die (yes, heat stroke is very common among poorer people who have no AC or rely only on a swamp cooler). This crisis is big, and it is getting bigger by the day. I am doing what I can, and am willing to do more, but I am finding that my way is blocked. I cannot work more hours (physically unable); I cannot make ends meet on what I am being paid now (at Macy's). I need a full-time job, but now wonder if I can even do graduate school and work. I used to be able to do it, but that was back when I was 28 and had no other responsibilities. I am 48 (almost) and soley responsible for everything including my 17 year old son. Everything falls on me now, and in theory, I know all this is possible. I am just finding the reality to be different from the theoretical.

I cried out to the Lord today, and I am still at odds over this whole situation. I am faithfully waiting on the Lord, and He is here -- He comforts me daily. However, solutions are not coming to pass as quickly as I think they should. This is typical, and I don't consider myself any different from anyone else. However, this present crisis has been going on for a year (marital - changing into singleness). The financial crisis of my life has been going on for 26 years (I have never had "enough"); and I am at the breaking point. I was able to handle the financial worry back then because I was married and not alone in it. This time, it is all of me. It all falls to me. I can see a way out, but I cannot get to it. I know which way to go, but there is no opportunity coming to pass to allow that to be. I am literally stuck here in this dead zone, unable to move forward. This way is blocked, and I don't know why.

I blogged a couple days ago about a major boulder sitting in my path, a boulder that I couldn't shift. This boudler encapsulated my sense of feeling completely unable to do anything -- it was mighty and unscalable to me. I said then that I needed God to shift that boulder, and until He did that, I could do nothing but wait. I am still waiting on Him to move that boulder, to alleviate some if not all of this stress and turmoil. I cannot go forward, I cannot go backward, and I cannot go around. I am stuck.

Dear Lord,

You know my situation well. You know where I am right now, and how much I want your will to come to pass in my life. I don't know why we are stuck here waiting again. I don't know if I have done this or caused this through disobedience or walking off my own way. I cry out to you today to lift this boulder off the path so that I can walk on after you. I have done all that you have asked of me, and I am patiently waiting for your deliverance. Please, Lord -- let it be today? In Jesus Name I ask and pray, Amen. So be it, thy will be done.

August 24, 2010

It's Been One Year

It probably is not the best way to mark an anniversary, but it has been one year today since I found out about my husband's unorthodox friendship/devotion with his old college girlfriend. This discovery led to a myriad of other discoveries, and now one year later, we are at the point of divorcing after nearly 26 years of marriage. It has been a long, long road; and it has been fraught with difficult days of discovery. My emotional state has swung back and forth like a pendulum; and while now, I am more at ease and at peace, I still have days when I cry out to the Lord and ask Him simply: Why? Why me, Lord? Why now?

My life has changed completely. I was a stay-at-home Mom. I was a home educator. I was a PT to 3/4 time website designer who worked from home so she could remain a SAHM and home school my highly gifted son. I was also a volunteer at my church, a devoted daughter/daughter-in-law to aging parents and parents-in-law. And, most importantly, I was a wife. In the ensuing year, I have become a working single Mom. I still homeschool, but now am trying to figure out what to do with my Sr. student -- do we graduate, do we go to college or do we continue to home school for one semester or one full year? I still care for my parents and parents-in-law; but my time has been severely limited lately. I also am an advancing cellist -- taking lessons now for almost nine months. I am a graduate student, studying for a MA degree in Literature. I still help at church, but now only when I can. The one thing I am not is a wife. I am no longer anyone's wife.

As I ponder my future, of this I am certain: Many things in my life have changed, some for the better; some for the worse -- but Praise be to God -- somethings will never change. For one, I am a daughter of the King Most High; I am a servant of the Lord; and I am born-again, blood bought and wholly devoted to Jesus Christ. My faith in God has deepened and developed from a carnal type of knowledge about God to a personal/relational faith in God. I have been changed from the inside out and I am no longer functioning in any way, any shape or any form like before. I have been restored. I have been reborn. And, I have been remade in my King's image. I am His and He is mine, and I give Him all the praise this day for His Mercy and Compassion and for His Marvelous Grace. God be Praised -- Amen, amen, amen.

Now, I look only to Him for solutions to my problems. I no longer ask my husband what to do; for instead of seeking his advice or input, I must go directly to the One who is my new husband, my provider, my Kinsmen-Redeemer. My King has redeemed me as a wife. He has chosen me when my husband decided to choose another woman for his devotion. My King decided that I was worthy of His attention, and of His time, and that I needed His protection and provision. He took me in, gave me a home, provided me with food, and now has awarded me a good job. He has done all this -- simply because it is His Nature to do it -- He is So GOOD to me.

I still sorrow a lot, I still feel lonely and afraid at times. I worry and I get up in arms at times because I don't know what will be or how a bill will be paid today or tomorrow. Generally, though, I trust Him and rest in His security, knowing full well that the One in whom I trust is both FAITHFUL AND TRUE. I know that He has everything under control, that He knows what I need today, and that He has everything worked out for my good. He is Good like that, and I love Him.

As I sit here today, I lift my heart, my mind, and my soul up to Him. I desire nothing but to please and honor Him. I love Him and I focus on Him -- He is my soul's delight, and in Him there is no limited possibilities. God is the God of all possibilities -- and I love Him.

Conscience vs. Character

It is a good Tuesday morning, and I am awake and enjoying my first cup of coffee. It is 6:10 a.m. local time, and I am feeling pretty good. I took one of my son's prescription Ibuprophen's last evening (I know -- you should not take other people's prescription drugs -- these are simply extra strength Ibuprophen's and not narcotics) and I really slept well. My feet feel OK -- hooray -- and my back is not too sore. I almost purchased those "Thermal Wraps" to put on my back today; but then thought I would survive without one on. I am not really looking forward to working a full 8-hours; but with my new shoes, I am hopeful that I will be fine.

On another front, I had the strangest dream last night. It was a long dream, a very long dream, whereby I woke up several times and then fell back to sleep and continue to dream (the same dream sequence). Weird, huh? In this dream, I was being asked whether or not I could consider marrying a person of less than perfect character. Hmmm....what an interesting dream? I personally don't want to be married to any man right now. Nope, the thought is not even on my radar screen (well, perhaps it is very far off). The Lord has shown me one thing -- I tend to be very concerned about character, and specifically judge people on their lack of it. It is hard for me because I am a judge -- akin to those people in the Old Testament who were called of God to perform judge-like services for Israel. It is something that comes naturally and supernaturally to me, and I judge quite easily. I am not judgemental in the sense of pronouncing judgement on people (like the Word says in Matt. 7:2 KJV: "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." ) I tend to be asked my advice quite a lot, and often people do seek me for help. I think it is a ministry for me, in a sort, and something I am able to do well.

The issue, though, is that I often preclude relationships with people who I feel possess "less than worthy character." I am superficial in my friendships (always have been), and I do think this is a trait I have developed out of necessity, and through experience. I have learned that by being superficial, I am able to keep from being hurt. If you do not develop deep relationships, then you will not suffer deep sorrow. This is something I do naturally, and I think my "bent" or spiritual proclivity towards judgement has assisted me in being this way. It is a good thing; but at times, can also be a bad thing.

Anyway, in my dream, and then later upon reflection, I have come to understand that what God has given me for the good of His people, could be used to keep sincere friendships from developing within my life. This is not to be. God has created me for fellowship with other people -- both men and women -- and in the scope of His ministry of life -- I must be willing to engage in relationship with all people (regardless of their character.) This is something I will need ponder a while, because I do accept it as being true in my life, and I can see clearly how the Lord desires me to be. I am willing to do as He asks of me, and His Spirit desires me to be open to all people -- regardless of their walk. I must do this for ministry, and I must do this for the good of my life.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for helping me to see that my desire to judge people's character has left me with few real friends. In the spirit of fellowship, I must be open and willing to engage in friendship with all people, regardless of their character. It is a difficult thing for me because I hear the Word in my head and I know that character and good conscience are qualities you highly desire within us. Help me now, Lord, to be the person of character and good conscience that you desire. Help me also to be compassionate and merciful to all people -- and not be so quick to discount a person simply because he or she has a weak character. May I remember that things are not always as they seem with you; and that, with you nothing is impossible. You are a God of redemption, a God who desires to save the lost. May my heart, my mind, and my conscience be of one accord with your Spirit this day. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

August 23, 2010

Loving My Life

Ok, call me wacko or a weirdo, but I was just praying and uttered these words: "Lord, I love my life." I cannot explain how this is possible -- it truly is a God-thing -- because my life right now pretty much is in the dumper. I am stressed, I am strained, and I am stunned (like a deer in the headlights). I simply am beside myself (can you be that way?), and I have no clue or understanding why things are the way they are right now. Yet, my heart is soaring, and my head is giving Praise and Testimony to God alone. I am in love with my Lord -- and as a result -- I am in love with my life.

God has given me His Grace and I can tell you that IT is the reason I feel the way I do. His Grace has enabled me to sustain my sorrow, to find a reason to hang on, and to continue to strive to follow Him. I am able to see tomorrow, and I am able to say, "Yes, Lord -- not my will, but thy will be done." I am able to see that everything is going as planned, and that His plans are good, they are perfect, and that they lack nothing. I am content. I am full to overflowing, and I am passionately in love with Him.

As I wind down my day, I can only thank Him for taking what seemed to be an awful, almost utterly depressing day, and turn it into something beautiful. This is our Creator at work -- only He can take that which is cast off, which is considered refuse in our world, and turn it into the most beautiful thing possible. I live today because my Savior lives within me. I can hold on because He is holding on to me. I am able to give Him Praise because only He is worthy of receiving all Praise.

Dear Lord,

I give you all praise today. I trust you for your provision for my life, and I look to your hand for blessing. I know everything will be OK -- even when I feel at my worst -- you are there for me. You are holding me, and helping me, and giving me comfort. I love you, Lord, and I give you my thanks this day. Amen.

Sensing Change

I am doing Ok now -- after a really horrible morning -- and a not so good night. My feet still hurt as does my back, but I am feeling better since eating lunch (@ Wendy's) and getting my grocery shopping done. Dinner plans include a swim at my folks, so that should be refreshing and comforting to my sore body.

I prayed hard this morning, especially after falling back to sleep every hour from about 5-11 a.m. I got up, fed the boys, and then went back to bed. Instead of sleeping on through until 7, like usual, I ended getting up at 6 a.m. and then spending a little time on the computer. I had something to eat, my cup of coffee (not even finishing it), before I slumped back to bed. I slept until about 8:30, got up for short time, and then went back to bed until 11, when my Mom came to the door (she was worried because I hadn't answered my cell phone). I was miserable, crying, and feeling so completely overwhelmed by my life's circumstances. I literally fell into the living room chair, and then when she left, dragged myself to the shower to get ready for the day.

I have to work two days in a row beginning tomorrow. At Wal-Mart, I bought a pair of Earth Spirit clogs (black) that felt comfy. I am hoping that they will help me to get through these next two shifts without totally ending up on the floor writhing in pain and agony. I have to endure this week and then next (three days next week). Once that is done, I should be free to quit Macy's and I should have my answered new job. I am testing the Lord -- though there is really only one place He asks us to test Him (see Malachi 3:9-10 NIV):

"You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

Throughout Scripture we are told NOT to put God to the test, but in this one thing, I am doing it. I simply mean by this that I am holding Him accountable to His Word to me. He has promised me a new job, a job that will provide sufficiently for me and my son, and a job that will not require standing all day long. This is my test of the Lord -- to see His hand deliver His promise. I will wait for it, I will watch for it, and I will prepare myself to receive it. My Lord God is faithful and He never changes (Malachi 3:5-6 NIV.)

"So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. I the LORD do not change."

My God is looking out for the widows and fatherless -- He is looking out for me and for my son. As I daily deal with the reality that my husband has chosen to abandon us, to leave us and walk on in his own way, I find myself wholly committed and devoted to the One who promises me that He will stand beside me and defend me.

Just today, I found out that my husband is again planning to move out. He never tells me, only our son, and then only in very vague ways. I never know from today or tomorrow what his plans will be. He hates it when his mother does this to him, and then he goes and does it to other people. It is control -- his mother weilds it well, and he has learned how to do this from her. If he doesn't bother to tell you what his plans are, then he doesn't have to be accountable to you for them. He has total control over his days because no one has any information to say otherwise.

Will he leave at the end of this month? Maybe, maybe not. Will he walk out on us and leave us with a house that is falling down and in desperate need of repair? Yes he will. Will he leave without paying the skyrocketing gas and electric bill (now over $500 and due to be shut off on 9/1)? Can he pay this or will he choose to use this money to get himself situated?

I have no knowledge of his plans nor do I have any sense of trust or comfort that he will do the honorable thing. He will leave or at the least, this is his plan. He will leave us with the debt, the destruction, and the devastation and he will walk into his new life. He has destroyed my life, that is for certain. He has caused incredible devastation in the life of his son. He has no sense of compassion for either of us, and he doesn't even seem to notice that we are suffering. Yet, when he needs his medicine or Pepsi or deodorant -- he has no qualms about asking me to "pick them up" the next time I am at Wal-Mart. Does he give me money for these things? No, he doesn't. He just expects me to do it.

I sit here today, feeling worn and useless. I have become refuse at the hand of a man I loved and trusted. A man who has no thought about me whatsoever. He never even gives me the time of day, yet we live under the same roof. He asks me for dinner, he asks me to wash things. He simply believes that he is entitled to these things. This is how it has always been -- the difference being that I did them thinking I was a good wife. Now, I am nobody's wife -- just a slave and a servant to a man who thinks he is king.

I have had it. I am disgusted, and I have pleaded with the Lord to remove us from his presence. This has not been the case, and I am now suffering so much pain as a result of sincerely attempting to work to earn enough money to leave our home. I wish I could explain the depth of despair I feel inside, and how this wound is being re-injured over and over and over again. I no longer want to be wounded this way. I want the pain to stop. I want God to step in and rescue me -- no, save me.

Dear Lord,

I confess your Name and I am crying out for your mercy today. I need you to provide a way out of this situation. I need you to come and save me today. I beg of thee, Father -- Holy Father, please do as you have said in Malachi and defend me from those who choose to injure me and defraud me this day. In your Name, Dear Blessed Jesus, I pray -- Amen.

Oh My Feet Hurt!

Yesterday was a long day. I worked from open-close, and it was a struggle to last the day. My feet hurt all day long, and by the time I made it home, I could barely walk. I have two cuts on the back of one heel, and I am certain they are ruptured blisters. Ugh!

This retail gig has lost all appeal to me, but I know that I must endure it. I am getting paid -- Hallelujah! And, I know that the true value of working at Macy's will show itself very soon. There IS a reason why God opened this door to me now. There is a reason why He chose for me to work at Macy's, even if only for a very short time. I am praying that this reason reveals itself to me so that I can take hope and courage and hang in there. I know that God has more in mind for me -- at the least -- a job that requires less standing all day and one with the potential for life-earnings (enough to support me and my son).

Macy's has been nice to me, but I don't have any love there. Initially, I felt really bad about quitting after my first two weeks. I mean, I felt sorry for the managers -- in that they were losing several people all at once. Then after my third week, I think the 'grist of the meat' showed up -- you know -- the point when you bite into something and you find it undigestable? This is where I am now. I have gotten past the beginning part where I was happy to be working, happy to have a job, and happy to do anything asked of me. Now, I am at the point where all I hear is complaints (from employees), and I am receiving encouragement to "look elsewhere." OK, so I ask God and He says I must endure this for a time longer. The people I work with all seem to be saying "look someplace else, Carol." Why is this happening? I mean, shouldn't the encouragement be consistent -- shouldn't I be receiving the same testimony? I guess I am, it is just that God has determined that I must remain a while longer -- for His purpose. I doubt He is saying to me that I must stay there permanently.

It is very hard on me to continue even for one more day. I am beat, I am bushed, and I am wearing thin. And, it is just not Macy's. I got up this morning to a sink full of dirty dishes. I fed the cats at 6:00, and then cleaned their litter boxes. The thought ran through my head: "It is all up to me. No one helps me." I am off today, so what do I have to do? I have to clean house, go grocery shopping, etc. I have to work -- do house work and family work on my day off. My DH, while still living here, does nothing. He would disagree, I am sure. He would say that he pays the bills. He would say that he hired two men to come and cut our weeds down. Both are true statements. However, as far as doing "work" -- physical work around the house -- he does nothing. I fixed the leaky faucet. I will fix the broken window. I will make sure our fridge and freezer are stocked. I will make sure our son has what he needs this week, gets to all his appointments, and such. I guess maybe I am just feeling sorry for myself (I am -- woe is me -- you know!) But, there is some truth in it all.

For the past 26 years, I have done all these things and I have never asked for help. I did them AND worked too. I pretty much did everything, and rarely received a "thank you" back. I did them because I could, and I thought they were my responsibility to do so. Now, though, I am working in physically demanding work, and my older body simply cannot do as much. My body is screaming at me, and my head is telling me "it is too much for you." Yet, I endure. Yet, I continue on and I do these things. I have tried to leave them go -- let the dishes sit -- and guess what? They don't get done -- and I end up with more to do.

It is a no win situation as far as I can see it. I am stuck being the "go to person" and I am tired of it. I asked the Lord for the responsibility, I asked Him to let me be "responsible" for my life. Now, I am crying out to Him to ask Him to take it away from me. This burden is just too much for me to bear, and I cannot carry it any further.

Dear Lord,

I confess my weakness to you. I know that you are strong when I am weak, and I know that the only reason I am able to be here today is on account of your Grace. I am suffering with this load, this burden, and I cannot bear it today. I ask for your help, I ask for your strength, and I ask for your way -- to alleviate it, to remove it, to lift it off of me. I ask in Jesus' Name because I cannot do this on my own nor do I want to do it any longer. Please help me today, help me to see your way and your will. I surrender this burden to you now, and ask for your Grace to sustain me while I rest at your feet. Amen, so be it, Thy will be done. Selah!

August 22, 2010

Jesus! Oh, Blessed Savior!

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Words by J. Wil­bur Chap­man, 1910.
Music by Row­land H. Prich­ard, 1830

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.

Refrain

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.

Refrain

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Refrain

Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

Refrain

Jesus! I do now adore Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.

Refrain

Good Sunday Morning! What a blessed day to be alive, and to give Glory to God our Father, His Blessed Son Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen, amen, amen.

I am up and ready to head out to church, and thought I would take a few minutes to write a short blog post. God has been so Good to me lately, and I am unable to contain my joy. He has given me such confidence to know that His will is coming to pass (even when it doesn't seem to be so); and, He has enabled me to endure great trials and difficultly without losing my heart. I am trusting Him completely, and can say with Paul, that Jesus Christ IS my sufficiency. He is my all in all.

As I look forward to this day, I can only think about what is to come. I have a full day on tap at Macy's. It is the second sale day, so I have to stand for 8 hours again. My feet and my back were so sore last night, but I survived! PTL! My feet actually didn't swell too much, but I thought my back was going to break at around 4 yesterday afternoon. I simply cannot do 8 hour shifts and expect to walk (LOL!) Thankfully, I have tomorrow off to rest up for my next 2-day haul. After that, I have six blessed days to rest and recuperate. Hooray! God is Good all the time.

This week is fairly open. I have promised to take my son to the DMV -- again -- to attempt to get an ID card. This will allow him to sit the ACT test this fall, and register for community college courses, should we go that route in the spring. I also am going to order cello strings and a new Arco Nouveau bow. This should help to make my cello perform better until I am able to get a new, better, more advanced cello to play.

Other than these small items, I am content to be at home. I have some work to do around the house, some shopping, and some cleaning -- but other than that -- I am content to simply relax and be at home. Praise God!

I love this day, I love my Lord, and I am loving my life. God has given me such Grace and Freedom to be myself again, and I am living it to the fullest (in His Name, of course!) I am so content to do His will, and to walk and go where He sends me. I am happy, I am at ease, and I am filled with His blessed peace. May God be praised this day, and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

August 21, 2010

Getting Ready for Work

I have the wonkiest schedule, but at the least it is light (low-key)! LOL! I work today and tomorrow (10:45-7:15) in Petites, and then work T-W next week. I have six days off until the following week when I work W-TH and Saturday. Oh well...God is Good to me. He is given me a good break next week (mid-to the following week), and I wonder why? Could it just be the randomness of the computer schedule at Macy's OR does He have something up His sleeves? Oh, does God have sleeves? VBG! I don't think so (the Word says that the Father is Spirit -- and Jesus is flesh and bone). I still like the saying, though.

Perhaps God has something in mind for me next week and into the end of the month whereby I will need some time off. Perhaps? It is a nice thought, and makes me smile today. I have been working pretty hard, finally figuring out that my Nike tennis shoes work best for my feet. I like my department, and the ladies who are FT are super sweet. I like my manager, Stephen, and he seems genuinely concerned about my worries over the schedule. I like the assistant manager, Sara -- she is super nice too. So all in all, though the work is grueling and low-pay, everyone is super nice, and the overall atmosphere is good. Some of the other associates complain a lot, and perhaps they are just not happy people? Perhaps that is the case. I am happy, and not for my job (though I thank God for it every day); I am happy because Jesus is my Lord and I love Him so much (and He loves me even more). My happiness is an outgrowth of my joy (contentment in the Lord) and His Grace and Peace that underguard my every moment and thought. I am truly happy because Jesus Lives and He Loves Me and has given me His Grace and Mercy. I am blessed.

On to other thoughts before I have to go...I am finally ordering cello strings and a new bow! Praise be to God the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit -- Thank you, Jesus! I am so happy because my strings now routinely pinch my fingers and my bow sounds slushy (awful). I cannot wait to get them, and then have my teacher put them on for me. Hooray, I am so happy!!

Another positive today is that fact that I am all the more convinced that God is working behind the scenes of my life. I cannot tell you how much at ease I am when I think about His plans for me. I am able to let them go, and to trust that they will come to pass in His time. He is so Good to me, and I know the plans He has for me are Good too.

So there you have it...I am ready to go to work, praising God for His Goodness, and thanking Jesus for His Life and the Love He has for me. He is so very Good to me, and I give Him all Praise, all Honor, and all Glory -- forever Amen.

August 20, 2010

Interesting

I just logged into Macy's online scheduling program to see my work hours for the next two weeks. I am schedule to work next week: Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the following week, I work Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. It actually is a fairly doable schedule, for part time work, I mean. It won't faciliate me working for another company, but it would be a nice part-time schedule -- if you only need to work some extra hours to earn some extra cash. My take home pay will be anywhere from $165-195 per week or about $780 per month. This is about the same amount I earned when I worked part-time at my church. It is good money for what kind of work is being done -- but not enough to support me and my son on a full-time basis.

I am so uncertain right now whether there IS another job out there for me. I got a notice from ASU today, thanking me for applying for a job back in May. I thought I was out of the running on that position shortly after I applied; but I guess not. This leads me to wonder how many OTHER jobs are still sitting out there in the "unknown" land of potential employment? It also makes me wonder how long I need to wait on each application BEFORE I assume it is a "no-go."

I was talking with my Mom yesterday about being patient and waiting on the Lord for these jobs. I now realize that finding a job is like raising a crop: you sow the seed, but don't expect overnight results. You sow seed hoping to reap a harvest in the fall -- down the road; not in the next day or two. This seems to be what is happening with my job applications. I applied back in the Spring, and some jobs quickly fell off the radar -- I got a notice, whether by email or on the company website that I was no longer under consideration. Some jobs have never produced anything -- at the least -- not yet. Then there are some that are just open ended, like Target for example. I applied to four (4) upper level retail positions here in Phoenix. Three of those four closed right away. One is still open (as of yesterday). I am still being considered for a Group Leader position at Target in Phoenix. This is sort of an Operations Manager level position, and would pay a salary, not hourly wages. Interesting, that of all the positions at Target, from hourly PT to Store/Team Leader, they have not determined that I am a poor fit for this position -- well, not anyway yet.

What does this mean? I honestly don't know (from a spiritual standpoint). From a logical/earthly mind, I think it simply means "don't count your chickens before they hatch;" or you just never know what might sprout -- given the right conditions, and God's will. Leave it to Him alone, and He will cause the harvest to burst forth.

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." ~1 Corinthians 3:6-7 KJV

Therefore, it is up to us to plant the seed of anything we do -- we plant, someone else waters; but ONLY God is the one to cause growth to occur. I liken this to my job search. I submitted my resumes, someone else (the HR person) oversees whether they will receive water (support); but it is God who causes the door to open, the heart to be tender towards His will, and finally the acceptance to come. I can only do my part, and that is to faithfully plant seeds. I have to leave the rest to those people who are next in line; and then ultimately, trust God to do the increase.

This is where I am today, and it makes good sense to me. I know His will and the plan He has for my life. I can do nothing to make His will or plan come to pass. I have tried, oh boy, have I tried to do both. Whenever I take my hand to do the part I am not called nor equipped to do -- I fail miserably, feel awful, and find myself out of sorts, out of place, and off the mark. However, when I do that which He has called me and annointed me to do -- then I am empowered, or the least, feel empowered by His Spirit and His Grace to do the thing, and experience great joy in the process of waiting for His reward. My resumes are my seed; HR is watering them (some companies are; some are allowing the seed to lay infertile in the ground); God is behind the growth process, causing everything to work together for my good.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." ~Romans 8:28 KJV

Sometimes I feel like I have God "all figured out" (he he). I know this is not the case; I know it will never be the case. But, because of His Generous Nature, He often clues me in to certain things, let's me participate with Him in His part -- because He does this, I come to feel like I am an integral part of His plan for my life. I come to think I have it all down pat, when in reality, I only know the portion God chooses to reveal to me. I am grateful for that small morsel of information, don't get me wrong; it is just that I sometimes take God's Generousity for granted. I sometimes come to expect that He will reveal everything to me, that I somehow deserve to know everything. Again, I know this is not true -- I don't deserve to know anything. It is all of Grace, God's Marvelous Grace that I stand here today, alive and well. Yet, I want to know what is to come, I have come to enjoy the Spirit of Cooperation that exists between us (me and God). I want to know these things, even when they are lofty, too high for me to really grasp and understand.

This is where faith comes into play, this is where you must trust God, and trust that He knows best. I have found myself bumper to bumper at times with obstacles that simply do not make sense. Our Pastor has said numerous times that "with God, things are not always as they seem." This is the absolute truth. There is an enormous boulder sitting in front of me. I see it, I know what it is, and it is blocking my way. I don't see any way around it, and climbing over it would be impossible too. Yet, I know I must go through, I must stay on this path, I must overcome this challenge. How do I do that when everything "appears" to be impossible? I trust God that He has a plan to demolish that boulder right where it sits. He has a way for me to walk on through, but it will only be in His time, and through His efforts. So I must stand here and look at the boulder, and I must watch it each day as it blocks my way. I must not come to hate the boulder or even detest it; I simply must recognize it for what it is: an obstacle that the Lord will deal with in His time. I must accept it for what it is -- just a big hunk of rock, too big for me to shift or move. However, God who is the Creator of all things (rocks included), can easily move it out of my way. He can do it, He can. I must put my faith into action and choose to believe that God will move it, God will make a way. He is able, and He is willing to do it -- but in His time.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the wakeup call to remember that you are God and I am not. Thank you for helping me to remember that every obstacle in my path is there for a reason, and that I don't always understand why things are so. You understand, and you are able to do with these things as you please. I ask you to move this obstacle from my path so that I can "walk on." I ask you to do this today, so that I can continue to follow after you, and not have to sit and stew much longer. I ask this now in Jesus' Name, knowing full well, that you will do as you please when the time is right. Your time, your way, your will, your power, your good pleasure -- always for you and your honor and glory. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

Shopping with Mom

Mom and I went shopping today, and I got to try out my new employee Macy's card. I bought a cute pair of stretchy jean/leggings and a long top to go over them. Very She-she if I don't mind saying it myself. I enjoyed the sale, though the store was quite busy. I will be working tomorrow and Sunday, and will get to experience my first real Red Tag sale as a sales associate!

I had a good breakfast meeting with my friend, Karen. We discussed a lot of things, and spent some time trying to figure out how God seems to be moving in my life. Not that we cannot see Him moving; nope, not at all. We were just trying to figure out why certain things seem to be happening now, and why other things seem to be left at a stand-still. No real answers, just lots of supposition. The good news is that we are agreed: God is Faithful and Good to us -- even when we can't always make heads or tails of His goings-on!

I am at home now for a short while, and then have to take my son over to church for a meeting with our lead Pastor. He (my son) asked to meet with him about some personal stuff -- I am sure having to do with our current situation and such -- and I am so pleased that he wants to do this. I love our Pastor (in the Pastoral-Biblical way -- VBG!) and know that he is the best person to speak with my son now. He teaches Communication at the Community College and is very in-tune with young people. He will be a great person to be a sounding board -- and I am praising God that my son thinks so too.

After his meeting at church, then my son is going over to the Boys and Girls Club to help setup a music program. This is something he wants to do, but more than likely will only be able to help out occassionally (the time conflicts with Chamber). I will probably do some shopping (Wal-mart) and then come home until it is time to go back and pick him up.

As I ponder my day, and the coming week, I am more than convinced of the sufficiency of my Lord and Savior. I am totally reliant upon Him, and I just know that His will is being done in my life. I can give testimony to the way I feel; but also, to how I think. My mind has been changed, thoroughly changed to where I only think about what is good for Him and not for me. I know that whenever I focus on what pleases Him, then as a result -- I receive blessing and reward that brings me pleasure too. It is like one of those "2 for 1" sales -- or a buy one and get one free deal. If you please God, then as a side benefit, you get some of His pleasure back. The more you please Him, the more pleased you feel and the more you want to please Him. It is a circle -- what goes around comes around -- and God is praised forever because of it.

I am totally into pleasing God these days. I still think about myself, and I still "am" the main topic of conversation between us -- but my focus is more on making sure I am doing what He wants instead of what I want to do. I wish the focus were on Him and what He wants, and not on me at all; but alas, I am human and until I am in Glory with Him, I think it will be this way. God is Good though and He understands that about us. He is willing to work with us to help us diminish so that He can increase -- that is what Paul says -- and I have experienced it as being true too. I decrease so that Christ may increase. As He abounds, so do I; so the more He increases, the less I need of anything. He is my All in All.