August 17, 2014

To God be the Glory

What a glorious morning to be in the house of the Lord (Ps. 122:1)! I cry out with the psalmist today "Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!" (Ps. 126:3)

We worship an AMAZING GOD! Our God is Sovereign, He is Good, and He Reigns Triumphantly over all that we see around us. God is Good, so very Good.

Today is a beautiful Sunday morning. God has provided abundantly for my welfare. He has seen to my every need, and He has graciously made it possible for me to do the thing I love (teach). I never thought I would love teaching, and there are days when I still question whether I am doing the best thing, the right thing. I have longed to be a teacher, I have dreamed of being a teacher, and I thought the idea of being a teacher was never going to happen. But then God worked a miracle in my life, and took what appeared to be a tragedy, and turned it around to make it something good, something very good.

I remember the day, almost exactly the day, when I decided consciously to stop designing websites for a living. It was in December of 2009. I had wanted to stop designing sites for four years, but I knew that we (my husband and I) relied on the money, and that I was *tied* to the business (client relationships and such). The work itself was grueling. I was a prolific designer -- having designed upwards of 250 websites over a 10-12 year period. I was a good manager of my time, and I was very good at maintaining relationships (most of my clients remained with me for 5-10 years). Still, the process of designing was difficult. It was tiring for me to sit at the computer all day long. My back ached, my shoulders were always tense, and my head throbbed from headaches (combination of eye strain and neck strain). On top of the physical aches, I struggled to keep up with the changes in the industry. I was a small fish in a big Internet pond, and while I had a nice little business, I was encouraged to move from designer to business owner by some powerful clients who saw me as an entrepreneur. I didn't want to manage people. I didn't want to go into sales, and have to sell my self, my business. 

I felt like I was wasting my time most days. I saw the business as an extension of my husband's business. In truth, he used it as such. He sold the accounts for me. He sold as many sites as possible to bring in as much income as possible. Sometimes this meant that I would have 5-6 websites in process at one time. Each site required 4-8 weeks to complete so that meant that I was working 15 hour days just to stay on top of the workload. 

I had no one to help me, and the nature of the business didn't provide enough consistent cash to pay for additional help. I worked sometimes round the clock, from sunrise to sunset (and long after). It was not uncommon for me to work until 2-3 in the morning just to make deadlines. The joke often told is that working from home is never what you think it will be once you do it. Yes, I could sleep in, but only after having worked 18-24 hours straight through without a break.

When things began to get difficult in my life, when my marriage began to struggle (as early as 2007), the pressure for me to work more intensified. My husband wasn't able to work full-time for a long while, so I had to pick up the slack. This meant more hours, more jobs, taking jobs I wouldn't normally take just to help pay the bills. I was already overburdened, and now with mounting healthcare costs (by 2009 we owed close to $160K) I didn't know what I would do or if I could continue to do this work.

To say I was burnt out was an understatement -- I was dead tired all the time.

So after much careful consideration and prayer (lots of prayer), I decided to quit the business. Things had already become so rocky at this point, that I felt I could no longer continue to work in the business with my husband being the one in charge of the money. My decision didn't go over well, in fact, it became a turning point, so to speak. We hadn't decided to split at this time, but things were not going well for us in counseling. I felt the Lord pushing me to say "no more" so I did. I said that as of December 31, 2009, I would no longer work as a website designer.

I never thought that it would take me a good 18-months to find full-time work but it did. I worked at Macy's for a year and I submitted over 150 resumes -- all to jobs I was well qualified to do. The economy had tanked at this point, and truthfully, I was up against a lot of good candidates. I had several good opportunities where I was called back for 2-3rd interviews. These jobs all went to another person. I was depressed, dejected, and feeling as though I would never find a job. Plus I had the need to move -- my marriage was over, our house was going into foreclosure, and I had to provide for myself and my son.

The Lord began to work a miracle in my life sometime back in 2005. He didn't bring it to fruition until 2011 -- almost 6 years I struggled with increasing financial debt, concern over finances, and the need for steady employment. The Lord sustained me, He provided everything I needed, and in the end, He had used this time, this very difficult time to help me grow in my relationship with Him. I learned to trust Him for His provision. I learned to lean on Him, to abide in Him, and to patiently wait for Him to move.

I am where I am today because of what the Lord did for me way back there <--- --="" .="" all="" am="" here="" i="" now="" over="" the="" way=""> and I am not done moving yet. My future holds great promise, and I see so many opportunities on the horizon. I am moving, one step at a time, closer and closer to the destination the Lord has in mind for me. All the steps I have taken thus far has built me up, equipped me, and enabled me to do the work I am doing this day -- to teach, to be a scholar, to be a graduate student. Everything has worked together for my good (Rom. 8:28). That GOOD is still being worked out in my life, and at some point, that GOOD will come to its intended state of completion. Until then, I walk on, I walk on toward the plans the Lord has for me. I give Him praise, I give Him all the honor, and I give Him all the glory for the GREAT things He has done in my life, through my life, and for my life.

I praise Him this day and forevermore! Amen, selah!

No comments: