Day 457: Work With Me Here

Pros and Cons.

I love those little lists. I make tons of decisions off of pro and con lists. Have for years.

In fact, I could probably still find several of the pro/con lists that my best friend and I made in junior high. And, yes. They were typically about boys…

But as I got older they fused into more weighty topics. Choosing my major. Places to work in the summer. Auditioning for Julliard. Going to Costa Rica for Spanish immersion. Moving to a new school district. Picking out my first home to buy. Becoming a stay at home mom.

They help me to get all of the rambling thoughts and worries on to paper so that I can more logically make a decision. I mean, sometimes they are great because it’s almost like you can “blame” the decision on the pro and con list in the end… “Well, there were more cons than pros, so I decided to not to that.”

But there is one kind of pro and con list that doesn’t work.

The kind where it comes out totally, smack dab even.

Ugh! Those are so frustrating.

And even worse… it’s even AND both of your options are GOOD.

Double frustrating.

I mean… it’s an awesome place to be in: to have to choose between two good options. But in the land of pros and cons, it’s tough.

And that’s what I found myself facing. Two good options.

One: go to work part-time at an awesome job with awesome people with awesome pay.
or
Two: continue being a stay-at-home mom with awesome kids in my awesome house making awesome memories.

I was genuinely torn. And, for once in my life, I really started to pray about it. Because this wasn’t just a decision based on what we needed. We need money to pay bills and invest in my husband’s product, Chord Dice (which recently became an official Guitar Center product!!! Here’s the link just in case you want to buy a set and help me pay the electric bill! Ha!). And the decision wasn’t just based on what we wanted. I want to just stay home and be a mom.

And the more and more that I prayed, the more and more he whittled down that pro and con list until it boiled down to, not what was “right” or “wrong”, but what did God want me to do.

At this point, as much as I’ve seen Him work, and as beautiful as His Hand has been working in our lives, I really, truly wanted to do what He wanted me to do. I really, truly wanted to see Him receive glory. So, I changed my prayer a bit: God. Show me what you want me to do that would bring you the most glory.

No. answer.

For weeks, no answer. Not even a hint of an answer. And believe me, I was looking everywhere. I was trying to read into everything. I, literally… and I mean, literally, thought about getting an actual fleece (no, not the Old Navy kind… the Judges 6 kind) and trying out that method. But He was being completely, totally, and utterly silent about this.

So, I decided that when I went on my MomsAway retreat that He was going to show up.

Ha! Did you catch that? I decided… that HE was going to show up.

What a laugh. When will I learn!?!?!

Well, like I mentioned on Day 441: The Post Where I Don’t Tell You What God Said, He showed up all right. But He showed up and wouldn’t talk about work. All He would talk about was sugar.

Yeah, that put me in my place pretty quick.

So, we worked through my sugar issues (again), got that resolved a bit, and then on the last morning after I had my little sit in the big comfy leather chair, and after I drank what was going to be my last cup of coffee, I decided to make a little walk down to the lake to see if maybe Jesus was down there walking on the water or something.

Right before I walked out, my friend who had talked through all my sugar issues with me (Day 443: The Post Where I Sorta Tell You What God Said), came in from outside and I said I was going down there. She said, “Go for it. Jesus is down there.” I thought, Whoo hoo! Now I’m really going down there!

{Here I am… about to go see Jesus!}

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Turns out: it was freeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing.

And the wind was, like, hurricane DEFCON Level 1 type winds.

And yeahhhhhh, I don’t really “do” the whole cold weather thing. Like, I pretty much don’t go outside if it’s lower than 80°.

But she said that Jesus was down there… so I was going, hurricane or not!

I hoofed it down the 8,000 stairs, stood out on the dock for a bit and faced into that freeeeeeeeeeeeezing hurricane wind. I was just standing there…

waiting.

Then that got to be too much. I was literally afraid that I was going to get blown OFF of the dock into the water. Looking around, I spotted a little crevice in the rock where I could snuggle in and get some relief from the “hurricane”. So, I “hiked” over there in my cute little workout pants and Puma shoes and nestled into that little crevice that provided a bit of a respite. I looked out at the lake and asked again, God. Show me what you want me to do that would bring you the most glory.

And He answered. Through all of that roaring wind and rushing water. He answered. Pure and true and unmistakable.

Stay home. and write. and watch how I provide for you.

It was so beautiful. Even just writing those words brings tears to my eyes. Because… friends, let me tell you… when you HEAR the voice of God in your soul, it’s… beautiful. and awesome. and… and… beautiful.

And exciting. Because God has some kind of cool plan in store for us this next year that will call for His Provision. And that’s the part I think that got me the most excited. Not the answer: stay home. Not the directive: and write. (More on that in another post) But the rest of it: and watch how I provide for you. That was almost a “just you wait” kind of response… “just you wait and see what I do, how I work, and how amazing it’s gonna be.”

So, here I go… on another journey of faith, harder than the first, I think… cause now we are going back UP the hill. Because now I have to do a little bit of faith-waiting while I watch… just watch… how He provides.

{About to head back up… and yes, there were 8,000 steps}

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{See? But isn’t it kinda cool looking?}

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Day 441: The Post Where I Don’t Tell You What God Said

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I’ve written about 47 beginnings to this post. (See? Up there? My journal… it’s like a gazillion starts and stops. And that is just ONE.PAGE. of it!)

Cause I wanted you to know… it’s not an ordinary post.

It’s not about being witty.
It’s not about a great recipe.
It’s not about anything average.

It’s about coming to grips with God.

It’s about letting Him come to grips with my food issues.

It’s about giving up sugar again. For a long, long time.

I went on a retreat for moms this past weekend, and whereas I have gone on this retreat twice before for the purpose of relaxing and getting away, this time I went because I needed to meet with Jesus. I needed God to show up and direct me. I needed Him.

So that’s what I prayed when I went out there… “God. Please. I have been waiting and waiting for You to show up in my life. I have been trying to wait patiently. Please, speak to me this weekend. Show up this weekend. In a burning bush. In fire from heaven. In a passing whisper. In a wind. In a cloud by night or fire by day. In the body of Your Son Jesus. Whatever the form, I’m ready to hear from You. Please speak to me.

And, He did.

But, not about what I wanted to talk about.

I wanted Him to speak to me and guide me about going back to work in the fall. I really felt completely pulled in two directions about it since we, like most families, could use the money and I’m a pretty dern good teacher and He might want to use me there, but at the same time, I really wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom and work on writing more. And I just wanted Him to show me which option HE wanted. I really, truly wanted to be wherever He would receive the most glory!

But He wanted to talk about sugar.

Ha! I know, that sounds funny. I wanted to talk His Glory and he wanted to talk about my sugar. Backwards isn’t it????

Nope. Not at all.

He wanted to talk about sugar because it was becoming a wedge between He and I again. And it wouldn’t matter if He led me towards working or writing, if there is a stronghold that strong in my life, I was gonna have a hard time allowing His Glory to shine through me. So, we talked about sugar.

And honestly, it’s gonna have to be a couple of posts to get out everything that He worked through on me. And I’m actually not even gonna tell you in this post what He said about sugar, because I want to remind you of something even more important.

He. will. answer.

If you wait. If you keep asking. If you keep your eyes focused on Him. If you ask for things that please Him.

He. will. answer.

We are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:14-15

It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6

And the verse I want you to really, really, reallllllly hear:

Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Day Ninety: Painful Penitence

Sometimes I lament the fact that I have struggled for so much of my life only to discover that the answer all along was so very, very simple. But this week I came across this verse that sorta changed my perspective on that a bit:

The pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have… [that] leads us away from sin and results in salvation… Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm… such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

It makes me almost glad, looking back, that I hit rock bottom. I needed that pain to push me toward repentance. And he still uses the sorrow of my occasional failings (like the cookie dough, the apple crisp) to push me back into repentance.

And really, I think I want my heart to always be in a state of repentance… because then my pride can be kept at bay (well, at least a little bit of it).

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:17

But after I wrote that I started thinking, what IS repentance anyway? I mean it’s a word that I have heard, and said, a bazillion times, and maybe a good ol’ southern Christian woman should know the meaning but, well, I’m just not entirely sure! So, when in doubt, check it out! Haha!

Dictionary.com says it is “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better.

So it’s not about making up for sin, as it is about remembering past sin, and doing what is necessary to keep it from coming back.  Like for me, I have to continually read the Bible, but also sometimes it helps to re-read through some of my journal and blog entries when I was struggling. The key for me is to “think about things of heaven, not the things of the earth.” Colossians 3:2