Saturday, October 18, 2008

I The Lord, Do Not Change. Malachi 3:6

What an amazing realization. To know that in the midst of all I face you are there, never changing. The constant, The Truth, The Way. When things seem to be at their worst for me, I am comforted knowing that you never change. I don't have to guess your thoughts, words, actions, deeds. I don't have to question your motives. All I have to do is honor you. You never change, and you are with me always.

Lord, each day I see your hands at work in my life. You are leading me day by day, verse by verse to be an authentic woman. I am learning about who I am, and how important it is for me to seek you always. Its interesting that often times the way you work in me, the outcomes, my responses are so different from the norm in this world, and people have a difficult time believing the choices I make. I even look at them sometimes in disbelief.

There is alot going on in my life and at the end of the day or in the midst of time where I don't think things are going to work out, I am frustrated, or saddened, I am reminded of this verse. You never change. You didn't move. I may have but you did not.

Today I had some challenges at work, and you blessed me with solutions. I know that I have to participate and honor you with hard work, and I know that I will not always receive the blessings in the way I would like, or desire. But I know you are at work all throughout my life and its a liberating feeling knowing that you are with me always. It sometimes seems unreal, and I know that people often times don't believe the depth and detail that I find you involved in my life, but I know that you are. To be able to be appreciative of the good things you bring my way takes the responsibility and the ego out of the way as we continue this journey. I don't know the plans you have for me Lord, and I know that I don't need to know, that the journey is one taken blindly and reliant solely on your promise, my faith, and my acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Son and my saviour. It enables me to focus on honoring you which will always result in a greater good.

Does all this sound to much? Too corny? Perhaps for some Lord, but I profess my faith and trust in you. I have witnessed your blessings in so many ways that I could never take credit for your actions in my life. It is all you. I just had to be obedient and honoring.

Thank you for never changing. Thank you for understanding my shortcomings and still working with me to become a better, God fearing woman. I know I won't get it all right all the time, but I do know that you promise blessings beyond understanding for those who honor you. You never change.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Job, A Career, A Life...

I turn 50 soon, and lately I have been so wrapped up in where my life is, where its going. The thought of another day at the job I have almost makes me ill. Not sure what it is Lord, but things just don't feel right. A new boss that seems to enjoy creating havoc and acting as though he can come in and "clean it all up" . He sounded so great at the time, but lately I am sensing that he stirs up the pot to create an atmosphere of discord so he can then "Come to the Rescue" on our behalf. He doesn't remember the statements he has made, or the requirements. Doesn't respond to email in a timely fashion and them comes to us after the fact with ridiculous comments and suggestions.

Its like working in a vacuum or a time warp or something. I don't think I can trust the situation. I don't think my staying in this environment is healthy, yet I don't know that the alternatives will be much better.

Jeremiah 9 11-13. "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for hope and for a future. If you seek me you will find me when you seek me with all of your heart. " This was the first verse if you ever brought to my attention Lord, and the first verse I memorized. It has guided me on many occasions, and today Lord I ask in your Son's name, to show me the way. You have asked for my full commitment and to let go and let you work in my life, and it is there that I wish to be Lord.

Perhaps I have begun to rely on the new guy more than you. I am not sure, but I sense you telling me that I need to relinquish more of myself to you Lord. Lord, I wish to honor you in all my actions. If its time for me to leave this job, please show me the way. Give me a Peace over what you desire me to do. Help me to follow through on the plans that you have for me, one step at a time. Lord, you know my heart. You know all that I think, feel, breathe. I am full of so many emotions right now, that it leads me to make bad decisions. I don't feel well, and that brings me down too, not adding to the possibilities, but taking away from them.

Help me Lord, please help me to relax and listen to your plans, your desires for me. I know that when you are at my core, my center, and I am filled with the Holy Spirit then I will be in a better place to be guided, directed. I know I am not there yet.

I feel you all around me this morning Lord, from my head to my toes, your presence is everywhere. There is a message here this morning that I have yet to understand. Help me to understand Lord. I don't want to be complacent Lord, I want to be obedient. The song that is in my mind right now is "How do I, get through my life without you, if I had to live without you, what kind of life would that be?" I want you in my life full time Lord. Why this morning am I waking up so weighted down, so sick to my stomach? What is it that I am unaware of? Lord, do you want me to quit my job? Without another? Lord show me the way Lord, please in your Son's name, show me the way.

I know that you will and can accomplish anyting in my life. I also konw that you expect me to think things through and not act irrationally. Quitting my job, without another seems irrational Lord, very irrational. If it's school you desire for me, I will be obedient and schedule an appointment with the college to see what options are available. Lord, if there is someone out there that you have sent in to guide me in this process, please make it known to me today, who it is, and what you want me to know. I promise to listen and apply the message without doubt. In the meantime, until I know for sure otherwise, I will continue in this job. Goodness Lord, every word I write I feel filled with the Holy Spririt. Lord, you are everywhere this morning, surrounding me, my every thought, my every written word. I am yours. Amen. For now, Iwill do my work, keep to myself, until I hear otherwise from you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hebrews 11:1

I saw this on a license plate yesterday and came home to read it and was so amazed. God reaches me in such subtle, yet in your face ways. Putting my faith in that which I can't see. I turn 50 in less than a year and I feel being led to quit my job and go back to school. I believe my call from God is to teach and do that I have to go back to school and finish what I started a very long time ago. All of it sounds so scary and yet he asks us to give ourselves to him for his plan. Me, I just want to know for sure. I am uncomfortable being led blindly and it seems that God and I deal with that often. He has never, ever led me wrong, he had never misled me yet, I still doubt, still struggle.

Heavenly Father help me to change my disbelief. What you have done in my life in just one year is a miracle of its own. I have no reason to doubt your plans for me. I have no reason to ignore what you are telling me, and yet I do. Is it fear, denial? I will follow you. I commit myself to you to do your will. I know you can make what seems impossible, possible and I know that it can only be done if I let go and give it all to you.

Show me the next step you wnat me to take Lord. Show me the next step. While you are on your time schedule, I will do my best to be obedient. I know there are some things that I have to correct in order to reap the full benefit of your plans for me. There is no doubt in my mind, that all your plans for me are plans of hope, a future, love and a joy that can't be felt without you in the middle of it.

If school is part of the plan, then school it is. Show me Lord how. Show me the next step. What is it you desire of me?

Lord hear my prayers. Bless those that I have trouble with, bless them ten fold and if they are not Christians, I pray that they begin to seek you. Help them in their work, in their personal life, and in their relationship with you. Bless my family Lord and keep them all safe and healthy. I pray for my friend Linda. Lord, if the house is part of your plan for her, let her have the ability to buy it without having to rely on others. Thank you Lord for the beautiful day you gave us to day for our church picnic. It was a glorious day and one that allowed me to meet a wonderful new friend. Thank you.

Forgive me for getting involved in the gossip. I want so badly to find a way to remove myself from these types of conversations and not participate in conversations meant to drag others down. There just isn't enough time for that kind of behaviour. I participated by simply listening. I want to get better at walking away.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day Three...

Dear Father, Last night I came home feeling lost, frustrated and alone because I am unsure and uncomfortable in my work surroundings. I feel fear of this new unknown. People around me seem to be isolating themselves, or insulating themselves from the surroundings. I seem to be in a non participatory environment. People don't want to communicate, support or work together for a common good. That is how I feel. Are my feelings right and just Lord?

You directed me to several passages: Proverbs 6:15, 18-23, 7-8. You immediately brought to my attention my actions, my words, my responsibilities while also acknowledging that you are giving me the wisdom to act accordingly. It seems difficult for me right now to have the wisdom and be aware of what is going on around me at the same time trusting in you to deal with it as part of your promise to me. My desire or first response is to react, or act on the issue. Solve the problem, defend myself and many times defend and protect others and you are telling me to simple focus on my job, be obedient and focused. I guess I can see that by focusing on others and actions of many I reduce my effectiveness in my own job. By focusing on my work and my responsibilities I will be responding to you and your plans for me, This is such a challenge and a struggle for me Lord. This is big. I always feel the need to protect myself, justify what is going on, find the reasoning behind it, try to solve it (unsuccessfully I might add!) I come to you again in prayer asking you to change me Lord. Today let me be totally focused on my job and not get entrenched in gossip and what on the surface appears to be wise words from above when in fact its masked as leadership and is exactly what others are doing, gossiping, creating doubt and ill will. Its not up to me to find the reasoning behind others actions, yet the wisdom you give me can help me to react and respond according to your will. Right now, you are asking me to "Be Still and Know that you are GOD. Thank you my dear father. Teach me to focuse on and listen to you. AMEN

Day Two...Research, Obedience, Discipline

Dear Lord, I missed my journaling last night but I did not miss the study, nor the message in -Luke 1:57. You continue the lesson with me by drawing on the works and studies of Luke, a physician and historian who relied on personal accounts of the people that came in contact with the Lord. Your message reminds me that research (reading the bible), is an act of obedience and a discipline that I can't take for granted as we go through this coming year. To know you, to commit my whole life to you to do as you wish, will require obedience and discipline on my part.

Mary, Joseph, Zackariah and Elizabeth were four people who committed themselves fully to God and their commitment did not come easily. It was filled with your request for what seemed impossible. A childbirth after childbearing years, and a virgin birth! WOW! Could you have tested unbelief any more strongly? You know me and my heart so well Lord. I want the immediate response, the immediate change, and true to your words, just like last year, it takes time, obedience and discipline. This will be a year that will consistently change and grow if I can fully commit my time, my energy and my heart to include all my doubts and my fears to you and your plan for me.

I asked you to guide me yesterday and specifically help me to be less confrontational at work and not so combative. I didn't do so well yesterday and I come to you with my actions, thoughts and words and again ask for your help in changing my heart. I am not sure why Lord, but lately I have acted as though my actions are perfect, and the actions of others are deceitful, and deliberate in their attempts to undermine the company and the leadership. Who am I to judge? And who am I to be rude and demanding? Lord, help me to be a witness to others of what your love can do iand has done in my heart and in my life. Change me Lord, not them. Change me. Bless them with your love and commitment in their lives so that they may have the gift that I have. Fill them with the holy spirit and give them all the blessings they desire. A healthy fulfilling life, joy, financial security, give them all the blessings that I desire and then bless them again. I know that it is through you that I must change my heart. Listening to the Holy Spirit and responding the way you desire and not what I think is best for me, others or even the company. For only you know the plans you have for the company, the members and the people who support it.

I am struggling Lord with my job, and the people that are there. A new additional boss after a year of direct reporting, a disenchanted staff threatening behind backs to leave, talking about others, is to me indications of my need to leave or continuing to trust in your and my bosses even though I sometimes feel they have been deceitful and dishonest, witnessed the clash of egos, and am probably so unaware of many unspoken issues in their own lives that I have no right to judge or condemn.

I am trying to eliminate my participation in the negative yet some times I find myself participating if not starting conversations on my own and in my own head. Please Lord, in these times remind me of my promise and commitment to you. If its time for me to look for another job, or time for me to pursue your plans for me outside this job, then I pray in Jesus name that you show me the way. AMEN.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day One.

Dear Father, its no surprise to me that I open the bible to begin the journey and you take me to the first time I ever dedicated my life to you. Jeremiah 4:1-22. What stands out to me in this reading is that I need to begin to live a good honest life. Plow up the ground of my heart and not wast my time in bad areas. I seem clever enough at doing wrong, but have no talent at all for doing right. What amazes me even further is that I am still repeating bad behavior. You are teaching me and I am learning, so we can call that progress, but I long to honor you more. To change these bad habits and live a better life. I want to be able to give back to others; to give back to you.

Thank you for the fact that I can say, I am gaining talent for doing right. I recognize the areas that I need to change and with you as my leader, guide, father, confidant, parent, friend I know I can succeed. I know I challenge you often, and you patiently wait for the doubt, sadness, anger, fear to lessen so that I can hear your voice and direction.

Lord, today I come to you with a commitment to daily bible study, attendance at church. Guide me in the direction you desire me to begin. Help me at work today Lord to remain positive, supportive and not combative. You have touched on me going back to school, considering different options for my career and more, and yet I realize that none of that will be done in a God honoring way if I don't correct my health and my finances. I can't solve a symptom; I have to solve the problem first.

Heavenly Father, I give myself to you today to guide me, teach me, and begin to apply the discipline I need to succeed at the tasks you have set in front of me. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, I ask you to show me the way today and all days for the rest of my life. Amen.

Good Morning God, Thank you for another day.

Heavenly Father, you have prodded me over the years to begin keeping a journal. Off and on I have and it has helped to track our progress in changing my life. You have consistently led me in directions I never felt possible and together we have walked a path that has always been the right one for me. Today I begin my journey "live" for everyone to read and see. May this journey of ours reach those people that you know are out there searching for you. May I be honest in every circumstance. How I am feeling, my decisions to listen or ignore. All of it. Let this be an open book into the year that I put all my faith in you. The year that I let go and Let God. While I give you all of it Lord, now that we have accomplished the first task: My Sobriety, I feel that you are leading me to focus this year on the remaining two priorities: My health and well-being and my financial situation. That requires some embarrassing statistics so that we can begin to track our progress. You know it all, but I know that it needs to be my starting point.

I am what doctors call morbidly obese. Not a very kind word, in fact a hurtful word that seems to make me feel so sad. I have had gastric bypass surgery which helped me to lose 140 pounds of which I have maintained loss of. I have been unable to lose more because of the excessive drinking, and because of lack of exercise, and poor eating habits. Today I weigh 326 pounds. I have a hard time getting my self up out of a chair. My back and knees are always in excruciating pain, and it is difficult to do much around the house. I rely on my husband a great deal of the time to do the things I can no longer do because of the energy it takes for me to just get around the house.

My finances...UGH! I seem heck bent on destroying anything good in my life. I have terrible, horrendous credit. I spend every dollar I take in, and barely remember to pay my bills until the past due notice is on and functioning loud and clear. I don't have much credit debit because I can't get a credit card, which I feel is a good thing, but still as I get older, I think its important that I can take care of and support myself. My husband and I have no children, we both hold decent jobs, so the ability to save should be an easy one. But its not. I think I have replaced drinking with spending. Trying to feed some hunger within myself.

I have over the years struggled with depression and probably tried every medication known to man to treat it. I have been at one time diagnosed with low level bi-polar disorder. Lord, you encouraged me to get off all the medications and rely strictly on you. While I don't think this is the message you would offer to others, I think you asked me to do it, because I was relying too much on my excuses and not enough on you. I have not been on medications for a year and sometimes the depression is still there and I find myself struggling to work through it, when in the past I would drink or medicate it away. You have been my lifeline through it all. I think medication is vital to the healing of depression, but for me it wasn't working and I needed to start from the beginning with you Lord, a clean slate so we could learn exactly what was going on. I relied on a very strong support group to gauge my emotions, my mood swings and advise me to get help if they saw the need.

I do not have a savings, our house is in what I call a "hovel" and terrible disrepair and negligence. We have been up before our Association Board with so many external repairs and slowly have been making progress on those items that we would eventually be fined for not addressing. The inside has suffered the most, and it is on most days an extremely overwhelming task. All that needs to be done in my mind is almost impossible. We had a pipe break in our house several years ago and from that we made the choice to spend the insurance money to catch up on bills and work on our house on our own. The money was spent, we are back where we started and we have progressively given up on the house because the task seemed unachievable. There is not one room in the house that I would call livable enough to have guests over but, we did decide to tackle one room at a time, and two rooms, a small reading room and the living room are close to being completed.

Our taxes have been ignored. And just recently I took out a withdrawal my 401k to get my house out of foreclosure. Humiliating statistics Lord but I am putting my faith in you. Giving it all. Exposing it all. May this give other people hope.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Journey Beginning...

It all happened kind of innocently. Actually it was more like a challenge. I was challenging GOD to do what I had been unable to do on my own. September 12, 2007 after trying AA, Hospital Treatment, Depression Medication, I had reached the end of my rope. I was struggling with alcoholism, I was an alcoholic and even though I woke every morning and said "Today is the day Lord, and each night after drinking myself to sleep praying "Lord, I promise tomorrow will be the day" and the next day I would fail. I was drinking full time now, taking lunch, drinking during lunch, going back to the bar and drinking again. Weekends much of the same. Drink until it was time to go to sleep. Wake up, wait until about 2:00pm and start all over again. I had become addicted to the bar, the wine. I was trying to feed myself, fill myself up, and little did I know that God was about to change my life.

I woke up on September 12, 2007 and challenged GOD. If he would get me through the next 24 hours without drinking, then I would do my part. I was angry. I didn't think he would or could do it, but my Pastor had always preached to me that if we truly handed it over to GOD then he would take control of our lives. My life was way out of control, and I needed God to do it for me.

I would like to tell you that the first 24 hours was hard. It wasn't. Every hour, I did my part, I prayed, and read the bible, and prayed again. 2:00pm came, Happy Hour came, a trip to CVS for a bottle of wine came and passed. I read, drank water, prayed and listened. He gave me 24 hours of sobriety. Didn't seem like much of a big deal, but I had committed to honor that 24 hours. I had broken my promise to the Lord in the past, but this time, I had given him all of it. All of the pain, sadness, failed attempts. ALL OF IT. I wasn't going back.

I expected the next 30 days to be difficult, even the next 60. I honestly didn't trust myself to make it. I didn't even trust God. Every night I want to bed and thanked God for another day of sobriety, thanked him for another day.

The bar didn't entice me, my sleep was never interrupted. There were at times some minor thoughts of how a drink my ease some of my pain, doubt, sadness. But thoughts entered and exited my mind quickly, reinforcing my reserve to give it back to GOD. He protected me. I was shielded for the threats.

September 12, 2008 was my first year of sobriety. That part of my life is in God's hands. Now he is challenging me to give him the rest. You see, I had to focus on just one area of my life. I needed proof that he would perform. Seems pretty arrogant to me doubting God's abilities, but I think it was more about me doubting my worth. Why would God want to help me? After all, I had done so many terrible things. Why me? Well, I constantly reminded myself that I, like everyone else am GOD's child. The more I give it all to him, the more I am honoring him and his son Jesus Christ. Its a very interesting place to be. I see him holding me, hugging me, pulling me up, brushing me off, and starting all over again.

Its time for another challenge. Only this time I think he is challenging me. Challenging me to give it all to him. I am not sure why that is so difficult when time after time he has been there for me. This past year has been a remarkable journey with God. I randomly opened my bible each morning and marked Day 1, 2, 3 etc. He led me through every reading. Every reading was what I needed to hear each day as I walked his path, and not my own. Each day lifted me up, let me know I was not alone. He put some very special people in my life. I asked, he answered. These wonderful women were my strength. They acted as my healthy mind as I regained a sense of myself and came out of the alcoholic fog. I am forever grateful for what he has done, and continues to do for me even through times when I am less receptive.

I am a Christian. I have accepted God's Son Jesus Christ as my Savior and I asked for forgiveness of my sins. When I asked, he answered. He has been with me ever since. He will never leave me. He will never leave you.