Thursday, May 28, 2009

I've Been Thinking...Psalm 90:17

Creative Thinkers think a lot, about a great deal of things...all of the time. Lately I have been thinking about my job path, what I want to do with the rest of my life, how I want to do it. This morning during prayer time so much was running through my head. The more those ideas run, the less I move. The circle goes round and round and nothing ever gets completed or finished. It becomes overwhelming. And that is not God at work. God is not about confusion, frustration, guilt, doubt. So I prayed. I have said in earlier posts that since my reduction in hours, I have really had a sense of peace about it. That God knew this was going to happen and wants me to use this time to find my resting place. My passion, my strength, my own success. But at the same time, this mind keeps going jumping from one idea to the other and God works at slowing me down giving me time to think, process.

So in my prayer time I decided I knew what I wanted. I want to have God as my boss all the time. I want to run his company with the highest level of honor and respect for the people it employs whether it be one person or 500. I want the company to be God honoring in all it does. Recession Proof. I don't want to be rich by monetary standards. I am rich already. I want to be healthy. I want to treat people in an honoring way. It then occurred to me that all these "things" that have been happening, have been used to teach me to care for others beyond the normal way of caring. It doesn't matter how others act, it matters how I act, how I respond, how I treat people.

I was in tears by the time I ended that prayer. And I randomly opened the book to this verse:

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
Establish the work of our hands for us;
yes, establish the work of our hands"

Isn't that beautiful? To know that we can seek God for Everything. He can be Owner and President of our lives and guide us even to the point of determining the work that we do, and how we do it. Its amazing to me as I move through my business plan, life plan, choices I make, that I keep meeting others in the same place. Reaching out to God. Today a woman I met on the crafting site ETSY was emailing me about some work she is doing for me. I had asked her how she got started and she said, "I prayed about it". All around me the Lord is speaking. To me, through the words of others, and to you through the people you meet. Today I choose to start listening more. What verse has moved you lately? What verse was a clear answer to your questions?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Listening to God...Malachi 4:2

When I first made a personal commitment to God and accepted Christ as my Saviour it was only 12 years ago. I had grown up in church, learned all about God, been confirmed, but I didn't get it. It wasn't until 12 years ago where I wanted to understand, wanted something more, and knew that it was through a relationship with God. And when I did, everything changed. Sometimes it was rather difficult, sometimes things turned upside down and there were times when I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I went through comparing my spirituality to how others heard God, and how others prayed, and how others sought God in their lives. How he spoke to them, how they heard them. My life was a constant comparison. I thought God was speaking to me, but it didn't seem as powerful as others talked about. I knew he was there guiding and prodding me or making me think of something and yet, I still doubted that it was him.

There have been a series of challenges I have faced with God, alcoholism in my family, my own alcoholism, rape, divorce, depression, life's challenges, and through all the years looking back I began to see his work in my life, his hands on me, I couldn't doubt it anymore. It made no sense to challenge it or think it was my own actions, my own doing. It made more sense to be thankful. To accept it. And so I began my journey of praise. Praise for everything that God brought to me. Praise for the challenges that were going to make me stronger, praise for the joy, the sadness, the good, the bad. Praise for it all. And my relationship with God became one of wonder. I look and see things differently. I have a sense of wonder about what is possible through God, what he can do in our lives, who he can touch through us and with us. I can and more often have peace in even the most difficult of circumstances. I am not saying that I always get it right, that every day is a good day because it isn't. But I can in the course of the turmoil reflect back on all of my interactions with God and know that together we can get through this one, we can climb that mountain, reach that peak, climb over the hill, walk around or go over the obstacle.

So, last night as I approached my 50th birthday, I was feeling a little low, a little emotional, a little sorry for myself. I don't think it had anything to do with turning 50, but everything to do with basing my life and my success on my job. I had let my job define me again, and again, I had been let down. As you know my hours were reduced to part time. I was no longer a success in my eyes. And yet, when it happened, I felt God's presence telling me it was okay, this was where he wanted me. And I began to doubt. Last night it all culminated into a tear fest.

At about midnight I awoke to the most melodious sound imaginable outside my window of our townhouse. We don't live way out in the country, where noises are to be expected. We live in the suburbs, in a townhouse community just outside the city. The bird was singing so beautifully and all I could think of was "what type of bird sings at midnight"? I couldn't sleep as this bird sang, and sang, and sang...I tried closing the window but it was swollen shut, my husband snoring next to me couldn't hear a thing. At 2:00am this nutty bird was still singing joyfully. You would think at that moment I embraced the joyful little miracle? Clearly a message from God!! NOT. I was tired, I wanted sleep. It wasn't until this morning that I saw the significance.

The next morning I got up determined to figure out what the bird was doing, what bird sings that late at night. Well, its a mockingbird. And believe it or not it holds very symbolic meaning in the many cultures. It was no surprise as I read that he symbolized adaptability, going with the flow, and finding your inner gifts. (Mockingbird) can also help you find your “sacred song” or your life’s purpose and helps you realize your inner talents. Mockingbird will help you act on it without fear.”

The evening before this wonderful song, a red capped woodpecker came to our bird feeder. We have never had one in our back yard and he came back three times. In researching the symbols of all birds, I learned that the Woodpecker symbolizes: tenacity, patience and straightforward actions. My favorite bird is the cardinal, and I come across that bird all the time. In fact, it was one of the first photos I took that I have cherished again right in my front yard. What do you think it symbolizes? He adds balance to life and shows that everything we do is important.

I know that God used my love for nature and the great outdoors to get his message through to me. He sent a beautiful birthday song at midnight to remind me of his power and love for me. He took my love of birds and my curiosity in finding out what bird would sing at midnight to give me the opportunity to read up and hear him through the reading. He gave me renewed hope on the wings of birds.

Four birds have been very visible to me over the past few months, the Eagle, the Cardinal, The Woodpecker and the Mockingbird. And they all brought messages of hope, a challenge to "Go For It' and Let Go and Let God.

"But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings." God is all around us, and we just have to listen for him to reach us in the way that works for us. Its not the same for everyone, his still small voice to me comes in the way of words, nature, and song. When in prayer time, I often feel as though I can't block everything out to let him in, so he comes to me when I am not trying so hard to hear him. He speaks to me in a way that I can comprehend and understand and through it all, I grow closer to him.

How do you hear God? Are you paying attention?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

He who has been forgiven little, loves little. Luke 7:47

Over the past week as I drive to work there is statement posted in front of a nearby church that says "Prayer is the key to morning and lock at night". It speaks to every time I drive by it, and it occurred to me that I AM A PRAYING WOMAN! I pray every morning and I am thankful every night. I made a promise to God over 2 years ago about a certain situation in my life. If he got me through it, I would honor him each and every day by being committed to the healing. He did, and I do. But what is so amazing here, is the difference that morning and night time prayer make in my daily routine called life. Sometimes the prayer may be a simple "Thank you God for this life" and other times it may be a litany of all the doubts I have, all the fears, all the troubles. To me it has become more than prayer but a relationship with a dear dear friend, mentor, teacher, leader.

Lately though my thoughts have been a jumble. I am in an unsettled place and it has been said that this is when God is working on you the most. The discomfort, the frustration, the turmoil is not what God intends or wants but it is there because I need to work through it. I need to let go and let God. This morning I came to him with my fears. I want to give it all to him, all the fear, but I also know that much of this I have created myself. It seems to me that I don't deserve his help, nor am I worthy of it. It seems to me that I have to do the work, I have to get up and get moving. There is a certain level of responsibility we all have to correcting or changing our behavior, our actions, our thoughts, words and deeds. For example, if we don't pay our bills, do we expect God to write the check, put it in the mail? No, we have to do the work, we have to mail the bill.

If we don't pay our taxes, will God wipe away the debt? No, its our responsibility to pay the taxes, to fulfill our obligations. We can't wait for God to do the work. But we must seek him for direction, guidance, support IN EVERYTHING WE DO. We must search his words and seek his answers.

So I was reading my bible study and came across this verse: "He who has been forgiven little, loves little". As you read this you might wonder, where in the heck is she going with this? Honestly, I don't quite know, but I do know God has a message for me in this. I am a praying woman. My sins have been forgiven. What right do I have to deny that I have been forgiven for all my sins? It was and is a glorious gift from God, and therefore I have been forgiven much. That means I am loved ALOT. That means I love ALOT. Its kind of a revelation to me. I can't sit in my mess and feel sorry about my predicament. I should not feel alone and helpless when things go awry. I do have God to lean on. It comes down to believing that we are worthy of God's love. We may not always deserve it, but we are his children and he loves us MUCH. We therefore must love much. Love Ourselves, Take Care of Ourselves, and Love others.

So what is the mess? Well, like so many other people, my job has been reduced to part time. I am hurt, feeling unloved, unappreciated, and sorry for myself. I am angry and resentful, and have now begun the process of blaming myself, as if I have done something wrong. Many of us are in this situation today and many of us may not get through the pain it causes. I feel lost and unsure of what to do next. I feel the need "to get out of this" and yet, God is saying, "give this all to me". And I am saying: "But I got myself into this Lord, I have to do the work".

Yes, there is work that needs to be done in my life. Yes, I am going to have to be obedient. But I have been forgiven much. I am loved ALOT. A year from now, as I look back on this journey, I am going to miss this. So perhaps I will work at enjoying the process, the turmoil, the uncertainty. GOD Knows what the future holds, and he has been so very good to me.