Preperation is Key

•May 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.” Esther 2:12

I’m back…back from the wedding and honeymoon and everything fairy tale and dreamy. I’m back to reality. But, I must say, back to a much better reality where I live with my best friend and I come home to our little house every night.

Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about this post. Because I have. In fact, I was thinking about it while I was laying on a lounge chair in the Bahamas looking at this:

I’ve been thinking about Esther. I don’t blame you if you don’t remember that was what we were chatting about before I fell off the face of the earth. As a review, I was looking at the story of Esther, a Jewish woman who started as a slave and ended as Queen of an empire. She was a lady with a purpose. Today, I want to talk about what took her from “common” to extraordinary. Because we all want to be extraordinary, don’t we?

Check out the verse I copied at the beginning of this post: doesn’t that sound amazing? Before any young woman, including Esther, got to meet the King, they had to go through a HUGE makeover. The kind that makes the Style Network look like amateur hour. Each girl had to spend a year being treated with the best the royal kingdom had to offer. I wonder what that was like for Esther. I’m sure it was fun at times, but still, it meant waiting a whole year to meet the King! I’m sure she was pretty anxious.

 Well, as I sat on the beach during my honeymoon, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between my life and Esther’s. Here I was, relaxing and shedding all the stress and anxiety of the past few months. But I was also thinking about what lay ahead. Because I knew I had to leave my job and soon. There are other things in life right now that are stressful too, but this is the big one. I knew that our honeymoon, in part, was a gift to allow me to prepare my heart and mind and soul for the battle that was coming.

 It’s never easy to leave a job. And it’s never easy to find a new one. And that’s where I”m at. Still working in a job I know I don’t belong doing, in a place I don’t particularly like, while I look for a job that I can love. Or at least like. I keep praying that God will open a window, since He’s clearly closing a door on my current job.

We’ll see what the future holds. But I do know that God has built me up and prepared me for this tough time. He gave me a husband who loves me and supports in a way I could have never dreamed. He gave me His Holy Spirit, to give me wisdom and peace while I try to patiently wait for the next season in my life. And He gave me a very special trip that I will never forget.

Eleven Days…

•March 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Today I decided to write a quick post. Because I haven’t in like a million years. And because I’m getting married  in 11 days. And because I think about this blog all the time and regret I don’t make the time to post.

I’ll be back soon, I promise. Back to talking about Esther and all the thoughts that have been bumping around in my brain for the last month. It’s all coming. But first, I’m getting married.

This past month has been crazy…so many great things, so many struggles, so much joy, and a little pain. My grandma’s been really sick, my mom’s been struggling with a back injury, and work’s been tough. But I’m getting married, we bought a beautiful house, and I’m about to start living with my best friend and love of my life. Life is sweet.

You know what this season has taught me? That life isn’t always perfect. It’s not that simple. It’s usually a cocktail of good and bad, easy and tough…and that’s ok. I serve a God who has given me grace and His very prescence to get me through the bad and tough. And He’s given me a thankful spirit and again, His prescence, for the good and easy.

So that’s my super quick thought. Never forget that our God is one who loves us everywhere on the journey, everywhere on the rollercoaster. Talk to you soon…after the wedding, after the honeymoon, after the huge moments I’ve been counting down to for 24 years. And now, it’s eleven days away!

Eleven…[ten, nine, eight…]

Restoration Hardware [in intro]

•January 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14b

I’ve been thinking a lot about destiny lately. I feel more and more like my job is just plain silly. Like, in the big scheme of life and the Kingdom of God, my promotion of an all-natural grocery store just isn’t cutting it. There are a couple of things I know: I want to feel like I’m serving the Lord while I work. For me, that means I want to work in a soup kitchen or  at non-profit organization. I want to show people God’s love in a tangible way. I don’t know where that knowledge will take me, but I’m open to the Lord’s leading.

I also know that I love to write. And because of that, I’ve felt more of a burden to get some of my ideas down on paper. I’m blessed to have this blog, because it allows me to release a lot of my thoughts onto “paper” immediately. But there are some bigger projects I need to invest time in. No one can write my books for me. I need to sit down and do it.

I read a C.S. Lewis quote recently that I love: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” When I saw that, it stirred me. The kind of stirring that starts deep inside of you and works it’s way through you until it’s all you can think about. You know what I mean? Sometimes, I think we feel like we’re stuck in our lives and we have no choices. Like we can’t possibly change jobs or try a new ministry at church or invest in a different hobby. Why not?!? It’s time to run after the life we know God has planned for us. It’s time to start setting goals and dreaming dreams.

There are always question marks in life. Like I don’t love the job I have at my company, but if I could finally get a promotion, I think I could make it work with what I feel called to do. Is this where God wants me? Only time will tell. If I’m not meant to stay at this company, where should I go? Hmm…

Over the next few posts, I’m going to look at the story of Esther, an everyday girl who grew into a legendary queen. There were probably a lot of days when she wasn’t too happy with the progress of her life. But she was obedient to God. And that was all that was expected of her.  She was prepared for her moment, for her time.

Are there dreams you’ve put on the back burner? Do you feel like I do, like there are bigger and better things ahead for you and your calling? Do you need to restore some belief in yourself and your potentional? Then I look forward to taking this journey together. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, we have been called to God’s kingdom for such a time as this!

If You Build It…

•January 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been waiting. For a lot of things. For a long time.

First, there’s the wedding…I can’t wait to be married! And it feels like I’ve been waiting for April to come forever!

Then, there’s other things…waiting to find a place that I can call both my “job” and my “calling”, waiting for things to feel better at church (or to hear a “time to move on” from God), waiting for our house to finally go into closing so we can move all our stuff in, waiting, waiting, waiting.

Well, last night I got to think a lot about waiting. On a rare night when Jim and I weren’t together, I sat down with my parents to watch “Field of Dreams”. I’m a huge fan of baseball, so this movie has always held a special place in my heart. But last night, it reminded me of some important things. I know it’s unconventional and unusual of me to not by talking about a specific verse or story from the Bible, but this is an unconventional and unsual season of my life, so I guess it works.

The main character in “Field of Dreams”, Ray, is out in his corn field when he suddenly hears a voice saying “If you build it, he will come”. That first calling leads him to eventually build a baseball field where his corn crop had once been. People think he’s crazy. No one gets it. The field doesn’t make sense. In fact, it almost drives his family to bankruptcy. But he builds it anyway, because he is so sure it’s what the voice told him to do.

I always thought that he built the field and baseball players immediately showed up. That’s the way I remembered it. But in fact, months and months go by. The field is covered by snow and a new season starts before anyone ever shows up. Ray sits, looking out the window, WAITING for something, anything to happen out on that field.

Once the players finally come, Ray is a bit validated. But the story doesn’t end. The voice calls again, leading him to meet more people and do more crazy things until he finally realizes what it all was leading to. One day, on that field, he meets up with his father. His father who he never really knew. And in that moment, he sees that the journey has taught him a lot: about faith, about himself and about his dad.  He realizes that, if he hadn’t listened to the voice and done what he was asked, he would have never had the chance to meet his Father and make his peace with him.

This story really reminded me of the value of two things: being patient and following your calling: of knowing that sometimes, God’s voice is clear, and sometimes it asks for something a little crazy. Sometimes, there are a lot of little steps to get to the ultimate goal. And you have to take every one if you’re going to get to the destination.

And, sometimes, it takes a while to feel validated. It’s not always an immediate reward. Sometimes, you just have to build a field and wait for the players to come, no matter how long it takes.

Yesterday, I was sitting in a meeting at work and I realized that all we were talking about was ways to make money: how to make it, how to make a lot, how to make more, etc. And I felt so frustrated…so like I didn’t belong. I know I’m called to serve people, not to make money. I have a mission, a calling, a direction from the voice of God Himself.

This season is a time of waiting for me. But it’s also a time of obedience. It’s time to turn hearing into action and to see where the Lord leads. When I was sitting in that meeting, I felt a little like Ray in the corn field. Like I should look over my shoulder and listen harder. Because I could have sworn I heard a voice.

Celebrating Christmas with the Prince

•December 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,  and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6

Wow…what has NOT happened since I last blogged? I started a new job, which has made my last week absolutely busy and crazy and challenging and overwhelming all at the same time. It was the right decision to take the job…I know that. But change is still hard. I went from a laid back, routine environment to a fast-paced, unpredictable rollercoaster ride. It’s going to be an adjustment!

Then, since tonight is the first time I’ve had a chance to catch up on the computer, I checked my credit card bill and realized my balance was SO HIGH! I’ll spare you the details. All I can say is that I always pay my bill to zero. And this one shocked me. Apparently all of the shopping for presents really added up.  Tis the season, I suppose.

Just in case I wasn’t worrying about finances enough, 60 Minutes just featured a special about the money issues affecting the country. A lot of it was about budget cuts for education. Jim is a teacher, so we both just watched and worried.

PLUS, I lost a diamond out of my engagement ring today! Oh.my.gosh. I spent most of the sermon today crawling around on the floor in the halls of the church looking for it! This story has a happy ending, though. We never found the stone, but we went right to the jeweler, and he replaced it without charging us! Such a relief.

Here’s my point: the worries are adding up. Gosh, if I took them all in, it would drive me up a wall! That is, except for one thing…

Lucky for me, it’s Christmas time. So I’ve been hearing great verses about the coming of Jesus. And there’s one in particular that rings true in my life right now. It’s the one I wrote above. The part that I’m living is the fact that Jesus is “the prince of peace”.

WOW! Double, triple wow. I can tell you this is true. Without a doubt. I’m living it. God is so faithful. I can’t wait to share victories with you all. Can’t wait to tell you how Jim and I make it through every difficulty. I always tell him, we’re going to be fine. And it’s true. Not because I know what lies ahead. But because I know that Jesus will always be present to provide for our needs and to give us peace in times of plenty and times of want. He is the PRINCE OF PEACE. He is completely in charge of peace, and He loves to deal out the peaceful goodness in volumes to His children. Ask Him for it!

So in this wonderful Christmas season, please find time to worship the one who put the “Christ” in Christmas. And enjoy a heaping helping of His peace!

Much love and Merry Christmas!

I’ll Rescue You, Then Throw You a Party.

•November 29, 2010 • 2 Comments

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
      “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
   I’ll give you the best of care
      if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
   Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
      I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
   I’ll give you a long life,
      give you a long drink of salvation!”  -Psalm 91:14-16 [The Message]

My future sister-in-law recently mentioned how she liked The Message version of the Bible for the Psalms. She said they made more sense in that version. So tonight, when I needed a really personal message, I decided to take her advice…and found what I needed.

Tomorrow, I have two big events: a physical and a job interview. The physical is the one that’s really weighing on me. I don’t know why, but it scares me. I haven’t had one since it was mandatory in college, and lately I’ve been feeling worn down and out of shape. Somewhere in my worrying mind that makes me think something might be wrong. And I want to hear that everything is all right.

Add to that the fact that I’m following up the doctor visit with a job interview that will take me to a position I’m not sure I should even step into and I’m a bit overwhelmed. You see, the interview is for a transfer back to a store I used to work in. It was a place that was very hard for me. In fact, I would call it the low point in my working life. So, although the job is probably the right move for me, it’s hard to imagine walking back through those doors every day.

I think I’m afraid that tomorrow might mess up my life. I’m about to get married to the man I’m insanely in love with, and the wrong news tomorrow could create stress or fears in my life that I don’t want to have now. I want to be living in joy, planning our future together. I’m sure that tomorrow the doctor will laugh at me and tell me I need to start exercising and that whatever happens at work will be the right thing. But I just can’t wait for it all to be over!

Until then, it’s so good to know that I serve a God who allows me to hold onto Him for dear life. And that he plans to give me a long life. Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name!

If you think of it, say a prayer for me. I need to rest in God’s perfect peace and know that He’s a party throwing God, not a doom and gloom God. Let me go boldly into my Monday, my dear Lord, knowing that you will give me the best of care.

The Good Stuff

•November 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 

Earlier in the week, I was in the middle of my lunch (one pizza slice in) when I realized just what my meal looked like. First I was disgusted, then I had to laugh. It really couldn’t get much worse than this: two slices of pizza and a handful of M&M’s. In the interest of saving face,I have to tell you that I did end up getting rid of the second piece and not eating it…it just didn’t seem like a good idea. But before I devoured the M&M’s, I snapped a picture, thinking specifically of sharing it with you!

There’s a simple concept to food: good in, good out, or conversely, bad in, bad out. The same thing goes for our spiritual life. And that [not so] fantastic meal reminded me of that truth. I thought about the verse from Philippians that I put at the beginning of this post a lot. Here are a few of my thoughts:

Whatever is true…that seems like a simple goal: focus on the truth. But it goes deeper than I first thought. I just applied for a different job in my company. It’s a lateral move, meaning it’s the same position but in a different location. I think it’s a good move for me, so it’s been making me nervous. Will they like my resume? Do they want me? What if I don’t get it? All of those questions quickly spiral into: I didn’t update my resume well enough. Clearly, they can do better than me. I’m not going to get it. One aspect of thinking on what is true means that I need to stop thinking about those doubts and lies. I need to focus on the truth: I applied, I’m qualified, and if it’s the Lord’s will, I’ll get the job.

Whatever is noble…are people allowed to have favorite parts of verses? I kind of hope so…because this is my favorite part of the verse. “Noble” is such a great word…it’s a word for Kings and Queens and fairy tales. That word transports me to something more important than an everyday routine…it reminds me that I serve a God who is in charge of a Kingdom. He reigns, and I have the privilege of working in His service. To think on what is noble? I need to meditate on His ways…to see Him working in what seem to be the mundane, average occurences in my life. This week, I had a coworker open up to me about some things that were heavy on her heart. Did it happen by chance? No. It was a divine appointment! And that’s noble.

Whatever is right…now there’s a challenge. There are times when I feel downright mistreated at work. I deal with a lot of less-than-grateful customers and lately, I feel like even my coworkers don’t appreciate how hard I work. It’s really easy to speak badly of people when you feel as if you’re not respected or appreciated. And it’s not surprising that you can always find a complaining buddy. So here’s my challenge: think about what is right. For every person who doesn’t appreciate my work, there are just as many who do. For every moment of stress, there’s a moment of happiness. And regardless of what happens at work, I have such a blessed life. And (even harder to remember) God loves the people that wrong me. His desire is that they join me as co-heirs to His Kingdom. That realization fosters an attitude that changes the way I talk, interact with people and feel.

Whatever is pure…I’m getting married. So here we are, Jim and I, two Christians strongly desiring to honor God and also strongly in love with each other. We are living this part of the verse like no one’s business! We’re both praying alone and together like crazy that we can live and think purely. And if we can control our minds, everything else comes much easier. We pour a ton of energy into this. It helps me to look down at the promise ring I’ve worn for the last 10 years and to remember the promise I made to the Lord. We’ll make it to our wedding, I know we will. But wow, we will have spent a lot of time thinking about purity to get there!

Every piece of this verse has a thousand applications (and challenges) in my life. And especially as I think about my new job opportunity, and about all of the other stress at work, I need to keep this in the back of my mind. No. In the front of my mind. Applying this verse? It will transform every part of your life. I can’t wait to see how a renewed focus on it will transform mine.

I’ll keep you posted on the new job…and please, if you would, keep me in prayer! I can’t wait to see what the [near] future holds!