Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Life Changed.... A Little Bit More

Man. It has been quite a weekend so far.

Friday, I was at church all day at a conference geared towards pastors and leaders in the ministry. God really opened my eyes in a deep, deep way.

Friday night, I went to bed and just prayed that God would show up again.I signed up to pray in our prayer room at 8am, so I would finish just as it was time for the conference to start.

I went into the room a little hesitantly. I knew that big things happened for other people during their "prayer room" time in the past. What if nothing big happened in mine? What if I fell asleep? What if I couldn't hear God say anything? Obviously, my mind was all over the place.

What a relief when I got in the room and one of the first things that it prompts you to do is to set your stuff down and just take a few moments to surrender the things that might distract you from God. As I sat on the couch, and just surrendered my thoughts, I felt the weight lifted off of me, and was able to focus (which is not easy for me in any normal situation).

As I made my way around the room, I felt God piggy-backing off what He had done yesterday. He gave me a very clear order to begin inviting Him into all the moments of my life. So, I was intentional about keeping that posture with Him.
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When I got about halfway around the room, I felt it. That feeling when you know that God is about to speak. I felt Him speak into me the answer to my prayer when I invited Him into all the parts of my life.

He reminded me of people in my life that have walked me through the hard things (and some of them are still doing this), and the love that I felt from them. Then He told me, "That is how I want you to spend your time; loving those that are difficult to love. You need to give it away. Love those people that are making big steps towards freedom."

There were a few areas that came to mind, but that isn't important. What's important is this: I know for a fact that these promptings were not me. I know it was God. Why is that? Because I, in my own strength, do not like (or love) people enough to desire to love them.

Specific actions in my past allude to this, but since I fully surrendered my life to God a few months ago I have found that my love for people has been blossoming. I find myself wanting to pour into people where in the past, I haven't. My heart burns for women walking through those really hard steps towards a new freedom. I actually can't wait to give away the things that God is showing me and doing in me. That is got to be the Lord.
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I don't know all the things God is going to do with what He just did in me, but I sure am excited to do it!

I'm just thankful that He keeps moving and working in me, and that He loves me enough to redeem me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Life Changed

My life was changed today.

And before you think, "Oh, Lindsay-Marie.... so dramatic.." I'm not exaggerating. I literally went into a building and came out completely different. Changed.

I found out a few weeks ago that our church was hosting a conference on prayer. I wasn't sure why I was supposed to go, but I knew I needed to be there. So, I let me boss know that I wouldn't be in and I bought a ticket. I showed up with simple expectations: that God would show up.

As soon as the day started, I could feel it: God was stirring something up in me. My mind and heart were completely taken over by specific things that stuck out to me. I scribbled them all down so I wouldn't forget them, knowing that I could read them later and try to process through what the thing was that God was trying to show me.

I might share those things later after I process through them. But, it's not the quotes that are important. What's important is what God did in my heart through them.
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We had people that shared about how they saw prayer transform their ministry area. People shared about how transformed their lives and those around them through prayer. One of the speakers was sharing about how prayer has affected her specific area of ministry and God got me all excited about who He is. His power. His faithfulness. His goodness. His consistency. How big He is. His righteousness. His majesty. He used specific things that have been happening in my life to remind me of who I know Him to be, because I have experienced it first hand.

Shortly after that, we broke off and prayed with our tables in different parts of the church. While my table was praying, God sent this jolt through my heart. It stung a little bit and shocked me.

This is what He said: "If you really believe those things about me, why are you not inviting me into the other areas of your life?" As He touched my heart, I repented of shutting Him out and trying to be my own God.

Because here's the thing... I love shouting proclamations of praise when God does something amazing and miraculous. I invite Him into those moments. I (like most) am also fairly quick to go to Him when I need something. But.... what about the in-between times? The things that seem mundane to me? The times that the choice is so simple that I decide that I can do it on my own.

But, what God said to me today is that He wants that too. He wants the boring stuff. He wants me to get up each day and for me to ask, "Okay, God. How do you want me to spend your time today. What do you want me to do to glorify You with each moment? How can I make today count for you?"
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So, we have one more day for this conference. I am going into tomorrow with the expectations the same. Simple. Just asking God to show up. And, I'm sure He will, like He always does.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

You're Hired!!

What a weird twist of events the past two days...

Yesterday, I set up an interview for today at a preschool. Being a preschool teacher is my "fall back" job. It's something that I do well, and am well-qualified for. But, this teeny-tiny part of me felt going into the interview that being a preschool teacher again was taking a step back. But, I decided to go into it with an open mind.

I put on my best "preschool teacher-y outfit" and went in with confidence.

Upon arrival, I immediately felt at-ease. The preschool is set up in an older house, with each room set up as a different classroom. You can't help but feel comfortable there. Like going to your grandmother's house. It was nice.

The interview was seamless. The owner/director and I connected really well, and for a few moments I felt like I was gabbing with a girlfriend and not speaking with a prospective employer. That has proven to be a good sign in the past.
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Fast forward four hours. I was offered the job. In a measly twenty-eight hours, I lost a job and got a job.

But, in all of that, here is what I saw: God is incredibly big. He's so big, in fact, that He orchestrated me to find a job that would end after 3.5 weeks. Though the experience was short, it had many purposes. I met a coworker that pushed me to start to freelance. I also discovered my passion for social media management and marketing is a lot bigger than I thought. This job filled in a gap that bridged my nannying contract with a preschool job. A preschool job that wasn't available when I was looking.

I could go on and on about how I saw God in all of this, but the details aren't the point! The point is that He was in it. He always is. He's in everything, and in control.
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Last night during worship practice, we were given a time to listen to some mellow worship music and be encouraged by God. Something that God pointed me to was this:

Psalm 73:21-28
When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you. 
Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory. 
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds. 

This passage was the very one that stirred my heart and moved me to come back toward God and His hear four years ago. It means a lot to me for a lot of different reasons.

One of the things that struck me last night was how God is the same God today as He was then. Four years ago, when I was coming out of a long bout of alcoholism and promiscuity and a string of bad choices, He opened my eyes and showed me that all I had was Him, and He was all I needed. Yesterday, when I was angry and sad and confused about losing my job, He comforted me and told me that He would take care of everything. He is still the same. He has never changed.  His word is still comforting and loving and has this way that it draws us closer to His heart. It’s satisfying and is a breath of fresh air and when we’re panting and exhausted from fighting the war against the enemy, He quenches our thirst and leaves us feeling replenished.

He’s the same. Always. Faithful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You're Fired!

Well, that's not actually what I heard, but it might as well have been.

So much has changed in the past few months. I'll sum it up in a sentence or two, how's that? I am now happily single and unemployed. So yeah, I guess I was able to sum that up fairly quickly.

Bitter? No.

Was I expecting this? Not in the least.

But, as most people end up saying: in the long run, I am better off.

The relationship just wasn't going to end up being a long-term thing. And, after three months of getting to know someone in a romantic way, no matter how much you care about them, you need to either.....ahem..... or get off the pot. I'm not saying that if you're still gaga over him, you need to get married, but at that point in a relationship, you know the person. And if you feel like it's not working out, break up. Simple. No need to drag it out and "try to make it work." Why? You're not married. If it's not gonna happen, it's not gonna happen.

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Now, onto the job situation.

I knew that my nannying days were numbered back in May or so. This part wasn't a surprise. (And man! I need to say that I miss those girls something fierce!)

What was a surprise is to be working for New Job for less than a month and to be "laid off" due to lack of work. I'm sorry, what?

I'll skip the drama and my hours of frustrated tears and cut to the chase: It just wasn't working out. In four months, the business I was working for will probably be doing a lot better and be able to support an addition staff member. Until then, he had to cut me loose. That's just the nature of business sometimes. I was the new kid in town, so I got the axe.

What's next, you ask?

I don't really have that answer. All I know is that God has given me a supernatural peace. I know He will provide the thing that He wants me to do. I know that all that He has led me through has been for a reason, and the break-up and getting laid off are no different. I'm just excited and eager to see what He's got up His sleeve.

For now, I am going to reassess, reorganize and rest.