"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." (Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV)
Part 4 - The Real Ride Begins.
Lord, help me to communicate exactly what you would want me to say to whoever reads this blog. You are the owner of my life after all. You are the source of my joy, and the provider of many a thrill ride in my walk with You. Help me to inspire others to seek a relationship with You in their lives. Amen.
It is strange writing about my life in retrospect. We always say that hindsight is 20/20, but did anyone ever mention that the 20/20 of hindsight vision isn't always fun to look at? With mistakes and missed opportunities, troubles and treasures, heartbreaks and happiness, I believe that the last 16 years have definitely resulted in the most change in me as a person. Where should I start? (Note: I've already decided that I shall make this a 6 part series instead of 5)
Getting Semi-Serious About God
Leaving off from last time, at age 23 after my parents split, I started going back to church. I worked through the bitterness at my dad that I tried so desparately to hold on to after realizing that it was slowly starting to control my life one itty bitty piece at a time. Although it took years, I thank God that He gave me the strength to forgive and restore my relationship with my dad. I mention this because I didn't want to leave anyone hanging out there. My dad walked me down the aisle at my wedding when I was 27. :) Restoration.
Where was I? Getting semi-serious. At the time, I thought I was getting really serious about the whole "God thing". At age 29, if I have my math right, I started attending Grace Baptist Church (the church now known as Grace Church, that I attend today). It was small back then as it was only a few months old when God led me to it. Soon after joining, I became the piano player for the church services and then....the "serious" part...I started being discipled by one of the pastor's wives. Honestly, I can say that discipleship changed my life. For almost a year I met weekly with my "discipler" to discuss the basic aspects of my faith and my walk with God. The seed was planted in me to spark the love for God's word that I have today. It was through this experience that I developed my daily discipline of bible reading.
So if I believe that this was so great you ask, why do I call it being "semi-serious"? Because until the challenges of life overwhelm you and put you flat on your face humbly before God, I'm not sure that anyone can be really serious about Him. How can we seek what we don't know we need?
Getting more serious
I will quickly mention the struggles I've dealt with in the past few years that have brought me to my knees before God. I won't go into much detail "to protect the innocent", but just know that these things have had a profound impact on my life. Let's just say that in the last 6 years, I've...
...made some friends and lost some friends (the "inner circle" kind, big heartbreak here)
...almost been divorced
...walked side-by-side with a close friend who had cancer (she is a survivor!)
...helped my husband through 4 back surgeries
...found myself smack in the middle of a career nightmare-the bankruptcy of my employer (Important note: I was the Financial Controller)
...found myself without a job due to above company's bankruptcy
...begun working for my husband
...learned to totally rely on my husband for financial support
...supported my husband as he manages finances and nursing home care for his aunt
...recognized more shortcomings in myself than I would care to admit
...allowed God to move me into the role as Director of Women's Ministry
...realized that I must accept help from others
...accepted that I must surrender my own will and strength and let God have total control.
Hindsight is 20/20, is it not? Growing pains are hard through the trials God allows to cross our paths, but they are so worth it. Looking back, painful as some of it is to see, I do thank God because of them and for who He is allowing me to become. Some of us apparently need a lot of molding by the Master Potter! Have I had more struggles than anyone else? I don't know. We all have our own stories. I think that God has been trying to make me get serious with Him for years.
Until next time...