You’ve Got Mail: God at Work

Over the last 24 hours, the veil has been lifted on another portion of the vast tapestry of men God has been weaving together in my life for the last 5+ years to undo the hurt, pain, and damage that had been done.  To heal the wounds, establish a sense of safety, an ability to open up, and restore trust.

Almost 6 years ago, I was left totally wounded when my fiancee walked out the door and out of the complicated relationship we had found ourselves in.  I was broken.  I was broken when we started the relationship because quite frankly, when it came to having the ability to have a relationship, I was not whole enough to be in one.  As is the case with Ava, the main female character of The Hijacked Holiday.  She’s a former version on myself…and bringing her to life these last couple of weeks, awakened things that I simply hadn’t thought about for years. She really began to mess with me.

Airport Guy was also not adding up.  I knew God had placed him in my path, and while he was turning out to be super helpful, I was growing frustrated, and uncomfortable with him because of how little I knew about him.  I needed to know what kind of guy God had placed in my life to provide all this hard truth he was giving me.  AG also pointed out the time had come for me to really divorce myself from Ava.  He didn’t realize how much she was messing with me, but he saw that I was getting in the way of fully expressing who Ava was.

Truth is, I was protecting Ava’s flaws, the same way I used to protect those very flaws in me, instead of seeing how I’m not her anymore.  Ava won’t have to stay that way either.

AG came forth with more of his backstory, once I directly asked for it, which explained why he was helping me, and why I was the ideal candidate to help him with his story.  He hadn’t gotten personal with me, because he wasn’t looking for that.  He is happily married, and his wife, his friends, or his family could all help him with the book, but they are too familiar with the characters in the book to be of any substantiate help, without impacting the story.

I was so happy and relieved to finally have some information on him.  It helped to put so many things into perspective.

But back to God’ work.  Like I said, over the last 5 years, there have been some significant male friends (and role models) that have come in and out of my life to break down, undo, and improve the things I believed about men. I have named them all in my journal and the role they played, but I won’t do it here or ever, without either letting them know first, and/or changing their identity for the sake of their privacy.  But they have been part of God’s plan…and Josh, my male character is in many ways bits and pieces of those men/friends.  Josh will do for Ava, what they did for me.

Now that AG and I have cleared the air, we are forging on with helping each other, may be I’ll even discover he has a great sense of humor, and we can have fun working together. If I’m going to keep eating humble pie from him, I needed to know he was in fact a great guy, with a full life, surrounded by amazing people.

But AG is more than help for me on this project to make it better – I have past experiences with men partnering up with me for the wrong reasons and my getting really hurt by it.

I believe God placed him in my path to show me, there are stand-up guys who can have a personable professional partnership with me, that is based on mutual respect and exchange of knowledge, gifts, and skills to help each other out.

Of course God would gift wrap him in a nice looking package, He’s God, He knows how to get my attention!

If you haven’t turned your life over to God, you simply can’t understand how closely He will work in your life.  How He will answer your prayers, slowly at times, according to His timing and His ways, but He can, and will restore what you have lost, heal your suffering and renew everything about you. It will not likely be according to the way you want it, but in the end, much better!

I mean sure, I would have liked for a Josh to enter my life, and work through all my issues with me, but it didn’t turn out that way, it was a slow process because that’s what was best and it truly glorifies Him. I have been able to celebrate each man who changed something about me, be grateful for him entering my life, and acknowledge God for sending Him. I have witnessed how systematically God has been working, how carefully He went about carrying out His plan, and above all, how much He loves me to make it all fit together perfectly.

He’s continuing to work out my kinks, confirmed I need to continue on this project, and did I mention, He LOVES me.

There’s a hanging chad, which happens to be the lynch pin to falling down to my knees in the first place in this weaving God has been doing.  Not related to AG, but possibly related to either the future of my love life or the future of my professional career.  Either way, I’m excited and curious to find out what God has planned for him.  Not even going to try to figure it out.  I absolutely adore the way God surprises me with His plans!

Winter Wonder Renewed Connection Weekend

My long weekend did not go as planned. I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do, but I did get from it what I needed – a renewed connection to the Lord and His purpose.

I left off in my last post turning my troubles to God after awaking plague with anxiety, fear and doubt…and in need of retrieving my car from the parking lot where I had to leave it.

Shortly after finishing the post, the sun came out, and I began my journey back to my car. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and the roads were clear. I enjoyed my hike back down the mountain, and found my car where I’d left it. I drove back to where I was staying without any issues.

The next day, I woke up to another beautiful day and was able to drive home safely. I was home for about ½ hour and it started to snow. As I watched it snowed, I felt the overwhelming love I have for the Lord, and gratitude for the personal relationship we share. He is diligently watching over me, and taking care of my needs.

I realized this weekend my commitment to Him had become a habit…a routine and that’s not acceptable to Him. God expects us to be purposeful in seeking Him. He doesn’t want us to take Him for granted or place anything above Him. He opened my eyes through some struggles and challenges to make me aware I was going astray. The nudge to get back on track was overall gentle, but yet direct. He reminded me I need Him, and only Him. He controls everything. All I have to do is listen, obey and serve.

Walk by faith
For We Walk by Faith, Not By Sight 2 Corinthians 5:7

The weekend was also a reminder of His constant powerful presence in my life. He does have a plan for my life; a plan that requires I maintain a persistent and intentional relationship/dependence on Him and only Him. Not to sound prideful, but it is a privilege and honor to be pursued by the Lord in this fashion. It’s also scary; His plan for my life…scares me, I know I can’t do it without Him. Events like this weekend are reminders, reminders to keep preparing me.

I returned to work empowered and renewed to continue to give it my best – which I desperately needed, especially after how the New Year started out.

I didn’t get what I wanted but I got EXACTLY what I needed. If you’ve never experienced what that’s like; I encourage you to become more intentional in your relationship with the Lord. He works everything for our good, but in order for you to see/experience it; you have to first get in alignment with His will and fully surrender your life to Him.

Winter Wonderhell Weekend

And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief: for truly I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. –Matthew 17:20

This has been so far one of the worst trip and weekend I can remember in a long time. I woke up this morning filled with dread, anxiety and fear. It’s undoubtedly a compilation of everything that’s been keeping me busy, making me miserable, and leaving me unhappy and dissatisfied.

I’ve been extremely busy at work with the same and constant madness that’s been plaguing that place but now, to top it off, the Marines who have been my saving grace are leaving and that’s breaking my heart. I’ve been trying to distract myself with applying for jobs, tweaking my website, and rebranding myself in order to establish something I love in my life. It’s required me to start planning many trips at once and I’ve probably taken on too much in the process. I’ve also come to realize; I have little faith and hope in a better future for myself.

There I said it. I’m having a faith crisis…I don’t believe God has a beautiful plan for my life. I believe He has a plan and it looks like what my life has been so far; a life lived alone (in the physical world) facing and raising above struggles…over and over again. I believe my faith crisis has brought about greater struggles, which is what had me paralyzed in bed this morning. My faith crisis is not in my belief in God; that is stronger than ever, so I turned to Scriptures to overcome my fears and anxieties.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:6-7

You see, my car is currently 8 miles away…hopefully still parked in the parking lot I left it in, after I was unable to make it back up the mountain yesterday. While I’ve been under the belief I have all weather tires on my car, they’re clearly insufficient in the slightest amount of snow. Yesterday morning, I got stuck in the hotel parking lot almost hitting a parked van. Thankfully, I found the owner of the van and was able to escape without hitting anything. I proceeded to follow directions to an information center that took me way out of my way, desperate to find a trail I could hike, having given up on actually cross country skiing, which is what I had originally ventured up here to do.

It began to snow after my hike, and as I was driving up the mountain, I started skidding and back sliding. Yes, there were cars in front and behind me. Thankfully, they all came to a stop. I was eventually able to turn around to make my way back down the mountain to park my car. I had the option to wait and see if the snow would stop, but it was getting late so I began to hike back. I hiked most of the way, a few miles short; I stopped at a restaurant to eat and got a cab.

I’m gonna have to head out at some point today, and go find out if the roads are good enough to drive my car back up then continue to pray the weather is good enough for me to make it back home tomorrow. As I laid awake this morning, feeling helpless and super alone…I turned all my worries over to God. I don’t know how I’m going to get my car back up here, or how I’m going to get out of here tomorrow – I have faith God is going to work it out. God can solve my problems in the supernatural; I can only stress figuring out the natural, worldly solutions.

I might lack faith in the hope of a bright and simpler future for my life, but I don’t lack any faith in knowing God will get me through whatever is currently plaguing my life. I might feel unhappy, miserable and dissatisfied with my circumstances, but I know “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

I have committed my life to God. As Dr. Stanley says: “Obey the Lord and leave the consequences to Him.” I control nothing. I’m an obedient servant. I don’t throw money, logic or anything else at my problems because that makes me anxious, fearful and stressed…I hand them to the Lord.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears Psalm 34:4

Will let you all know how God worked things out in the next post.

His Love Eased The Blow

I boasted to a handful of people that I was feeling good about the job I’d applied for. God’s presence has been strong since Monday…so I assumed it was a positive sign things were looking good since the job closed on Monday.  The news that awaited me in my inbox this morning made me realize His presence was actually to ease the blow.  While I considered myself qualified for the job I really wanted…according to the computer that reviewed my resume – I’m not.

The rejection hurt. I reread the email a few times…hoping I’d misread the words or that perhaps the words would magically change.  Then time stood still as my thought selection filtered in, as if someone had pulled the lever on a slot machine and a series of thoughts were going round and round. Thoughts of past disappointment, rejection, pain and hurt that had long been buried wanted to rise from the dead and creep back in. The cascade of everything I have to feel sorry for myself wanted to flow freely with this latest rejection leading the wave.

The slot machine stopped and my thoughts settled on God, God, and God. There He was filling me with His love. Reminding me of the last two days and all of the hope, happiness and joy I felt. He quietly said “It wasn’t the prospect of the job that filled you with those feelings but knowing I am there and I love you. I’m still here and I love you.”

I didn’t need to dwell on how disappointed I felt or how it hurts. He knows. I didn’t have to remind Him of everything I’ve been through. He knows. But I did ask him to keep guiding me, to show me the way, to lead me to what He has planned for me.  He knows that too…but I don’t, not yet. I asked Him to keep revealing Himself to me, to keep teaching me His ways and to keep by my side.

When that was all said and done – the only thing left was a desire to write about it. God first. Writing second. What would I choose to do given the opportunity to do anything…not the job I applied for any other type of work. I would write. So the answer for now is: write.

Seeking God’s Will For My Next Job

From trip to Berlin February 2014
From trip to Berlin February 2014

While in Berlin back in February, I felt compelled to find a way to stay in Germany.  I realized there’s something about this place (I can’t quite put my finger on) that sparked a desire to stay. I prayed about it and proceeded to look for jobs.  The search was a little disheartening – according to my resume, I’m qualified for jobs I don’t necessarily want and lack the qualifications on paper for the jobs I would probably love.

I would love to write that I took this conundrum to the Lord to seek His will…but I didn’t.  Instead, I shelved the problem and how it made me feel to deal with it later.

I had some downtime about two weeks ago so I decided to peruse the job listings again on USA Jobs.  I have a little less than six months left on my orders so I need to find my next job.  I found a job I want…I mean REALLY want. I couldn’t believe what I consider to be an ideal job was listed and waiting for me to apply. I felt so excited!  I found myself saying “God, please let me have this job.”

I didn’t waste any time. I started doing my research on the Organization, got my cover letter started and looked into how I needed to tweak my resume to be more competitive and relevant for this particular job. But the more I wanted the job, the more I started feeling fear and anxiety. What if I don’t get it, then what?  I’ll be so disappointed. I found myself saying again but more desperately “God, please let me have this job.”

After a few days of feeling anxiety about the prospect of this job, a new thought entered my mind: “God, is this your will for me?  Is this the job you want me to have?” I had yet to pursue His input and guidance about this job.  I made the rookie mistake of trying to talk God into giving me what I want versus seeking what He wants and obeying Him.

They could very well be the same exact thing – but one way brings about stress, worry and fears, while the other way, brings peace and ensures the best outcome no matter what.

Feelings of anxiety and stress are a sure sign that I’m not focusing on the Lord. As I grow as a Christian, I’m getting better at applying Scriptures to my life and to the problems/situations that arise. I turned to the Lord, Scriptures and past lessons to find peace about this job.

Psalm 37: 4 states “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I struggled plenty with this verse early on in my walk with Jesus. I thought I was delighting myself in the Lord but I wasn’t getting my way (desires of my heart) and I didn’t understand why.

Further study and development in my relationship with God made me realize the key to this verse was to lay all of my desires at His feet and focus on walking closely with the Lord and truly desiring His will for my life.  When living centered in His will, God will place His desires on my heart.  His desires will be my desires. I asked him “God, did you place the desire for this job on my heart?”  There’s been no answer yet.

Jeremiah 29:11 reads: 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.”

Admittedly, I’ve doubted in the past whether or not God had good plans for me because of my circumstances but that was a lack of understanding and a lack of faith on my part – not the Lord punishing me or keeping His promises from me.

I know He has an incredible plan for my life and this job seems to me (with my limited view and understanding of His plan) like a good step in the right direction. I asked Him “God, will this job prosper me?” There’s been no answer yet.

A few verses in Proverbs 16 (New Living Translation (NLT)) make it clear, whether or not I get this job – it’s in God’s hands.

1 We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer

3 Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

33 We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

I submitted my resume, job questionnaire and other required documents last Wednesday.  Funny thing about that day, it turned out to be a very bad day at work which allowed me to witness the work God has accomplished in me. A year ago, my former self would have submitted the resume begging God to take me away from the constant nightmare of my circumstances.  I would have been filled with fear, doubt and dread God wouldn’t answer my prayer. I would have been feeling hopeless and trapped.

Not so anymore. I submitted the resume expressing my desire to do His will and thanked Him for teaching me once more how to be an obedient servant.

I’ve thought about how badly I want this job every day since then…free of stress, anxiety and doubt.

An Instrument for the Hand of God

My circumstances have not changed for many years; it is their constant state that have taught me and shown me the Hand of God at work.  First, my circumstances made me realize a need to change – a need to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Next, my circumstances allowed me to change by allowing God to forge me into who He created me to be (this is ongoing). Then being in the same circumstances made realize how much I had changed. And now, my circumstances are showing me how God can use me to work in other people’s lives.

Many Christians turn to God to help them in their times of need and once He has – they go back to doing their own things; turning their backs on God who they claim to serve. Our sinful nature which wants to do its own thing keeps us from experiencing the real intimacy and rewards of serving our Father.

I wake in the morning and my first thoughts are to give thanks to the Lord for another day and to let him know this day belongs to Him. I’m ready to serve and obey Him. So when I go in to work every day in one of the most dysfunctional environment I’ve ever had the (dis)pleasure to work in; I know He wants me here.

The dysfunctional environment I’m currently in is a product of people not doing their jobs, personality clashes, unrealistic expectations and a lack of leadership. It’s a product of people serving their own purposes and not thinking pass themselves. At first I was aggravated and frustrated with the place, but now I find it (and the people creating it) sad and unfortunate. They all could use God in their lives. I have God in my life and I don’t belong to this environment; although I am in it – it is not in me or of me.

I don’t know what God wants me to do most days and I’m okay with that because when He does want me to do something – He tells me and I obey.

He gave me the opportunity this week to give someone a message that He was starting to work in her life but the decision to make the hard choices and the necessary sacrifices to embark on the journey with Him and be blessed by it was hers to make.

I had chills while I delivered the message when it hit me God was using me as a messenger! His Hand was all over the situation and I was an instrument to do His work. This was only the second time I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was directly using me…I can’t explain what an incredible blessing that is.

When God works a miracle in my life, I feel blessed by Him and closed to Him but when He uses me to work a miracle in someone else’s life; I feel his presence ten times more and a deep closeness because it lets me know He is trusting me. He lets me know I am living my life in a way that can be used to serve His Kingdom.

I used to want to help people on the large scale so badly through the Loop of Confidence, motivational speaking and all my other endeavors. I used to think God was calling me to do it; I used to try to control the outcome and force people to get it. I caused myself so much pain, heartaches and disappointment. I was totally clueless what it actually took to be used by God and what it would feel like.

When I was done delivering the message God had trusted me with…I knew I could do nothing else but provide her more guidance if she wanted it; the next step was fully in her hands and God already has the outcome all worked out. When serving God, the outcome, consequences and glory all belong to Him. The joy and honor of partnering up with Him though…that I can bask in, not in a prideful but jubilant manner.

When I laid my ambitious dreams of helping people according to my will at His feet, I felt lost and useless.  I felt like He was not using me to my potential and every so often I would go and pick my ambitions back up. When He kept putting me in the same circumstances it was hard not to think I was doing something wrong. It’s counter intuitive to think things getting worst was actually God making it better for me but that’s why faith is so important.  It’s why knowing Him is key. The harder it gets, the deeper into His Word I go…the more He teaches me, shows me and uses me. The closer I am to Him, the less everything else matters. I don’t go to His feet anymore to pick up my ambitions; I go to rest.