Saturday, October 30, 2010

Growing Closer to God..

I read a new friend's blog tonight and it really spoke to me.  She recently finished a 40-day fast and talked about how she really felt the closeness of God through it.  I have thought about doing a 40-day fast a few times over the last year or so - but have always let "busyness" keep me from doing it.  I think that I too am ready to go on a fast to not only grow closer to God, but to take back spiritual ground that the devil has stolen from MY FAMILY over the years.  And what better time than heading into the holidays! 

I remember when I delivered the Columbus Dispatch newspaper (for about 1 & 1/2 years), I used to get up through the week at 2:30am to go down to the warehouse and fold and bag the papers so that I could walk the route and be finished and back home to shower, change, and be at work by 7am.  I would walk for those few hours in the early morning and pray, asking God for a closer walk with Him.  I had been a Christian almost all of my life, yet I didn't feel very close to God.  I just knew that there had to be something "better".

Sometimes I would walk and just listen to my GoBible (it's like an MP3 player but with the entire Bible on it instead of music).  Eventually I gave up that paper route because I felt God was dealing with me about working on Sundays.  I thought about trying to find a sub or a "partner" that would do Sundays for me, but I made almost half of my paycheck on Sundays because that paper was so big and there were almost twice as many people that got the Sunday paper than the weekday paper.  Financially, it wasn't worth it - so I gave it up entirely.  That was a little over 2 years ago, and I have to say, I have grown closer to the Lord in these last 2 years than I ever would have thought possible. 

Gosh, now that I'm thinking about it, I've also spent these last 2+ years living with a roommate so that I could go to school for my massage license (I wanted to be able to pay cash for my classes as I went so that I wouldn't have any school loans to pay back).  I've been able to do that, and now I've graduated from Massage School, and am ready to move back out on my own! 

But now I'm ready to go to another "level" in God.  Pray for me as I pray and seek God's direction for my life.  I can truly say with all of the honesty in my heart that I want to be in the center of God's will more than I want ANYTHING else in my life.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall is my FAVORITE season...


     Fall is my favorite time of year.  I absolutely love the colors of fall - the rich reds, orange, and browns of the trees; and the chill in the air.  I love the smell of firewood burning (the neighbor's because I don't have a fireplace), the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas being right around the corner, and football (my STEELERS won today - whoo hoo!) And of course I wouldn't be a true Ohioan if I didn't make mention of the Ohio State Buckeyes!!  I enjoy carving pumpkins with my grandchildren, and watching their excitement as they talk about their costumes for halloween.  And Thanksgiving is the only time during the year that my whole family gets together - I really look forward to it all year.    

     I love my life right now - the Lord has truly blessed me so much.  I'm blessed with a wonderful family - including two terrific boys (Tony and Aaron) and 4 incredible grandchildren - Kayla, Alizia, Austin, and Kellan (pictured).  I'm anxiously awaiting my licensure exam for my Massage Therapist license with the State of Ohio and getting as involved as I can with New Life Church in Gahanna, Ohio.

     I am wanting to go on some upcoming missions trips with New Life Church next year - I can't make up my mind which - there have one that is going to Haiti in Jan 2011, another to Costa Rica, and yet another to Uganda.  Pray for God's continued direction in my life.  God is so good.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

GOD is not only GOOD, He is SMART too!

I know that God wants us to learn how to lean on Him.  As single women, we learn that we have to do everything ourselves - that we can't really count on anyone but ourselves.  But God wants us to learn how to DEPEND on HIM. 

For literally MONTHS I have cried out to Him and prayed about a raise at work that I was supposed to get back in the spring for a job that I started on April 1 !!  I couldn't understand all of the 'red tape' and why they just couldn't get the upper management signatures that were required and push it through.  I called myself trying to be patient, but after 6 months went by, I was starting to see red.  THEN, if that wasn't bad enough, I found out that the raise (when it DID come) wouldn't be retroactive!  Are you kidding me??  I began to be obsessed about this situation, even speaking myself to members of my upper management.  The best I got was "I'm so sorry" and "I understand your frustration."  Really??  

After being promised the last two paydays that it "should be on your next check", and finding that it was not - I came home last week and just cried.  I prayed and cried and read my Bible, hoping the God would please tell me SOMETHING!  I said, "God, I don't know what You are doing, so please help me to understand, because whatever it is - I'm NOT getting it!!"  

The Lord showed me that night, (about 9 days ago) that I was clearly becoming obsessed about not getting this raise.  I felt like He was telling me to 'give it to Him'.  At first I cried and said that I didn't understand what that meant.  The more I prayed and cried, the more I felt like He wanted me to give him the raise - I mean, give Him the entire situation about NOT getting the raise.  I struggled with that for awhile longer, but was finally able to come to the point where I could give it to God, and mean it in my heart.  I said, "Lord, I don't care if I NEVER get this raise - it's YOUR money and I am going to just "give" this raise to YOU.  Besides, if the company is 'stealing' from anyone, they are stealing from God, and not from me!"  I decided that night to not speak of it again - not complain or gripe, and not to even ask anyone else to pray with me that I would get my raise.  That night, when I went to bed - I had peace.  
 It wasn't until I was able to 'give it to God' and mean it in my heart, that He moved. 

Yesterday - 9 days later - I was called into my boss's office and notified that I finally got my raise!  It had been approved and PRAISE GOD, it is truly exceedingly and abundantly above what I could have asked of or even thought of!!  My raise was over 25%!  And it is retroactive back to 8/1/10, which upper management tells me is absolutely unheard of in this company!!   and that’s not all……
the raise that they gave me was over and above the amount that my supervisor put in for!!  Is that incredible or what!!  The great news about this is ….. had they just made the raise retroactive, I would have received a one-time lump sum for the back pay, and that's all.  With it working out THIS way, not only will I get a lump sum check for an amount back to 8/1/10, but I will also get the new (higher) hourly rate going forward!! 

God is not only GOOD, but He is really SMART - isn't He??   Ultimately, He always has our best in mind…….

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Encounter Weekend

I just returned from a week-end get-away with the ladies at my church.  I'm exhausted, but it is a 'good' exhausted.  The "Encounter Week-end" was an awesome time of experiencing God's forgiveness and learning how to re-claim the freedom (in Christ) that is rightfully MINE!  We learned about the price of sin and the POWER of the cross! 
We have a choice, and too many times, we CHOOSE sin!  Romans 5:15-16 says: "So since God's grace has  set us free from the law, does this mean we can go on sinning?  Of course not!  Don't you realize that whatever you CHOOSE to obey becomes your master?  You can CHOOSE sin, which leads to death, or you can CHOOSE to obey God and receive his approval." (emphasis mine).

We need to evaluate what we are letting into our lives - the tv we watch, the people we hang out with, even the computer sites we visit!  What we are doing is so subtle, but we need to recognize that we CANNOT continue to "flirt" with sin and live the GODLY life that we desire to live.  God wants to replace my sinful habits and depression, anxiety, etc with His joy and peace.  But we continually CHOOSE to 'dabble' with sin.

Sin will take me down a road I didn't want to go down - I will end up staying longer than I wanted to stay - and I will pay a cost that is much higher than I wanted to pay.  SIN ALWAYS LEADS TO DEATH!

"To depart from righteousness is to choose a life of crushing burdens, failure, and disappointments, a life caught in the toils of endless problems that are never resolved.  Here is the source of that unending soap opera, that sometimes horror show known as normal life.  The 'cost of discipleship', though it may take all we have, is small when compared to the lot of those who don't accept Christ's invitation to be part of His company in the way of life." (from The Spirit of Disciplines by Dallas Willard).

We must constantly turn our minds towards God.  We must feed our spirit with godliness and stay away from whatever feeds our flesh.  Ephesians 5:3 says "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." (emphasis mine).

I met some great new friends and it was truly a life changing experience.  I'm so excited about the things that God is doing in my life!