New Beginnings

(This God story is from 2011. Things have changed since then, but more on that later!)

“You were the unanimous choice of the hiring committee, so if you and the president can agree on a salary and a start date, the position will be yours.”

Had I really just heard that right?

The assistant to the president at the college where I now teach was telling me the news I had been hoping and praying for for weeks now.

But the fact that she was saying those words filled me with wonder and awe.Yes to God 2

And, I knew, it’s a God thing.

This new beginning started back in early summer when just by happenstance I picked up a Sunday paper. Glancing through the classified section I saw the ad for the English faculty position at SWGTC. After showing it to my husband, David, and discussing and dreaming about the possibility with him, I set the paper aside and went about my day.

But, I couldn’t let it go.

I wanted to, but something (God) kept pulling me back, and, on the last day of the application period, I filled out an online application, got three friends and colleagues to write me letters of recommendation and sent the packet on its merry little electronic way. “There.” I told myself. At least I took the step. That’s all I can do.

I didn’t share the application news with anyone except Dave and the three friends who wrote the letters and I was glad.

After almost a month I still hadn’t heard anything from the college.

I was thinking, “Well, this is what God wanted. He just wanted to know I was willing to step out even if nothing came of it.”

But, being ever like the man after God’s own heart, David, and having a need for confirmation, I emailed the human resources person just, I thought, to be told that they had hired someone else. That’s not what happened, though. Her response was that they would begin interviews the following week and I should hear from the Hiring Committee if they were interested. Good enough. I had my answer. I said a prayer of thanks to God and let it go.

IMG_1244That’s not the end of the story, though. If it were, it would be good and God would still be great. However, the following week, while talking to my sister-in-law and friend Kimberly on my cell phone, my home phone rang and it was the Dean from the college wanting to set up an interview! I could hardly believe it. Just when I thought God had said NO! the door opened a little crack again.

I went to that interview the following week and when I left, I knew that I had done all I could and that there was nothing I wished that I had done any differently. I had been confident that I was the right person for the job and I left confident that whatever happened, God was in control. The committee had said that I should hear something within a week, so that meant that I wouldn’t have long to think about it or to worry over it, my usual mode of operation. This time, though, I felt a sense of peace because I knew I had given the whole situation to God and that He had this.

When two weeks went by and I hadn’t heard anything, I have to admit to panicking just a little. So, I once again put on my David persona and sent an email to the human resources person to see if a decision had been made. As I was reading her reply the following Monday morning, my cell phone rang and it was a number I didn’t recognize.

You guessed it! It was the call from the president’s office setting up my interview with him.

Some people would say that’s not about God. It’s just you were the right person. But I know differently. And, so did my sweet sister-in-law, who I often say has a direct line to God. Because when I texted her after the interview and said if God speaks to you about this, please share. She did. Here is her reply:

“The door is open. He is waiting for you on the other side to meet Him there…trust Him. Don’t listen to Satan’s lies. He will try to sway you in your discernment. I don’t know the logistics, but He does. There are a lot of mixed up college kids waiting for you to love them.”

That’s a God thing. I knew when I read this text message that taking the position was the right thing to do and that God was all over it. I just had to get out of the way and let Him be the one to shine. As He says in Jeremiah 29:11-14:

“I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. I’ll turn things around for you…You can count on it.” (The Message)

That’s my God! And, I pray that’s your God, too.26

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‘Til Death Do Us Part

“To this day the best love story I’ve ever heard! And still just as in love… Inspiring!”

Wow!!!

For a former student to still see that ten years after hearing the story is amazing. And, as I looked at the two of us in the picture

There's no one else in the world, but you!

There’s no one else in the world, but you!

she commented on, oblivious to the chaos around us, I realized that we are still just as in love as ever. But, that, in and of itself, is a God thing.

Sometimes when I think back on our story, I am humbled and awestruck that God loves me enough to be sure that I “get it” where my husband is concerned, otherwise this love story could just as easily have fizzled out before it even began.  But,  God had his hand on my life and his plan on our marriage.

Dave and I married after only dating for approximately six weeks. A record even for my family, who is known for its short engagements. But, the story that this student knows began several months before we actually met, when we worked for the same bank. His job required us to talk on the phone almost every day and I looked forward to hearing his voice. Because, you see, it was his voice that got me first. And, it’s still his voice, 28 years later that gets me. I fell in love with the voice and the person who went along with it, long before I ever saw him.

When I met David at a corporate function months later in late summer, it was love (or maybe attraction) at first sight. We ran headlong into a relationship and were married shortly before Thanksgiving. So, where does the God thing come in? Where hasn’t it!

But, seriously, within a month of being married, we both realized that there were things we should have taken the time to get to know about each other before we said “I do”. We didn’t, however, and we were already feeling the obvious differences rear their ugly head in the form of distrust, anger, resentment, and maybe a little regret. I knew my history. It was time to cut my DSC00713losses and run! But, God had a different plan, and He made it known to us a short time later when we discovered that we were expecting our first child. Now what?

I should have known better than to ask that question.

Two months later Dave’s dad died, and then in August, almost five weeks before he was supposed to do so, our baby boy made his appearance.  This little person arrived early, was only 17 inches long and weighed less than 5 pounds! Not exactly what I was expecting, and not exactly sure what we were going to do with him. Add to that the fact that the tiny woman Dave had married not even a year before was now 50 pounds heavier and looked nothing like that person  and you can begin to see the problem.

Any one of these things could have been enough to break apart a newly married couple, but when you put all of them together, the odds are not good. However, we made it through that first year and we’ve made it through 30 more. They haven’t all been idyllic but they have been an adventure, and along the way the God thing stories have just become a constant part of our lives.

God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-14 has seen us through. We claim it repeatedly. “For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will reverse your plight and will regather you from all the nations and all the places where I have exiled you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.’

When you see the world through God’s filter then you see that He really is in control of everything we do and every choice we make. So even all those years when I was not walking with God, He was still walking with me. He protected me, and my family, and He waited for me to return to Him just as is promised in Proverbs where Solomon say “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.P1010042

And, when you believe like Dave and I do in the commandment Jesus gave in Matthew 19:6 where he says: “What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.” that’s what you do. You stick it out and you love each other even when you may feel the other person is unlovable. And that’s what we have done.

We made a life and a family and God has honored us for doing so.

DSC01093We know that our marriage is a God thing and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Saying “Yes” to God – Grace by the Book

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

Several months ago I went to see my pastor because I had a question that was weighing on me and for which I didn’t have an answer. The question was:

How does a Christian live their life when they know they aren’t living God’s plan for them?

Pretty crazy, right? As a Christian I should always be living God’s plan for me.

But, I knew I wasn’t.26

And, I also knew that the not living His plan was the reason for my season of discontent.

Three jobs in three years.

Two churches and no real connection.

My family struggling with everyday life and with decisions that just needed God’s grace to help determine the right outcome.

All these things had finally weighed me down to the point where all I wanted was to know how to say “Yes” to God and to be, as my sister-in-law describes it

“Smack dab in the middle of God’s will.”971541_10151512857047694_791469752_n

Hadn’t been there in awhile.

Didn’t even remember what it felt like.

I had been living my life with me in the pilot’s seat and God as a sometimes distant co-pilot.

What my pastor said that day shocked me.

But, I knew he was right.

As a Christian, living outside God’s plan for you is not an option. It’s sin.

I knew in that moment that whatever it took, I had to say “Yes” to God and to live the life He had planned for me.

Not the one I was struggling to orchestrate.

What happened next can only be described as a God thing.

Preacher took me to the office of his wife, our ministry’s personnel director, and he told her to make sure I had an application on file and to put it on the top of her pile for the coming school year.

See, our ministry has a Christian school. And, for the time when I absolutely knew I was smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for me, I was a teacher and administrator there.

I left, though, six years ago for what I thought I was supposed to do, but not what God told me to do.

Walking away didn’t change the outcome of what I left for. My mom still died from the affects of the disease she had.

I couldn’t save her.momandme

I almost lost myself.

I felt like Moses and the Israelites in the desert. God gave me just enough to get through each day, but the promised land was only something I could see on the horizon.

I wanted to be Joshua telling everyone I knew that God could beat anything and breaking down the walls of Jericho but, I was more like the ten who came back and said we can’t do this.

Funny thing is, God never left me.

He waited.

Until I was ready.

And, when I fell so low that I couldn’t go on.

When I cried out.

He was there.

When he threw the lifeline.

I took it.

I said “yes” to God because I don’t want, as Lysa says:

“We have to set our rules and agendas aside-our dos and don’ts, our social graces and proper places-and follow God’s command. His one requirement is so simple and yet so profound: Whatever God says do, do it. That’s it. That’s the entire Bible…” (pg. 20).

I’m saying yes and I’m living this week with my palms up.

Waiting on God.

Waiting for God.

Anticipating great things.

Grace for Today – Missing God’s Plan

Have you ever had that feeling? The moment when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you missed God’s plan and you’re left wondering how to make it right?

I had one of those last week and I find myself once again falling on my face before God begging His forgiveness and promising that it won’t happen again.

But it will. I’m human and I know that as much as I proclaim that I want to be, as a friend of mine calls it “smack dab in the middle of God’s plan” there are still times and situations where I haven’t given up the driver’s seat to Him and where I still jump first and see His plan after. I claim the promise of Jeremiah 29:11-14 with my mouth all the time, but I’m not sure I claim it with my heart.

And, in this particular situation, God just went ahead and confirmed His position on the subject through the message of Dr. Charles Stanley on Sunday morning. His sermon was  called “Direction Without Doubt”. I felt the conviction all over me as I realized that God designed that message for me to hear, and as a way for me to know that only when He is the first place I turn for help and advice will my decisions be the best He has in store for me.

I thought about trying to encapsulate Dr. Stanley’s message for you, but I think hearing it from him might be the better course of action. So, I am including it here http://www.intouch.org/broadcast/this-week-on-tv and my prayer is, that if you, like me, sometimes forget where our direction should come from, you can and will have this resource to remind you whose advice and counsel you should seek.

Because no one knows you like He does and no one wants for you the best like the Father who made you.

Lynn

 

Grace for Today

I’ve been quiet on the blog the last few days. Taking time to get my mind and heart around the things that are important to me and seeking God to be sure that I am in His will above all else. So, my friends, the blog will be back next week with words about baptism and then the months that follow will explore the gifts of Christmas.

But for today… wherever you are. My prayer for you is that you will hear God’s voice and that you will respond as He leads. Because all else is just empty noise crowding your life and keeping you from the plan He has for you.

11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12

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13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ Jeremiah 29:13-14

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This weekend may all your seeking lead you into the arms of God and into His will for your life. Trust Him as I do to have a plan for you.

Lynn