In Between the What and How. . .

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The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8

It is often helpful to know the key players in any story.  Knowing who they are and what their part is in the unfolding tale gives you insight to the direction it might go.  Not knowing who they are leaves you in the dark, so to speak.  We all are apart of story.  Our lives take different turns at various events.  The turns are usually a result of a choice we have made.  Or a choice made for us.  When looking back we sometimes wonder which choice changed our life the most. Was it the one we made impulsively or the one we agonized over?  Was it fate taken out of our hands or perhaps God’s will that purposed our path? I have spent time on both thoughts.

Something that might change that particular thought is when someone comes along and gives you a different perspective on a choice you made at one time or another.  What you thought for years to be one way was in actuality a completely different way.  They say, “Don’t you remember blah, blah, blah….” and you say, “Is that really how blah, blah, blah….”  The conversation at that point, in and of itself becomes somewhat life changing, it becomes a revelation.  I can not tell you how many times during these past five years that I have reflected upon the decisions I made from one circumstance to another.  Where did I go wrong, where did I go right, what does it matter, I am still standing here, right?  

I have been seeking God’s vision for my life, as I have mentioned.  The book that I am reading has helped me so much in recognizing the difference between good ideas and good visions.  I want so badly to find God’s vision, not mine.  The problem I am having at the moment is understanding exactly what He, God, has placed in my heart.  Are these notions that I am listing wishes or are they truly seeds of desire that God himself has placed there.  He says in His Word, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4  I have always believed that by delighting (seeking to please Him) yourself in the Lord He gives you the desires first and then they become yours because you love Him.  You love Him so much you want what He wants for you. 

As I read back over the list that I spent some time writing it basically came down to four simple things..  To be loved by a good man.  To be a good mother.  To be a godly wife.  To be given the opportunity to serve others in full time ministry.  I am not sure why I seem to keep listing those particular things.  It is what’s in my heart.  My passion.  When I dream, I dream of those things…however the picture in my mind does not always add up to reality.  You ever see a television show where they show the character daydreaming and then suddenly they are startled back to reality.  Thinking Yeah, life, it is what it is!!  

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

I almost feel as if I need to start over from scratch with those things.  I mean do I really need a man?  Some have told me that I need to not need a man, to be a strong, confident, independent, single woman. Ok, but…what about my desire, ignore it?  To be a good mother is relative I think, to some extent, on my best day I believe I am a good mother.  But then there are days that my best effort falls far short.  Godly wife??? What does that matter now…I am not married and so far God has not given me a vision of ever being married again.  So why is that still in my heart.  Lord, just remove that one please???? And that leaves full time ministry. Of all the the items on the list this one seems to be the one that I am kind of ambivalent about.  I guess because I have absolutely no idea what I would do full time. 

Yesterday was somewhat discouraging on many levels. Mostly internal.  One thought after another as to why I can’t seem to line all this up.  Why I can’t seem to connect with God on exactly what is that He wants for me from this day forward.  The author of the book made a statement that really kind of stopped me in my tracks.  Well he said several things (it was all in one chapter). First he said, “Many visions die in the time between what and how.”  Meaning we may know what God is placing in our hearts but we don’t know how He will accomplish it. (and it will always be something impossible, only something God could do)  So in waiting on the how, if we can’t see it, we quit or give up.  He says further that what ‘‘God originates, He orchestrates.” Our job is to stay focused on the vision.  Focused on God. And He will work the “how” out for us. 

The statement that stopped me was “Staying focused on God keeps us God focused.  The vision is a reminder of our dependency.  We remain aware that if God doesn’t do something, there is no going forward.  For that reason, people with vision live with a sense of expectancy.  They look for God to do something. they live by faith in the truest sense of the word.  That is, they are living as if God is going to do what they believe he has promised to do.”  That whole statement makes sense to me because I have indeed experienced that.  When God has shown me something that will come true in my life, I have lived and walked with confidence that it is done.  And it was.  So this is where the trouble lies, I am not so sure that those are the things He wants me focused on. Where does He fit in within those things listed?  Of what eternal consequence do they have? Therefore are they of Him?

I started this conversation about our life story and choices.  We are the main character and we have had many others come in and out of our lives playing parts, contributing to our story.  As we go through different seasons in our lives the characters change, the location changes and even the direction of our story changes.  We can look back on those with regret or embrace each and every moment we lived out.  Every word is written and can not be changed.  But what I think God might be showing me is the list that I wrote were the things I went after on my own, getting ahead of God, instead of waiting on Him to give them to me. Those were the things that drove me in the past. 

If I had waited on Him the blessings I would be enjoying now would be far different from the circumstances I have experienced.  Do not misunderstand me. I love God and I truly know that He loves me, of that I have no doubt.  Maybe the things I listed are still in my heart because He wants me to have the desires of my heart on His terms, in His time.  Being a mother has been the greatest challenge and joy of my life.  I loved being a wife as apposed to being single.   The opportunity to serve others is full time because it is apart of who I am in Christ.  The question is how do I bring these passions to the present?  How do I find the vision for them in my future?  Or perhaps the better question is how does God want to use these passions in my future?

Several circumstances have triggered this discussion between God and I.  The book I am reading, visiting with some old friends from many, many years ago and frustration with the feelings that keep cropping up when I pray about these things to the Lord.  Admittedly, I am afraid to be brutally honest here, and tell you what they are, probably because I am afraid of saying them out loud.  To do so would make them more than they are.  They are only words, words that Satan, I am sure is wanting me to take to heart.  To believe. And I refuse to give in to that.

The characters in my story do have a significant role in why I am writing this post now.  Each and everyone at some point played a part in how I remember the turning points of my life.  I realize now that I am who I am today because of them.  The things that I write on my list are the things that God placed into my heart so many years ago.  He wants to be the one to work them into my life.  Ultimately it is about Him and His purpose through my life.  I believe that He was preparing me from that day to this to receive what He intended for me from the very beginning.  All I have to do is be faithful and wait.  And of course pray!

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16

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“With Or Without You”

Life just keeps on rolling along, hey?  It is now February….coming up on my 4 year anniversary on MSN Live Spaces in March.  It seems so strange to have done something consistently for 4 years.  I am still liking it here…writing the words that seem to reflect my heart, mind and walk with God.  There have been times when I have been so very grateful to have this outlet.  To be able tell my story has been a wonderful blessing to me.  It really does not matter if anyone reads my words or not, though it is very nice when someone does, but it is more about recording my journey.  It is not important in the larger scheme of things but it has been important to me to lay out those things which God shows me from one day to the next.  To keep track, so to speak, of what He is teaching me.  Having others along with me on the journey is just icing on the cake.

In the last post I mentioned that I was seeking God’s vision for 2010.  It has been slow going but the single thought that keeps going through my mind is “God I am trusting you when I can not see what is around the corner!”  I have written down my vision for several areas of my life.  Career, Finance, Spouse/Mate, Physical Fitness, Children, Ministry.  Under each one I have written small statements as to what I envision for the coming year.  I am now praying for opportunities to open up for me to move toward what I envision.  I am waiting on God to open them up as I move forward.  While I wait I am making plans to be prepared to act when the opportunities come. 

This is what the craziest part is…while I wait, life is happening.  Sometimes it is surprising and sometimes it is a challenge. A couple of weeks ago my oldest son told me he got orders to Afghanistan.  He leaves in a couple of months.  When I first heard the news I did not react with fear.  The very first thought was, “God you have always watched out for him, this will be no different.”   I do not know if it is a delayed reaction or if it really is a peace and a trust but I have chosen not to dwell on the thing that has not happened yet.  I am choosing to give my son to the Lord.  Surprise: This I did not envision…my son going to the place on earth where there is war.

Yesterday I found out that my daughter is going to have a baby. My little girl.  I had been looking at her baby pictures that morning.  And later in the day she told me with an excited smile on her face.  She was just busting at the seams.  I was in shock…I did not know what to say first.  It still has not sunk in though I am beginning to wonder what it will be like to watch her go through what I went through four times.  It is not fear but apprehension at knowing what lays ahead of her.  I have been texting her little messages…things every mother wants to tell their daughter to make things a little easier.  Surprise: This I did not envision….my daughter becoming a mother so soon.

One of my teenage sons is giving me some trouble in the “obedience” area.  So I am having to deal with him fairly regularly now.  Firm discipline has not always been easy for me but am finding a way to be so.  I should say being consistent has been difficult, too many other issues going on while my kids were growing up.  Especially during the years of loss and pain.  The younger two really kind of fell through the cracks for a few years there.  Now I am having to catch up…it is exhausting, both mentally and physically.  Working 9 hours a day and commuting 3 hours a day only leaves a few hours to take care of matters before we wake up and do it all over again.  I am praying for wisdom and strength in this area.  I can not lose them to the world.  I have already lost too much.  Again I know that God is leading me and I trust that He is working on my behalf to bring about change in their hearts and lives. Challenge: This I did not envision….my younger son being so very difficult at times.

The next couple of weeks seem to be looming in front of me, saying, “life is going on with or without you.”   Dare I mention once again that V-day is almost upon us?  Yes, the dreaded day of Amore…only us single, lonely souls view such day with scorn.  Not that I scorn the day for I have tried not to be bitter for the sake of others who look forward to the day with excitement.   It is just another day I say to myself while the rest of the world is drenched in hearts of every kind. Edible or otherwise….

I have blogged about this day and the feelings it triggers before so I will spare you the details again.  But I would like to add a little tidbit of personal information so that you won’t think that I am becoming a Valentines recluse.  After many conversations with some dear friends, I had decided to throw myself into the “E Harmoney” pot.  (Cringe) Actually, it has been kind of comic relief for me.  I have not had any contacts but have had many matches.  I am really not sure what to expect.  I don’t think I am expecting anything.  But for the life of me I am beginning to wonder why one would pay for rejection.  I thought I would give it a try and believed that if the stars became aligned on a certain day then just maybe my true love will end up in my Inbox. Or maybe not. It remains to be seen…

It kills me what guys write on their profiles and omg…the pictures.  What are they thinking?  I have seen several who have taken self portraits, their faces so close to the lens that their eyes look like they are bugging out of their head.  The hair is wild and believe it or not some are not wearing a shirt.  Oh joy at seeing that.  I remember logging on one day and seeing a lineup of guys across the bottom of the page.  I thought I was looking at criminals.  “Have you seen this man?”  Now that is scary.  You can’t even see some of their faces because the picture is too small or they are standing too far back.  Bless their hearts. 

I have not been on a true date since 1993.  Was married in 1994 and became single in 2004 (my divorce was not final till 2008)  So you could say that I am extremely out of practice.  And that may be putting it mildly.  I don’t claim to be a super catch but my profile pics are tasteful and current (see below).  I am not claiming that I love to do everything under the sun nor do I make any promises of saving the world.  I do pronounce that I am a Christian and that my faith is very important to me.   I am pretty much “what you see is what you get” but with a smile.  I am not what 90% of the men are looking for, that is very obvious so I guess it will be a God thing, in His time on His terms.  And I am ok with that…just don’t know if paying for more time can be seen as trusting God…what do you think?  Never mind….

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So that is my week in a nutshell…only looking forward and am going to give it my best shot, nothing to lose, everything to gain.  I will leave you with this excerpt from the book, Visioneering by Andy Stanley:

“God is using your circumstances to prepare you to accomplish his vision for your life.  Your present circumstances are part of the vision.  You are not wasting your time.  You are not spinning your wheels. You are not wandering in the wilderness.  If you are “seeking first” his kingdom where you are, then where you are is where he has positioned you.  And he has positioned you there with a purpose in mind.”

Wow, can we say most amazing thought!!!!

Here is a little funny that my friend texted me this afternoon….try texting it to your friends and see what happens…

“I got a call from Walmart and they told me someone was drunk, wearing a gold thong, purple beeds and was screaming “who dat”, I am on my way to pick you up but this stuff has got to stop!!!!

 

You all have a wonderful Superbowl Sunday!!!

grace to you

shell