Friday, June 25, 2010

Baptize me!


On June 24, 2010 Linda Grace Morris was splashing with her Daddy in her little pool. She has, for some time, been asking to be baptized. This is how it went.

Like the Ethiopian eunuch, she heard the gospel, understood that she is a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ is THE ONLY Savior. She has asked for God's forgiveness and that her crimes be applied to her punished Savior Who took them upon Himself at the Cross of Calvary. This happened a couple of years ago.

Now, she is five. She listens to the Bible stories we read to her every night. She has heard the passage in Acts 8:26-40 (read it, you'll be glad you did). Verses 36-38 reads, "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" "Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So, he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and he baptized him."

Now, I was inside making up two Chicken Pies and heard Rod calling, "Jenn, Gracie wants to be baptized." "I know," I said, "she has for some time." Rod smiled at her and said, "Today's the day!" I ran to get Rachel's camera and began snapping the photos.

Sweet Rachel uploaded the beautiful pictures to her facebook page and then the comments started coming. You would think that everyone would rejoice with us, right? Yeah, right. Some "friend" of Rachel's (an adult acquaintance of hers who is actually a friend of another adult relative of hers) posed a series of questions regarding Gracie's front yard splash pool baptism. The woman's final comment was "seems pretty non-religious". Good. I hope so.

Religion is what the Pharisees practiced and is what REALLY hacked Jesus off. If you read your Bible and ask the Lord to reveal it to you, He will...really He will.

God ties it all together. Here's what happened this morning...Gracie ambled in to my bed where I was doing my Bible study and sleepily demanded, "Read it to me out loud, Mama." So, I read Psalm 73 and then Psalm 63 and then I moved into Mark chapter 4. Twice in this chapter alone Jesus says, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

"What does Jesus mean, Mama?" I held her sweet, soft hand. "He means that if you have a heart to yearn for and understand Him, then listen and understand His teachings." She settled in and listened to the rest until she realized she could go out into the kitchen and interrupt Daddy's Bible study next. She pulled "Doggie-Same-Color-As-My-Hair" up under her arm and stood in the doorway. "Thank you for readin' it to me." I smiled at her sweetness, "Thank you for listening."

I turned the page and this passage caught my eye. It was exactly what happened on facebook yesterday.

"In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) do they worship Me, ordering and teaching (to be obeyed) as doctrines the commandments and precepts of men. You disregard and give up and ask to depart from you the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men (keeping carefully and faithfully)." And He said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting (thus thwarting and nullifying and doing away with) the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition (your own human regulations)!" Mark 7:7-9 AMP

Comments coming from someone who "practices" Catholicism and favors the traditions of that religion over the simple truths of the gospel are in danger of missing the mark. And, please don't get me wrong, I'm not lumping ALL Catholics together in one pile. No one belongs lumped into a pile because of one or two people who have their hearts and minds and mouths in the wrong place. And it's not just certain Catholics, but anyone who "believes and practices a lie". (I'm thinking of those hideous people who absolutely blaspheme the Name of Christ by calling themselves Christians and standing around waving signs that falsely claim that "God hates fags". I want to personally scourge the devil out of them myself. But, he is the orchestrator of all that is false. If only the masses who don't know God would look beyond these yo-yos and know without a doubt, THEY do not represent GOD at all! And by the beautiful drawing power of the HOLY SPIRIT, they will. Amen.)

When Jesus calls out, "he who has ears to hear, let him hear!" He is encouraging ANYONE to come to Him and give up the empty ways of man. Man can never save us. Man's ways are like the shell the cicada leaves behind. It's interesting, it looks like the real thing but in reality it is the dead leavings of the living creature. Man's ways are dead ways. (I'm gonna hop up higher on my soapbox and open a can of worms now.)

This is like Santa Claus. This is why we don't "do Santa". Satan has devised a way to take what a kind-hearted, generous man who lived (and died) a long time ago did to distract the whole world AWAY from the CHRIST of CHRISTMAS. He is a big red distraction. Nothing more. Well, maybe one thing more and this is is equally as disturbing. Here's the thing: If we really are Christians (in more than just name) and we really do want to be devoted to our Savior and we want to "teach our children the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it"...then why take the terrible chance and LIE to them about Santa's reality and then at the same time teach them that JESUS is real, as well?

Every child eventually learns the truth about Santa...MOM AND DAD LIED TO ME! And then, shouldn't they wonder...."If Santa isn't alive and well, then what about that JESUS you're telling me about?" Duh. When we lie to our kids we teach our kids that we are liars. We teach them that lying about certain things is okay because "it's tradition". Ooops. Jesus said He didn't want us to trade the commandment of God for the tradition of men. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be "the way, the TRUTH, and the life and that no man comes to the FATHER except through Him." I want to KEEP THE TRUTH and ditch the lies. We don't do Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy or Halloween because they are the traditions of men and breed a lying mama and daddy. I want my kids to be followers of what is true and what is real, not for my sake but for theirs.

I got saved (made my own profession of faith in Jesus Christ) only because God removed the blinders from my spiritual eyes and allowed me to finally understand the truth of the cross and that it's there for me. This happened seven short years ago. That girl I was before I got saved loved the lies! I celebrated all the lies available to man: God winks at sin. Santa is the King of Christmas. The Tooth Fairy is rich. And next to my birthday and Christmas (not because of Jesus but because of the presents and time off from work), Halloween was the greatest holiday of all. (Think of it...all of your life your parents told you not to take candy from strangers. Then, one "magical" night every year it is your American duty to dress up as a stranger and go knocking on every stranger's door in your neighborhood begging for their candy.) My desire and devotion to chocolate helped me admire this fantastic tradition of men almost above all the others.

Enter Jesus and His bloody head, hands, feet and oozing side. He stretched out a bloody, holey hand to me and begged me, "Come, you who labor and are heavy laden (with all your despicable sins) and I will give you rest." I dared to look up. I believed He was Who He said He was. I believed Him. I took a step of faith and grasped His gentle hand. I opened my Bible and read it every day. I prayed and asked Him to reveal His word to me. He did. I grew into someone I never, ever in my wildest imagination thought I could become. His shed blood made me righteous because His word taught me that "all my righteousness is as filthy rags." And that doesn't change after you get saved, either. Your good works and mine are STILL filthy rags without the righteous heart of Jesus Christ as your motivator. Any good thing I do outside the Holy Spirit-led desire to see God glorified is that dead cicada shell.

God, I yearn for more of You right now. I yearn for You to be glorified in all I say, think and do. I thank You, LORD JESUS, that You died in my place. I thank You, Father God, for loving me so much that You'd rather have Your Holy and Sinless Son murdered than live in Paradise without me. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for teaching me the Words of Life and giving me the grace and strength to understand and obey what I read. Thank You, Jesus for reminding me that when I do sin to come and confess my sins because You are faithful and just both to forgive me and cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness. Thank You, LORD that all is ALL. I praise YOU! I need YOU, I want YOU and I love YOU!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Wonderful Day

Yesterday was one of the most wonderful days I've ever had. In light of last week's wicked trial, it was such a blessing!

The morning started with a nice wake up call from Rod, ever dutiful to deliver a delicious steaming cup of coffee in bed! My time with the Lord during my Bible study was fruitful and encouraging. At the end of my prayer time Gracie greeted me with her usual morning cuddle. I have to push my Bible study materials out of the way to make room for her as she nestles her way under the covers. We kiss and hug and kiss some more. (It's the best part of every day and it usually happens before 7:30!)
Then Rod came in and we prayed together, the three of us...asking for the LORD's blessing on our loved ones and friends. Thank You, LORD, for these mornings together.

Dear Liz is moving and I know she has some running around to do. I also know that 7:30 am is NOT the time to call her home. So, I get dressed and take my place behind the stove and let the cooking begin. Cheesy scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and wheat toast served with cinnamon and honey are on the menu (as on most other days). Gracie happily ate her breakfast with few complaints. Rod ate his in hearty silence. (He is so easy to please in the food department.) Thank You, LORD, for letting me cook.

The day before yesterday Gracie and I made our way over to Fairview to our favorite library. We took home several DVDs. She had been begging me to see a movie called WATERHORSE. Rachel, Rod and I watched this movie a few years ago and we really enjoyed it. Gracie was too young for it then, but at 5 1/2 she could handle it now. So, after all the breakfast dishes were done and the first load of laundry was started I came upstairs and started the movie. Gracie and I watched it together. Near the end the phone rang. It was Liz. I asked her to bring Adah (almost two) and Elijah (almost 4) over for a splash in the pool so she could get her many errands done before moving day. Thank You, LORD, for the magic of ordinary days.

Before they arrived Gracie and I had a walk around the yard...nature inspection. Our yard is infused with black raspberries and they are beginning to ripen. I get to pick them and plop them in her mouth. Grace found a tiny inch worm and a ladybug. She had the worm on one hand and the ladybug on the other, giggling, "It tickles!" We found other "insteresting" bugs. Bug finding and handling is a particular favorite pastime of both of ours. Yesterday was a great day for it. We saved the inchworm on a leaf for Elijah to have a look at. Thank You, LORD, for Your glorious creation.

I have to say that watching these kids playing together is one life's most simple pleasures. They watched Tinker Bell and then ate a quick lunch. They donned their swimsuits and ran outside for a fun romp in the splash pool. The sun was shining brightly. The butterflies flitted all around the yard and I soaked it up under the shade of the big dogwood tree. They giggled and splashed and ran and jumped in again and again. Adah grabbed the big brightly colored beach ball..."a ball" she said two dozen times at least. I smiled as she tossed it out of the pool and I chased it down and popped it back in. It became a game. She offered a delighted smile. It was the perfect compliment to her wildly beautiful strawberry blonde curls and perfectly pink baby skin. She makes me pine for a baby like crazy. "Oh God, please let me have another baby. If you don't let me give birth to one, then please let me adopt another one." Thank You, LORD, for children.

Elijah is a precious little man splashing and playing with his best bud, Gracie. Sometimes they act like an old married couple. Gracie bosses him around constantly and he does what she says without question. His big hazel eyes are both dreamy and intense. His wavy brown hair just begs to be tousled. I have to intercede, "Grace, don't boss Elijah around, please." A correction here and a warning there lent themselves beautifully to a lesson that Jesus offered about treating others the way we want to be treated. (We all need this reminder, I think.) The kids were completely tuckered out by 2:00. We waved bye-bye to them as their lovely Mommy drove them home for a long well-deserved nap. Thank You, LORD, for time to enjoy good friends.

I left Gracie for a little while in Rachel's tender care and made my grocery trip to Wal-Mart but first I had one other stop to make. Gracie had begged me for a toy. I told her I'd stop by the Dollar Tree (Where everything's a dollar) to check out their selection. My eyes landed on a giant plastic magnifying glass for inspecting bugs. I had scoured the store looking for other ones, but to no avail, that seemed to be the only one. Two other children handled that thing before it was finally left all alone in the wrong place. I snatched it up, and along with a box of spaghetti and a jar of sauce I made my big $3.00 purchase. A $2.00 dinner for four and a treasure for Grace. Thank You, LORD, for the dollar store.

At Wal-Mart there were deals galore. The Tilapia I usually buy for $3.98 a package was on sale for $2.23! I decided against purchasing ready-made frozen meatballs and bought the ground beef and an onion and decided to make my own. I got outta Wally-World for under $40.00. That was really a blessing because at that point I only had $44.00 in my wallet. I wasn't worried, though. I had prayed earlier in the day that the LORD would thrill me and show me He hadn't forgotten us. He made good on that prayer by the end of the day: we got a surprise monetary gift from one friend and a money order came in the mail for a generous amount from another friend. No, He hasn't forgotten us. Thank You, LORD, for Your continued gracious provision.

I had a ball "a ball"...I wish you could hear Adah say it...making dinner last night. Everything was delicious...the spaghetti, the sauce, the homemade meat"balls". (I actually don't make them into ball shapes anymore. I make tiny little hamburger patties. I mix the beef with egg, sauteed red onion, freshly minced garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, fresh cracked pepper and a handful of shredded Parmesan. I fry them in my big gorgeous aqua colored non-stick skillet to delicious perfection.) Add a nice salad and some garlic Texas toast and we had ourselves a feast! Thank You, LORD, for nightly dinner with my family.

After dinner Daddy and I slipped away for a quiet coffee date. We skipped our usual fare and headed downtown hoping The Green Sage Coffee shop was now open for summer hours. They were and we both enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and shared a sumptuous piece of organic carrot cake. It was delicious. The sights were not, however. Asheville, especially downtown, is a reason for a grieved spirit and at one point I was moved to tears. "Was Sodom like this, LORD?" One day the LORD is going to let us open that coffee house/chapel down there and when we do we will finally be able to minister to these wanderers, proud to be freaks, hurting, dying, lonely and lost souls. Thank You, LORD, for making a way through Your lovely Son.

The sun set beautifully across the Blue Ridge Mountains last night. The sky was purple, pink and grey. The lush green mountains stood strong below. It was breathtaking. I see why people come to Asheville. The car tags boasted travelers from Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Indiana and Florida. Biltmore Village was bustling as we made our way home. Thank You, LORD, for sweet, sweet coffee dates with my hunky husband.

My brother called at 8:00 and begged me to send Rod to Kentucky to help him get his construction jobs done. "Jenn, I need someone I can trust. I need someone mature that I can rely on; someone who will actually work when I'm not standing over them. Please, send Rod. He can come home on the weekends and I'll pay for his hotel and his meals. I want to spend time with him. Talk to him." Rod was pumping the gas. I laughed. "He won't come, David. He has to take care of his Dad." My brother kept begging and then, he let it go. Kert is scheduled for surgery next's the only thing on his radar screen. If Rod were to go out of town I think poor Kert would lose it, really. I enjoyed my conversation with my baby brother. I am looking forward to seeing him at the end of June. Thank You, LORD, you made him call.

Alas, I slipped into bed at 10:45 and tossed until 12:15. Rod was very aggravated with me. "Jenn. I WAS asleep until you came in and woke me up. NOW, I'M wide awake!" Well, that's married life. We lay there in the dark waiting for that blessed sleep to overtake us. I thought he had nodded off again until he said, "Do you think that coffee wasn't decaf????" The question hung in the air over the bed and then we both laughed. Thank You, LORD, for a wonderful day.

"This is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yes, I can! No, I can't!

This painting is by Morgan Wiestling

I'm despairing to tell you that I could not find a beautiful painting depicting a lovely stressed out woman vomiting on herself in her car. Can you believe that?

Oh well, consider yourself spared. I was there, it wasn't pretty. It was horrible. This little blogspot is a space for dreams, hopes, dreams realized, then dashed and lessons learned. I think of it as a place where I can ask you to pray and know in my heart you do. It's a safe place for me to tell it like it is, even if its ugly and perhaps even totally humiliating. If you're not in the mood to read about that last bit then you should move along. I'm going to be gut-wrenchingly frank now.

On Wednesday I felt certain I heard the Lord tell me that I needed to "prepare to go to work this afternoon". I took a shower, picked out a nice conservative outfit and ironed it and waited for the call inviting me to start my new adventure back in the working world. Like clockwork, after all of those things took place, the phone rang and the expected invitation was delivered. I showed up at my new workplace at 2:00 pm. By 3:00 pm I was professionally parked in front of a computer in a ultra secure windowless room down a long hallway.

"Oh God," I whispered to Him, "What are you doing? Why am I here in this depressing place. I can hardly breathe. What's the point of all this?" I heard Him respond, "Who is praying for these people in this hidden place?" In my presence at that particular moment were three women who seemed spiritually dry as the proverbial bone. I could feel the sucking sensation of the spiritual vacuum. It felt overwhelmingly hopeless. I began to pray for them.

As I listened to their idle conversation the focus was entirely on personal physical ailments that all three were currently suffering from. I shut my lips to the question that begged to be let out, "Why don't you all just pray and ask the LORD for healing?" I prayed for them some more and prayed for them on the way home. I wrote to the LORD this morning in my journal and added written prayers for them there.

This morning was to begin the first full-time day of work that I have had since the Summer of 2003. Gracie followed me around like a belt-loop. She looked sorrowfully into my eyes throughout the morning before I left at 8:30 and kissed my lipstick off two times. "Do you have to go? Why do you have to go to work? Please don't go, Mama. I'll miss you too much." I pried her beautiful body off of mine for the last time, swallowed hard and shut the door behind me as I told her "I love you, have a good day." Rod had already ironed my clothes, made his and her breakfast and fed the dog. I felt like I had my shoes on the wrong feet and my pants on backward. It was all wrong. I hated seeing him do MY jobs. He even did them without complaining.

I tried to focus on something nice as I drove to work. (I hate that phrase now: "drove to work".) I remembered Gracie in the car in the very dark on the freeway last night. She and I were coming home from church. Miss Susan handed her a large stack of foam stars attached to glittery gold elastic strings. On each star had a woman's name who had been in our Esther Bible Study. (Last night was the grand finale of the study.) Gracie gently patted each star and declared to me in the darkness of the backseat, "These are the names of the women who love the LORD." Profound. This child's heart is attached to His; the testimonies keep coming. I welled up a little at the truth of it. The hot sunshine in my face in the bank parking lot slapped me angrily out of last night's blissful memory.

In my nervousness at starting this new job I failed to eat a thing. Two cups of Seattle's Best Decaf mixed with Dunkin' Donuts Cinnamon Spice coffee and a bunch of Half and Half were the only things nourishing my sickened heart. My stomach growled. By ten o'clock it began rumbling uncomfortably and I felt terribly dizzy and nauseated. I was trapped in this room, in this chair, behind this computer screen punching endless numbers into the keyboard. More faces entered this private world. They were all friendly and smiling. I pasted one on my face that did not match the truth in my heart. "I don't belong here, Lord. Help me, I think I'm going to faint. Why didn't I eat all...for breakfast? Oh God, have mercy on me, I'm going to throw up if I don't get out of here!"

Lunchtime arrived and by then my head was throbbing with a terrific ache. Did I forget to take my blood pressure meds last night? Is this a migraine? A sinus headache? All of them? Precious Rod was waiting in his car to take me to lunch. We drove with the a/c on and the windows down. I couldn't take another minute without fresh air. The green: luscious and wonderful, filled my number-weary eyes as we drove to get a drive thru hamburger. "Oh, Lord, snap me out of this. I can't go back into that place, it's horrible. How can those women work there EVERY DAY? I miss my kids, my dog, my home, my porch, my kitchen. I miss my laundry and my pots and pans. I can't eat another one of those yucky pre-made dinners I bought for Rod to cook, Lord." I whined aloud and in prayer for the entire lunch hour. The hamburger and fries only soured my empty stomach. Now, I knew I was going to be sick.

Rod was pensive and sad. He said that he felt certain this wasn't right: me working and him being home. "No duh," I thought. This revelation added to the ensuing anxiety attack that was coming on. The only good thing apart from my husband's soothing voice was that great and wonderful green of God's glorious Summer bombarding my eyes. "Oh, Lord, to be trapped away from your masterpiece in a gray room without windows is a vicious fate. Please, LORD, I can't go back there. I can't."

Rod pulled up to the building. Lunch was over. My stomach disagreed. "You'll see it again sometime soon," it promised. I pitifully waved goodbye at my beloved and slowly made the horrific journey back down the long hallway and into my secured chamber. This time waves, tidal waves of nausea rushed over me. A panic struck me and I began to fear that I would puke right there on the floor. Up I got and excused myself to the ladies' room for a spell of quiet prayer and a cool wet paper towel applied to the back of my neck. "Dear Jesus, if you want me to compete this task and stay in this job then you are going to have to miraculously snap me out of this. Bring me times of refreshing and the oil of joy, right now." Uncontrollably, I belched and swallowed the nasty stuff down.

It brought me back to another time in my life working at the bank. When I was unknowingly pregnant and lost my lunch right on a customer's savings deposit slip. I was mortified and humiliated beyond measure. Here I was again, twenty one years later, getting ready to hurl at the bank. I waited for my weak cry for help to touch His ears. I waited for His merciful comfort to come. The dizziness intensified and I drew in deep quick breaths. I left the restroom making my way to that nice HR lady's office who'd hired me only the day before. She was out to lunch. Oh boy. I was in trouble. My mind was made up. I couldn't stick it out. I had to leave and leave for good.

A half an hour later I explained to her between gulps of short air and sweat beading up on my scalp that I was terribly, terribly sorry to leave her like this, but this just wasn't going to work out. She, understandably, was not really happy to hear that. She asked if I could stay at least until the end of the day, perhaps come back tomorrow, too. I gulped down another breath of stale office air and tried to shake off the notion that soon I would be spilling my lunch on her nice desk. "I can't," I said. "I just can't do this. I've been a stay at home mom for too long. My kids need me. I need them. I have to go now. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me." I turned away from her pretty but shocked face. Bless her heart. I really liked that woman, too.

I ran outside into the jungle heat emanating up from the blacktop and opened the door to my searing car. I began to cry. The pain in my head was intolerable. My sinuses were pounding. My stomach lurched and I thought instantly, "I'm going to lose it right here. Oh, no, LORD, not here!" Quickly I got into my boiling car and cranked the a/c. I called Rod on his cell phone and immediately began blubbering, "I quit my new job! I quit my new job! Oh Rod, I'm so sorry. I just couldn't do it! I think I'm gonna throw up!" I snuffled a nosefull and listened to my husband tell me how everything was gonna be all right and don't cry and come right home. It's gonna be fine.

Ten minutes later I was on the freeway sobbing with humiliation and angst. My head was splitting, my stomach was lurching and my gag reflex was kicking up. "Oh God, please don't let me puke in my car. Please, LORD, please. I can't puke on myself in my car!" And then, I did just that. I threw up all over myself in my nice work outfit. It was vile. And then, a few seconds later, I did it again. And then, I peed my pants. What on earth was happening to me? "Oh, God," I asked aloud wiping myself off with one of my embroidered hankies, "Where are YOU? Do You see Your daughter here?" I called Rod and blubbered some more, "I just puked all over myself." "Jenn, Jenn...slow down, I can't understand what you're saying. What's happening, where are you?" I took a deep breath and wailed, "I just threw up all over myself in my caaaaarrrr!" The tears gushed out and my husband said, "Get home, now!" Like there was another choice.

I have never been so glad to see this green house in my whole life. I jumped out of the car like a scalded cat and hosed the vomit off of myself in the grass. The cold water felt fantastic and I felt wretched. Just wretched. What a rotten experience. I failed. I failed my dear friend from Bible study who got me that job. I humiliated myself in that nice HR lady's office and probably blew my witness to the prisoners in the secret room. I failed HIM. I FAILED HIM. Oh, did I ever blow it (in more ways than one).

Rod cleaned out my car and disinfected it while I had a shower. After donning my pj's Rod came in and said, "I think God was showing us that you belong home and I belong at work. That's why this happened. You didn't fail Him, Jenn. He's teaching us stuff. Now, we know. You have a job and it's right here. I don't want to do your job and I feel guilty about you going out there in that mean old world and doing MINE." We prayed a weary prayer together.

I called my dear Liz. I blubbered the whole thing over again to her. "Oh, honey. I'm so sorry that happened. I'm so sorry you threw up and it was horrible. I just couldn't imagine you there in that dreary place all day when you have such a lovely home and such a beautiful family to care for. I'm so sorry but I'm so glad and so relieved that you're all done with that place." And then she prayed this glorious prayer over me, that the LORD would bathe me in comfort and peace and soothe me with rest in His green pastures beside His still waters. I was basking in the thought of it when the searing headache began to lessen. My stomach stopped churning and settled down like a tired child. I was home.

I snuggled into my soft quilt covered bed. I admired the roses on the wall and lay there praying that God would forgive me. He offered this, "I knew this was going to happen. I knew it before you were born. Remember that I wrote every one of your days down in my book before there ever was one." Oh. Yeah. Okay.

So, here's the moral to this story. Those precious souls in that workplace need prayer. I will pray as the LORD leads. You pray, too. (They have to go back tomorrow!) God has blessed me with the ministry of motherhood and wifedom. It's a good, good life. It's not worth any amount of money to me to change places with Rod. And there's still hope on the horizon that Rod will land this good job he's applied for.

So, here I am. Humiliated but happy. My anxiety is gone and the slate is clean again. I got to bang around in my kitchen at 4:45 (my regular time) and make us a beautiful dinner of roast pork, sauteed green beans, and mashed potatoes with real butter. I sat amongst my precious ones and was grateful for the sounds of satisfied tummies...including mine.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for being so good to me. I love you more than life itself. You gave me life itself and I am grateful that You answered my daily prayers from 1999-2003, "Oh God, get me outta here. Let me go home and just be a mom!" I praise You my LORD for you are so good and Your mercy endures forever! Amen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I can do this...

Painting entitled Isle of Hope by Brian Jekel

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Can I do this? Yes, I can do this but only because He goes with me.

The opportunity came last week. A phone call from a friend in my Beth Moore Esther Bible Study came unexpectedly one morning. She fed me some intriguing information about a need at a bank for someone like me, with my past working experience and my current situation: an unemployed spouse, children out of school for the summer. The prospect is this: two weeks full time doing something I enjoy, then part time for a few weeks TEMPORARILY and then the job is over, poof. "What do you think? Can you do this?", my friend asked.

I talked it over with Rod. (Okay, I begged him..."Please, please, please let me do this. I REALLY want to! It's ONLY for two weeks and then a few weeks. You can handle the homefront for that tiny space of time, right?") He agreed, smiling at my what? Enthusiasm? I don't know. He just said yes and I called my friend back like a giddy school girl. She told me what to do next. The ball began rolling. I finally realized I needed to pray. Sometimes you see the brass ring and just reach up your hand to grab it.

I prayed. Then a million butterflies multiplied in my stomach and they began dancing. "Rod, is this the right thing? Is this from God?" He began laughing that laugh that I love to hear. He giggled at me and his face contorted in such a nice way that I got to see those hidden dimples of his (orange slices set on end). "Of course, this is God, Jenn. How can you not see that? You emailed your resume to this bank two weeks ago and prayed after you sent it that if it was God's will, He would give you a job there. Now, He didn't give you the job you were interested in, but He gave you something else. Something to get your feet wet. How can you not see that this has the LORD written all over it? Come on!"

Okay. It's true. Out of the blue my friend from Bible study (who does work at a bank, but not this particular bank) knows someone who's husband is pretty high up in this bank that I want to work at. That lady also goes to our Bible study, but I never knew her husband worked at this bank. It's crazy. And when an opportunity comes to you that's "crazy" like this is, it's Him. It's got to be.

After a few days of jumping through the necessary hoops to land a job these days (wow, are there a lot of hoops...not like it used to be when you took the Help Wanted sign out of the window and brought it inside and said, "Do you still need help?") I had my interview this morning with the HR representative. I was imbibed with the Holy Spirit. Do you know what "imbibed" means? It means to soak or saturate. (When I make the White House Christmas Cherry Trifle I "imbibe" the yellow cake with port wine...that is, when I used to make it with the preferred alcoholic ingredient, now a days I just save the Bing cherry juice from the can and add vanilla might be even better tasting). I'm telling you, in spite of the fact that I have not worked full time in over seven years, this interview went very well.

I'm at the tail end of the Esther Bible study. Have I sung its praises yet? It's THE BEST Beth Moore Bible study I've done yet, and I'm not alone. Many of my fellow female studiers agree. It's utterly amazing. She roots out these hidden truths that are sparkling diamonds from black chunks of coal. My mindframe has been wrapped in the discovery of these new truths. God prepared me for this opportunity to serve Him "at such a time as this". My enemy may mean my current trials for evil, to rob me of my security and try to feign a sense of betrayal and abandonment (because Rod has been unable to secure a job). But, what my enemy means for evil, God means for good. In the words of Beth Moore, "God's trying to make warriors out of us."

The scripture says, "If you fully obey the LORD your God...the LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven." Deuteronomy 28:1a,7 Woo-Hoo! Just picture that!

Moore continues, "If we could only see what is happening around us in the unseen realm, our eyes would nearly pop out of the socket....So much that would thrill us lies beyond our sight. Covenant children of God are marked--even dressed--in ways obvious to both heaven and hell but invisible to man. I'm not at all sure we don't bear an inscription on our foreheads somewhat like the one prescribed by God for the plate of the priest's turban. The engraving "Holy to the Lord" was the first thing people saw when they looked in the face of a priest....A Christian may fret at times over lack of certainty concerning her salvation, but I don't believe the Evil One ever wonders who belongs to God and who does not. We are blatantly identifiable in robes of righteousness and garments of salvation." From Beth Moore's Esther, It's Tough Being a Woman workbook pg 189.

This is the mindset I am operating from: God has clothed me with eternal garments of salvation. I may not be able to see them, but they are there nevertheless. He gave favor to Esther and He has given it to me. I feel it and I am empowered with this new information regarding my invisible uniform of heavenly authority as a sovereign daughter of the King. Hey, are you wearing this royal robe, too? Straighten up that spine, pull those shoulders back; this is no time for slouching and slumping. You are His Royal Child!

Now do this fabulous and very simple thing. Draw a triangle on a piece of paper. Put GOD in the middle of the triangle. Write "works out everything, Eph 1:11" across the bottom. Write "works in you according to His good purpose, Phil 2:13" up one side. Write "Works all things for our good, Rom 8:28" up the last side. Read it and believe it. Stand on those scriptures with me. God works out everything and He works in you according to His good purpose and He works all things for our good. It's a promise. He's working on you, in you, through you (and me too, he he he)! This project came from Beth Moore, too. Here's what she asks about this triangle and the accompanying scriptures, "...What has this truth come to mean to you?" Here is what it means to me:

Anxiety does not belong in my heart.
God is supremely in control (insomnia and Esther)
What Satan means for evil
God means it for our good.

So, like my sister, Esther, God has called me forth for what seems like a wonderful adventure. One last hurdle to cross...waiting for the HR personnel from my past employers to make their reports. And then, the fun begins. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. So can Rod. So can Rod. So can Rod. Pray for us, I know you are. Thank you!