Friday, August 18, 2006

What do you do when...

Hello gentle readers...

Well, things are moving along swimingly. I received my promotion at the day job. I'm now an accredited pet trainer. I have three classes going right now and I really enjoy them. But I have a dilemma...

What do you do when you are called to minister and your regular job drains you? This is where I'm at right now. To be fair to our members and friends, I truly need to devote a good bit of my time to phone calls and visits. It just isn't that easy with the hours I work. So I've spent the past couple of weeks or so just being quiet. I know there are needs out there, but I've just not felt I can make a positive impact on others at this point.

I am reminded of when Jesus went off to pray. There were folks with him, although they surely weren't much of a support system. When Jesus needed them the most, to support him and move the ministry of God's Word forward, what did they do? They fell asleep. Yep, they crashed. How discouraged Jesus must have felt! He knew he had to accomplish overcoming death and bring salvation to those who would believe on him. Yet, there he was alone without the help of those who were to minister with and for him.

I can only say that, as one who is supposed to lead, it isn't easy to feel like you're going it alone. Oh sure, I know others are doing the ministry sending cards, making calls, visiting the sick, and bringing communion to the homebound. I simply feel set apart from this effort. How does one lead? How does one organize individuality? This is my place right now.

I know that God has me in the right place at the right time. But, I am easily discouraged at this point. There's so much to accomplish and so little time to accomplish it!

All I can do in this place is trust that God is guiding. To do what I know to do and to not do it would be sin. So, I continue to try to minister healing to God's children, even when I seem to have no direction. It's all about the trust. It's all about the faith. It's all about the hope.

Today, when you look at what you need to do and how limited your time and budget are, remember the trust, faith and hope that God brings to you. Step back. Take a deep breath. And go forward knowing that God goes with you.

This is my prayer for you: That you would know God intimately, walk in faith, know to trust, and offer hope to the world around you. I would hope you would pray the same for me.

God's blessings,

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Update on Life

Hello gentle readers...

It's been awhile since I've posted. Life is busy, as I'm sure it is for all of you. It's amazing how we can get caught up in the everyday and forget the eternal.

I spent the past couple of weeks near New Orleans in training for my new position with PetSmart. I am now an accredited pet trainer. That's rather scary for me, I must admit. You see, I've come a long way from the 12 year old girl who was terrified of dogs.

As a friend and I were riding our bikes to our softball practice, a german shepherd lunged over it's enclosure and attacked us. My friend was very badly mauled. I escaped physical harm. However, the emotional scars were there for decades. As I got older, I lived with girlfriends who had dogs and I mostly avoided them. When I entered a covenant relationship with Patti, I knew she was a "dog person" and I would have to get over my fear.

The first step was to take a job with the local humane society. I worked as an adoption counselor and forced myself to deal with my fear by walking the large dogs. In time, the fear became less and less. Then, knowing what great therapy a dog can be and being a bit afraid of being on my own while Patti was deployed, I got a puppy. Tank is a marvelous dog! I can't imagine life without his little Corgi butt parading around the house!

When we were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, I got a job at PetSmart as a cashier. Of course, that required me to be friendly with all of the animals that entered the store. Quickly I realized that I wasn't so much afraid anymore! Amazing. A true healing of the soul by God.

When the position of Pet Trainer came open, I applied honestly expecting to be turned down for the job. Surprise of all surprises, I was offered the job! I focused on my training. My area trainer said that she was amazed at how much of the book material I had retained. So, I graduated from training school on 7/29 and my first class is this coming Saturday, 8/5! I'm so psyched. I hope I avoid the jitters that come with something new and am a good fit for this job.

The reason I share all of this is two-fold:

First, God has taken a very fearful situation and made it whole. Years ago, I could have given up and given in to that fear and just lived in it. But, I made a conscious decision to face the fear and give God an opportunity to bring healing. Not only is healing continuously occuring, but God has brought me to a job that will provide for my family. For someone who deals with being bipolar and the difficulties that come with it (including holding down a job), this is a tremendous victory.

Second, I have learned that even the most simple things that affect our lives, like a fear of dogs, can be overcome by prayer and diligence. Prayer is important. It is our communication (and that is a two-way conversation) with our God. But unless one acts on the prayer, puts some action to the request, nothing much gets accomplished. Prayer requires us to play an active role. I am an active participant in my spiritual journey. It's not just about God leading us around by a ring in our nose. It's about us in continual contact with our God and walking in the understanding we are given. How can we expect more wisdom without acting on the wisdom we have? That is how we learn, my friends.

So, I am thankful and full of praise for God's continuing work in my life. I am thankful that God has shown me how I must respond to all that God shows me before I can expect to grow further. And I am prayerful that my experience will compel you to respond to God and seek growth for your own spiritual journey.

May God richly bless you as you seek God's best for your life...