#write31days – Day 25

imageGod fuel – a term I’m sure used by others before me…the thing that keeps you going when you have nothing left in the tank…not even fumes of perseverance to tap into.  That place where you’ve reached the end of yourself, willingly given God the reigns, and start to see Him work wonders.

That’s where I was in the six weeks leading to my resignation.  I was pouring what little I had into God and in return He was pouring into and through me so that I could meet numerous demands.  No longer was I fretting over every detail of my dad’s declining health…I made a choice…I chose to trust God to provide for him, just as He was providing for me.  No longer was I a basket of nerves walking into the office…my focus on God kept me calm and available for Him to work through me in meeting requirements of the job and not be rattled by excessive demands.

It was as if an incredible weight had been lifted – no doubt, the days were difficult, but I wasn’t trying to lead and manage every minute detail…I Laid it at the Cross – and left it there, where God could take over.  Thinking of Laying it at the Cross reminded me of a post from earlier this year…

Lay it at the CrossAt some point, most believers have experienced the opportunity to physically lay cares at the foot of a cross – for me, it was a very powerful experience – so powerful, my daughter made me something very special – a shadow box where I can write and leave cares at Jesus’ feet.  Now, take a moment and look closely at the box…granted, this is the original  photo, but it’s still looks pretty darn empty today – speaks volumes, doesn’t it? I look at the cross every single day and yet I hold onto so many cares troubling my heart.  A pattern of unbelief I didn’t recognize before.  Yesterday I pulled out the ONE item I wrote and placed at the foot of the cross – it was a prayer to God over my work situation last year – in the weeks that followed, I left my corporate job and God blessed my obedience and trust in Him more than ten-fold.  You see for me, I only know I’ve really laid it down (and left it there) when I experience perfect peace in the days and months (or years) following.

Perfect peace – that’s the result when I truly leave something in God’s hands.  It’s incredible!  And the scripture is so true – He will sustain you… He provides the God fuel you need to get through every difficult season.  I may not put tons of pieces of paper in the box, but I am consistently laying cares at the cross.  I’m incredibly grateful for the lessons He so patiently began reinforcing in me – I still get stubborn, but more readily say “Here, Lord” with truly open palms.

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#write31days – Day 24

imageThe connection between knowing and believing can seem so elusive at times… what I often refer to as the head-heart connection.  It doesn’t work…not for me anyway…to only have knowledge.  

It’s fairly easy to refer to scripture or post-it notes or daily Devotionals for reassurance, don’t you think?  It’s the putting into practice that can often be the real challenge.  Let’s look at Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Now, if you asked me what I thought about that verse before mid-March 2014, I would emphatically agree with scripture saying, “why yes!  of course! I believe it with my whole heart!” Well…maybe not.  Maybe I wanted to believe it with my whole heart, my head rationalized the scripture to be true, but when push comes to shove, actions reveal what we really believe.

When God whispered “go” in early to mid-February, apparently I wasn’t 100% convinced it was Him and not me.  On sooooo many levels it would be easier to cut bait & run, but as I’ve mentioned before, I struggle with a pride issue: I don’t quit – and certainly not before I feel good about it…in other words, I like things on my terms.

Thankfully, we serve a mighty God who is merciful & gracious – a God so loving to teach us He is trustworthy and faithful.  Yes, it took me a few weeks of His reassurances and really pressing into Him to make the connection between knowing and believing 

  • YES! God has a plan for me
  • YES! His plan includes prosperity
  • YES! His plan will give me hope
  • YES! His plan provides a future

I didn’t have a clue what the future looked like, but God reminded me of His faithfulness to ALWAYS provide for my needs…for the many times I was laid off due to economic circumstances, my family never went without and a job ALWAYS came along before the bank account went dry. So why should I question Him now?  I shouldn’t. I needed to trust Him…and that’s exactly what I did.

Do I get it right and trust completely the first go round? Ehhh….not so much, but I’m learning.

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#write31days – Day 23

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As I mentioned in Day 22 – I was learning to trust God on a totally new level and armed myself in the office with post-it notes, words of encouragement calendars, and among other books, Jesus Calling.  God used these devotinals to become very personal with me! He fortified me for battle every day using a book sold to millions – how did He do that? Well, apparently I’m not the only one struggling with being human!

Here are a few of the devotions…

Jesus Calling: February 21

Trust and Thankfulness will get you safely through the day. Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining: those “sister sins” that so easily entangle you.  Keeping your eyes on Me is the same thing as trusting Me. It is a free choice that you must make thousands of times daily. The more you choose to trust Me, the easier it becomes. Thought patterns of trust become etched into your brain. Relegate troubles in the periphery of your mind, so that I can be central in your thoughts. Thus you focus on Me, entrusting your concerns into My care.


Jesus Calling: February 22

You need Me every moment. Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice–deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete.


Jesus Calling: February 26

I am leading you, step by step, through your life. Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide you through this day. Your future looks uncertain and flimsy–even precarious. That is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine. This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you.

Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me. I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that. Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go.

The last devotion still gets to me…”worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you.”  Ouch…it still stings…and often today I find myself asking the same question:

“what’s it gonna be?  Do you believe God’s promises include you Ms Carr? Yes. or.  No.” Yep… It’s that simple.

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#write31days – Day 22

imageThe odd thing about pride is that you don’t (well…I didn’t) realize how it’s like self-applied handcuffs and a blindfold, and then throwing yourself into a deep, dark pit.

However, that’s when you have a divine opportunity to see God right in front of you…waiting to help…if you ask.

I was truly in the “do or die” moment…the “do” was taking the biggest leap of faith I could possibly imagine and banking everything on the assurance that God specializes in cliff-catching.  The winds of change seemed like a category five hurricane…I would either crash into the stormy sea below and drown or God would catch me.

Spoiler Alert! He caught me! He showed up and taught me what it looked like for me to take the armor of God into the workplace…meeting me exactly where I was and leading the charge.  The workplace was my most challenging battlefield and I needed constant reminders surrounding me! Folks may have thought I’d skipped right over the edge of the cliff into the abyss…and honestly I had – I took the full on leap from what life was trying to steer on my own to what could be by allowing God to step in and lead.  Those constant reminders I mentioned???? Not an exaggeration….and yes…if you look closely, that is a Keurig in the background between the monitors…what can I say? This gal enjoys her coffee!image

 

I’m so thankful I have this photo because I never ever want to forget this time in my journey…it was pivotal to God taking me to a totally new level in my relationship with Him.  And once again, He patiently taught me what it was like NOT to seek approval from man.

Just you wait…2014 was equally as crazy, but now I was learning to use my crazy deflector shield… GOD!

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#write31days – Day 21

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A couple days ago I talked about when craziness collides… and that’s where I found myself at the end of the year.  Thankfully, my daughter was doing so much better.  Unfortunately, the stress and demands of work combined with my dad’s health had taken such a toll that even a few weeks away was pretty much too little too late and the collision of life felt like a total loss.

But it wasn’t a total loss….not even close.  Sure, it might have felt that way…but in times like these, this is when and where God’s Word assures us of our future – even when it seems like everything’s falling apart…

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

The great thing is that during this time, the troops rallied around me through prayer like you wouldn’t…. like I couldn’t believe!  Such an outpouring of love and support to encourage me forward…

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#write31days – Day 20

imageI’m not just losing track of time, I’m losing days!  Thankfully, I’m staying on track writing each day – posting? Well…that’s another story!

And I’m really thankful I’m wrapping up 2013! I’ve chosen to leave out the work related nitty-gritty details because I don’t want to focus on what I see as a downward spiral in corporate culture.  Almost everyone has a story or knows someone that has a story of how the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance in most businesses has failed miserably. And in challenging economic times, it seems compassion is a trait many companies talk about, yet few exhibit.

I will say though, in my 35+ years in the workforce, 2013 was the first time I truly did not feel supported to choose family first.  I’ve been through many challenging times and consider myself extremely blessed for the incredible managers I’ve worked under.  As difficult as the last three months were in 2013, I learned a lot about myself – in retrospect – of course!

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#write31days – Day 19

imageOne of my primary goals in writing for 31 consecutive days is transparency… so here I am… being transparent.  I REALLY did not want to write this evening… I did exactly what I wrote about in my last post… thinking too far ahead (or perhaps behind…) of the posts to come… and I didn’t want to go there.

Well, of course I wrote…reminding myself of baby steps…two sheets of paper at a time… the great thing is that I was able to recall some really hard decisions and have peace over them vs my usual “could I have done more” mental interrogations.

And yes, that’s where God and His gracious healing power comes into full view… because of those hard days and seemingly impossible decisions, I was learning to receive God’s glorious embrace and willingly take refuge in Him… if only for a short while… make no mistake though, He was teaching me how to lean into Him for the days too difficult to imagine.

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