Oh, yippee..long-suffering …but God…

IMG_0017As I type in my old journal entries below, even I am saying, “Geez! Get on with it already! We got it! They don’t have a job. Haven’t had it for over a year. Three kids in a tiny apartment. Life is hard. Wah, wah. Go on!” If this were a screenplay, I would chop out fifty pages of excruciatingly boring pleadings and cut to the ‘We got the job celebration scene.’ Well actually, before that, I might throw in a scene of me hurling a glass vase across the room, crashing it into a mirror to showcase my had-it-up-to-here moment. Then I would push the story along and keep my audience’s attention and fast forward about five years.

But that’s not real life with or without God. Real life without God in this 10+ years, no-job journey involves fear, worry, doubt, anxiousness, and anger at some point along the way–we can’t help it, we’re human.

Real life with God, honestly involves all those insecure emotions too. But God. God brings HOPE and assuredness. He takes a hopeless situation that we make worse by worrying and heeding false advice, and provides peace and a future.

“Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” Proverbs 16:1

“Joseph answered, “Not I, but God, God will set Pharaoh’s mind at ease.” Genesis 41:16

But God reassured him, ‘Easy now. Don’t panic. You won’t die.” Judges 6:23

“Bad guys have it in for the good guys, obsessed with doing them in. But God isn’t losing any sleep; to Him they’re a joke with no punch line.” Psalm 37:12-13

“Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” Proverbs 16:33

“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3:15

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” Psalm 9:18

On our own, we would have most likely found a job, earned some money, and muscled our way through our dire situation (albeit we wouldn’t be where we are now with our many bestowed blessing). But with God we carried peace, experienced joy, nestled in the Comforter’s embrace, and grew closer to the Creator of our futures.

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Dear Lord~

The anxieties in my heart: 1) wanting to live in Austin with my family & the beautiful landscape; 2) my kids’ negative attitudes towards each other; 3)my weariness with this journey; 4) Greg’s & my outlook towards the discovery of this divine vision seem far apart, but so close at the same time right now.

Everything I’m grateful for: 1) all the amazing things going on in our world now. I can see past the war & the extreme, unfortunate sufferings. You are bringing peace You are lifting up & preparing Christians for Your cause. You are highlighting the immorality in business & leisure. Could Greg’s abilities & insights about integrity in business be primed & ready? You are returning our country to a simpler, other-focused time. 2) You protected Jill this past Sunday! Thank You for holding her close. 3) My job at LCA & how well the play is progressing. You really guide my every action when I’m doing these plays! I feel so close to You. 4) My Hip Hop group at church. They keep coming back & we’re having fun & they’re getting better.

Lord, if Austin is where You want us, please provide an opportunity to move there when school gets out for the summer.

Lastly, I pray for a good time & good weather for Alyson’s visit this weekend. I pray that she will be willing to attend service this Sunday.

I have been tired & angry. Thank You for waiting on me. Lead me, guide me, pour peace over me. Pour peace over our troops, the British forces, our leaders & our enemies & the people of Iraq. Your grace prevail over all gunfire, religious beliefs & stubbornness. Peace & Your face be seen by the POWs.

My heart is filled.

Amen

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Today I am excited to be here now having this time with You. My attitude lately has been shameful, bratty & unhealthy. I ask Your forgiveness & grace to pour over me & make me new. Take this over year-long journey & make me new. Cast the devil away. Don’t let evil penetrate my thoughts, tongue & actions. Teach me, love me, pull me close. Pour out over my husband. Give him peace & rebuke evil around him. Well within my children. Give them air beneath their wings that they may soar above all pain & angst.

Please be with me now as I go to Your Word. Lead & teach me.

After reading Revelations 21-22, I know that it is with You that I am to look toward for answers; not the world. How comforting it is for me to know that You will have this wonderful place for me. You conquered death for me & prepared Heaven for & my family. I am not afraid of this world; it has attempted to sting; evil has had its chance & failed! Ha! I walk by faith & not by sight.

“But you, man of God, flee from all this & pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance & gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Lord, I pray for Jason Eaton who is faithfully serving in the US Army in the Iraq war. I have committed through the Presidential Prayer Team to pray for Jason’s safety during this time. Lord, please protect, guide & minister to Jason. Give him comfort during such scary times. Also please be with his family, giving them peace & faces turned towards You & Your Word; assurance in Your plan.

Amen

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Dear Jesus~

You have renewed my spirit! I feel so light. I see purpose–purpose in waiting. As our family had our Bible study last night (a silly one; all in a giddy mood) I read from Philippians 4:10-20. In it, of course was ‘I can do all things through Jesus Christ which strengthens me’ (v13). You first led me to that verse in 1985 when I was in the Miss Austin Aqua Festival Pageant. I can remember being backstage, about to go on & those words popping into my head. Thank You. What a Comforter you are.

We are successful today!

Amen

Monday, April 14, 2003

Thank You for today. Fill my heart with gladness. Fill my mind with Your wisdom and knowledge. And hold my tongue, only letting it loose for necessity & kindness.

I pray You take hold of our children. No more arguing, attitude & ugly demeanor. Change their hearts. Change our tactics. Lead us to a place where our positive inner light can shine!

Amen

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Lord, just as You give me a complete vision of a dance production or play choreography and set, etc, please give me the complete, unquestionable vision for our family’s life after this journey. Will we live in Austin? Where are Your answers for us?

In Nehemiah’s time & Joshua’s time, You put all circumstances in place for Your ultimate plan to come to fruition. Just as with what is going on now with our nation, President Bush, Iraq & the fall of Hussein. Your divine plan is the reason why the people of Iraq are liberated. Praise You, Jesus, for saving the Iraqis.

How are my circumstances lining up with Your divine plan? We are trying to raise our children in Your eyes for a divine future; we are living and abiding our marriage according to Your guidance; we are trying to travel this journey as testaments of Your grace & our faith in You. The final piece of the puzzle is Greg’s career & my career & how the two separately can work to minister & testify for You. We pray for the answer to this final puzzling question.

I know You are at work in the hearts of my family. Please let us be a daily, living testimony of Your love & grace. How will You place us in Austin if Greg is going to get a job offer with EDS here in Dallas? My heart, Lord, hurts. Heal me.

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature & complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, & it will be given to him.” James 1:4-5

“Blessed is the man who preservers under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

Lord, thank You for letting me store treasure in Heaven. I pray for wisdom in these circumstances., dear Lord of the Highest, my Comforter.

I am Your servant. Send me.

Amen

 

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My Ginger Twin

 

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As I journaled in our month-to-month, sparsely furnished apartment I pined for my things.  Like Mary Kate Danaher in The Quiet Man I wanted my belongings about me.  I wanted our stuff that had been crated and locked away in storage for a year.  My grandmother’s hope chest, my mother’s paintings, my bridal bouquet and photo albums; our china, the patchwork quilt my mother-in-law made, our four-poster bed, and lawyers bookshelves–all locked up, far away and inaccessible without a hefty digging fee.  The image of John Wayne taming the shrew in Maureen O’Hara is much like God wrestling with me many days during our ‘prison term’ in the apartment.  I thrashed about as God held onto me during my desperate prayers and journalings.  I was dragged across the meadow and through town like the brattish Mary Kate who refused to be satisfied with true love and didn’t want to learn a lesson.  My friends may have said that I handled our no-job tenure with grace, but often times inside I was a fiery red-head with a spitting Irish tongue.  Fortunately for me, God was Sean Thornton.  He would grin at me, wait for my silliness to subside and envelop me in a hug as I whimpered apologies.

My last journal entry posted here leaves us in Job, indicating that no job had been granted as of yet.  It happens obviously, and Greg and I eventually live out ten years in a beautiful home in Lucas, raising our three kids to legal completion.  But unlike the previous sentence, the day-t0-day living of the no-job journey is not as easily expressed.  My ginger twin may make an occasional appearance, but God remains my ‘quiet man,’ taming me through the tough times and loving me all the while.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Radical faith.  Am I there?  Have I truly given all to follow You?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I think that my ideas of security with a home, etc. are keeping me from You.  Help me to give that up.  I’m trying to design Your plan.  Help me to let go & completely trust You.  “Trusting & believing God is the number one priority on God’s agenda for my life.” (Holy Ambition)  Trash everything else.  Just follow & trust.

Teach me not to question.  Jump off.  So what, we’re where we’re at?  So what we don’t know of tomorrow?  I’m excited of YOUR plan.

God, I pray for a vision of Your plan.  I pray to be patient to hear from You.

Amen

Saturday, March 8, 2003

Dear Lord~

Again, I pray for YOUR vision.  Help me to let go of all of my inhibitors.  Let Your plan shine over all else.

Thank You for this wonderful weather.  I pray that You send us somewhere today that we may enjoy the sun & be closer to You.

Lord, I pray for Frank & Maria.  If it be Your will, please bless them with a child.  Help her to become pregnant and to have a healthy baby to term.

Lord, some considerations now are to investigate Greg starting his own business or take over an existing one with the support of venture capitalists.  Please lead us in the right direction with this research or close all doors immediately.

We pray for a swift action.

Lord, I have yet to pray about the Hip Hp group I’m forming with the youth at church.  I apologize.  Please forgive me.  I definitely felt You lay it on my heart that I should have no regrets about not having had formed the group in preparation for the opening of The Family Life Center.  Lord, I sense something good there, but some elements don’t seem right.  Every other group I’ve started has taken off immediately.  Please guide me in the right direction to lead these girls to get them excited about us.  We need a name, possibly a place to practice.  I need original ideas , choreography, and energy!  Please pour Your blessings on us.  Help us to dance for You & to praise You in a way that will reach to others.

Thank You for Liza having a friend over today.

“Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

Amen

Monday March 10, 2003

Dear God in 3 Persons~

I have just finished the book Holy Ambition and I lack only one thing on the list:  a strategic plan.  I have a dislocated heart, about our national and world struggles, about the dance needs in Austin, about wanting & needing to live in Austin.  I have a broken spirit about these things; I definitely have a radical faith & personal commitment & You have given me a courageous soul.  The only thing I’m lacking is a strategic plan.  And I can’t have a strategic plan without Your vision for Your holy plan utilizing me, Greg, our family & our talents.

Lord, I realize that my choreography, staging and design is exactly how I can be successful for You for Your plan.

I must have the final outcome in my mind & then I can work backwards to figure out how to achieve the goal.

I know that when You give me Your vision & plan, that with courage from You, I can strategize a plan with You to accomplish amazing things along the journey to achieve Your divine plan.

I am chompin’ at the bit.  I am fired up!  I am so ready to jump at Your plan–more so than any other opportunities than have come our way yet.

You are an awesome God  And I say ‘WOW!’

Amen

PS–I have been discouraged & weary, but this reminder of Jesus’ struggles feeds me to go on.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary & lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:2-3

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Dear Lord Jesus~

I pray in preparation for my time with You today; for focus, intimacy, wisdom and understanding.  Please speak through Your Word to me with clear understanding.

Psalm 26 definitely speaks for me.  Verse 1 says, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life.”

My life, in this ‘cave’ has been blameless, aside from the sins You have forgiven me for & I continue to pray for Your power for control.  But the Psalmist says how I feel.  I’ve stayed away from evil, I’ve proclaimed Your name. And as the author, David, writes, “my feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.” (v12)

I praise You now for all that You’re doing & for what You will do for me & our family

Greg & I met with Blair yesterday.  He said & agreed that we’re at that point where all we need is God.  He said that is not a bad place to be.  That is true.  So true.  All we need, can count on & rely on is God.  We know You will provide.  Let us see it coming, O Lord.  Let us be so close to You that we see the answer coming & are not chastised for too little faith.

In 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 You remind me that You have taken care of even my greatest enemy, death (although I actually fear many other things than death itself).  You smacked death by dying on the cross & living again.  I will live again with You!  So it definitely matters what I do on earth.  It is comforting to know I can “…stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the world of the Lord, because You know that Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (v.58)

Amen

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My grandmother’s hope chest that she gave to me and now I have given to Lena. My grandmother had her initials carved onto the right panel; ten years later, my father-in-law carved my initials onto the left panel. I plan to have Lena’s initials carved on the top with room for her daughter’s and future daughters.

Monday, March 24, 2003

To be quite honest, Lord, I really don’t want to be doing this right now.  If it weren’t for Greg, I wouldn’t be.

It’s Monday, the beginning of another week.  We want to go to work.  Lena cried the other day that she has nowhere to go and relax.  We need a home.  We need our things out of storage & around us.  We want & need to celebrate Your victory.

Do You hear me?

I knew You wanted Greg to quit EDS.  You made that very clear & we don’t regret it.  We pray for Your leading and obvious direction for our next move–complete confidence, because we’ll need it in order to be able to ignore the nay-sayers & for us to press forth with Your plan.  Next week will be one year since Greg quit EDS on April 1st.  This can not be an April Fool’s joke.

Hallelujah for the removal of Dick Brown at EDS.  Open doors for Greg, Lord; help him to reinstall the values back in the company.  Let’s go!

Lord, I whole-heartedly pray for Mike & DiAnne.  Their marriage has been strained by their trials.  Why do they have to suffer for so long?  It seems so unfair.  They have been such devout followers for You for so long.  Why punish them?  They need Your intervention immediately.  Please soften their hearts.  They need You so.  I pray that You use me in talking with DiAnne.  She really needs a friend.

This dying moment-to-moment day stuff is very old!  Can’t I just live?!  Yes!  I know there’s a war going on & people overseas & POWs who are yearning for Your attention.  And yes, please hear them all.  Keep them safe.  Save their souls and expand the Christian territory!   Keep the Tabers safe, please.  But help us too.  I am not a life-sufferer; a professional mercenary.  I’m Jodie, a daughter of Christ, trying to do what is right & trying to hang on.

I pray for a miracle today!

Amen

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I’m here again.  Reading Job.

Laundry–Sorting Sacrifices

laundry clipart

Everyday sacrifice B.C.– Get up, dress, make gruel for family.  Grab a lamb and turtle dove, walk to the temple.  Sacrifice the lamb for having relations with your husband last week and the turtle dove for starting your period this morning.  Earn money by taking in laundry and selling vegetables to pay for next week’s lamb and turtle dove sacrifices.

I couldn’t live like that!  While raising my kids, life was crazy enough feeding the family three times a day, doing laundry, cajoling homework, and wrestling bills.  Add schlepping small livestock to town to atone for my daily living and I would have ended up a mad, beggar woman with a brood hiding under my cloak.  Sex with my husband and menstruation aren’t even sins, but according to the Bible, that was life before Christ.  No thank you!  That’s not living.  God knew that, hence, John 3:16:)

Everyday sacrifice A.D.– Give it up to Jesus when you wake, pray throughout the day for guidance and strength, trust and have courage to follow Him.  And…when you are earnestly waiting for God’s answer about a desperately needed job and ending your financial stresses, you once again sacrifice & just do the laundry.  Read the entries below (2/24/23 & 3/2/13) and this introduction will make sense–God’s sacrifice & my daily pitiful sacrifice of agreeing to His plan, even though it’s not what I like.

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Red silk journal with embroidered scroll heart and key – gifted to me by Greg on Valentines, 2003

MyRedJournals continues with me writing in my second red journal amidst our 1+ year job search and three kids under the age of ten.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

The continuation.

Wholly dependent on You.  Nothing more can be done.  Continual, constant prayer.  Seeking Your face.  Listening desperately for Your voice.  Anticipating.  hanging with my toes on the edge of the line, waiting to exclaim, “All the glory to God!  He did this wonderful miracle for me!  Can’t you see, those of you who don’t believe, that only God could change the course and bring on such sunshowers!?!  Believe, believe!  Believe in Jesus!  He died on the cross to take your sins & to give you a new life!  This is my new life.  Jesus loved me so much that He died for me & He showered me with overflowing fruit!  He wants this for You, too!  Just ask Him.”

We are on the verge with Perot Systems.  It looks bleak.  The other candidate has apparently been given an offer, but the race is still on.  Darcy is doing reference checks; Greg lined that all up.  According to Darcy it is close.

A praise!  We prayed for Darcy’s mind to change to the positive for Greg & You did that!  Thank You, thank You, praise You, Jesus for helping & nurturing.  You change the impossible to possible.

Now, Satan’s final attempt.  An attack of vertigo, swirling questions & doubts, apparent defeat & biases among Brian towards the other candidate.  Cast out all evil, God!  Remove the devil from our presence, Brian’s eyes & ears & the entire decision-making process.  There is no place for evil here!  Only You & peace & assuredness that what You have done before You will do again!

Another praise!  I asked You to move like a freight train & You did.  The interviews came fast & swift.  They were so positive & God-driven.  Thank You for You blessings.  You are my God.

This evening Greg talked with Jay who said a decision has not been made yet.  There are two votes for Greg & two votes for the other candidate and two undecided.  The decision should be Friday or Monday.  You hear our prayers don’t You, God.  My King is Lord of all–even hiring decisions.

We are asking all to pray for us.  Greg asked Nan & Pap to pray, too; a big step.  Thank You.

Amen

Friday, January 21, 2003

Zechariah 4:6-7  “Then he said, ‘This is God’s message to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty–you will succeed because of my Spirit, though you are few & weak.’  Therefore, no mountain, however high, can stand before Zerubbabel!  For it will flatten out before him!  And Zerubbabel will finish building this Temple with mighty shouts of thanksgiving for God’s mercy, declaring that all was done by grace alone.”

Today I will call Mom & ask her to pray for us.  Please be with me & Mom.  Give her ears to hear and a heart to accept.

We pray again & continually for Your intervention in the meeting at Perot.  Don’t let evil in; let truth prevail & goodness in to what Greg can do at Perot, through You, be apparent.  Cast ALL doubt about Greg’s abilities.

“Anything is possible; in Him all things are possible.  You can have whatever you say; don’t give up ’cause it’s never too late.  Cast your fears away.”  Song by Anointed based on scripture.

Jehovah, King, Friend, the Great I Am, Lord, Jesus.

Amen

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Monday, February 24, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Wonderful counselor.  It always seems necessary to thank You for saving me.  So long ago You made the decision to die for me.  You saved me from my sins & weaknesses, knowing that You’d love me completely, even though I wouldn’t be worthy of Your immense sacrifice.  I ponder this often.  I do a self check–do I believe?  Could You possibly have allowed such humiliation & agonizing pain for Jodie?  You could have left me to this world & our/my feeble attempt at gaining Your glory.  All day long I could bring sacrifices for this and that.  A lamb for this sin, a ram for that sin.  Burning and slaughtering day in and day out.  You could have left my soul to wander along without Your Holy Spirit–oh, how would I exist?  You could have closed off Heaven upon my death…(breathe), but You did not.

What would be required to prove to me You exist?  A glorious, colorful, magical, supernatural poof of proof would have convinced me with starry eyes.  Right here in my living room.

But, a baby.  Sinless.  Leaving behind His Word and teachings and overriding love.  Connecting a moment of His long ago with every moment of mine now, so that I may be comforted.  Blood.  Broken bones.  Wine & bread taken at communion.  A small symbol and reminder of Your sacrifice for my pitiful soul.

Thank You.

Thank You that I matter.

Bring Your Holy Spirit to me.

I could not sleep tonight!  Excitement!  Exhilaration!  What can I do to prepare!  Party preparations?

I am looking forward to the upcoming Bible study “The Heart of an Artist.”  You really know my heart and yearnings.  I have been needing a direction for my study.  Thank You.

Today we start our Family Prayer Journal.  I pray that we pray and express love for one another in those pages & grow closer to You.

Once again, I pray for Your intervention, guidance & Spirit with ‘the decision meeting’ at Perot.  No evil present.  All thoughts towards Greg fulfilling the position of Worldwide Sales Leader/Vice President of Sales.  And as Cody asked of You last night, please provide another job for the other candidate.

In the end…Your will be done ‘on earth as it is in Heaven.’  Courage, please.

In Your Holy name, Jesus.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Dear God~

I believe You are answering prayers.  Liza and I prayed & discussed Liza needing a best friend; one who is mature, possibly older than she.  This morning she is playing with some girls at the apartments in the 4th & 5th grades.  Thank You for this possibility.

I will sing Your praises! I pray for our Home Group meeting this Friday with the missions.  Prepare our hearts (mine especially) for what we will hear.

Please help me to spread Your Good News to someone who needs to hear it.

Amen

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Dear Lord~

Shall I repeat again all that I keep saying.  Sometimes my emotions feels as frozen as the ice outside.  Flowers ache to bloom from below the frigid surface.  Break the glass.  Let all excitement & celebrations loose and wild.  Let the invitations be mailed.  It’s a party in Your honor!…as soon as we get the job.

That is not to be confused that we haven’t publicly celebrated Your gifts thus far and have said openly that we know You will provide.  Please know my heart.

I want to dance!  For You!  Don’t hold me back anymore!

Do I sound like a whiney child.  Should I cease with this incessant yammer of help, help, help?!

Take the focus off of me, us & our situation.  Let me move on!  Who can I help?

Give me a smile today please.  Let me pass it on.

Jesus, You are incredible to go through such trials & never sin.  Thank You for suffering to show me how to live.

Your eyes in mine.

Your hands control mine.

Your thoughts direct mine.

Your feet guide mine.

All through You.

Amen

Friday, February 28, 2003

Dear God~

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul writes about ‘running the race with focus.’  Should I be reminded of my prize in this race?  The prize is not a job, a house, an end…it is my eternal home, it is the victory of salvation of others who observe my faith in trials & it is to hear You say, “Well done good & faithful servant.”

Oh that I may truly feel that in my heart.  To long for eternity and to be rid of the world of suffering.

But, leave me me here to do Your work.

I am faithful.  I am frozen, but faithful.  I pray for overwhelming energy.  I am tired of waiting for the phone to ring!  We just received a wrong number, but just the sound of the ring and the possible ‘answer’ on the other end made my soul leap.

An end, an end!  O hear our prayers.  Hear the prayers of all those praying for us.  Thank You for all those who are praying for us.  How can all of their cries for us be wrong?  What says Your will?

I pray for dancing & cheers & exhalation!  My soul wants to perform for You.  My expressive dance of yearning, of thankfulness and of faith is over.  The next act entitled, “Jubilation,’ is anxious to set stage.  Please bring the lights up…start the music…let me fly!

Amen

Sunday, March 2, 2003

A phone all yesterday.

No parties, just laundry.

Thanks.

 

I Wish ‘S” was for SuperWoman

Greg & I always said throughout our journey that we walked around with an ‘S’ on our forehead.  We just seemed stupid.  How does a family of five, living month-to-month in an apartment with no jobs keep doing what we were doing?  We were 10+ months into this journey, which started when Greg was laid off from his job in Canada.  We were able to finish the school year there, move back to Frisco, Texas, enroll the kids back into school and keep searching for a job.  We both looked for jobs, believe me.  But we both prayed fervently about what & where God wanted us to go.  Did He ever say ‘Go get a job at Lowe’s or be a waitress’?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t put the kids into costly activities, such as dance and karate?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t get that car because of what others might think’?  No.  We asked!  Over and over we asked about each step, each purchase or non-purchase–should we or shouldn’t we.  We followed God’s direction every step of the way.  But His direction, as usual, isn’t typical and surely isn’t what the average Joe would say is right.

Doing life without a job & a family according to the world goes like this–1) take any job you can get; humble yourself completely, degrade yourself, if necessary; work long, menial hours; 2) wear a long face; worry incessantly; turn to other pleasures to get you through; 3) anger and bitterness are allowed because the situation sucks and there’s no end in sight; 4) certainly don’t spend money on anything other than absolute necessities, which of course includes activities for the kids; 5) always have something to tell family of your job search progress.

Ahhhhh!!!  Just typing all that makes me crazy!  It suckers me into the angst and lonely feelings that were always lurking and which I had to pray out constantly.

Peace beyond understanding looks like you’re wearing an ‘S’ on your forehead.  You must be stupid for not worrying.  You must be stupid for spending money you don’t have on that.  Here’s the worst–not being able to plan.

People would ask, ‘What are your plans this summer?”

My response–“I don’t know.”

Or, “Where are the kids going to school next year?”

“I don’t know.”

“Would you like to go on this family trip this fall?”

“I don’t know.”

And I didn’t know.  And I don’t know now.  Only God knows.  We pray and plan as much as we can, but always it’s God who tells us our next steps.  During the journey He would only tells us just prior to taking the step where that step would be…and we had to be okay with that.

So if ‘Stupid is as stupid does,’ then call me stupid in love with my Savior.

My Red Journals continues…

Friday, November 15, 2002

Lord, all details of the job search, the play, school & illnesses are spinning out of control.  My head is swimming and I can’t keep up.  So now, I just stop and breathe and look to You.  Calm, calm.  Breathe.  Try to clear my mind and listen to You.  Lord, simplify, clarify and beautify.  All that I’m doing I think I’m doing ultimately for You.  Please make sure that I am.  Only You can solve all of these details & clear my head to make sense of it all.

Dear Jesus, our main concern right now is Liza.  I discovered two small lumps on the side of her throat on Wednesday morning.  Lord, please send us to a doctor to have Liza seen so that we may dissolve all fear.  Lord, take the lumps away.  Heal our daughter.

Lord, Jesus, I gave my children and Greg up to You back many, many months ago.  I know that they’re a wonderful gift from You and I have the incredible gift of sharing my life with them.  But, oh Lord, help me to know what to say.  DON’T!  STOP! It’s all too much!  I love YOU!  Don’t You see?!  Don’t test me this way!  This journey’s path is reaching into the darkness of the woods!  Turn me back on the path with the sun.  Heal her, heal her, heal her and me.

Thank You for Your word, which says to me right now, “The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid!  Don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army!  For the battle is not yours, but God’s!”  2 Chronicles 20:15

Feed my soul with Your words.  Take over my thoughts & actions.  Take this craziness from me & leave only PEACE.  Let me see all obstacles & solutions through Your eyes.  Hold me.  Hold Liza.  Carry us through today.

November 25, 2002

I give thanks today for all that You have made possible for all that You have made possible for the Christmas musical!  The props will be done & the set completed (with a lot more work!) & they look fabulous!  Thank You for all of the help!  Thank You for the vision coming to life!  Thank You for Jenn, Helen & Lisa & the entire cast for being so gun-ho for all of my crazy ideas!

I pray now for all of those seekers that our church members might bring to the pay that they might hear all the good news about Jesus.  Please put the play on the hearts of many to come & be changed!  Your will be done.

Lord, now I pray for this other job opportunity with Oracle.  Please, put Your plan in motion.  Please, put Greg in the minds of the key decision makers with Oracle.  We know that the end of this journey will climax with an unfathomable answer.  We wait, once again, patiently, confidently, and expectantly for You.  Your will be done.

Finally, I pray for grace for each of us in this family.  Grace with one another & towards others.  We should act as You would.

Amen

December 3, 2002

So much to do.  Today I pray for so much:  focus, energy, health, productivity, control of frustrations, but first, I come to You to breathe.  Let me pause in Your presence.  Let me feel Your arms take hold.  I want to relinquish all control to You.  How quickly evil wants to take hold, even with the work that I’m doing for You.  Wash out all evil & down thoughts.  Place Your blessings on me.  “Our God is an awesome God!”

Lord, I pray for all facets of the play. Please prepare hearts for those coming to see the play, especially for those I’ve been asked to pray for, the Waltons & the Harmons.  Please be with these families.  Bring them to the play safely.  Plant seeds of Your message, water unyielding growth & sprout saplings into sturdy plants with deep roots in You.  Thank You for the opportunity for all that You would have me do.

You just gave me an idea for a poem “My Gift.”  You just make me sing!

Please be with Jenn, Helen & Lisa & thank You for them.

Amen

Thursday, January 9,2003

Dear Lord Jesus,

I am in awe of Your wondrous power.  I have begun reading the Bible-in-a-year with The Daily Bread & have read the creation in Genesis & am amazed once again.  Dumbfounded that what I take for granted every day was nothing til You breathed it into being.

Now, I am awed at how You are working Your plan for our family.  God, these past few weeks, well, most of December, has been very difficult.  We have cried out ENOUGH!  You know where we stand: no job prospects, all monies due (storage $530, car insurance $1,000, dance costume fees $360, tax prep for 2001 $999 & the list of usuals).

Spring in this apartment would be devastating!  Claustrophobic!  Saying “I don’t know” to every question about our immediate future is excruciatingly OLD!  Greg & I appear as if we are doing nothing!  There is no plan B, as my mom keeps suggesting!  We are solely relying on You!  We know You’ll come through, Lord.

So we’re into the fourth day since the end of the holidays & You are moving.  You are advancing the Perot proposition.  We are praying for Greg’s name to be in the minds of the decision makers at Perot.  That’s #1 of the Miracle 1, 2, 3 prayer.  #2, we pray for the house on St. James in Lucas & #3 allow us to transfer the kids to McKinney or wherever is the right place for them.

Perot is moving along.  Greg received confirmation that he’s in the running again.  Hallelujah.  The Lucas house is still available.  And now, through the Christmas play, You have presented a small opportunity for me at Lucas Christian Academy.  I met with the headmaster Wednesday & observed the class–a production class where I can do anything I want!  Everything sounds great & I’ll get paid for 2 official hours that I’d work at the school.

My main concern is the number of volunteer hours I would put in again for this job.  I don’t want to do this unless I give 100% effort & creativity.  For the past 11 years, I’ve volunteered & donated our money for so many causes.  I’ve always wanted to, gladly, but I’ve been ready for a while now to get paid for my abilities.  That’s the big drawback, but I’m saying ‘yes.’  You have handed this to me on a solver platter, in Lucas, 10 minutes from the Lucas house.  I’m stepping into this with faith, as I should.   So here is my prayer.  Lord, guide me with these kids.  Give me the right show to help them to grow & mature.  Lead through me.  Be my hands, feet & tongue.  Please grow this opportunity into others, bigger, more far-reaching, evangelizing Your name to the masses.  Thank You for leading me to this school & for knitting together all of these details of our lives into the perfect package.  I hold fast to Zecheriah 8:11-23 that our times of mourning from July, August, October & January have ended.”

I have just read parts of the books prior to Zecheriah, which are Habbakuk (which started this journey) then Zephaniah, Haggai & Zecheriah.  In Haggai 2:18-19, You say “From today, this 24th day of the month…I will bless you…From this day I will bless You.”  I know this is Your promise of fruit abundant, that the end has come!  Thank You oh heavenly Father for guiding me all the way!  Through questions & despair, but never questioning You on the final outcome!

You have filled my heart with gladness!

Amen

My Perfect Life in a Red Gift Box

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This is not me, of course. But I daydreamed everyday about how God would save us.

If I were to write the concluding scene depicting my husband being awarded a job, us moving into a house and all that comes with it, it would be dramatic, have sweeping images underlined by grand music, and would bring an audience to tears and amazement.  So many times throughout our 3 years of unemployment, I wrote scenarios in my head of how Greg would get a job after a promising interview.  I imagined the looks on all our faces, the jumping up and down of celebrations, and the heavy sighs of relief.  Then I would quickly make a mental list of all the details that would need to get done–find/buy a house, make arrangements to get stuff out of storage, notify the apartment complex, transfer phone, electric & utilities.  I would even try to figure out how to help the kids adjust to the changes, keeping their schoolwork, dance and karate going without a hitch.  I could doing all that in a quick five minutes of daydreaming after Greg called to say his interview went great.

DO NOT PONTIFICATE.  That was a big lesson for me.  God taught me that we could not pontificate what He would do.  It’s easy to say that God’s plans are always better than our own, but living it day to day is way different.  Especially since God gave me this mind that likes to daydream, organize and loves surprises.  If I were God, I would present long-awaited answers in a big red box with a silk white ribbon; everyone would stand at the gift with hopeful, relieved eyes, inhaling with anticipation, much as a woman does when presented with a Tiffany teal box.  There would be a flash mob of impromptu music and dancing, kids being lifted on shoulders, giddiness, praising, and fireworks.  I had that mental party many, many times.

But God taught Greg and I that He wants everything from us, even our rambling thoughts.  He wants our all of our energies to go to Him, not trying to figure out what we can not figure out.  Pontificating goes both ways, too.  We can not try to figure out how good things will happen, nor can we contemplate all the negatives.  We can not think about where our next meal  will come from, how we will pay for the rent in six months, or what if one of us comes down with an illness without insurance.  Those thoughts are not of God.  God does not instill worry or fear.

Now, of course, we must be wise and plan.  Through daily prayer and study we ask for God’s guidance and He gives it.  And the knowing that you have that a thought is God’s will, and not just a pontification, is very clear.  And if it’s not, pray for confirmation.  If you get confirmation that you should do something, then, by golly, you’d better do it.

Life is easier without pontificating.  Like the birds and flowers, we don’t worry about the necessities of life.  We stick close to God, ask for direction and have courage to follow through with it.

I do dream, however, which is waaaayyyy different than pontificating.  God gives me my dreams–I imagine He puts them in big red boxes with white satin ribbons.  And we act on the dreams together; step by step, verse by verse, prayer by prayer with no uncertainties and a blanket of excited peace.

October 29, 2002

With renewed strength, provided continually by You, I look towards today with great anticipation.  Thank You for the help I’m getting with props for the musical.  Daryla & Becky are great helping out.  I pray for them both.  Please bless their talents You gave them to be used for Your glory & to ignite them inside to in turn do more for You.

Thank You for all of the teacher conferences we’ve had.  I bust with pride how all of their teachers boast how wonderful they are.  It is only through You that they continue to thrive during all of this unknown.

Amen

November 4, 2002

Good morning!  Dear Lord, so may times I could have written incredible scenarios of answers to a job & our future with amazing miracles that would make fabulous stories & testimonies.  Now, after many things not working out, my mind is blank & I believe You want it that way.  You want me to let You do the work.  You have broken this horse & I am submitting.  Whatever Your plans & whenever You enact them (of course, I know it’s in process already) I know it’s the right thing for me, our family & those Christians & non-Christians who are watching.

Thank You for our safe trip to & from Austin.  Thank You for the girls working & learning so hard at the Tremaine dance convention this weekend.  Thank You for the door being opened by Greg to grow the relationship with Jill.  Thank You for finding the karate school for Cody.  He loves it & it’s just what he needs.  You are incredible.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Jesus, Holy Spirit, You have lifted my spirit & fed my soul.  I praise You for Your provision in so many ways.  Thank You for the money we put in the bank; overpaid taxes, expense check & EDS paying for our storage through December!

Lord & I pray for Ron Smit & his wife.  Ron has been out of work as long as we have & now his wife just got laid off.  Please comfort them & help them on their journey with You.  Please put them in the minds of others so that they will find work.  Lord, please continue to bless Mimi, John & the kids.  I pray that their talents & passion for You will be used for Your glory & their fulfillment.  I also pray for Wesley as he is making decisions for his future.  Please send him people who will lead him to You & prepare a fruitful future.  Thank You now for what You are doing & will do throughout our church & country with the 40 days campaign.  I pray for memorization of Bible verses, the play, my choreography & Lara’s.

Thank You for the sun today.  The continual rain was adding to any morsel of depression.  It’s off to make props for a show about You!

Amen

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Dear Lord, You have given a realization to me today.  All of these trials & this journey is not for the reward of a job, house & the end & even to be closer to You.  I am to go through this to receive Your rewards in heaven, living eternally with You!  It’s so simple, but difficult for my human heart to absorb.  My pink and beating heart is full for You.  I suffer here to be closer now & in Your arms forever.

Lord, through this journey with You, I pray that I am changing as You want me to change, I am enduring as You want me to endure & I am learning as You want me to learn.

Monday, November 4, 2002

Right now, I feel much too busy & preoccupied to pray.  Busyness for the play, necessities at home are taking me in all directions.  Please calm my ancie needs.  I can’t accomplish any of the many things today without You!  I could run around like a chicken with my head cut off or I could breathe, talk with You & calmly let US handle the day.

Thank You for the woman at Hancock Fabrics for giving us the 40% discount on fabrics.  You arranged it all!

Lord, I pray that the joy I’m having in helping with the play & in serving You is being perceived as such.  I want to keep my focus on You & others.

Thank You so much for all of my friends at church;  May You give me more opportunities to help them.

Lord, please be with Liza today.  She’s feeling a little under the weather.  Please lift her up to You, taking aches from her back & throat.  And lift her spirits from the monotony she feels with our current surroundings.

In Your powerful name I pray.

Amen

Brat Attack!

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Brat attack!  These journal entries cry, scream & kick up a tantrum storm.  Much like this picture (click pic to view larger) , where my daughter, Lena, stands center, performing with her dance troupe, Collin Dance Ensemble in 2011, God can take us acting like a total brat.  Sometimes we just have to spew out, “I can’t take it anymore!”  And God can take it.  He knows how we feel.  He allows us to scream from the heart.  A good cry is cathartic to the soul, albeit puffy for the eyes.

I leave these entries without much intro except to say that, much like reading Revelations, know that we win in the end.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Bad news last Friday.  Why.  Why are we constantly so close & then it’s all dashed?!  I feel despair & hope at the same time.  I still believe in Your miracles, but can’t believe we still have to live with the unknown & the monotony for however long now.  All of our prospects seem lost the money only goes out.  Greg is hanging on just above despair.  i am so proud to be his wife & to go through this together with us both looking to You & for setting an example.

Jesus, please work Your miracles.  Depression is creeping all around.  The cheerleader in me is tired.  The concoctions of hope I have been so sure of these past 9 months seem true one minute & then crazed just the next.

Why are our kids put through this continual lingering?  We live on the edge each moment; each phone call; that we may finally release & rejoice & have the festivals You spoke of in Zechariah.

For now…I unload the dishwasher do the endless laundry help & cajole the homework, work on the play–thank You for the play–& YES, HAVE HOPE…LOOK TO YOU.  Praise Your gifts to me…even today…and I pray again to You, dear Jesus.

Today, Jesus, please banish despair in me, in Greg, in the kids (if they’re feeling it).  Today, Jesus, work Your miracles & let me have Your eyes to see them.

Amen

P.S.  In reading past entries, I realize I need to say a praise…for Lena’s ignite of will to learn & succeed.  She got a 98 on a math quiz retake!  You are with her!  Lord, please help us to figure out how we can get Cody involved in something physical.  It is very obvious that he needs to exert energy daily & that his mood desperately needs it.

Thank You!

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Lord, do You see my out-stretched hand?  Your child is crying!  Hear my prayer!  I need Your miracles!  We need Your miracles.  Desperation is all around.  I can identify with the urgency of the Psalmist, “crying & gnashing of teeth.”  I am like Moses now, grey with a long beard, ready to come off the mountain!  Bless me.  Save me.  Bless me.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

It is difficult not to have hope.  You are here, there is hope.  Frustration tired of not knowing and waiting are beyond done; occasionally, actually often, senile laughter about it all helps, but there is always hope.  Actually hope, concrete, factual hope, No.

No leads, no possible job calls, no interviews.  But a hope in my heart.  Dear Lord, please actualize that heart-filled hope.  Make real the plan I know You have tucked in my heart & in Greg’s heart.  Today, today, today.  Thank You, as always.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 tells what we have & are going through.  We’ve run the gamut.  Even the “40 Days of Purpose” feels like I’ve ticked off each item on the daily list of soul-seeking questions.

We pray & work, we trust & prepare.

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October 21, 2002

Being completely honest today, Lord.  I’m irritated.  I’ve prayed & focused for so long that I’m tired!!!!  The race is long & the finish line keeps being pulled away!  I’m tired!  i want to get on with the next thing!   I’ve got it!  I’ve learned!  Great!  Now let me make my list, get after accomplishing it & get my family moved!  ENOUGH!!!!

Why test me to my utter exhaustion?  Doesn’t the enemy torture his opponent & grin at his despair!  Take me from under Your thumb!!  Hold me in Your arms…carry me through.  You tell me to pray continually.  Well, are you deaf?!  Are You a child who must be told repeatedly?!

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me, oh God!  Give me peace.  Let my prayers ring of praise, praise, praise!  Please.

October 24, 2002

As hard as I try I cannot not love You.  Tear me down  Be silent.  Push my patience to the very edge…I still praise Your Holy Name!  I have loved & praised You always.  I never remember not loving, knowing & believing.  Why should I stop now?

I don’t get all that is going on.  And I know that You weep for me.  But, I trust You & I still know that You have a plan for me & my family; a plan so incredible that I cannot fathom it.  I can’t conjure up images & scenarios of the possibilities–that was my former, young Christian self.  Now that I am speeding (ha ha!) through my teen years, I am maturing & getting closer to You.  I have reactions like a spoiled brat, I kick, scream & storm away, but I really want Your embrace & assurance that everything will be okay.

“Our God is an awesome God.  He reigns from heaven above.  With wisdom, power & love.  Our God is an awesome God!”