Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Been a While

I haven't written in a while. I have wanted to, I just haven't known what to say. So what has been happening?

Well, I still don't have a car of my own. It is still sitting up at the church parking lot - just hanging out! I have been the recipient of an amazing gift, though! A couple from church has been letting me use one of their cars for the time being. It has been such a blessing! I also spent a couple of days doing some hard work and figured out that the big picture of my debt is not quite as bad as I thought it was. I am still not in a position now where I can peacefully take on any additional debt, but it makes the prospect of paying it all back a little less grim! I have actually paid a lot more on my student loans over the years, so I owe a lot less than I thought. I was also able to get both of them into a new repayment schedule. It is going to be HARD, but I have hope!

One of the greatest things that I feel I have been learning lately is about God's desire to provide for me and His desire for me to ask - to invite Him to provide for me! God doesn't just want to give me what I need, because I need it. He wants to give me the desires of His heart - because it brings Him joy to provide. He is a good father and good father's provide well - and joyfully - for their children. They provide not out of obligation, but out of desire to see their children blessed and honored!

I didn't learn these things from my father and I think it really has made an impact on my ability to trust God and receive from Him as a father! I remember being younger and listening to people talk about how their relationship with Father God was stunted because of their relationship with their earthly father. I never got it - I never understood! As I am getting older and getting to know and trust God more, I see that the places I hide from Him and the places I lack trust are the same places that there is brokenness in relationship with my own father.

What I do know, is that God wants to redeem these places! He wants me to trust Him and not run or hide. This means that I can tell Him what I want and what I need - and even more so, I can ask Him for those things!

I know the next few months are going to bring in a lot of challenges and even transition! There are a lot of balls in the air being juggled and some that are in the chute about to be shot out. I need discernment to know what to hold onto and what to put down. I need energy to be able to accomplish everything - well! I need grace to be able to make mistakes and correct them. I need friends to walk with me.

Lord, I thank you for the things that you are teaching me. I thank you for the way you are breaking scales away from my heart and you are revealing more of your character and desires to me! I thank you that you have no turning - that you will not relent! Thank you sweet Father, that I am important enough to you that you desire to provide for my wants and my needs. Thank you, that you care for me with joy and not with obligation! I love you, God! Thank you for loving me! I ask that you would continue to teach me how to allow you to provide for me. I ask God, that you will give me the discernment, energy, grace, and friends that I mentioned above. I also ask that you would be teaching me how to be more vulnerable and transparent - how to be more real - in my relationships with others and with you! Thank you!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Today Was Very Productive

Please do not judge me as you are reading this. The simple fact is that I have made some big mistakes financially along the way. Some were out of necessity, some were out of not knowing better, and some were just out of not making the right choices. Whatever the reasons, I have more than a fair share of financial burden that I do not know how to overcome. Well, with a lot of motivation, a lot of help from other people, and a lot of grace from God, I am on my way to righting some wrongs.

Today was a day off of work for me. I could have spent it sleeping in, watching TV, playing with friends...any number of fun things. I didn't though! I woke up at 8:00, buckled down and got to work! I organized the two baskets of receipts and bills that needed to be addressed. Then I took care of the top three things on my "Most Important Things To Do" list. I spent a cumulative 4-5 hours on the phone and humbled myself to ask for mercy and help. In the end, I was able to make arrangements to get both of my student loans out of default and take care of a pressing legal matter that was not related but has needed to be addressed for quite some time. I got done and all I could do was shout with joy, "Thank you, Jesus for helping me through today! It is done!"

My mother also stopped by on her way home from work, so I made a simple dinner and we enjoyed each other's company for a little while. After she left, I rewarded myself for pressing through all of the hard work and stress of the day by starting a little sewing project...or something like that! I have this feather pillow that is really old and I love sleeping with it. The casing was getting all worn out and falling apart, so it has been sharing all the feathers with my bed, sheets, hair, etc. I decided tonight to make a new casing for it, sanitize (I use this term loosely) the feathers, and stuff the new pillow casing. It worked ok, but I ended up with stray feathers all over my bedroom. That's ok, though. It gave me a good excuse to vacuum. I also went ahead and stripped the bed and cleaned the bedding so it is one less chore I have to do tomorrow. Now, I am going to take myself to bed and sleep in peace!

Before I go, I must say that I am very proud of myself for working hard and accomplishing the things that I did today! It took a lot of courage for me!

Thank you, Jesus that you are growing me and making me more capable of doing the difficult things. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be faithful with a little. Please continue to help me and teach me, so that I will learn to be a good steward of the things you have given to me. I ask this not only for myself, but also so that I will learn how to better bless and serve you and others. Thank you for washing me new and for forgiving me of the places where I am wrong. Help me Lord, as I strive to walk in your ways!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You Won't Believe What Happened

I haven't had a chance to write about this until now, but I am very excited and very thankful! On Sunday morning, at church, I was talking with a friend and she wanted to pray for me about the results of my doctor's appointment and about my car. She had just said "amen" when a couple walked up to me and offered to let me use their car for a little while. I was blown away! I don't even know these people! We have some friends in common, but I didn't know anything more than their names when they walked up to me! It seems that they felt God was prompting them to let me use their car, so they offered it to me. It is such a blessing and such a relief! It still doesn't solve what to do about my car, but at least it gives me a way to get to and from work and other appointments without having to bother other people to take me. I don't know how long I am going to have access to it, but I have something for now!

Thank you God for hearing my cries and for responding! Thank you for caring and for providing for me. Thank you that you remind me that I mean more to you than the lilies of the valley or the birds of the air and that you care for them, so you also want to care for me! God, please continue to grow my faith and speak words of wisdom over me. Continue to teach me to search for you. Thank you for the people that you have placed in my path to help care for me and to walk with me through these times of struggle. Bless them richly, Lord! Pour your covering upon them and let them know just how precious and treasured they are! Thank you God, for meeting me and calling me into higher places with you! I will follow you with joy, knowing that you are good!

Friday, March 6, 2009

How Am I?

A friend of mine just sent me an e-mail asking how I have been. She hasn't seen me in a few weeks and wanted to check in. At first, I wrote the following response. I ended up only sending the first two sentences.

So to answer how I have been, the honest answer is not that great. The last couple of weeks have been really hard! My car finally died and so I have been without a car and I have been depending on other people to take me to and from. I HATE it!!!!! I am such an independent person that it is really hard for me to have to ask for help and rely on other people and justify going here and there and wait when I want to do something. Those have all been hard! But then you just begin to add in the money aspect and I feel like I have lost all grips on control! I was talking with another friend for a little today and the perfect statement came out. "It isn't really about the car. The car has just been the cherry on top of a sundae of being overwhelmed by finances. It's like I am reaching for band aids right now to try to cover a gaping wound that has arterial bleeding!" My head has been pounding for almost three weeks now it started as a migraine, but seems to be different and almost worse in the last week. It occurred to me last night that my blood pressure is probably high. I had a doctor's appointment. Sure enough my BP was 145/88! It's normally around 105-112/60. I thought "no wonder my head is hurting so bad. I'm about to have a stroke!" I just took an interesting combination of medication to slow my BP down and knock me OUT for the night. Maybe if I can just sleep sleep sleep I will feel a little better tomorrow!

Oh, and the results from the doctor's appointment weren't that great either. My inflammation markers are the highest they have been in 2 years. I get copies of my medical records for my own files - the doctor's dictations note "additional progression of advanced disease observed." My spirit crashed!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

God, I Need More

More grace, more peace, more patience! I need it all, and much much more! I don't know how much longer I can go like this! I feel like I am suffocating in the stress of things to do, expenses to find money for, and relationships to maintain. This doesn't even begin to keep in check trying to focus on work, make time for rest, and somehow try to spend quality time (not the leftovers of my day) with my Creator. My head feels like it is going to explode off of my shoulders all day long, my heart aches as if it is going to pound out of my chest, the night of rest is interrupted time and again by worries or pains or memories of things that didn't get done or need to get done. My skin is itchy and breaking out. All someone had to do is look at me with a slightly questionable "tone"...or even just smile and I all but burst into tears. I think I have come to the end of myself! I can not hold on any longer!

God, I need more of you! I am nothing without you. This I know. But do I really believe it? My actions and response to the lack of control I am living in right now would somehow seem to say I don't. God, would you please take what little faith I have and somehow - in a way that only you can - will you please move mountains with it? I just need more of You God! Holy Spirit, pour your balm of comfort and peace over me. Father, speak Your wisdom over me! Help me know what to do. Help me God, to hear you over the torrents of accusation, condemnation, and rejection. Jesus, my precious and mighty Jesus! I need you! I need you more today than I ever have! Please come and rescue me from the lies that so easily entangle me. Let me hear your acceptance and see the love in your eyes and forget all of my own concerns. God, I need more...more of you!