Thursday, July 31, 2008

He wants ALL of us

I have come through an experience the last two weeks that has left me feeling embarrassed to the core and very exposed, yet through it all I have realized that is exactly what God wanted. This is an area of my life, that while obvious to close friends and family, is something I have talked very little about and never addressed.

So here goes. I am a chronic job-hopper. Since getting my first job at the age of 16 (24 years ago, oh my) I have bounced from job to job, to self- employment and unemployment, quickly growing bored and restless and rarely lasting more than a year. I also had this tendency with other commitments. The fact I have been at the same address for 12 years and with the same man for 16 just goes to show God did know what He was doing partnering me with someone who balances me out.

In a person's early 20's, this could be expected, at 40, it's most likely called attention deficit disorder. The ADD, coupled with clinical depression, made stability a real challenge for me, but instead of being honest with that, I made more and more desperate attempts to hide it. I found it humiliating and often had no explanation as to why I behaved the way I did. Are you familiar with Romans 7:19 in which Paul laments "19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." That was me.

The company I received an offer from two weeks ago discovered my attempts to hide my past instability by stretching dates of employment. My past instinct would have said forget about them and try scamming someone else. The Holy Spirit said otherwise. I was instructed to write them a note apologizing for my omission and to try to explain it. I didn't get a clear sense on whether they would still be willing to hire me. I was expected to act in obedience and let God worry about the outcome.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. (Ironically, this was the theme of a Beth Moore conference I attended about a week and a half ago.) I was desperate for work; it has been over a year since I worked steadily and I had received dozens of rejections in that time from other companies. Yet, I was outright admitting to them that I had lied. I couldn't outrun my past anymore. Whatever the outcome, I had to start being honest with people, so without excuse, I did just that.

In deep humility, I am happy to say I still got the job and I start on August 5. This is absolutely and act of grace and mercy that happened only by being obedient to the Holy Spirit. I have come clean that I faced significant mental health challenges and lived to tell about it. I can't help but think that I will be a testimony to this company. They have to wonder how I got well and, if given the opportunity, I will tell them: By surrendering my life fully to Christ.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Steadfast Friend

Hebrews 13:8 states that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Thank goodness! I guess that's why He is God and I am not. How I am day to day often depends on my circumstances.

In the past few weeks, I have felt justified in pulling away from my Savior and friend. Life has been tough. Everyone has struggles, of course, but I felt particulary entitled to stress out and give myself permission to unravel.

My husband and I hadn't been getting along. In March 2006, I learned he had a secret addiction and though our relationship is significantly better, the behaviors and attitudes can continue to challenge. Sometimes it gets to be too much and I wonder if God knew what He was doing calling me toward reconciliation with my husband.

Then, June 15 marked one year of unemployment for me. I have had some self-employment and a few temp jobs, but nothing steady. I was feeling lower than low this week. The Bible and prayer just seemed like words meant for other people.

Then, lo and behold, I got a job and tensions eased at home. I felt great. I sought after my Savior and friend again, but I didn't have to seek far. He hadn't gone anywhere.

A friend like this is rare to find. In fact, there is none like Him. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. And those aren't just words on a page.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One Big Family

Today my husband and I received letters from a church we attended almost 10 years ago regarding whether we wanted to discontinue membership. I found it funny at first, considering we have been at FBC for nine years and the last time we attended NCBC we only had one child, a toddler who is now almost a teenager.

It was also touching. I have often felt FBC to be a large extended family of 300. I feel closer to and more comfortable with people there than I do to some by whom I am related by blood. I didn't neccearily feel that way at NCBC, but that is only because I did not allow myself to. It could be that some there felt that way about me, however.

The letter from NCBC showed me that believers in Christ will always be family, regardless of where life's path takes us. And, when all is said and done, we will be rejoicing in one big family reunion in the precense of our Savior.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Journey is Here

but my heart is there. There is a song by a Christian artist that sings these exact lyrics. Originally, I thought it was morbid. Was he singing about wanting to die? Now I understand what he is saying and feel the same way.

I am not ready to die anytime soon, but becoming a Christian has allowed me to face the prospect with peace and not terror. Back in the day, I used to wake up with full-blown panic attacks over fear of dying. Panic gave way to peace, however, when I had assurance of what lie ahead. As our pastor said in today's sermon, the best is yet to come.

This life can be a terrible struggle, and it is a challenge for me not to dwell on that in these stressful economic times. Yet, when I trust God with the details of my own life and try to be a blessing to others, He again gives me peace. We are not here for ourselves.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I have been at our wonderful church for nine years now. It has only been in the past three that I have gotten over myself, ie, waiting for everyone to come to me, and reached out to make friends with other women. It has been a journey that satisfies me to the soul. Sometimes I can not believe I am the same person, and truthfully, I'm not. Once I fully surrendered to Christ, He has been stretching me in ways I could not have dreamed of when doing it my way. That is why I love 2 Corinthians 5:17. It describes me perfectly.

I am humbled because several of these new friends (and even some old ones) have taken the time to tell me what I mean to them. I have gotten hugs two days in a row! I was completely taken off guard. They love me? They're proud of me? Are they sure they have the right Lisa?

I give all the glory to God. I tried and failed at life enough to know that the person I have become and am becoming is simply the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work in my life. Why didn't I let Him in earlier? I guess to make a more interesting testimony. It shows that God does not give up on anyone, and can indeed make beauty from ashes.