Monday, July 24, 2017
I woke up this morning with the biggest smile on my face and in my heart. Yesterday went by as though it was a dream that I dare not wake up from, for fear of returning to reality.
Yet it was true; I had self-published a devotional book and it was available for sale.
May 2, 2017
This was my second day driving to work after having moved back home with my mother. It was only day 2 but I was already tired from the commute. My back was a bit better by this point but my neck still had some residual pain from the accident (which occurred on February 26th). The day seemed normal; I had arrived a bit early and chatted over my breakfast bagel with my pregnant colleague. Then I went into the office to work. Since it was the second day of the month, I had a report that I needed to finish for contract billing but I had to work quickly because I was leaving the office early to go install a Personal Emergency Response System in a client’s home. At 2pm I had gotten tricked into participating in an interview with a potential employee and I watched the clock heavily because I knew I needed to leave at 3pm. Just as the interview ended and I was trying to leave, the owner of my company came in and asked me to step into a meeting. I didn’t know why she wanted to meet, but I had a feeling about what she was going to say…
At 3:12pm I was walking out of the HR office with my letter of termination in hand and a feeling of exuberance in my heart. I can’t explain it and I know it sounds crazy, but I was not upset about what had happened. I knew in my heart of hearts that my work ability, behavior, and personality had changed since the accident… but pain had taken over my body and every thought in the weeks since the accident. I went to my desk and began packing my things, taking extra care to make sure that I grabbed every picture and motivational item that I had in my area. Simultaneously, I texted my inner circle and told them the news. I laughed as every person texted back “What? What happened? Are you ok?” I laughed because they could not see the smile that was in my face- the smile that represented peace. I drove home that day smiling and just thanking God. Crazy, I know…but God had prepared me for that day.
Rainbow as a sign….
In December of 2016 I was driving to work and it was not raining yet there was a bright rainbow in the sky in front of me. It took me awhile to process but I realized God had sent that rainbow to remind me of His promise to me. He had promised me in His word (Jeremiah 29:11) that He had plans for my life but I had forgotten. That rainbow told me that my time with my employer would end soon but I had no clue when or how.
As the months passed, I applied to job after endless job because I thought that’s what God wanted me to do. I would apply and then picture my life in the city where the job was located. I never really gave any thought to how God was going to fulfill His promise, but I knew that He would.
Then the accident happened, taking me out of work for 3 unpaid weeks. My bills began to pile up and confidence in God’s plan began to waver. Little did I know at the time, but the accident was to prepare me for my season of unemployment. God was stripping everything from my life that I had placed before Him, including my job. It was painful, but it was necessary.
Writing my story…
After receiving the email from RAINN in April of 2017 stating that speakers were needed for a women’s conference and confirming my attendance with the coordinator, I knew that it was time to get serious about my future. God was getting me ready for what He had in store for me. Things were no longer moving slowly; instead they were now moving at lightning speed and God needed me to get myself ready…quickly.
So I began writing-blogging, specifically- and preparing for the women’s conference. I knew I had to tell my truth but writing along the way helped to prepare me for the conference. The conference was scheduled for May 20th but I was spending every waking day blogging whatever was on my heart at the time. And that’s the interesting part- God had given me so much to write and so much to share!
And then I got fired.
I knew it wasn’t the end of the world; it was merely the end of a chapter of my life. When my job ended, my life began. My entire focus (or so I thought) was on writing what God told me to write. I’d like to say that I did this well in May and June but in reality, I was slacking.
As with any person, I allowed fear and doubt to come in between me and Christ. Naturally, I became worried about bills and my finances because I was not working. I even doubted who I was a person because I have a masters degree, but no one would even offer me a job. Week after week I was applying for jobs and even interviewing, but no one would hire me.
Then I realized what was happening- God needed my attention. He needed me to do His work at this particular time.
Then He gave me something that I couldn’t even imagine… He gave me a study guide and a desire to teach others.
A few weeks ago I was sitting and talking to God and He told me it was time to start helping others with their healing. I was looking at the women in my life and, knowing their stories, I could see their pain. It was time for other women to come out of their season of brokenness. So I wrote. I was obedient to God and I wrote as He sent His words. However, I still felt like I needed someone else (those who are “holier than me”) to read my work and deem that it was worthy for others to read.
So I sent the Devotional to Amy (my best friend) and her parents to read and provide feedback. Her dad is a pastor, her mom is a retired educator, and she is my sounding board- surely if they liked the devotional then it was good. I also sent the devotional to my pastor and asked for his opinion because I just needed the approval and confirmation from everyone… or at least I thought I did.
But God Happened….
Two weeks had passed and my pastor had not read the draft yet. I wasn’t upset because God had explained why my pastor hadn’t read the draft- because I did not need his approval when I had already received His instruction.
After realizing that I was delaying God’s work and will because I was waiting for something that I did not need, I went to Amazon’s website and started my upload…
I don’t know about you, but I have spent more years than I should have waiting for others to approve what God had already told me to do. I was suffering from a severe case of “not enough” syndrome.
I never felt confident enough.
I never felt good enough.
I never felt important enough.
I never felt liked enough.
That’s why the opinions of others mattered so much to me. That’s why I needed the approval of others- so that I feel validated.
Is this you? Do you wait for the approval of others? Do you need someone to validate your actions?
I will pose the same question to you that God posed to me: Why?
At some point in our walk with Christ, we have to stand firm in Him and His word. Fear and doubt cannot dwell in the same place as faith and trust.
Pick one… but choose wisely.
Matthew 6:30 is one of my favorite verses of the Bible (go read it!) and I love it because it challenges where we place our priorities. Are we going to worry about what others say/think/do and what’s around us or are we going to have faith in our Heavenly Father?
Again, the choice is yours- choose wisely.
As for me, I’m going to focus on doing God’s work, having faith in His plan, and trusting His way.
So again I ask, if God has given you instructions and His blessings, then whose approval are you waiting for?