Thursday, January 12, 2012

Giving us Time to Listen

* I spent 2 hours writing this post (beginning at 3:55 a.m.) only to have it disappear when I hit "publish" due to an error. Interesting, huh?  Maybe God intended the original post to be only for me & my heart.  Maybe He wanted me to add some things and delete others.  I don't know why it happened.  But I do know that I wouldn't trade the 2 hours I spent writing with Him for anything!  He does make me laugh though when I read the title of this post and realize rewriting it will give me more time to listen to Him!!!  *

It is amazing to me how much God speaks to us.  Unfortunately, I think we often miss hearing Him because we don't take the time to listen.  Our busyness and daily routines tend to take precedent. 

Often times, we need God to shake things up a little (or a lot if you are stiff-necked & hard headed like me) to get our attention.  You know, like remove us from the "rat race" through unemployment, 2 weeks in Africa, etc. :)

Since returning home from Africa a few days ago, Shawn & I have really been praying and listening and listening and praying.  We came home to a new season in our lives, a new adventure. 

When I look at my husband, I see God's masterpiece.  "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

You see, when I met Shawn nearly 20 years ago in college, he was a full-time student living on campus and working to support himself. Financially, he was on his own and had been for some time.  For as long as I've known him, he's always been a very hardworker.  Idleness is not in his nature. 

Before we got married, my mom said she'd never have to worry about me (financially) because she knew Shawn would do whatever he needed to do, even dig ditches, to provide for us.

While I enjoyed the security from Shawn's hard work (he srongly believed in paying cash for everything), I did not enjoy its price tag.  Early in our marriage, Shawn's job was my biggest competition.  We both wanted his time and attention.  Unfortunately, his job often won.  Shawn believed God kept him healthy so he could work ALL THE TIME to provide for us.  He was also doing what he had seen his father do - work, work, work.

When Shawn was a deputy and later an investigator at the sheriff's department, he got into trouble for working too much.  He would never turn down overtime.  While our bank account may have been okay, our marriage sure wasn't. 

Then God allowed Shawn to be snatched out of law enforcement in such a way that he can never go back.  It was hard.  It was unfair.  It was later deemed wrong.  But honestly, it was an answer to prayer.  It saved our marriage.  It grew us closer to the Lord and to each other.  What satan meant for evil, God used for good!!!

For the past 7 years, I've watched my husband be humbled and shaped by the restaurant business.  Dealing with the public is no small feat.  It requires a ton of restraint and a ton of grace.  It requires relying on the Lord in a new way (so you don't destroy your testimony!!! - I'm just saying...)   

Today, I see my husband surrendered before the Lord, willing to follow Him wherever He leads.  Shawn has allowed himself to be challenged & changed by Christ.  Yes, he still shoulders the burden of taking care of us.  Yes, he's still willing to do whatever it takes to provide.  Yes, it's still hard for him to be unemployed.  But, he's NOT willing to sacrifice his relationships for the sake of money.  What a difference JESUS makes!

Right now, Shawn is at a job interview.  The difference this time - he is not looking for a career.  He is looking for a way to provide for us AND follow God's call - a call that definitely involves Africa.

I am so stinking proud of him, I can't stand it!  It just does something to a wife's heart when she sees her husband trusting & following the Lord.  There ain't nothin' like it!!!

Shawn's been unemployed a few times before (like when we found out I was pregnant with Tanner), but watching him handle our current situation is nothing shy of a miracle.  A miracle of trust.  A miracle of obedience.  A miracle of surrender.  A miracle of love.  A miracle of the heart. A miracle of complete transformation.

The Bible says,
"Come and see what our God has done, 
what awesome miracles He performs for people!"
Psalm 66:5

Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
   You display Your power among the peoples.
With Your mighty arm You redeemed Your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
Psalm 77:13-15

"He (God) is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted
Job 9:9-10

Oh how thankful I am for yet another opportunity to do life God's way!  Who knew unemployment could be so exciting!!! 

Doing life God's way is so much better than the world's way.  Even if it's harder.  Even if it goes against everything we've been taught.  Even if it creates a fierce battle with our flesh.  Even if it defies the American Dream.  It is worth it.  God is worth it.

And God is so faithful! He has been showing us Scripture and then confirming it over & over again.  Why?  Because we are calling out to Him, and we are taking the time to listen!  We are finding Him & His answers because we are genuinely seeking Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:12-14.) 

In my last post, I shared that right after Shawn & I prayed together on Monday morning about our future, God showed us Matthew 6:19-21 which says,

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." 

Yesterday (Wednesday), I had a dentist appointment and some errands to run afterwards.  While I was in my car, God had me hear Dr. David Jeremiah teach on "Investing in Eternity" based on Matthew 6:19-21 TWICE!!  TWICE!!  (I actually heard it a 3rd time earlier today when I wrote this post the first time.)  I told you I am stiff-necked & hard headed :)  But God knows that already so He has me listen to the same teaching as many times as it takes until I understand what He is saying to me.  HE IS SO AMAZING!!!

God has been showing us verses on holiness & righteousness too. Not to mention, He still lets us see or hear something about AFRICA every. single. day. It's all prepartion.  It's all part of His plan.  So please pray we will wholeheartedly respond to Him in obedience. Together.  With our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2.)

* Disclaimer:  As it turns out, the majority of this post is VERY DIFFERENT than the original one I wrote early this morning.  I know this post is not about Africa.  But, I PROMISE AFRICA POSTS ARE COMING!!!  My plan today was to share a quick post about how God has been answering our prayers since we've been home and then write another trip post picking up where I left off - in Uganda on New Year's Eve.  Ha Ha Ha!!!  Clearly God is in control here - not me!  I will try to write a trip post by the end of the day.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited about what God is doing in your lives. So excited that we serve a God of renewal, a God of miracles, a God who is worth it!!! Love you friend!!