Life Lesson #1: Deal With Your Stuff


“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”    — Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

It’s very difficult when writing a blog to know just how much to share with your readers.  As a writer, I want to touch my readers’ hearts.  I want them to read what I write and say, “Oh my gosh.  I know exactly what she’s talking about!”, or “I SO get where she’s coming from.”  At the same time, I don’t want to share so much that it portrays people in my life in a bad light; because there are two sides to every story, and you are really only hearing mine.  Suffice it to say, because of poor choices I have made in the past, my life has not exactly gone the way I had hoped; but I am hopeful that some of my mistakes can be used for good in teaching others not to do what I did.

Lesson #1:  Do NOT marry someone until you have dealt with your “stuff.”

When I married my husband, I knew I did not love him.  I did know he was a good Christian man, and he had a good heart; and I truly believed that God would help me grow to love him in time.  I was 28 years old, desperately wanted to be a wife and mother, and felt the biological clock ticking.  I had just come out of a four-year off-again-on-again relationship with a man whom I loved more than anything but who had no intention of marrying me anytime soon because of family pressure on his side.  It was actually this man who sat in church with me one day, looked out over the congregation, saw my future husband in one of the front rows, pointed and said, “You should go out with that guy.”  My initial reaction was, “Oh my gosh.  No way.  He is SO not my type!”  (Now I realize that many of you highly-intelligent readers will be asking, “Why did you go out with this guy for four years when he is telling you to go out with other people?”)  Can I just say, “It’s what insecure people do.”  It’s also what led me to marry my husband.

Which brings me back to dealing with our stuff…

We can drag an awful lot of baggage, which we aren’t even aware of, into our marriages.  Are you familiar with any of these:

  • Insecurity
  • Low self-esteem/unworthiness
  • Unresolved relationship issues
  • Poverty (lack of money or love)
  • Emotional/physical/verbal abuse
  • Codependency
  • Anger
  • Mental health issues

If you haven’t dealt with them BEFORE you tie the knot, trust me when I say that you WILL deal with them at some point after.  All of the baggage mentioned above comes with a bountiful set of emotions.  Emotions get triggered in our brains from the darnedest things…  a sound, a smell, a touch, a look, a word, etc.  You may think that you can suppress emotions, but they can only be suppressed for so long.  Emotions are alive, so suppressing them is like burying something alive.  They will eventually erupt and find their way out; and when they do, it isn’t pretty!

I’ve been married for 19 years.  I can honestly say, it has been a struggle from Day 1.  On my wedding night, I was crying because I had a new last name.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I had every intention of changing my name when I got married.  It wasn’t having a new last name that was the problem; it had everything to do with thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t go back.  I’ve made a horrible mistake.  This is not what I wanted.”  I don’t come from a belief system that says, “Get married today and divorced tomorrow.”  I had made a covenant before God.  This was serious business.  For what it’s worth, my husband was probably feeling the same way.  All of the sudden he was faced with a hysterical wife who was not at all like the woman he thought he had married.

In retrospect, I think I was more in love with the IDEA of getting married (the ring, the dress, the flowers, walking down the aisle) than I was with the man I had agreed to marry.  Also, in my insecurity, I didn’t believe anyone else would ever ask me to marry him.  My husband did; therefore, I thought I better jump at the opportunity.

I had had similar feelings (that I was making a mistake) that morning but had brushed them off as wedding-day jitters.  At that point, I remember thinking, “I can’t back out now.  Everyone has flown out here for the wedding.  My parents have put a lot of expense into this.”

Both of us have lamented the fact that we did not have premarital counseling before our wedding day.  We were supposed to have it.  We even went to our first session; unfortunately, right in the middle of it, our pastor got an emergency phone call and had to end the session.  We somehow never rescheduled.  I think the pastor thought, “These are two mature individuals who obviously love each other, both from good Lutheran stock, so they will be fine.”  (Of course, I have no idea what he was actually thinking.  Pre-marriage counseling for us may have just slipped his mind.)  I do think, though, that many of the conflicts we have struggled with over the years would have surfaced in those counseling sessions, and we could have been spared quite a bit of the heartache we’ve experienced (or at least been a little bit more prepared for it).

So, why are we still married?  In this Married-Today-Divorced-Tomorrow Age, I’d like to think it’s because neither one of us can come to terms with breaking the covenant we made before our God; and we’re both too stubborn to give up.  In reality, it isn’t because of anything WE are thinking or doing.  The truth is that God is the third strand in our cord, and where our two strands have broken, His is holding on.  That means there is a purpose in all of this.  That means that just as an ugly ragged-edged rock can be put into a tumbler and bounced all over for days on end and come out a beautiful gem, our marriage has the potential to come out of this as a beautiful thing to show others.  It means that all of the junk our children are being forced to wade through is strengthening them and building them up for service to others.  They will have a sense of compassion and empathy from having “been there” that will give them remarkable insight in helping others through the maze.  I have also come to realize that divorce does not separate us from our stuff.  If not dealt with, our stuff follows us into any marriage we enter into.

Maybe you are in a similar place.  Maybe you’re about to get married and you realize you’re not getting married for the right reasons.  Maybe you’re already married, were lucky enough to have been in love when you walked down the aisle, but now find you have drifted apart.  Maybe you’re struggling with a wayward or mentally-ill child, and it is wreaking havoc in your marriage.  (I have a daughter who is ADHD/NLD/and borderline Asperger’s.  Trust me when I say I KNOW the havoc mental health issues inflict on a marriage.)  Maybe you are a single person who feels the only way you can be loved is to sleep with every person who asks you to with the hope that maybe one of them will propose.  Maybe you are the child of an alcoholic who has become a workaholic to compensate for the love you never got, and you’ve reached the point where you realize you’ve accumulated a lot of things but you have no one to pass them on to.

We all have issues.  We all struggle.  But there is hope.  We CAN deal with our stuff before it deals with us.  We CAN break the cycle that we’re in … be it codependency, verbal abuse, anger.  We CAN stop it.  It isn’t easy.  It means making some tough decisions, but remember that it is for your good and the good of those who come after you.  Dare to be the difference in your future child (or grandchild’s life).  Dare to be the one who breaks the chain.  And remember… the best thing you can do is to deal with it BEFORE you get married!

Holding on in Christ…

Lori Lynn

Dear Lord… Thank you for being the third strand in my frayed and broken cord.  Without you, I would have been done a long time ago.  Continue to show me in a myriad of ways that You have a purpose in all that I am going through and give me the strength to continue holding on until beauty shines through.  Give me the courage to change what I know needs to be changed; if not for my sake, for my children’s sake.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

The GPS of Life: God’s Guidance


Shortly before our youngest child was born, my husband and I went shopping for a new minivan.  The only one we could take possession of before the birth of our baby happened to come equipped with a GPS system.  Both of us thought it was totally unnecessary for us to have a GPS system; after all, it was expensive.  Nonetheless, get one we did.

 After logging many miles between the East Coast and the Midwest in that vehicle, we soon realized what a blessing it was.  It never failed, when traveling through places like Chicago, someone would need to make a potty stop or roads were under construction; and that GPS system came in handy.

How about your GPS system?  Has it helped guide you through some pretty rough predicaments?  What’s that you say?  You don’t have a GPS?  Of course you do!  You just might know it by another name… the Holy Spirit.  Jesus tells us in John 14:26:

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

 Just as Global Positioning Systems help us find our way physically to our destination, our spiritual GPS (God’s Personal Spirit) helps us navigate our way through life.  Amidst the potty stops of sinfulness, the detours of wrong choices, the “under construction” routes where our will is not in sync with God’s will for us… our spiritual GPS is there providing discernment and wisdom when we can’t find our way.

Now, the interesting thing about GPS devices is that you have to activate them in order for them to work.  The same holds true for our spiritual GPS.  Have you ever tried driving your car with the GPS engaged and then you totally ignore what it’s telling you?  Try it sometime!  It will frustrate you to no end.  You wind up screaming at it, “Why are you telling me to go THAT way when it makes so much more sense to go THIS way!  Will you just shut up!  AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGG!”

You activate it, thinking you’re going to use it, it shows you the overall route, and you decide, “Oh, no, I know a better way.  I won’t listen to it this time.”  So, you head off to your destination completely ignoring the warnings.  As you make “wrong turn” after “wrong turn” it gives you a warning signal and repeatedly attempts to get you to turn around and start heading in the “right” direction.  You continue to block it out and ignore it.  Eventually, you may wind up where you wanted to, but the means of getting there was probably much more difficult or time consuming than it needed to be.

Isn’t that just how it is with us and God’s Holy Spirit?  We ignore His guidance.  We get irritated with the gentle promptings of where to go and which way to turn.  We block out the warning signals and the repeated efforts to get us headed in the right direction.  We, too, wind up taking the hard way or the time-consuming route, because we think we know better.  We fail to realize how much easier it would be if we would just listen to the “Voice.”

I look back on my life and see many instances where I was driving along without my spiritual GPS activated.  I wound up pretty lost, angry, and confused.  I wondered why I didn’t wind up at the destination for which I had started out.  Nowadays, I don’t go anywhere without it.

Oh, there is one major distinction between my van’s GPS and my spiritual GPS… my spiritual GPS was a gift.  It didn’t cost me a single cent.  Peter tells us, in Acts 2:38:

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The price has been paid by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We’ve got this remarkably helpful tool on board.  Let’s start using it and listening to its guidance!

Praying you find your way today…

Lori Lynn

Dear LORD, help us utilize the remarkable built-in “perk” you’ve given us when it comes to navigating through this journey called Life.  Help us to realize that part of learning to use our GPS effectively is to listen to what it says.  Open our ears and help us to pay attention to what we hear.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Discover Your God-Given Purpose


I have often felt, since I was a young child, that God has a special purpose for me.  It hasn’t been until the last few years that I have started to understand better what that purpose might be.

I’ve come to realize that my favorite moments are quiet moments spent in deep, reflective solitude, for it is then that I get a sense of God’s Presence, a moment to actually hear His voice.  As a mother, those moments are rare.  As a perfectionist, driven to busyness, they are extremely rare.

 It finally occurred to me one day how much Satan loves to keep us from fulfilling our God-given purpose.  By using an arsenal of distraction and overcommitment, messed-up priorities and maintaining the status quo, he prevents us from being all God designed us to be.  How do I know this?  Because I have lived it.  It is the story of my life.

Because God realizes that I am a little slow sometimes, and because He wants me to get my act together and start making a difference for Him in this world, He has been sending me two messages consistently over the past few years:

  1. be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; and
  2. simplify.

I need to get rid of excess and start focusing on what He is calling me to do.  I need to re-think my priorities.  I need to stop caring about what other people think and start caring about what God thinks (and what I think about myself).

Wondering what your God-given purpose is?  It’s different for each one of us.  One way you can figure it out is to stop trying to be like everyone else around you.  Stop trying to maintain the status quo.  Dare to think differently!

Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  I like the way The Message Bible states it:

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Our culture teaches us to be self-centered.  It teaches us to raise our children in such a way that they grow up thinking the world revolves around them.  As a culture, we mock moral standards, we no longer recognize common sense, and we dismiss God as a non-entity.  We, as Christians, are challenged to re-think this way of living, but we cannot do it on our own.  We are called to focus our attention on God.  He will change us from the inside out.  Ask Him to help you.  Ask Him what He wants you to do.  Above all, be open to hearing His reply.  Sometimes we think it will come like a bolt of lightning but, oftentimes, it is more subtle than that.

I love the passage in 1 Kings 19:5 where the LORD appears to Elijah.  God tells Elijah to go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

If we have conformed to the culture around us, we are so busy and so distracted that we cannot hear that gentle whisper.  We run the risk of missing God’s voice and, by missing God’s voice, we run the risk of living our lives without ever having fulfilled the purpose for which He specifically created us.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss my God-given purpose.

God has also called us for a shared purpose.  Our shared purpose in life is to glorify God… to reflect His light to the world around us.  If we are too busy to be involved in our church, we are too busy!  If we have adopted the attitude, “I’ve done my share,” we may as well ask God to call us home.  If every spare moment we have is spent shuffling our kids to and from sporting events and other extracurricular activities, our priorities are totally messed up.  Our children need to learn about servanthood and compassion just as much as they need to learn academics and athletic skills.

Our youth need to know that what they do makes a difference in their world.  Our shut-ins and the elderly need to know that someone cares about them.  We need young and middle-aged adults volunteering to bring these two groups together.  God doesn’t want to hear that you are too busy.  He doesn’t want to hear that you’ve done your time.  He wants you to get your act together and think about what is really important.

Ever since my parents took me to see the movie The Hiding Place when I was 10 years old, I have often felt that, at some point during my lifetime, Christians are going to be treated like the Jews were during WWII.  If that were to happen, if we were to lose our freedom to express our Christian views and own a Bible, be put in concentration camps, see our family members wrenched away from us and find out later that they had been annihilated, what would be important then?  Think about it…

Dare to make a difference in your world.  Do not be conformed; be transformed!  Simplify.  Make God your #1 priority.  It’s the beginning of a new year.  Let’s get back to basics.  Get to know God more intimately over the next few months so you can discover your God-given purpose and live life to its utmost fulfilling that purpose!

May God bless you in the coming year with knowledge, wisdom, discernment, and understanding as you seek to discover what He has purposed for you

Lori Lynn

LORD, transform me from the inside out.  Help me to get my priorities straight.  Teach me how to listen for Your gentle whisper.  Help me to strengthen my defenses against Satan’s army by immersing myself in Your Word, by communicating daily with You in prayer, and by really understanding my identity as Your child.

What Happened


Well, if you read my last post, you probably think I am happily ensconced in Massachusetts continuing to thrive in my obedience to the LORD.  Unfortunately, that isn’t what happened…

 

 Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?

Matthew 14:30:31 (MSG)

 

In June 2009, I helped my husband move out to Massachusetts.  The plan was that the kids and I would join him at the end of the summer, after our house sold.   I had my eyes on Jesus.  I was walking on water.

Problem #1

The house didn’t sell.

It was the summer the housing market turned sour.  Prices plummeted.  Houses for sale were a dime a dozen, and it was a buyer’s market.  Our house had been on the market since February.  People who viewed our home loved it, but there was always one little thing they didn’t like… the neighbor could see into the kitchen, the blinds didn’t keep out enough light, the yard was too small…

By the time school started and our house still hadn’t sold, I was in a different place emotionally.  There were many outside factors contributing to this, but suffice it to say that I no longer had my eyes on Jesus.  I was looking at the waves crashing around me, and I was beginning to sink.  I knew in my heart that I could not move.  Massachusetts represented so many negative things to me.  It wasn’t that Massachusetts itself was bad (I actually have some lovely memories associated with Massachusetts); it’s that the life I had there as a young mother with three small special-needs children, no family nearby, and a husband who worked all the time was anything but rewarding.  I was so overwhelmed, and I felt so alone.  The idea of going back there was traumatic.

Problem #2

I spiraled into depression.

My depression turned out to be a blessing.  It forced me to seek outpatient treatment at a Meier Clinic.  Those three weeks of treatment were life changing.  The first thing I learned was that EVERYONE struggles with SOMETHING.  I was not alone.  I was able to acknowledge a pattern of victim thinking which, in turn, opened my eyes to how the Enemy likes to play with our minds by feeding us lies.  It reinforced in my mind that we do indeed have choices in life.  We can choose to let our circumstances control us (passively sitting back and thinking there is absolutely nothing we can do about them), or we can choose to control our circumstances by changing our perspective on them.  I kind of liken it to a person who is severely myopic putting on their glasses and getting a fresh view.  Without their glasses, everything is very distorted; nothing makes sense.  When they put their glasses on, objects become clearer; and it is easier to focus on reality.

I’m still not excited about moving back to a place that holds so many difficult memories; but when I came back from the Meier Clinic (with my glasses on), I started to view things differently.  I no longer felt like I had to let life happen TO me.  I told my husband on one of his visits home that I did not want to put our house on the market that next spring.  I simply was not yet at a place (emotionally) where I could move, and I wanted my son to finish out his 8th-grade year at the parochial school he attended.  I then applied to graduate school in Boston.  I figured if I had to move out there, I needed something to give me a sense of purpose.  I was blessed enough to get accepted into the program, and I was doubly blessed that the college granted me a deferral until next fall allowing me time to get our house back on the market and, hopefully, sold.

I wonder, at times, if my acceptance into grad school isn’t part of the reason God is moving us back to Massachusetts.  I had just been accepted into the program the year before my husband and I got married but had to quit after we got married due to lack of finances.  I see it as God giving me a second chance to finish something I should have finished a long time ago.  I also see it as an opportunity to learn a new skill that will allow me to make a difference on God’s Kingdom Calendar.  He gave me a voice so I could speak, not shrivel up into a corner like a wilted flower and die.  Through His watering of grace and mercy, I am slowly coming back to life.  With His tender loving care, I am hoping to bloom wherever I am planted.

Can you relate?  Have you started out in obedience to the LORD only to find you’ve been blindsided in some way?  Did you fall into victim thinking or fall into the arms of Jesus?

Lori Lynn

Help me keep my eyes on You, Jesus.  When life gets too rough, reach out Your hand and grab me until I regain my strength in You.  Water me daily with Your Word, tend my wounded soul, and replant me where I can glorify You.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

One Step At A Time


A man I knew at a previous church, whose family had gone through a number of crises over the years, gave me a piece of advice I have never forgotten.  When he had finished sharing the details of a recent trial, I asked him, “How do you do it?  How do you make it through all these crises and stay upbeat?” He replied, “After you’ve gone through so much with God, and you see how faithful He constantly is, you can’t help but wonder, ‘How is He going to work through THIS one?’”

When my husband was laid off from a major industrial giant two and a half years ago, it would have been easy to get depressed and wonder, “Oh gosh, what in the world are we going to do… especially in this economy!”  But it is a powerful testimony to how much God had been working in my life over the previous four and a half years that I was able to say instead, “Wow, this is so exciting.  I wonder how God is going to work through this!”

My husband wasn’t so excited (at first), but God had been working on him, as well.  His participation in Men’s Fraternity1 the previous two years had been a blessing for our entire family and, when I encouraged him to change his focus about being laid off and start looking for what God was purposing to do in his life, he came on board quickly and asked, “How do you know when God is speaking to you?  How do you know He’s leading you in a particular direction?”  Those questions led us to an in-depth daily Bible study (Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby) that we started working on together (yet another powerful testimony to how God had been working in our lives).

Step 1: Be Open to Where God Is Leading You

I remember reading somewhere that God doesn’t show us the next step in whatever He is calling us to do until we take the first step; so, my husband and I decided our first step was to trust God from the get go and let Him have control.  Too often, we humans put restrictions on God.  Instead of listening to what God is trying to tell us, we start trying to tell Him things.  This time, we decided to try a whole new approach.  We said, “Okay, Lord, you have closed this door.  Where do You want us to go?”  And we got excited about the fact that we could wind up anywhere.  This was an opportunity to start over with a clean slate, if necessary.  So, we waited; and while we waited, our human nature took over and we added a little addendum to our prayer.  “Dear Lord, we’ll go anywhere You want us to go… but please don’t let it be Seattle.”

Well, guess what happened?  Suddenly, all of the recruiters contacting my husband were contacting him about jobs in Seattle.  So, we said, “Okay, Lord, we really like sunshine.  We don’t really do well in dreary weather.  Some of us are allergic to mold BUT, if You really want us to move to Seattle, we’ll move to Seattle.”  My husband interviewed there, we got ourselves psyched up about living there, and then… God showed us that it wasn’t going to be Seattle after all.  “Ummm… okay, Lord, if it’s not Seattle, where is it?”  (Inside, we were thinking, “Virginia would be REALLY nice but, wherever You want us Lord, that’s where we’ll go.”)

Step 2: Wait for God’s Timing

A few weeks later, my husband was interviewing in the Twin Cities.  We got ourselves psyched up about staying in the Midwest.  The interviews went well.  They offered him a job.  And then, during negotiations, we learned it wasn’t going to be the Twin Cities.  “Ummm… okay, Lord, if it’s not the Twin Cities, where is it?”  (Virginia would be REALLY nice.)

Step 3: Listen for God’s Voice

A few weeks later, my husband flew out to Cambridge, Massachusetts.  (Are you noticing a pattern here?  God is not sending us where WE want to go.  He’s got other plans.)  The job sounded perfect.  He was a perfect fit for them; they were a perfect fit for him.  The problem was, we had lived in Massachusetts before.  We knew what the cost of living was there compared to here.  We knew the cost of real estate there.  Doubt took over.  “How are we going to do this?  How are we going to afford a house that will accommodate the needs of our family?  How are we going to come to terms with putting our kids in public schools in Massachusetts given our previous experience there?”  Like Peter, when he began to sink after Jesus bade him “come to me” on the water, we took our eyes off the Lord and began to see the waves crashing around us.

Finally, a family member asked, “Do you believe God is calling you to take this job?”

“Yes,” we replied.

They continued, “Then God isn’t going to send you out there and forget about you.  He will provide.”

Step 4: Believe and Obey

Whew!  Once again, we were able to focus our attention where it needed to be… on obeying God’s will and reassessing which step we were supposed to be on (accepting the job).  You see, when we jump ahead and miss some steps along the way, we put ourselves through so much unnecessary worry and stress.

Think back to when God told Abram to leave his country and when He told Moses to go back to Egypt to free the oppressed Israelites.  Did He give them a detailed action plan?  No.  He led them one step at a time.  They needed to be obedient at each step before God showed them the next one.  If the path is clearly marked out ahead of time, where does faith come in?

One of my favorite scripture passages is Joshua 3-4.  Joshua and the Israelites are about to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  Joshua tells the people to consecrate themselves for the Lord is about to do amazing things among them.  The priests are to carry the ark of the covenant across the river and the people are to follow.  Well, the Jordan is at flood stage.  Can you imagine being one of the priests standing there at the edge looking at the deep swirling water wondering, “You want us to do WHAT??”  But, as soon as the priests’ feet touch the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing and the water downstream was completely cut off.  The priests who carried the ark of the covenant stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan.  The Israelites crossed over, the priests came up out of the river and, no sooner had their feet touched dry ground than the waters of the Jordan ran at flood stage like before.

How many times do we get to the edge of our Jordan, stare down at the flood waters, and think, “You want me to do WHAT?” and then back away in fear and unbelief?  We become captive to our own limitations.  We miss seeing God do amazing things among us, because we are too afraid to take that first step.

Through each step of the job hunting process… from Seattle (“Are you really willing to go wherever I lead?”) to the Twin Cities (skill building and God’s timing) to Cambridge (God’s plan for us… not our plan), we learned that each step in the process depends upon our obedience on each step of the journey.  Obedience is key.  The amazing thing is, as we walked each step with our awesome God, He became so visible to us.  What I didn’t mention earlier, is that while my husband was interviewing in one location, he always had another recruiter tracking him down somewhere else; however, once he started talking with the recruiter in Cambridge, all calls from other recruiters suddenly stopped.  It was as if God was letting us know, “Pay attention to this one.”  My husband also realized that each step God led him on through the various interviews prepared him for the next one and the one after that until, finally, when the people from Cambridge met with him, God had him prepared and molded to fit the position.

As someone told us during that time, “Imagine what God has planned for you in Massachusetts that you weren’t equipped to do when you lived there the first time.  Isn’t it exciting that He is leading you back to the same place you were before!”  When I focused on that, it WAS very exciting.

When we put limitations on where we’ll go or what we’ll do, we miss out on opportunities and blessings God may have planned for us.  Well-renowned Bible teacher, Beth Moore, often says when you walk with God and you give your life to Him, “Hang on, because you are in for the ride of your life!”

I was so ready.  I said, “Let’s go!”

_____

1 Men’s Fraternity is a series of three one-year-long studies by Robert Lewis, which provides men with an encouraging process that teaches them how to live lives of authentic manhood as modeled by Jesus Christ and directed by the Word of God.  To learn more, go to www.mensfraternity.com.

 

A New Day Dawning


The sun comes up
Its a new day dawning
Its time to sing your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes…

I heard Matt Redman’s song 10,000 Reasons for the first time last night.  The lyrics seem appropriate somehow for the beginning of a new year.  It’s a new start, a new day dawning.  Whatever 2012 brings, I want to keep praising the LORD.  Whatever happens… whatever lies before me, I want to keep on singing.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year is the Complete Jewish Bible. (No, I’m not Jewish.)  I put it on my Christmas list because I want to know more about my Christian roots.  I want to know more about the rich heritage that we have been given from the Jewish people.  How can we truly understand the Bible if we don’t try to understand the background and customs of the people from whence it came?  The great thing about this Bible, is it contains both the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament).  I am thinking that reading the Old Testament from a Jewish perspective will be the difference between seeing with 20/60 vision and seeing with 20/20.  It will be like getting a new pair of eyeglasses and seeing each blade of grass and each leaf on a tree… everything fine tuned.

But I digress…

The new year.  A time of new beginnings.  A time to start over.  A time to look back at the past year and think, “What wasn’t so great, and how can I change it to make it better?  What went well and how can I hold onto that?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year, it’s that we do have choices.  We can change things.  We may not be able to completely change our circumstances, but we can change how we view them.  And I’ve learned that lasting changes take time.  Be patient.  Slow and steady wins the race.  (It’s true!)

Lori Lynn

But in my mind I keep returning to something, something that gives me hope — that the grace of ADONAI is not exhausted, that his compassion has not ended.  [On the contrary,] they are new every morning!  How great your faithfulness!  “ADONAI is all I have,” I say; “therefore I will put my hope in him.” 

–Lamentations 3:21-24 (Complete Jewish Bible)