Are you overwhelmed, too?

I subscribe to the newspaper and maybe three times a week, I actually get the opportunity to read it. Let’s face it~ the news is often rather depressing. Whenever I scan the obituaries, there is usually a name or two I recognize and wonder if they are related to people I know. In fact, this morning, there was the announcement of the father of an old high school friend.

Also in the paper today was a commentary by a former Washington Post journalist. This journalist, Jeanne McManus, really articulated what I believe we all feel. I’m including the link if you’d like to take a few minutes to read it. It discusses all of the various warnings and alerts that we’re inundated with in todays society. Hurricanes, terrorist threats, sun exposure, obesity, foreign outsourcing, economic downturns, etc….Exhausting. We’ve become overwhelmed….I know she certainly speaks for me! What do YOU think?

http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2011/aug/30/meopino1-why-didnt-i-see-it-coming-because-too-muc-ar-253841/

 

 

IS time on my side?

In the months leading up to my 16th birthday, time didn’t move. I felt like a cruel joke had been played whereby the calendar just ceased to advance. There were times when I felt that I would be stuck at the perpetual, non-driving age of 15 forever.

NOW I look at the calendar and, like so many of us, scratch my head. What happened to August? How is this possible? There are 117 days until Christmas which means we have about 17 more days until the retailers start bombarding us with Christmas displays and commercials. That’s another thing~ am I imagining things or did we start ramping up Christmas marketing after Halloween once upon a time? Now it’s Labor Day. Jeez.

I have, more than likely, rounded the turn and am headed back to the finish line where my lifespan is concerned…well, unless Willard Scott plans on giving me a Smucker’s “shout out” when I turn 100. I have no doubt that Willard will somehow be preserved and still stumbling through the centenarian birthday wish segment on “The Today Show” in 2064.

All of this to say I hate wasting time..we all do. And yet we all waste it like it isn’t really this precious commodity; this priceless gift.
It occurred to me this morning that people invest their “free” time in a multitude of ways~ some like to shop for hours on end, some can sit on Facebook for hours and not even realize it, and some use their hours blessing others.

I don’t want to be one of those people who just wastes the gift of hours, days, and weeks… when did conversation get replaced by a laptop? When did we begin to tether ourselves to our cellphones instead of being with the people in front of us? Wait~ you DO realize that when you’re talking to someone and texting someone else, that’s not really quality time, right?

We’re spreading ourselves thin. Our relationships are suffering.

Sorry for the rant….I guess I’m feeling the frustration of watching people be frivolous. I really do long for the days of old sometimes.

 

Whacky Summer

What a crazy, whacky summer this has been. I’m actually not referring to the bizarre weather in this case~ though crazy and whacky would be accurate.

It’s just been a summer of extreme feelings.

Leaving my job of 4 1/2 years back in April…there was peace followed by panic followed by peace followed by regret followed by peace. That wasn’t over the course of weeks, either~ those emotions took place within moments. Blurred and often muddled, I wrestled with myself. Questioned myself even more often than other people questioned the decision and, believe me, a LOT of people asked me the why’s of my decision.

Fortunately, in the midst of my second guessing and reflection, one thing is finally certain. It was the right decision. Deep, deep down where push comes to shove, I knew that God and I were in complete agreement. That didn’t make it a whole lot easier, I’ll be honest.

Fast forward four months. Today, I’m rested. Renewed. Closer to God than I have been in a long time…closer, even, than when I worked inside church walls.

Had it not been for this season of renewal~ physically and spiritually~ I wouldn’t have been properly prepared for what He had planned next for me. On August 2nd, I blogged about volunteering for a ministry that is near and dear to my heart. Today, I am honored to have been invited to serve as a staff member.

Please pray for my heart to remain open to all that is before me. I am so deeply grateful to be in a place of surrender.

Blessings,
Amy 

Obedience

And the crazy wrenches keep coming! So the job I was offered and tried out for 3 days came to an end on Monday. Do you know why it wasn’t a great fit? Because I tried to put a square peg in a round hole~ have you ever caught yourself doing that? Trying, beyond all reason, to make something work out when you know it’s ultimately not where you’re supposed to be. Thank you, W, for trying to tell me early last week. Typically, I had to learn the lesson for myself. Sorry, Devon and Nick, that my stubbornness gene was passed along to you. Believe me, truly sorry.  🙂

That little job was fine. Very nice people, commute wasn’t bad at all, hours were fine….a whole lot of fine. Not a drop of passion.

I broke a promise to ME. I said I wasn’t going to do anything that I didn’t have a passion for~ but then I folded like a deck of cards when I was approached about a job opportunity at an investment office because….well, unemployment rates are high and who do I think I am to turn down an opportunity that others are clawing for? Wow~ there’s a priority shift!

Here’s the rainbow. Literally the moment I told my very nice boss that I just didn’t feel like the position was a good fit for me, opportunities to serve where my passion(s) lie presented themselves. Coincidence? Not in my opinion. In my opinion, my obedience is once again being rewarded. I got back on the right road and God is pouring ridiculous blessings on me. Undeserved blessings.

I have a meeting in about 90 minutes that may bring yet another enormous blessing to serve in an area of passion….wow. Overwhelmingly blessed.

Obedience (noun)
compliance with someone’s wishes or orders or acknowledgment of their authority.
Just something to think about today. ♥

Blessings,
Amy 

 

Ask and you shall receive!

God’s timing isn’t always our timing. In fact, God’s timing is rarely our timing.

Last week I was offered a fulltime job and it appealed to me because, frankly, I didn’t have a lot going on and my son will be returning to college in a couple of weeks anyway. Why not go and make some money…and jobs are, as we all know, hard to come by.

The job itself is really, really fine. After 2 days in the office, I found the small office environment to be refreshing and friendly. My responsibilities appear to be straight forward and unwavering ~ exactly what I thought I was looking for to fill in the gap of my daytime hours.  And just when it all seemed to be going well, God intervened and threw a wrench into my well laid out plan.

Firstly, I received a call asking about my availability to co-lead a group on Wednesday mornings with a woman I would really like to serve with. Secondly, there is a young mom I know who needs some help with her baby now that she has returned to work. This particular mom could really use a break and I’d love to make her life a little easier. Another wonderful friend offered to set up a meeting between myself and her husband who has, incidentally, published 30 books and has no problem chatting with an aspiring author. Finally, yesterday I was approached about being a mentor mom to a group of young mommies on Thursday mornings. All of this in addition to a husband who is encouraging me to NOT work fulltime. What’s wrong with me? All of the signs are there! Spend time working or spend time being fulfilled?

As if all of that weren’t enough, I read a post by the amazing Rick Warren late last night~ not sure why it was tweeted yesterday when the post is actually from January 2010 but I asked God for some clear direction and it seemed that He met me more than halfway all weekend. He littered my path with clear direction. Here’s the post…..now you tell me, stop working fulltime for a meager salary that is just enough to put my family in a hideous tax bracket or follow His path for me.

Sunday January 10 2010
Posted by Rick Warren

Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7 (GW)

Surrendering your life means –

  • Following God’s lead without knowing where he’s sending you;
  • Waiting for God’s timing without knowing when it will come;
  • Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide;
  • Trusting God’s purpose without understanding the circumstances.

You know you’re surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. You let go and let God work. You don’t have to always be “in charge.”Instead of trying harder, you trust more.

You also know you’re surrendered when you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself.

Surrendered hearts show up best in relationships.
You are not self-serving, you don’t edge others out, and you don’t demand your rights.

The most difficult thing to surrender for many people is their money. Many have thought, “I want to live for God but I also want to earn enough money to live comfortably and retire someday.”

Retirement is not the goal of a surrender life — Because it competes with God for the primary attention of our lives. Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money,” and “Wherever your treasure is, your heart will be also.”

The supreme example of self-surrender is Jesus. The night before his crucifixion Jesus surrendered himself to God’s plan. He prayed, “Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”

Jesus didn’t pray, “God, if you’re able to take away this pain, please do so.” He began by affirming that God can do anything! He prayed, “God, if it is in your best interest to remove this suffering, please do so. But if it fulfills your purpose, that’s what I want, too.”

Genuine surrender says, “Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill your purpose and glory in my, life or in another’s life, please don’t take it away!”

This level of maturity doesn’t come easy. In Jesus’ case, he agonized so much over God’s plan that he sweats drops of blood. Surrender is hard work. In our case, it requires intense warfare against our self-centered nature.

Where is that alarm clock…..

Can I just say how glad I am that today isn’t my first day at a new job? It’s rainy and miserable outside. So instead of commuting, I’m sitting here at my dining room table, steamy cafe’ mocha coffee and newspaper at my side, typing a blog post. What’s not to love about that??
I’ve enjoyed this time of rest and renewal since leaving my last position in April. More than enjoying it, I really needed it.  So consider how fortunate I am that 4 months later, I am refreshed and ready to be productive and along comes a job offer. It turns out that a woman who has attended my small group at church sent me a text about a need at her husbands company, we had lunch, and the rest is history. It’s been nearly 5 years since I’ve had a “first” day and I’m pretty excited about it, actually. Tomorrow is the day so I’m soaking in the things I’ve come to enjoy and will miss…

  • sleeping in if I want to. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But there’s a choice.
  • spending time with Nick. It’s been awesome having him home so much since his trip to Italy.  But the truth is that he returns to Tally later this month and so all of that time comes to an end then anyway.
  • A clean house every day. Laundry consistently done.
  • Watching the dogs lounge on their favorite chairs during the day. Now they’ll be quarantined to the bathroom once again. I know they’re dogs but that kind of makes me sad.
  • My Keurig coffee maker. A cup of fresh tea or coffee in less than 60 seconds whenever I’m in the mood.
But the trade-off is good. I like to work. I like to do something well and feel that sense of accomplishment. Tomorrow is the day ~ back to being part of the workforce! I have to find that alarm clock I stuffed under a cushion in the spring….

The Secret

A few years ago, I was introduced to a very special curriculum while attending a function hosted by “A Woman’s Place”. Many of you who subscribe to my blog are well aware of Pat Layton and her testimony that eventually led to the founding of “A Woman’s Place” which is now under the umbrella of Life Impact Network.  For those of you not familiar with Pat and her efforts, please consider visiting this link that will give you a very brief overview of how she has devoted the last 25 years of her life~ it will really assist you in understanding the passion I have for her (and for her ministry!) before I go any further.

http://patlayton.net/about/

So as I was browsing the display tables prior to the beginning of the luncheon, I was introduced to the curriculum that I mentioned earlier. The material sat on the table and women~ several women~ were inquiring about how they could enroll in this group. Surrendering the Secret is a course for post-abortive women, whether that abortion was 20 years ago or last year. The dirty little secret that no one talks about was sitting right there in the midst of a beautiful banquet room. I didn’t even notice anyone averting their eyes from it in an effort to look detached.

I was intrigued. As a new member of a church staff at that time, I was anxious to find a group that I could lead…something that wasn’t quite a bible study…something more personally fulfilling. I spoke to one of the STS leaders that was manning the table and she indicated that they absolutely needed more leaders and that I should consider attending the upcoming leader training. Eventually, I did just that.

Well, as so often happens, life events and work schedules got in the way of my ever actually attending a group myself (which is a pre-requisite to leading a group, naturally). That will all change when I begin the group in just a couple of weeks!

Since first meeting Pat a couple of years ago and having had the opportunity to be part of events her organization has hosted and other events where she has been a keynote speaker, my admiration for her and for her passion and commitment has grown tenfold.  I’m sincerely honored that she has presented a wonderful opportunity to me…all in God’s timing…to not only lead future STS groups but to be a National Trainer by late this year. Honored doesn’t begin to explain my feelings.

I’m likely going to be writing a lot more about Life Impact Network and my adventure in helping to restore women affected by a past abortion. In my very small effort to educate you about the need for something like this let me just throw some alarming statistics your way. But before I do, let me ask. Do you personally know anyone who has had an abortion?

Even if you think you don’t, trust me. You do. I 100% guarantee it.

  • 43% of women have experienced an abortion
  • 1.2 million pregnancies end in abortion every year in the United States alone
  • In more than 14 metropolitan areas, abortions outnumber live births

Burying our head in the sand doesn’t make the sad truth disappear BUT there is hope in healing. Women can experience freedom and beauty where shame, guilt and regret took residence.  It begins with bringing the secret to light.

Thank you, Pat Layton, for instilling confidence in me. Thank you for standing tall as you tell your story again and again. Thank you for being a sweet spirit in the battlefield of abortion and in the quest for full restoration. You inspire me!

Blessings,
Amy