Monthly Archives: November 2013

What About Fear?

This week was the first at my new job as property manager in Lake Forest Park, and I could not begin to tell you how stressful it was. There’s so much to learn and so many new reports to generate and numbers to crunch, all the while still answering the phone and/or talking to folks walking through the door seeking a place to live or submitting work orders. I’m the only staff for the office.

Beginning on Monday, I received a complaint from one of the residents who threatened legal action. Thankfully I was able to talk to him reasonably about the issue and find a solution that tied up all loose ends and he was happy. I was indeed overwhelmed.

On top of all that, it was a sick week at our house. All of the kids got the junk to varying degrees and finally Caity ended up not feeling well and had a moment of collapse that caused me to realize that I needed to be home on Friday to ensure everyone was taken care of. When I spoke to my new supervisor Valerie about it, she agreed I needed to be at home (thank you Valerie).

The point I was getting to is that I’ve been facing a lot of fear. Fear of new responsibility. Fear for the health of my family. Fear of being stuck in this new place. Fear of failure.

However, Caity and I get up every morning and read a chapter from the bible as well as whatever Oswald Chambers has to say in “My Utmost For His Highest”. We are continually amazed at how God uses these tools to speak directly into our hearts, overcoming our circumstances.

Currently we are reading in Isaiah, and this last Wednesday, November 13th, we read Isaiah 8. It was then we found this nugget:

Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread.

~Isaiah 8:12-13

When Isaiah originally spoke these words, he was speaking to the people of Judah living under constant threat of invasion from their neighbors in the north. They lived in fear, but he told them that this fear is wrong. It is only healthy to fear the one living God; everything else is under his control anyway and we should not fear the details.

Then Caity and I also read the passage from “Utmost” dated for the same day:

All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief.

~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, November 13

We all struggle with fear. Fear of war, economic collapse, terrorist attacks, climate change, or any of the myriad personal struggles that cause us to fear can rob us of our trust in God. God alone is the one we are to fear, and let everything else fall under his divine purview.

Overcoming fear with faith is the only way to unlock the shackles that hold us back. Faithfulness not fearfulness will strengthen any person willing to follow God through the dark valley. Only then are we set free to accomplish faithfulness in our daily duties to those whom we love and serve.

How do your fears cripple you? Are you willing to surrender them to God and fear him alone? Are you ready to be free?

SOLI DEO GLORIA!

Categories: On Faith, On Life | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Answered Prayers

praying-and-kneeling-man

“Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered.” ~Oswald Chambers

The first thing that I would have to admit is this: be careful what you pray for because it will be answered.

There’s been so much that Caity and I have been praying for over this last year, that when we sit down and talk about what has gone on we see the heavy gravity of God’s faithfulness to answer our prayers.

This last Spring we realized how stuck we were in so many ways and we cried out in prayer for God to initiate the changes that we could not do for ourselves.  That was the beginning of a swift journey of upheaval for us beginning with our hearts, then our marriage and finally our jobs.

God started with both of our hearts, removing the layers of scar tissue blocking us from Him and each other.  It was immediate, it was critical and it was painful.  Yet by the end of the divine surgery, Caity and I discovered that even our old hearts were gone and replaced by new, fresh hearts each with its own deepened capacity to love and desire for vulnerability in our marriage.  Humbling and incredible.  We have spent more time over the last six months laughing, crying, sharing, loving and praying together than we ever did in the last ten years.

Then at the end of July, our children began asking for more “family days”.  We had been a seven-day work week family for the last seven years; it was the only reasonable way to make ends meet.  One of us was always working and the other was always at home with the kids, but we never had days off together.  This had created quite a strain on us all and the kids were beginning to get sad with the system.  There were no sabbath rests for us.

So Caity and I talked about our work situation and realized that it too needed to change but we didn’t know how.  Yet we did see the benefit of family days, of regular sabbath rests.  So we decided to get the kids into it also and asked them to pray with us, to pray and ask Jesus to change Mommy’s and Daddy’s job situations to provide for days off together.

Again, be careful what you pray for because it will be answered.

We found out at the very beginning of August that Caity’s store would be closing.  We realized immediately that God was at work answering our prayers, but not in the way that we would have wanted or expected.  She worked until September 11, 2013 with Haggen until they closed the Shoreline store.  Then she was done, and all of a sudden we had weekends off as a family.

It was shocking and we could have responded by falling into anxiety over our decreased income, but instead we did something different: we celebrated!  We celebrated by going out to dinner.  We celebrated by praying over a portion of our savings we wanted to give away and the Holy Spirit led us to two families in desperate need.  We celebrated by getting up early and spending time together reading the bible and in prayer.  We celebrated by intentionally spending time with our children and doing things that brought them joy.  We celebrated by turning off the television and tuning into our marriage.  We celebrated for the cause of liberation in our lives.

And finally we have had one more prayer answered in regards to the job changes—I will be promoted beginning next week to take over my own property and become the property manager for the Woodland North Apartments in Lake Forest Park.  Monday, November 11th will be my first day, exactly two months from the date of Caity’s last day of work.  Trust me when I say that this was all God’s doing—I didn’t seek it out at all.

Initially, the way God chose to answer our prayers looked backward.  Truth be told, we all want so badly to have our circumstances changed, thinking that a change like that alone will be enough to change our hearts.  Yet God knows better.  He desires heart change first before any change of circumstance.  To surrender to Jesus in gratitude before anything else.  And when all was finished, Caity and I recognized that we were the ones who had been moving backward; God was the one now taking us forward.  Our perspectives were all wrong and we learned to surrender to His direction for our lives.

Again, be careful what you pray for because it will be answered.

SOLI DEO GLORIA!

Categories: On Faith, On Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

November Nights

pintura-al-oleo-original-de-leonid-afremov_MLM-F-2774143793_062012

November nights are made to be shared,
The crisp, cool taste of the dusky air,
And the chill breeze that ruffles your hair,
Your beauty it does enhance.

Beneath the tumbledown leaves we stand,
Beneath our own maple tree as planned,
Head to head, heart to heart, hand in hand.
Autumn’s magic entrance.

You, my lifelong love stay with me here,
Let us watch this season disappear,
And all seasons onward without fear,
Our embrace thwarting chance.

_________________________________________

Image: October Reflection by Leonid Afremov

Categories: Poetry | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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