Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Great Provider

Who is your provider in life? God is my provider. He has proven to me over and over that He WILL provide for me no matter how financially stressed I am. This week was a perfect example.

It is not easy trusting that God will provide. I have been in these situations way too many times and it is hard for me to know and trust that God will provide. But...he ALWAYS comes through. He IS looking out for us, even when we don't see it. Then one day, things just start happening that you never expected and your eyes have been opened once again to how AMAZING God truly is. He is constantly reminding me of that day in and day out in various ways.

The first thing that happened this week was that my pay check from work was about $100 more than I expected. I try to figure out my paycheck based on the hours I work etc. and I generally shoot lower than it will be because I don't want to over budget and then not have enough money, but I definately wasn't expecting my check to be $100more than I budgeted. Then I was talking to a teacher at school and just explaining my tough financial situation. Later that day she handed me a miniature stocking and said we had some leftover items from the giving tree and this is for you. I looked at it after I left her room and it was a $25 money order. Total God thing. I didn't expect that at all.

Later in the week I was babysitting for a family that I babysit on a regular basis and they themselves are struggling financially. They told me not to worry about getting them or their kids anything, which is really hard for me but I had to draw the line and do just family this year, and my boyfriend of course! But that was it. I love to give so this was very very hard for me. I told them also, not to worry about getting me anything. Well, at the end of the evening, the mom gave me a check and said part of it was for babysitting that night and the rest was a little "end of the year Christmas bonus. I was shocked. Again, totally a God thing.

The last thing that happened this week was that I got a call on Friday night to babysit on Saturday night. Totally a last minute thing but totally a God thing. So of course I take the job. Then the next morning the mom texts me and asks me if I have any friends that would be available for the two neighbor kids. I tried and the 3 main people that babysit couldnt do it. So the mom called and asked if I would be willing to babysit all three kids at one house. I said, "Absolutely." God was totally watching out for me this week. I can't even believe it. Actually, I can because these sort of things have happened before.

Then I find out on Sunday that all the kids that I work with at Huntington have decided to take a break from their tutoring this week. I was bummed because that means no income for me from school or Huntington this week. Of course I think, "Gee great, now what am I going to do?" Well, God knows. I was at small group last night and was talking to one of the ladies and she was saying how their babysitter couldn't take their child Monday and asked if I would want to watch her...again my response was, "Absolutely!" I love this little 9 mo. old girl. She is seriously one of the cutest babies I know. So I got to watch her Monday and it was a great start to my first week off. I get such joy out of playing with kids. It is so much fun.

All the glory goes to God for these situations. It was very apparent that God was in all of this. Lord, Thank you for providing for me this week and showing me once again that you are my great provider and you will always be my great provider. I pray Lord for all those people out there who are struggling financially, that you would physically show them Lord that you are their provider as well. That you will take care of them and provide. It may not be immediately because sometimes we have to learn certain lessons or truly surrender to you before you physically show us something but regardless of how you do it, you do provide and I thank you for that.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow Days

Well, it has been WAY too long since I have written on my blog and I have had 2 1/2 snow days and a lot has been on my mind so I thought I would share some of it. I have had a lot of free time the past 2 1/2 days and much of it was used to clean and just be lazy and relax which I don't do enough. I have also had some time to spend with God and do my devotions, which I don't do enough of. I have been in a serious relationship with my boyfriend for the past 8 months, almost 9 now and I have neglected blogging and spending alone time with God on a regular basis. I try to but it is so hard when I have 2 jobs and a boyfriend that I want to spend time with. There are also friends that I spend time with and I wonder where all my time goes and where my priorities are. My life and relationship with Chris are centered around God but I rarely take alone time with God. Just me and God.

I was able to sit down today and think about this and realize that I have not been letting the Holy Spirit guide my life as I should be. The last chapter of the devotional book that Chris and I are studying together was on The Spirit. I have realized more than ever today that I need to continue to give control to God so the Spirit can work in me and through me. As I was sitting here doing my devotions I got a picture of God and me in a car and God said, "Let me drive" so I moved over into the passenger seat and followed his lead while he was driving. It was a beautiful picture. I pray that all who read this would evaluate your own lives in this area. I know many struggle in this area and pray that we would all take a step back and give the control back to God and let His Spirit guide us and lead us through life so that we can bring honor and glory to God who has perfect plans for us.

It is hard when I am struggling to just let go of trying to find a solution. Obviously we need to be prayful in these tough situations but not try to control it. There were two amazing prayers in my devotions for this week that I want to share with each of you.

"Lord, I cannot live this Christian life on my own. I need You to live it through me today. Thank You that You have placed Your Spirit in my heart. Empower me right now to passionately live a life that would bring honor to you."

"Lord, I need you today. I need your strength, Your power, and Your comfort. I cannot make it without You. Fill me with Your Spirit. Lead me today in all the decisions I have to make. Help me run from the things in my flie that bring dishonor to Your name and bring me down as well. Thank You for this fresh touch. In Jesus' name. Amen."

These are going to be my daily prayers. I already feel more peace right now about things I am struggling with because of this time spent with God. It is funny how much even just an hour or two or even 5 minutes can affect your mood, relationships, and outlook on life.

Thank you Lord for always pursuing us even when we are not following you the way we should. AMEN!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

All Moved In!!!

Well it's been about a month since I have written and a lot has happened. The main thing is that I moved into the basement of the house I am nannying at, which you may have read about in my previous blog. I moved in on Wednesday March 4th, so I have been living here for about a week and I LOVE it! Like I wrote in the last blog it is more than I could have ever asked for or imagined! :) (Eph. 3:20-21) God has blown me away with my living situation. I have such a nice living space with a private bedroom/bathroom, living room area, kichenette with a sink and refridgerator and I even get to park my car in the garage!!! I also get Satellite TV and DVR in my room and in the living area which I have never had before and pumped about. Oh yeah and I can't forget about the Wii Fit that they just got that is connected to the TV down here in the basement! :) I would say I am basically spoiled...actually blessed is probably a better way to say it. ;)

The first couple days that I lived here I was sooooo excited to have an area to call my own for the first time in 4 years and not have a roommate. Not that roommates are bad at all. I loved having roommates (at times) but I feel like I can call this area in the basement "mine" even though we do share the living room area from time to time and the playroom is in the basement but a seperate room off of the living room area. I technically have 5 roommates that I totally love living right above me. :) So because i was so excited to have my own space and finally be settled and coming out of the transition period since moving was kind of the last of that, I totally unpacked a TON of stuff the first couple of days. I am at a slowing down period of unpacking, but when I come back from my Mission Trip to Jamaica I will tackle it again. I am completely satisfied, feel very peaceful and at home here at the Rouse's, I feel as though I am totally a part of their family!

God has blessed me with this amazing family, job, living space and I love everything about all of it. I was sitting down here in "my apartment" in their basement on the computer after I worked yesterday and it was quiet for just a few minutes until Avery, the youngest woke up from nap, and Ella got home from preschool. Then I heard both of the girls just being silly and laughing and playing with their dad. It was the greatest background sound ever. I love their laughs. Kids enjoy life so much and laugh about everything. We, as adults need to do that more often and not let the little things get us down! Another night this past week the family was getting ready for dinner and the mom was sitting with the kids singing songs with them letting each of them pick a song for all of them to sing. I just love the sound of parents interacting with their kids, having fun etc. I hope to be a great parent someday and that I can learn from the examples of all these amazing parents that I am blessed to know. Thank you Lord for providing me with such a wonderful family to live with and work with.

Monday, February 16, 2009

God Provides!

Wow! What an amazing past two weeks I have had...really just the end of this past week, specifically Friday. However, during the past two weeks I have been really at peace with my life. Even though in the past two weeks I never had any sub jobs. I would check online at night, I would wake up early (not on purpose) to check online in the AM and nothing. I would end up waking up at 9AM or later and realize that the sub system had not called me for that day. I would always be happy, but at the same time frustrated because I need the money and I would ask God, "What in the heck, why am I not working today, you know I need the money!" But then after that throughout the day I would just thank God for the time to get things done that I have been needing to catch up on etc.

So just this past week I was telling a friend on Thursday night that my week has been great and that I had been soooooo peaceful and not understanding it. Obviously this is the peace that passes all understanding that the Lord had put in me. I was thinking to myself, "I should be frustrated, I should be sad, worried, whatever because I am not making extra money since I haven't had any sub jobs" but the peace just continued and I wasn't any of those things I listed above. Okay, frustrated at times, absolutely, but the peace came just as quick as lightning. It wasn't until Sunday when I was talking with a friend that I realized why I was having this great sense of peace!! Here is the story leading up to Sunday:

I have been praying for God to provide and putting all of my trust in faith in Him more in the past few weeks than ever before. There was nothing left that I could do that would help the situation but to put all my faith and trust in God. So that is what I did. When i started nannying, I knew eventually that I would nanny full-time because Janelle, the mom, was looking for a full-time job, it was just a matter of time. I was praying for her job situation as well as my own situation, knowing that God would provide for both of us. God did amazing things in the past 3 weeks. 3 weeks ago Janelle had a phone interview, the following week a face-to-face interview, and then she had to present to the interviewers. Man, what a process. She presented this past Thursday and got a call Friday saying she got the job. She came home so excited and told me about it and that she starts her new job Friday the 20th, which means that is when I start nannying full-time. Monday the 23rd starts my first full week! I was soooooo pumped to hear that. No more waiting in the AM's for the sub system to call anymore (that was only two days a week, but still).

Oh but wait, it gets better...so I have been struggling financially and have been very open with Janelle about this and as we are talking about her new job she asked me if I wanted to move in with them. I was shocked, but of course sooooo excited! I told her I would think about it and pray about it but of course I was too excited and knew right away that this was totally a God thing that he is providing a less expensive place for me to live! Wow! God totally blew me away this weekend! I couldn't stop thinking about it all weekend, I am so pumped about this and not sure if I have been this excited about anything in a super long time!!! So, in 30 days I will become a "live-in nanny"!!! I CANNOT WAIT! I even have my own private entrance through the garage and the whole basement with a private bedroom/full bathroom, and kichenette with a refrigerator and sink. This is more than I could have ever imagined. Just like it is written in Ephesians 3:20!

Below are pictures of the two older girls, Claire is in the top picture, she is 7 and in 1st grade. Ella is below that, she is 4 1/2.

So Sunday when I am talking to my friend we both realize that this peace is because God knew that all of this would happen on Friday and that I would be relieved from all the previous stress and worry. So He was preparing me for these exciting upcoming events!! :)

I am so blessed to have this opportunity with this amazing beautiful family! They are such fun people to be around, easy going, easy to talk to, and I am so excited to be a part of their family!

Below are pictures of the three girls before we left for the library one Friday and on the right is Avery, 16 mo on her "stage" dancing away!

Ella, Claire, Avery

Thank you Lord for bringing them into my life. If you are doubting that God will provide for your situation. Read through my testimony again or ask me more details and I will give you all the details. I have waited for many months for a big break through to happen and God has shown his goodness and favor to me and I am forever grateful.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Faith vs. Fear

My friend Alicia did a great talk on Thursday night at Immersion and I wanted to share the highlights and what God spoke to me through her talk and the many things he reminded me of.

God reminded me to continue to take risks. Take risks in all areas of life. Kids are not afraid to take risks, they are not afraid to walk on those "walls" or "curbs". They reach out and grab the hand of the adult walking near them. The adult is comfort to them and guides them along. I love how Alicia parallelled this to us as adults. We so often don't take risks because we are too busy, but more often because we are afraid. We are afraid to step up on those "walls". But, the great thing is like a parent who will guide a child and walk next to them while on the curb, God will hold our hand and walk next to us. When he calls us to step on the walls, He will walk with us through it.

Alicia also talked about 2 Timothy 1:7. It says, "God did not give us the spirit of fear but of power, love and self-control. This verse has been huge for me for many years! She reminded us that faith and fear cannot coexist. Fear is NOT from God! I am so thankful to be remnded about that because sometimes i live in so much fear there is no room for faith and then i miss out on things. Like with my financial struggles right now. I have so much fear from time to time that there is no room for me to have faith that God will provide like He promises. But God does promise so I need to rebuke that fear and believe and have faith. God gives us the power, love, and self-control. We need to focus on that when we are struggling instead of allowing the enemy to let us beleive the lies and fear he has installed in us. I am so thankful for these reminders. It is not easy in these storms but with God all things are possible.

Both of these things that Alicia talked about on Thursday night totally prepared me for Pastor Mike's sermon this week on Jesus calming the storm. Basically it's Faith vs. Fear. How much faith do we have? Do we have enough faith to get up on that curb and allow God to grab our hand and guide us through the storms we are going through? Think about that for yourself. Or...are you afraid? Well like 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God did not give us the spirit of fear"...that is because fear is not from God. Faith and fear cannot live in the same place. They are like oil and water, they butt heads. So think of the areas of fear in your life right now and give them to God. Have faith that he promises to be with you through the storms and calm the storms. It doesn't mean he will calm the storms immediately but he will calm them. Ask God to show you why you are in this season of storms and what He wants you to learn from them.

I did this a couple nights ago. I prayed, "Show me Lord why I am in this season, but more importantly what lesson do you want me to learn from this." This is what I felt he was speaking to me:

"This is part of the slowing down, you can't do much without money. I am teaching you to be okay with being at home relaxing. I am teaching you how to say 'no' to things. I am teaching you how to be financially smart and not spend 'my' money foolishly."

WOW! some of those things aren't easy to hear. But I have been asking the Lord to show me for a long time how to say 'no' to things and slow down because I am always running, always filling my time and having to be busy. I have been asking Him to help me be more devoted to Him. With slowing down and making even just 5 minutes, which generally turns into at least ten, I get that time with him. The ten minutes is refreshing and a lot can get accomplished especially when done in the middle of the day when my kiddos that I nanny are at school or napping. It reenergizes me for the rest of the day and then I feel great. I continue to encourage all of my readers to just take a simple 5 minutes to stop, don't journal, don't do anything, but be, just be still in the presence of God. It's amazing what he can speak to you or what you start to pray about when you aren't consciously trying. Hope you all had a great weekend and that this encourages you for this new week to come!

Monday, January 26, 2009

So many blessings!

Where do I begin? Well, I have had so many blessings within the past week during some really tough and trying times. Financially I am struggling and I have been praying to God that he would provide for me. At times I am very positive thinking, "I totally trust that God has this under control even though it seems as though I am running completely out of money and won't be able to pay bills or that every dime I do make will go to bills." Then I have other days that are really bad and I think, "I can't even believe this, do I trust God? Is he really going to provide? I am not seeing any results!

During the past two weeks God has totally shown up!!! Days are still tough and I still have doubts every now and then but I know those doubts don't come from God so I try to put those behind me and just trust in God's word and truth.

In December God totally blessed me with an amazing family to nanny for. I started in the beginning of January. This amazing family has three beautiful young girls: 16 mo., 4 1/2, and 7. It is amazing to be with the kids and even to be able to just "be" a part of their family and talk with the mom when she gets home etc. That was the first blessing among the several that have just popped up this week. I only started with 2 days a week and now it is up to 3. God is so good like that. Eventually it will go full-time when the mom finds a full-time job so until then I will nanny for those 3 days, work starbucks at night and on the weekends and sub on my off days from nannying! This family has blessed me so much already!

On Thursday I went out with some friends after Immersion like I always do. I didn't want to bring up this tough financial situation because I figured only super close friends need to know about it but it came up anyway some how. I didn't go into a lot of detail. I was getting ready to leave and was digging in my person for something and see some money in my purse. It was a large amount and I couldn't even believe it. I was shocked. I was actually overwhelmed and wanted to thank whoever put it there. Then I realized that it basically came from God because He must have laid it on someone's heart to do that. But I was just shocked and so thankful that I have such amazing friends. I honestly couldn't even believe it. God knew I needed it and came through again for me.

Three days later I am at a bowling alley with some friends celebrating another friend's b-day. I am walking in the bowling alley and look down and see this wadded up $10 bill. I looked at it in disbelief that it was actually right there in front of me and I think I even thought it was just a buck at first (maybe in denial...who knows haha). So I picked it up, put it in my pocket, and went to ask two of my friends if they thought I should turn it in to see if anyone claims it. I wasn't sure how that would really work. Anyway, I told my friends that I felt like God said, "Pick it up, it's for you." Totally cool!!! Again, I couldn't even believe it!

So the last thing that was totally a blessing to me happened today! I went to get my oil changed with the full expectations of paying for it (obviously). But I had remembered at one point them telling me that my first two oil changes were free since this was a brand new car. But when I called and asked the lady how much the second oil change was she didn't even hesitate and told me the amount. She didn't ask what kind of car or anything. So I get to Toyota today and am waiting for the guy to come up to the window. He comes up and asks me if I want my tires rotated too. I asked how much and he said $20. I said, well, I only have 10,000 miles on my car so probably not today. He said, "Oh, this is an '08 isn't it?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, your oil change and tire rotation are free because it's your second one." I was shocked. I was soooooo excited!!! I had been putting off the oil change because it cost money but knew I needed to get it done soon and didn't want to wait any longer. Today was the only day I had time this week.

God is good! I am so blessed for these events that have occurred over the past month, but more specifically in the past week. God does provide! He will answer your prayers! Just keep putting your trust in Him and taking time to listen and talk to Him. That is what he is longing for from you! I pray that God blesses each and everyone one of you today, this month and all year! Keep your faith and hope in Him!!! Thank you Lord for these blessings.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

5 minutes

Wow! I started this blog in September, wrote through the end of October and finally back on. It's been a crazy journey during these past few months...too many things to update on so....I am going to update you on my latest discovery!

5 minutes is all it takes to slow yourself down. At least for me that's all it has taken. I was talking with my accountability partner on Sunday night and trying to figure out how I can be more faithful with reading the Bible and have intentional time with God. As we discussed this we came to the conclusion that I have too many expectations of what I want my "intentional time with God" to look like. Therefore, each week that I don't do what I wanted to get done, I get disappointed with myself because I don't accomplish it. We continued to discuss this and she ended up suggesting that I just sit for 5 minutes and do nothing. I responded like this: "Do nothing for 5 minutes, yeah right, I can't sit for 5 minutes and do nothing." She said, "Well how about start with 3 then." I said, "No, I can do 5." I think that was her point exactly. Another thing I have been struggling with is just slowing down and being too busy, always filling my time with something. I don't know if I think that makes me feel important or what, but it was making me tired and unproductive.

Soooooo, this week I set a goal of sitting for 5 minutes literally doing nothing. I started the minute I got off the phone with my accountability partner. I was pumped for this week to start and to try this. I had faith in myself. I believed that I could do it and that it was an attainable goal. So, I was sitting on my bed, looking at the amazing painting of Jesus (named freedom) that hangs on my wall at the foot of my bed, painted by Bill Butler. I turned my phone over after looking at the starting time so I wouldn't be tempted to constantly look at it throughout this small amount of time of 5 minutes. I closed my eyes and wasn't thinking about much. It was so peaceful and calm. I totally felt the Lord saying to me, "You are free." Funny how that painting is called freedom (but at the time i didn't even think about that, it wasn't until i was journaling later that night that I had remembered that). And...the 5 minutes actually turned into 8 by the time I felt ready to look at my clock. WOW I thought, that was way easier than i thought. I could have even stayed sitting there so much longer.

I have continued this 5 minutes throughout the week and consistently it has turned into 7 or 8 minutes and even 10 minutes one day. This is amazing to me that I can sit and do nothing when I have always been someone who needs to/wants to be busy, for what reason you may ask, i have no clue. But i wish someone would have given me this strategy sooner. But I guess God knew when I needed it and this was definately the week for that!

I know that God commands us to "Be Still and know that He is God" but for some reason, I never knew how to "be still". I mean of course at times I did but more often than not I would run from one activity to the next.

This "5 minutes" has taught me many things. It has taught me to have less expectations of myself, not want to be in a hurry to get things done, less rushing, and be on the run all the time or filling my empty time with activities. The cool thing about not filling my time with activities is that I had 3 hours this evening before I have to go to Immersion. I was thinking, what in the world am I going to do in those 3 hours. God told me to rest, to do nothing. I had thought about going to the Blitz, but is that really what I want to do or do I just want the free food and to fill my time? Of course I want to learn about what they are studying but my initial motives are probably not right AND I don't need to fill all my empty time.

This "5 minutes" has also given me lots of opportunities to rest this week, and I have taken them!!! This is an amazing concept to me. To some you may already know how to do this but for me it is a new concept. Okay, well not a "new" concept in the fact that I just learned that people actually take quiet time and just time to rest, but new in the fact of how to do it and of me actually doing it. I have actually been productive this week and not rushed. I am not overly stressed about things I should be stressed about and not feeling too bogged down with activities.

What an amazing concept...LOL It's all about a matter of slowing down the body and mind. It's about saying no and be okay being alone, having quiet time or just doing nothing and not feeling guilty for doing nothing or like you have to be doing something. It's amazing and has changed my life already and I hope you will look at your life and slow down and be still long enough to hear what God is trying to speak to you. I have several busy work weeks ahead of me and I definately feel like God is slowing me down, preparing me and teaching me how to rest now so in the midst of those busy times i know how to rest. I pray that you take some time this week to rest as well and not be so busy in this world that tells us being busy is what makes us successful!