How many of us have started new journeys in our lives? Some journeys are exciting like getting married or having kids. Some journeys are scary like moving to a new town, meeting new people or starting a new job. If you are anything like me, you don't always look forward to a new journey.
God asked me to begin such a journey in March of 2009. I was working at a job that I enjoyed. A job that gave me a purpose. A job that identified who I was. A job that gave me satisfaction in providing for my family financially. A job that took the place of Him in my life. In January God had begun to deal with me on these things. He began to stir my heart and create an area that was no longer satisfing, a place where I was miserable and those closest to me were as well. In February our church performed "Heavens Gates and Hells Flames". This is a bi-annual event that I had been involved in since we started it back in the late 90s. I didn't want to participate this year.... I had many too commitments with work, school and the kids. At least those were my excuses. Katie wanted to be in the drama so I went ahead and read with her. God choose to put us in the mother and daughter scene at the end where I went to Hell becuase I was too busy to go to church, too busy for a relationship with the Lord. Boy did that bring it home for me! I realized why I was so unhappy in my life and Mike and I began to pray about what we needed to do. In February I turned in my notice and left my job of 5 years to stay at home.
Staying at home was a dream come true. I spent my days with MJ, making sure the house was clean, cooking and planning dinners, and the list went on. I was rebuilding my relationships with my family, helping to build my husband up to the standards God required me to as the head of our home but I wasn't rebuilding my relationship with my Father. Because of that I began the downward spiral of depression that came to a head in the fall. By November I was in a valley so low that instead of climing out I was digging a deeper hole in the valley. At one point I realized that I had given up on my life. My job had been who I was - being a wife and mother was secondary for me, being a Christian was just a mask that I knew how to wear. An event in the life of someone we knew opened my eyes to realize that I had hit the bottom. I began to pray and cry out to the Lord as I have never done in my life.
That moment in November was not a sky splitting moment. Answers didn't pour down from above, the sun didn't begin to shine brightly but for the first time I felt that I was beginning to allow Him to pull me out of the hole I had begun to dig in the valley. God began to reveal to me that while I was busy He was patiently waiting for me to make that plea. He began to gently lead me to seak out a mentor. Someone who could help to hold me accountable to what God was asking of me, someone who could pray for me. He provided that person in January but I still wasn't ready to be receptive 100%, I was still holding onto that bitterness of not being able to say "Look what I can do". But I continued to pray and seek what He wanted from me.
In January of 2010 I began having chest pain pretty regularly. I failed two stress tests and was told that I had to have a heart cath. I already had a trip planned for mid-January to the Leadership Conference ALL ACCESS for Women of Faith (I have been a group leader for 3 years). I asked the doctor to put the heart cath off until after that trip. I just knew that I had to be there, that God had something for me that weekend. So to my families dismay I scheduled the test for after that weekend and borded a plane for Dallas Texas where I was alone with Him along with 2300 women from around the USA. In a message shared by Sandy Patty (a very brief message) she shared about being enough .... about your spouse being enough, your kids being enough, God being enough but most important .... YOU ARE ENOUGH. That was what God wanted me to hear. He wanted me to understand that I am enough ... He created me, designed all my flaws and gave me the blessings that I refused to accept. Coming home from Dallas God challenged me to 'give it away'. It was my turn to give away the blessing of being enough that He allowed me to experience. A mighty weight was lifted from me that weekend and when I had my heart cath the next Weds I was told that I had "beautiful arteries" and was sent home. My new journey had begun, I had released all my dreams and asked that He begin to give me new dreams...His dreams.
Through this experience I have come to realize that many times God asks us to begin a journey, even when we are not in the 'right' place to begin. Journeys can be many different things - challenging, fun, scary, uplifting, etc. But one thing I have learned is that all He wants is for us to trust Him in our journey. Jeremiah 29:11 states "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Isn't it great to know that when we humble ourselves before the Lord, give up our pride in who we are and what we think, that He gives us an identity where He can be fully revealed in our lives? I'm so thankful that He is a patient God who already knew the path that was going to bring this sinner saved by grace to the relationship with Him that I now have. I look back over my life and realize that I could have made different decisions that would have taken my life in a different direction - maybe I wouldn't have had some of the challenges I did but I wouldn't have many of blessings that I do as well.
I'm glad that my Heavenly Father planned my journey yesterday, is planning it today and will continue to plan it for tomorrow. I can't help but wonder where He is going to take me next. But I can honestly say.....my seatbelt is fastened, my cooler is packed with all my favorite snacks, my engine is filling with His word and I am ready for take off! Are you?