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Archive for May, 2010

A friend came over today, one who’s pretty much never late, and never more than a few minutes;  we weren’t quite ready for her at the appointed time, and I prayed that she’d be late so we WOULD be ready…  and she was nearly 20 minutes late.  I was grateful for the help…  but God wasn’t done yet.

The back story:  I like fancy scented lotions, but can’t justify the cost.  For a long time I kept getting them as gifts, but I haven’t in quite a while, and, although I still have several bottles left, I really wanted some new stuff for no valid reason.  My irrational anxiety about “only” having probably a year’s worth of lotion led to my asking God for more, maybe to win another bottle as a prize in a…

OH MY GOD I JUST WON A HUGE PRIZE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Typing the word “prize” reminded me that I was entered to win something BIG, and although the contest would stay open until X # of entries were received, and the contest had been stalled because no one else was entering (you have to jump through hoops to “earn” each entry, and you’re limited as to how much they let you “earn”), so there was no reason to think they’d finish today…  but I checked their site, and they DID, and then I noticed a new message in my on-site inbox, and immediately thought it’d be the announcement of the winner, and it was, and IT WAS ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  God has given me another gargantuan blessing!!

God hasn’t given me everything I’ve asked for, which is 100% the right way to handle things, as any parent, or anyone who knows a spoiled, demanding and counter-intuitively joyless rich person who DOES gets everything they want, can tell you, but He has come through BIG TIME with the things I wanted and could actually use the most.

Again, I wish there were other words in the English language to express gratitude, because nothing I can say is big enough for the blessings I have been receiving.  I know He saw me run screaming to tell my roommate, and saw me sit down fast on the floor because I was so overwhelmed, so He knows, of course He knows…  but I still wish I could express myself fully to Him.

Ok, um, the lotion… silly, childish thing to ask for when I don’t NEED it yet, but I DID ask, because my access to where most of this sort of prize comes from has been cut off for 7 months due to a veritable comedy of errors, and…  see, you get used to having something, and then when you lose it you feel deprived even if you’re not in need.  Still, I DID ask, and today I saw the above-mentioned friend, who I hadn’t seen in ages, and she brought me some goodies, one of which was, you guessed it, a HUGE bottle of nice lotion that I think she got for her recent b-day and didn’t want for some unimaginable reason.  I asked for lotion and was GIVEN lotion, in a totally unexpected way (and just fyi, this woman has never before given me anything like this, nor is she the sort of person who’s at all into it).  God came through again.

I need to ask for fewer trivial things, so as not to abuse God’s overwhelming generosity.

He has come through for me so many times in ways big and small, and HUGE, that I should have absolute and unshakeable faith in Him;  He has earned that right 1000 times over.  I have made major strides in faith, but I’m not where I should be yet;  I WILL get there, though, and I pray regularly for Him to help me become, in this way and all others, the person He wishes me to be.

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Overwhelmed

I posted recently that it looked like I wouldn’t be paid for a high-paying job.  I then got another job for that same amount.  Then I discovered that the amount for the 1st one was a typo, which actually made sense for that job, so I won’t lose much even if I don’t get paid, so I can stop freaking.  Then other people who got that 2nd job too reported being cancelled;  I was NOT cancelled, and was able to complete it successfully. Then ANOTHER job of that same amount fell apart, but miraculously, at least if you don’t remember that God is involved, they decided to pay me in full even though I wasn’t able to do the entire job.  While I was waiting to hear about that, I received notice that yet another company was sending me a bonus of, you guessed it, that exact amount….  which felt 100% like it was to compensate me for the stress and reward me for my faith.

AND, I heard back from the #1 person I’m hoping to make the jump from acquaintances to friends with;  I was hoping we could get together for the 4th, and it turns out he’ll be returning from out-of-town that day, which gives him a cast-iron way out…  but HE suggested the 5th instead, which means that he must want to socialize because all he had to do to avoid it was give his valid regrets for the 4th and leave it at that.  HOORAY!!

I’m overwhelmed by the blessings that God is giving me;  I’m frustrated because there are no words to express the amount of thanks I want to give, even though He of course knows what I’m trying to say.  I’m trying hard to figure out how to have faith without shading over into assuming I’ll get things, or feeling entitlement, or ingratitude, or being overly demanding, unreasonable, taking for granted, or focusing on goodies instead of the highest gift there is, the love and special attention from God.

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I was thanking God again today for how He rewarded my faith by bringing me something far better than the thing I hadn’t gotten…  and I got a”rush” of His presence, tingling fingers and all. That NEVER happened before without my having asked for it.  Clearly, having faith IS a big deal to Him, and I’m going to try to figure out how to have more.

I got a high-paying chunk of work today.  Partway through it, disaster struck, and chances are that I won’t get paid for the work I’d done.  I was stunned and highly dismayed, and I asked God to help me get past it.  I made the point that I’ve started focusing on recently, that having Him with me is far more important than any other thing could be, which is the simple truth.  Tonight I had the urge to not go to bed when I should have because I wanted to check for more work…  and I got another job paying the EXACT amount of the one that had fallen apart.

I…  I want to embrace this, but not to EXPECT it.  I want to see  and believe how faith is rewarded but NOT start thinking “If I have faith here, I can get something good”…  because that’d be WRONG, and God can’t be fooled.  I have to give Him my love and faith with a pure heart and not because He can give me things, I WANT to do that, it’s what He deserves from me.

The thing is that I’m basically a greedy person, not in the sense of trying to take away from others or valuing wealth above all else but because I want so many things;  most of them are chunks of work, but that’s plenty precious these days.  And I’m a natural analyzer and schemer, and I know that part of my brain is calculating how faith = rewards and a voice in my head will say “show faith now and you’ll get X.”  JO says to EXPECT God to reward faith and give us more, but faith can’t be used as a tool in cold blood.  I’m going to watch myself very carefully;  my goal is to maximize my love and closeness with God, NOT to maximize my rewards.

Dear God, please help me always face you with an open heart and NOT with calculation.

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Yesterday, I found out that something I’d wanted pretty seriously, and thought I had an excellent chance of getting, and had repeatedly asked God for, wasn’t going to happen.  I was naturally disappointed, but I know He isn’t going to give me everything I want, just as even the most adoring parent doesn’t give even the most marvelous child everything they want, and rightfully so;  it would cause spoiledness, complacency, taking for granted, unreasonable expectations, etc.  This time I handled not getting what I wanted in a new way, a way JO has repeatedly suggested;  I told God that I knew that my not getting this one thing meant that He had something bigger in store for me.

For the first time, I had FAITH!!!!!!!!!

Today, I got an unexpected call in which I was offered the biggest pay/benefit combo work EVER. EVER!!!

The speed and intensity with which the reward came for my faith is…  what superlative can I use at this point?

In addition, there’s a place I keep checking where they used to have great stuff but haven’t had anything in ages, and suddenly today they have something I really want…  and my odds will be 1/4 or possibly even 1/3…  and…  it’d make my reward so enormous that it seems unrealistic…  but then again what I already got shows that the rewards CAN be big…  I want it, and I’ve asked for it, and I felt…  I so want to believe that what I felt means that I’ll get it…  but just because I got one big thing doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly get everything I ask for…  The timing is such that I’ll have hope in my heart.

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Last night, I thought again to ask God to bring my roommate more work, either through his current source or of any kind.  Today, he got called in to cover for someone again, for only the 2nd time ever, with the 1st time having been the 1st time I asked God for more work from that source.  He ALSO got offered another piece of work at a significantly better rate of pay.

These timings aren’t coincidental, of course.  It seems to me that it must be “right” to ask for things I’ve already asked for, since each time I ask I immediately receive.  He obviously can’t be forgetting what I’ve asked for previously, so…  for whatever reason, repetition is clearly being rewarded, so I’ll stick with it, and also hope for insight as to why it’s better to ask multiple times.  Is it better to ask daily or periodically?  I don’t know;  I don’t want to be either greedy and obnoxious or to act as if God is planning on doling out bits and pieces as opposed to the generous blessings I’ve been receiving.  JO always says to ask for more, that God wants to give us everything, more and better than we ever imagined, and God has repeatedly led me to his sermons…  but isn’t it self-serving to convince myself that it’s ok to keep  asking for more favors?  Would a normal person with a normal brain and normal emotional makeup even be asking these questions?  {sigh}

Meanwhile, yesterday I got acceptance for a big-$ job, and a great-$ job, and found out that I’ll be getting a pile of free goodies as well;  it’s almost surreal.

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A recurring issue for me has been if God expects, wants or even cares about what I might do as “payment”  for the many things He does for me.

In his sermon tonight, JO referenced 1 Chronicles 4:9-10:

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.’ So God granted him what he requested”

I looked this up and found that those who purport to understand Biblical things make the point that Jabez doesn’t ask for these blessings in compensation for his good deeds, and he doesn’t offer to do anything in payment for these blessings, he just asked, and God gave him what he asked for.  Jabez was a righteous man,  an honorable man, and this is why his prayer was answered.

“”The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16b – ESV).”

“the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16)

Whichever translation you prefer…  part of me wants to say “See, I’ve been virtuous for decades, and it never got me anywhere, but now God is rewarding me with special attention,” but the other part just can’t accept that I’ve earned this degree of blessing.  Clearly, God sees me as worthy, and I don’t question that;  I just don’t know what terms of judgment have been applied. In any case, the lesson from Jabez is that God is NOT seeking quid pro quo, that if we’re righteous He’ll take our prayers into special account.

And what does it mean to be righteous?  Wikipedia says of righteousness:

“It is an attribute that implies that a person’s actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been “judged” or “reckoned” as leading a life that is pleasing to God.”

Be that as it may, this feels like an answer to my question;  I’ll still offer to do whatever He asks under all circumstances, but will also try to accept that He does these things out of the love He has for some reason focused on me.  I never experienced such generous love, not even from my parents (especially from my parents), so it’s hard for me to grasp, but I’ll keep working on it.

One final bit of progress:  As part of answering my requests for friends, for people to talk to, He has arranged for consecutive weekends to be set up to see the friend I’ve been closest to in the past few years (such as it is), the friend I used to be closest to but haven’t seen in years, and the one solid new friend I’ve made in ages.  Then, today, the 1st friend informed me that the person from her crowd that I’d most have liked to become friends with, but who had previously resisted my gentle overtures, had asked her to come to his birthday party on our planned day…  and had asked her to ask ME to also come.  He and I have been acquaintances for about 5 years, I think, and after all that time here comes this unexpected offer.  I wish I knew if he extended the invitation to me before or after she told him she already had plans with ME, but she probably wouldn’t tell me;  in either case, this will constitute a step forward, both with him and with the other members of the group who will be seeing me for the first time in the home of someone other than my friend, giving a clear message of acceptance that hopefully will open more doors.

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God helps again

My utterly incompetent roommate embroiled us in a wildly expensive nightmare because of his inability to handle business dealings even when given countless chances.  It was within a millimeter of going right off the cliff, but one of the companies involved sent a registered letter a week earlier than they were required to, and *I* intercepted the letter and thus was able to act in time, and I mean even one day later and we’d have been screwed beyond belief.  AND, pulling us back from the brink required that the person I needed to talk to was there on a Saturday, and that I was able to resist him trying to get me off the phone long enough for him toss out the crucial bit of info that alerted me to the last emergency thing left unhandled, which I hadn’t even known existed.

Hard to not see God in all the “coincidences” that had to line up in order for me to prevent utter ruin.

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