Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Find What Makes You Tick

My husband and I have a college student we’ve kind of been mentoring for some time. He helps us on Sunday mornings to set up all the sound equipment and he fills in for me with the screens when needed. He also joined our leadership team for AWANA this past year when he graduated from high school. He’s a really good kid and I am excited to see him step up and be active as an adult at church. He came to camp with us last summer as an assistant leader and this year he will be the main leader for the boys, since Jim & Mark won’t be able to attend this year.

We recently had an event this past Saturday that was poorly attended. I realize we have a lot of kids who play sports, so that accounts for some of the absences, but not all. We even had leaders who didn’t come and didn’t say anything to us about why they didn’t come. A few told us beforehand of moves, illness, etc. and we were aware they wouldn’t be able to make it. For the leaders who did make it, we were all a bit frustrated at the lack of “life” at church lately. We didn’t gossip, we tried to think constructively about the many programs at church and what seems to be working or not. In the book of James, Chapter 2, we learn that “faith without works is dead”. It is said that in many churches there are a group of about 20% who do 80% of the work. In our church, it seems to be shifting more to 10% doing 90%. There is a small dedicated group of people doing the majority of the sweat equity. We are tired.

The past couple of years I have really been doing my best to “Let my yes be yes and my no be no”. It’s hard to do when you see so many needs around you. But I feel God has called me directly to make an impact on His kingdom by working with the young kids at church. So Awana and Junior Camp are my main focus. I also really enjoy serving on the worship team at church putting together slides and running them during the service. It’s a way for me to be a part of something with my husband as well.

I KNOW without a doubt that God has a way for each & EVERY member of my church to serve. We just have so many people showing up on Sunday mornings only as “the frozen chosen”. I know many of them used to be very active in their service. But I don’t know where in the Bible it ever says we get to retire after a certain number of years? I choose to follow the example most of my Fathers family set, I will serve the Lord until God calls me home. My grandparents did much for their church through years of dedication to the Lord by giving of their time and finances. My Great Aunt Ellie never married and was a busy gal serving in many ways. My Great Uncle Bernard shared his faith with others in his nursing home until the end and my Great Uncle Erman was a Pastor and Teacher all his adult life.

We might need to slow down a bit, but never stop entirely. There is a group of older women at my church, mainly widows, who are very active. They put many younger people to shame with the amount of time and energy they give. I admire them tremendously. They have found ways to continue to serve, set examples for younger members and roll with the punches life throws at you as we age.

There are literally hundreds of jobs to do at church, ways to serve, ways to make an impact for the kingdom. I am not angry at those who don’t serve, but sad for them. They are truly missing out. When you find a ministry that is what you are gifted to do, it’s not work, it is pure joy. Until then, keep on trying things out until you find your niche.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

God is so good, He's so good to me!

God is SO good. My husband got a job offer this morning from Saddleback College working in their Maintenance & Transportation department. It’s a great job making more than he was at his last job and has M-F hours of 8:00 to 4:30. That has been a big answer to prayer, a job with hours that don’t interfere with our ministry at church.

This past almost 2 years of his unemployment have been a struggle, but it’s also been a good time of testing of our faith in God. Our timing is not His timing. If we had been given our way, God would have given him a job right away, but instead we had to just keep our faith & trust in Him. He was so good to provide for us over this season of unemployment. He provided me an internal muzzle! I didn’t want to become “that” wife. You know the kind, the wife who constantly nags her husband and tries to usurp his role as head of the household while she’s the one making the income. I did my best to make sure Jim was the man of the house, the spiritual head and I tried to encourage him often that things would work out. I think our marriage grew stronger during this time while many others in the same position fell apart.

Looking back, we’ve had an amazing 2 years. Allyson graduated from high school in June of 2009 and was able to go on a cruise with her show choir that April. She started college and the expense is all on us since she is over 18 and child support is over. We’ve been able to afford the fees for her units and books, etc. Allyson had her accident last Fall, and thankfully we have been able to maintain our full coverage insurance and we were able to get her a new car (with some assist from her paternal grandparents, praise the Lord). I was able to take a small loan from work with SUPER LOW interest so we paid off 7 bills and invested in our marriage by buying into a time share and we are taking a cruise to Alaska this coming June.

If we hadn’t had this season… I can honestly say our marriage is stronger, our faith is stronger and we are stronger as a family. And we have a testimony about God’s enduring faithfulness.

Funny how God works, huh?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Looking Forward With Hope To 2011

I am really glad to shake off the cobwebs of 2010! 2010 was a tough year for me. I struggled with depression, anxiety and my husbands unemployment. It's been hard to keep trusting in God when it's been so long. It's not that Jim's not trying, he's applied for hundreds of jobs but was having no luck. This week he has had 6 interviews and has a few scheduled for next week. I am hoping that at least one of these will result in a job offer.

We put a hold on our gym membership to save money, so I need to start using the free gym here at work. I've had a cold I need to get rid of first. I plan on using the gym during my lunch hours or after work. Not sure how busy it gets during those times. I would really like to find a decent treadmill and elliptical to buy to use at home. Then no more gym membership needed and we can all make use of it.

I got a Nook Color e-reader and have it loaded up with approx. 75 free books so far. Free reading for 2011 and beyond! There are so many great classics you can download for free. Some I read back in high school when they made me read them. It was hard to read the books for pure enjoyment when you were so focused on the symbolism, hidden meanings, etc. I recently re-read the Grapes of Wrath and really enjoyed it. Being older, and going through the current economic depression we are going through, gives you an appreciation for how good we still have it in the big scheme of things. I also discovered the entire Wizard of Oz series. Did you know L. Frank Baum actually wrote 14 books in the series? I have downloaded them all. Plus many from Jane Austen, Charlotte & Emily Bronte, Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens, etc.

I also got a new Bible from my husband. It's the Life Application Study Bible. I had it in the NIV, but my favorite is the NASB and they just finally offered it in that translation. I LOVE IT. He got me a black leather Bible with gold edged pages, SO NICE!

Jim & I have our cruise to Alaska in June. We pre-paid for it ages ago, and I am so glad it's coming up. Yes, we could have paid a bill down, but we chose to invest in our marriage. I refuse to be one of those couples who always dreams of traveling together but never does. Alaska is one of our dream vacations and we plan to go to London and Paris in a couple years with Allyson, Jim's Mom, and Diane and Scott. Checking off some bucket list items!