Sitting by the Hearth

In search of a job…

1 Timothy 3:11 NASB

~Women must likewise be…faithful in all things.~

So it has come down to the final countdown to the exhaustion of unemployment funds. My husband having been laid off from his job back in September 2009 has been receiving unemployment over the last several months. Most recently, he was given an extension and we have come to the end of that extension. I have been a stay at home wife since January 2007.

images What does one do when faced with the reality of needing money…you start the process of finding a job.

I began my quest for re-entering the job market well over a year ago; the day my husband called me from work to inform me they had given him a 60 day letter.

My job experience is mainly in the customer service area. I have held jobs from cashier to management. I polished up my resume and cover letter. I began the application process by searching every job website I could find. Zoom…I had applied to several positions in a matter of minutes…the internet has been such a benefit in that respect. Then, the waiting set in. Days, weeks, months passed without receiving one call for an interview. It was nearly 7 months before I received my first call and that was a phone interview only. I was sent several ‘auto replies’ saying, “Thank you, but no thank you.”

I asked myself what am I doing wrong? It has never been this difficult to locate a job before. I searched for resume tips. It would appear my old resume needed a makeover. So, I reformatted my resume changing the entire structure of it from Chronological to Functional. I researched cover letter tips as well and turned my oh-hum cover letter into pizzazz! Armed with a ‘WOW’ cover letter and a ‘easy to scan’ resume, I was ready to dazzle employers with my skills and experience. Poof…that excitement lasted about a week when didn’t last long, I came face to face with the wall of discouragement when I received a couple of calls of interviews that did not go any further. My oh my, why oh why?

I am so out of my comfort zone right now. I always seemed to be a good choice for employment before. I would apply for a handful of jobs and within moments [ok, maybe a couple of weeks, but it feels like moments], I would be offered the position. What has changed in my aptitude and abilities that has literally stopped all opportunities?

I went to the one person who has all the answers I am seeking, Jesus. I prayed. I asked Him, Dear Lord, what is it about me that caused not one of these employers to look upon me and offer me a job? The answer I received is a difficult one to understand, my heart attitude was not in the right place.  Here “I am” applying, searching, and seeking a job to fix the impeding financial circumstances that my husband and I face. Instead of allowing Jesus to have reign and authority of what I should be doing and giving Him the room to direct the areas in our lives that needed fixing, I am trying to solve it all on my own. I ask for His help, then tell Him, “Sorry Lord, I cannot wait for you any longer, move over, I will fix it.” Who do I think I am? I cannot fix anything without the wisdom and strength of my Lord Jesus. I was not putting Him first…I was putting me first and what I could do. My foolish pride.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” ~Psalm 32:8~

Then I was awakened by God’s “first and great commandment” I committed to so long ago:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” ~Matthew 22: 37-38~

Love God. God is not only my first priority, He is my Ultimate priority and my consuming passion. As a Christian woman and wife, I need to make and take time to nurture my relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. I was not attending to this very important time. I was worried and a bit frantic about finding a job. I had pushed my quiet time with Jesus aside so I could dig and focus on getting a job that would bring in money to solve our financial needs.  Busted!

Jesus lovingly revealed to me that I already have a job and that I was not tending to the daily tasks and duties of that job very well and honestly not at all, my relationship with Jesus, my husband, and our homestead. I have been blinded by moaning about not finding a job and worrying over what if one of us does not find job where is the money going to come from. I have neglected my Lord and Savior, my husband and my home.

My real, God-given job position [or assignment] is within my home. My job from God is to help my husband, to nurture my relationship with him and to be about the business of building our homestead. I may have to find a job, but my home—the people and the place—is always to be the priority over any profession. You see, being a woman and a wife after God’s own heart is all about the heart—my heart. That means no matter what we want, or what society tells us to want, or what anyone else wants for us, we as women after God’s own heart are to want what God wants. I may need to tend to a career, but I must first and foremost desire to fulfill God’s will when it comes to the priorities He wisely and sovereignly sets down for our lives:

“The word of God which lives and abides forever.” ~1 Peter 1:23~

“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” ~Psalm 33:11~

Accept Each Other

Romans 15:7

~So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.~

je tomb Ah, this has been a very difficult challenge area in my life recently. With both of us being unemployed and at home, we have stumbled over each other for past few months. In the beginning, I reacted to the differences I had discovered unfolding within my husband on my own terms and limited understanding of them. Each moment of opportunity would seem to flare up in my face and turn into an argument. There were moments when it appeared that we might not make it to the next day married. I kept asking myself, “What AM I doing wrong? Why is he treating me this way? Why doesn’t he listen better?” Then BOOOOOOMMM…it hit me…I was making it all about ME! I was trying to handle it ALL BY MYSELF. Silly me. Silly pride.

I eagerly sought out the Lord’s wisdom and guidance as to how to positively deal with the differences between the both of us. I found the answer within a book I had purchased several years ago [shortly after we were married]. The book is called “20 Rules and Tools for a Great Marriage” by Dr. Steve Stephens.

Here is some excerpts from the book: Rule 2: Accept Differences

“Every couple has its differences. Maybe spender has married a saver. Or a highly structured person is drawn to someone who celebrates spontaneity. Or a collector who likes a certain amount of clutter has married a tosser who draws great joy from clearing away clutter. God clearly has a sense of humor. He made us so that opposites attract. Often, once we get together, we drive each other crazy.

Sometimes it’s easy to let differences get the best of you, and you begin to believe that you’re just too incompatible to make your marriage work. NONSENSE!

We are all incompatible in some are or another. If compatibility were the main criteria for a great marriage, everyone would give up. God knows that balance is important;that’s why he gave you a spouse who is different from you. Thank him for those differences. Don’t try to pressure your partner into thinking of feeling or acting like you do. Instead, make an effort to understand and appreciate the differences.

If you grumble or nag, you will become bitter. If  you fight, you will become frustrated. but if you relax and accept the differences as a blessing, you will learn the art of flexibility and compromise. You will grow in maturity, and the texture of your life will become richer. In the end, you will develop into a better person—a person of character and compassion.

Most conflicts are not about major moral or ethical issues but about different preferences. She wants it her way and he wants it his. The Bible asks, “What causes fights and quarrels among you??” In the next verse it answers its own question: “You want something but don’t get it” James 4:1-2, NIV.

As we learn to accept that we won’t always have to have it our way, marriage becomes a lot easier. After a while we realize that most of our fights are either stupid or selfish. As you learn to respect each other’s differences, you’ll find that  you aren’t fighting as much and that you’re actually moving closer to each other. As you begin to accept the ways in which you and your spouse are different, you will begin to grow closer together. and as you grow closer, the differences will no longer seem like such a big deal.

 

Let’s pray together:

Dear God,

Thank you for making my partner just the way he is—with all his strengths and weaknesses and differences. Before the earth was formed you dreamed of my spouse. When the time was right you shaped his soul and watched his life grow into what it is today. It is no accident that the two of us are together. Yet there are days when our togetherness is challenged by our differences. Help me to accept what you have given me. Help me to rejoice in our differences, rather than merely tolerating them. Forgive me for the many times I have been less than respectful—those times I have not paid proper attention or have not acted upon my spouse’s words and ways which were different than my own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The next time you have an argument with your spouse, ask yourself, “Is this really about preferences?” Then try to see the issue from your spouse’s perspective. you might even try it their way.

 

 

 

From my other blog: Lemon Drop Moment

Lord, make me a helper suitable for him.

DSCF0071~The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”Genesis 2:18 NIV~

Today is our 7th anniversary. It hardly seems like seven years. In honesty, I feel we have been together much longer [in a very good way!]. God put us together just like pieces of a puzzle…a good fit.

I spent many years in agony wanting and waiting for a husband. There were only a few other candidates prior to my beloved husband. I mourned over the loss of them in wonder of what was wrong with me that they would not ask me that simple question: “will you marry me?”

Looking back, God had a much better plan and purpose for me as He always does. I was unaware of this simple concept at the time. I had not found Jesus yet. God was protecting me from myself before I even knew that.

We met through the internet. He answered my personal ad. Yes, dear ones, back in the day before my Lord Jesus saved me, I placed personal ads on the internet. Oh, the stories I could tell. I placed myself in some uneasy situations. I even went all the way to Baltimore once [in the summer of 1997 I think it was] to meet someone. My goodness what was I thinking? I was thinking how badly I needed to find that special someone. Through those times of searching, God was sheltering me without my knowledge of course!

We exchanged emails and telephone calls for nearly two months before I would agree to meet him. We met July 14, 2002, it would be the day that changed my life. When Salah gave me my first hug, my head just fit on his shoulder and that was a good sign. I did not have to stand on my tiptoes to reach that special spot. I just fit…right there…so nice so cozy. He wore Christian Dior Fahrenheit cologne. And we spent our first date watching the Rock Aqua Jays [of Janesville, Wisconsin] and then went to Perkins for coffee. I even remember that when we were sitting in the bleachers watching the water-ski show I had been sitting on his right side. He told me, “Do you mind if you sit on my left side, I want to see you.” Such a smoothie!

Well, we dated a couple of times more when in September of that year [2002], he ended up having double bypass surgery. That was what brought us closer together. He popped the “BIG M” question on my birthday two months later. We married in March of 2003 only 8 months after meeting. I confess at first I was not so willing to accept this new gift. I doubted God’s wisdom and thought, “why this man and what made him more special than the others I had chosen?” I prayed several times asking Jesus to to make it clear to me what He would have me do. His answer every time, “Love this man.” I did as I was told. Everyday since seems like a gift. God certainly is the best match maker ever.

In these past few years, we have been blessed in numerous ways. Jesus has touched our lives and made us the husband and wife team we are today. Just yesterday as we went to the store my Salah told me, “I am glad you decided to come with me to the store. I am just so used to having you at my side. I am not sure what I would do without you there.” That my dear ones, is the best gift of love anyone could share…his open heart. My husband touches my heart and fills my eyes with tears of joy. He always knows just what to say and how to say it. I give the credit to my Lord Jesus who shines through my husband shaping me into a helper suitable for him.

To be free from excess or extravagance

A few months ago, my husband was given a 60-day notice letter from his employer. Rumors had been flying around for months about an upcoming strike and possible lay-offs. We walked on egg shells for several months waiting for the outcome. Then one morning, shortly after my husband had arrived to work, he called me. He shared with me that they had given him the 60-day letter. There was peace and disappointment within my husband’s voice.

I did my best to reassure him all is in God’s hands. I continue to do so now nearly 3-months later. However, without revealing too many personal items, let me say that His faith is much different than mine. He believes in God, he is not saved as I am. There is conflicting thoughts and approaches that have developed within this circumstance that we now find ourselves. We both believe it to be a most welcome opportunity to understand God, to hear Him more clearly, and to know Him better.  The difference comes with patience and waiting upon the Lord to work on the “what’s next details.”

A friend of mine recently forwarded an article to me written by J. Lee Grady. The article:

SLOSHED in THE SPIRIT?? – IT’s TIME TO GET SOBER -by J. Lee Grady.  
Getting “drunk in the Holy Spirit” has been a popular concept in some churches. But is it biblical?

You can read more about this at: http://charismamag.com/index.php/fire-in-my-bones/

The article itself was speaking about certain individual charismatic circles and the strange teachings of John Crowder-a confessed “new mystic” who compares the infilling of the Holy Spirit to smoking marijuana.

The article was good insight to this topic. However, the paragraph that hit home for me was the following:

“The soberness here is not primarily a reference to abstaining from alcohol (although it’s worth mentioning that believers who drink will find it more difficult to obey these commands). To be sober can be defined “to show self-control,” “to be sane or rational,” or “to be free from excess or extravagance.” A sober Christian knows the heights of God’s inexpressible joy, but he is never ruled by emotions, passions, lust or any other category of temptation that has the power to dull the spiritual senses.” 

This hit the mark in my heart condition [circumstances] today because of the new avenue I am walking with God due to His timeless teachings. The main point that was driven deeper into my heart, was “to be free from excess and extravagance”. I confess, before the Lord and all who may read this, that I am addicted to money and have misplaced and misdirected my faithfulness toward having it. It is so easy and convenient to place faith in having money and the lie that “all is well” when you have it.  It is much harder to grasp the concept that God alone knows my every need and will provide for those according to His time, plan, and purpose for me.

LiftEyesTopIn this time of the ‘shaky economy’ and the lay-off my husband, I am thankful for the revelation that God is my provider and my keeper. He is my true bank account. I look around me and my oh my, He has blessed me with ever so much. He has not let me out of His sight for one moment, while I have blinded myself with my desires for luxury and extravagant necessities [my fleshly desires for more clothes, shoes, food, money, etc.]. My vision has also been obstructed by needless worry and fear. A battle that goes on day and night within me.

Although the article was speaking more about the charismatic, I found God’s message of encouragement within that one phrase, “to be free from excess and extravagance”. I often find that to be the case. One word or phrase weaves its way within my heart and mind until the meaning is revealed and His Word is understood.

In every circumstance within my life, I can choose to respond in two ways: I can worship or I can whine!

God gave His Son upon a cross for me…I choose to worship.

Praying the Word

1 Kings 19:11-13

11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."
      Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
      Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

snowy How does God speak to His people today? Is it ever anything like He spoke in these verses to Elijah? Check out this scene on the mountain, and you’ll pick up  a few clues to hearing God’s voice in your life.

First, Elijah had to be available. He had to be  where God wanted him [1 Kings 19:11]. If you’re living in a place or in a way that you know isn’t pleasing to God, you won’t be able to hear His voice.

Second, Elijah had to be quiet [1 Kings 19:12]. That’s the only way to hear a whisper. You can’t hear a whisper if you’re already talking. You can only hear the whispers of God when you’re silent.

Third, Elijah had to get rid of distraction [1 Kings 19:13]. He covered his eyes with his cloak. Do whatever you have to do to remove distractions from your listening. Cover your eyes. Or look at something peaceful and soothing. Turn off the radio and TV. Reduce the clamor of your life in order to induce the sound of the whisper of God.

Fourth, Elijah had to take the time to hear God’s voice. The events of these verses didn’t happen quickly. Learning to recognize God’s voice takes time.

Today, rather than praying with words, pray with silence. Spend your time today in stillness before God. Focus on Him. Let  your whole being be filled with an awareness of His presence in your life. Then listen for HIs voice, for His quiet whisper.

Lord, speak to me, I’m listening…

Borrowed from The Women’s Devotional Guide to the Bible by Jean E. Syswerda

Praying the Word

Jude 3

pray13~Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.~

The devil would like nothing better than for believers to become complacent and self-satisfied. Jude urged believers to  “contend earnestly” [NKJV] for the faith. In your prayer time today, ask god to reveal areas where you may be complacent and then ask Him to show you where you need to declare firmly your allegiance to Christ.

Lord of all, I know that I am at times less than eager to protect and affirm the faith I have in You. Show me the areas where I need to change and grow. Then help me to be one of Your front line defenders of the faith. Love You, Lord, and my heart’s desire is to serve You wholeheartedly. Amen.