Work in Progress

I have said this to many people in the past, and funny how now I am hearing my own words, echoing in my mind. God isn’t finished with you yet. He still has work for you to do. images

So, as I sit here reflecting over the decisions I have made in the last month, I realize that we are all a “work in progress” daily as we walk with the Lord. He doesn’t want us to stay in one place for the rest of our lives or one position or even one church.

I attended a Vineyard church for over 8 years and thought I would never leave there. I loved it there. Loved the people, felt the presence of God and loved all the outreach and encouraging ministries there were to show God’s love in a practical way.  They were my family.  And they are still part of my family, but God had other plans for me.

At the end of my journey with the Vineyard family, I felt a tug on my heart to leave there and go to another local church, for which I have been in attendance for over a year and a half now. It wasn’t easy. It was quite painful to say goodbye. But, God equips us in many ways and has many tools to watch us grow, so we can serve Him better in advancing His Kingdom-Earth as it is in Heaven Kingdom.

Sometime’s God moves us to help us grow, sometimes he moves us to help others grow, but in the grand scheme of things, He knows so much better than we could ever hope or imagine. Our minds can’t comprehend all of his detailed plans, that’s why we get just what we need to go and grow.

I was posed the question at our Women’s Ministry Life Group (as well as other women) was there ever a time in your life when God was pruning you to be the person he chose you to be and was it painful or how did it grow you?

So, I shared this testimony with them and now I will share it with you.

About 8 or 9 years ago, while I was at work on the sales floor of the store I worked in and I was counting product to make sure the inventory counts were correct and checking pricing to make sure there were no errors, a customer turns and enters the aisle where I am working. I stood up, and asked her if there was anything I could help her with. She shakes her head no and thanks me. So, I stoop back down to the lower shelf and start recounting the items, but I notice she is still standing there, looking sad and forlorn and then I hear God saying you need to pray for her.  Now, as luck would have it, at that time, I was terrified of saying prayers out loud.  I know it sounds silly. But I was great at praying for someone in a letter, email or text message, but actually praying aloud scared me something fierce. So, I just kept counting and I kept feeling the urging to pray for her. I know that I argued  silently with the Lord, saying things like, really?? You want me to pray for her? You know this makes me really uncomfortable Lord???Why can’t someone else do it?? Why me??? But the more I kept thinking this way, the stronger the sense came that I needed to do it.

So, as I stood up, I asked God to give me the words to speak with this woman again. (This all took about 30-60 seconds to argue with God and lose.)

She was still standing there, as if she was waiting on something or possibly someone. Again, I said are you sure there isn’t anything I can do for you? I said my name is Carlene, what’s your name, if I might ask? She told me her name was Robin and then the tears started flowing and this is what she said.

“I have a brain tumor. My doctor has told me without the surgery I will die for sure. And with the surgery, there is a 50-50 chance they will get it all. I believe in Jesus. My family doesn’t.  They think that I should not do the surgery and just stay with them for the time I have left. I am so afraid right now. I have prayed and I feel like this is what I am supposed to do, but I just don’t know. “And the tears kept flowing.

I said to her, “Robin would it be okay if I prayed for you?” She said, “yes, that would be okay.” I said, “now, can I pray for you here right now?” She was overwhelmed with joy and said yes, please.  I asked God to give me the words and I asked her out loud if I could place my hand on her shoulder and pray. With her permission, I prayed. I have no idea what i said, I let the Holy Spirit guide my words. When I finished, she hugged me and thanked me and I told her she was welcome. Then the most astonishing thing happened, she said,”today as I was leaving my home to get the things I needed, I asked God to give me a sign that He was in control and that if I went through with this surgery,everything would be okay; and now I know without a doubt, I am having the surgery. Maybe, my family will finally believe in Jesus!”

And then, I cried. We hugged and she went on with her shopping and I just stood there-in awe and amazement that God had used me to increase her faith in Him and his promises.

Well, I must say that I wasn’t much good for working my normal job anymore that day. I went to my office and shared with my co-worker, what had just happened and I was so overwhelmed with joy and I can’t even begin to describe the emotions I was experiencing, just wow!

Had I not listened to the prompting to pray for her, would He have found someone that was willing to be obedient to His calling for Robin? And I would have missed out on the huge blessing it was for me to pray for her.

That day changed my life. I learned that we can stay stuck in our comfort zones or we can learn to experience what God has for us by simply trusting that His Will is so much better than we can imagine.

Fast forward 9 years, and I am without employment as I sit here and write this out. My choice, by the leading of God.  When  you have been employed somewhere for over 16 years, but know that it is time to leave for many reasons-mainly major health issues, the part of you that used to worry about making ends meet realizes that if changes are not  made you might meet your end, you start asking God what is the next step? What is His Will for your life? I know we all stay in jobs, because we have bills and responsibilities and I have always strongly believed in taking care of those priorities and still do, but when God gave me the peace I needed to leave, it was like nothing I could explain. If you don’t live with the Peace of God in  your heart, it’s hard to explain. But you just know, He has it all worked out and you just trust Him. That’s what I am doing now and where I am at now.

God has placed a call on my heart to share His story of love and grace. I am now in the final draft stage of a book that was written with His input. Am I worried that no one will like it? No, not really. I know it has been a blessing to me and the few friends I have shared it with and I know God is happy with it. Would I love to become an author that shares His Word and his promises? Well, I never really gave it much thought until God placed this on my heart. I guess I would have to say yes. I love sharing my testimonies with others. When the book is complete, I will share a link on here for anyone that is interested in grabbing a copy.

The best thing I can say now, is listen to what God is telling you. Even if you think, there is no way, Lord. No way, I can do this. Remember this – you can do ALL things through Jesus Christ, He is your strength!

God loves you and so do I! May your days be filled with blessings and may your cup overflow with love!

Until next time,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My baby boy

moving day

My baby boy is definitely not a baby anymore. He’s 6’4″, stocky and almost 20. But, if you are a parent, more specifically a mom, than you understand~he will always be my baby.

He moved out last weekend, into his very first apartment with his cousin and cousin’s fiancee. Now, it did not appear he would have much to take, until the time came to load the moving van and take it away.

I am happy for him that he was able to do this and even happier that he is still close enough to come by and visit.  He’s already warned me that he will be coming here to do his laundry; personally I think it’s an excuse to see me and raid our fridge, but I’ll take it.

He has taught me so much about love and giving of yourself and being there in times of need.  And through a lesson, many Christmases ago, God allowed me to teach him about faith and what it looks like.

He was about 9 or 10 and we were getting ready to put up the artificial tree, when lo and behold, the plastic tree stand snapped and one of the legs broke.  He was devastated. Asking me things like, “now what will we do?””we have to have a tree, mom” and knowing I didn’t have enough money to go buy another tree or a tree stand.

I  told him, we could pray about it. He looked at me and said, what good will that do?

I explained that if you have faith and you believe, with God anything is possible. I asked him , “do you believe that God can help us fix this stand and it will hold the tree with all the decorations and ornaments on it?” and he said, yeah I guess. Once again, I questioned him, “do you really believe God can do it or are you just saying that?”  He said I believe.

So, I got my trusty duct tape and started working on the tree stand leg and then found a board to secure the tree stand to, with more duct tape.(saying my own silent prayers). And then Michael and I prayed and asked God to make the tree stand work, to hold the tree with all the ornaments and lights and decorations so we could enjoy the beauty of the tree and celebrate Jesus and His birth.

God is so good.  That tree withstood a curious kitten climbing the tree and batting at ornaments and the plastic stand just didn’t last for one season, but four.  And just something as simple as a broken piece of plastic, held together with duct tape and prayers, taught my son about having faith and trusting God.

You see God will use any situation to grow us. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental, just be willing to let him in and you will see miracles happen right before your eyes.

So, even though, I miss our daily good morning hugs and I love you mom goodnight talks, I know Michael will be okay, because he knows God is with him and for him and I am just a call or text away.

May you be able to see God working in your life today. He loves you. Blessings and peace,

Carlene