Sunday, May 21, 2017

Third Post: Opportunities NOT Taken

Blog 3: Opportunities NOT Taken

Back around 2002 my supervisor and library director decided he wanted to retire.  My husband told me to go for the position.  I was one of two librarians with their MLIS (Masters in Library and Information Science) degree.  The other two female staff members had worked in libraries for years and were working on getting their MLIS, one class a semester and were a little over half-way through the program.  But I decided that I wouldn’t go for it, out of respect for the one woman I knew would go for the position and I felt deserved it.  She had worked at our library for around 10 years or so, was the assistant director, was working on her MLIS, and I felt she deserved to have the position.  My husband said I could do what I wanted, but said he thought I would later regret the decision not to.  I told him that I would go for the assistant director position instead when she became director. 

Well, the woman got the director position and I went for the AD position, but so did the other librarian and other staff member.  I spoke to the new director and she told me that she definitely wanted me to be the new AD.  I waited, the VP of the college was taking his time making the decision, of course I knew the new director had some say in it as well.  I asked the new director when the decision would be made, but she had no clue.  So, I emailed the VP of the college a few times asking him.  He NEVER responded.  I was a little ticked to say the least.   My emails were ignored and this was a Christian College, so I thought I would at least be given the common courtesy of an answer, but the answer never came from the VP, the way it should have and eventually I would have to come to the realization, that the no answer meant “No”.

Does God want us to give up a job opportunity to someone who you feel may be MORE deserving?

Well, I think that we should always “put our hat in the ring” so to speak, especially since God gave us gifts/talents and if we look at our talents and the parable that Jesus told about them, we know we shouldn’t “bury” our talents.  Burying them, doesn’t lead to the growth of God’s Kingdom, or for us, because we’re not putting the talents He gave us to potential use when we don’t even go for the opportunity given. 

You're not being insensitive to the other people going for the position.  I felt that way, that they deserved it more than I did and I didn't want to take that away from them.  But if it's His Will, then it will happen.   If the job opportunity that I had was still meant to go to the woman who got it, she would have gotten it anyway, even if I was in the running. 

I think many of us, if not all of us have done this before and then afterwards we play the “What if?” game and nearly drive ourselves crazy wondering for the rest of our lives, “What if I had gone for that job? Where would I be now professionally?  What kinds of opportunities would it have opened up for me?  Years later looking back on it, I wish I had applied for the job.  Where would I be today?  Still living in Florida? Maybe or maybe a director of a library up North where I live now.  At least if I had tried and not gotten it, I would have known, rather than wondered all of these years “What if?” and also wondering about the resulting possibilities.   Who knows? That’s why I’m saying you have to take those opportunities when they are presented. 

DON’T bury your talents!
You CAN’T win if you DON’T play—right?
You will NEVER know if you DON’T try!

In the parable, Jesus tells about a master that gives talents (money), to three of his servants.  To one he gives five talents, to another he gives three, and a third, he gives one.  The first two invest their talents and they increase, the third buries the talent and of course nothing happens. 
God has given us all “talents” or gifts to expand His Kingdom, but if we don’t take what we’re given and use it, then we are not showing our trust or appreciation for the gifts He has given to us. 
You have confidence in you children, your husband, your friends, don’t you want to see them succeed?  Don’t you know how special and wonderful they are?  It’s a shame when we see loved ones NOT doing what they were meant to do, because of fear, or laziness, or whatever other excuse we can come up with, so DON’T put that type of pressure on yourself and DO it!!!!

We’re ALL good at something.  For me, I’m great at talking, a lot--more than my kids would like most of the time, but I don’t think any business would really pay me for that.    I’m also good at helping others, particularly customer service in libraries and I do well with writing/editing/proofreading.  Because of this, I’ve decided start my own editing service, where I hope to help students and others with their papers, resumes, cover letters, etc.   I’m hoping to make this into a full-time job that someday I’ll be able to do with flexibility and no worry.  Needless to say, I’m doing a lot of praying, but I figure “why not me?”  I am a lot more personable than some online editing service, and I know my customers, because I’ve worked with students for over 21 years in libraries and understand a lot of their struggles. 

Where do your strengths lie? 

What are you good at doing? 

What do you want to do?

What has God given you to expand His Kingdom, that you are burying?

If you’re not sure where your strengths are, my suggestion is to pray about it and do a little research on yourself.  Taking a personality test or reading a book on personalities, may be helpful to you in your pursuit. Also, talking with your friends and family can also give you an outside perspective that maybe you never thought of before.
If you’d like to take the Myers-Briggs test, it may give you some insight to what your strengths are. 
Take the chances given to you, so God will look at what you DID with the gifts He gave to you and say “… Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” (Matthew 25:23 NIV) 

May the Lord Bless you all and have a great week!
Many blessings,

Friday, April 28, 2017

Second Post: What me worry?---Never!

What?  Me worry?--Never!

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)

My son was going into the 4th grade and I had him tested at the Christian school where my daughter went and where I taught to see if he would be accepted to attend school there.  We couldn’t afford to send both of our children to the small Christian school, so he had been in the public school system since kindergarten.  When he was tested, the teacher felt that his reading and writing skills were not strong enough to be able to go to school there.  At first, I was angry.  How dare they say such a thing, but it was the truth, so I had to face it.  Then, it went to worry--worry about him having to stay in the public school system, would he get in with the wrong crowd, do the wrong things, learn the wrong, secular things of this world, (you know the rest).  It was suggested that he have a psych evaluation to verify what we already knew, that he had dyslexia.  He already had an IEP and was getting help in the public school system.  Help that he wouldn’t be able to get at the private school.  But I worried about my child being brought up in a place where our Christian values were not always looked on favorably.  So, I prayed and worried and worried some more (cause that always helps right?), then fast forward about 4 years--he is now in 7th grade, and doing pretty well.  He’s made honor role at school and is an expert typist (because big bad mama typing teacher made him-which I do believe helps students who may be struggling with dyslexia and spelling issues).  He has good friends, is in sports, is a Senior Airman in the local Civil Air Patrol, stays out of trouble and has displayed the love of Christ by taking up for kids that have been bullied in school.  He’s even earned the nickname the BFG (Big Friendly Giant from the book by Roald Dahl) because of his kindness to others and even won an award in 5th grade for being a leader in anti-bullying.  So, I have come to the conclusion that I worried for nothing, he didn’t worry, my husband didn’t worry, and God didn’t worry, cause He had this the entire time.  So, why should I?

Ahhhh worry—Do you worry?   What a question, of course you do.  If you’re a mother, , a wife, or both or even neither…you worry.

God tells us in the Bible NOT to worry, because Jesus “has overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).  And I think we as Christians, think “well sure, Jesus is the Son of God, what does He have to (or had to) worry about?  He knew how it would end then and knows the future, therefore what did (or does) He have to fear?” 

We, on the other hand, have plenty to worry about.  I know as a mother of two dyslexic children, I constantly worry that they will be held back, due to them not being able to read or learn as well as others.  Of course the solution to the problem is to have them read more often and practice, so they will know how to cope with it, because their dyslexia will never go away.  However, even though I am a librarian and writer, reading is still not something they do as often as I would like, but sometimes you have to just let it go and let God take over.

Or the soaring drug problem that plagues our country, heck, I remember when I was in high school and you’d walk into certain bathrooms and there would be this haze of smoke hovering over the stalls because girls were smoking.  I had heard rumors that people also smoked…dare I say it…pot!   (Which for the life of me I will never understand why the state of Massachusetts, where I live now, and has seen an increase in drug-related deaths over the past few years, legalized it for recreational use recently—DUH!  It starts small usually and then progresses unfortunately.).

Or how will my children do when they start driving?  My daughter just took a class and will be taking her driver’s test soon and even though she’s ready, it’s been in part, because we’ve dragged our feet on letting her finally get it.  She’ll be getting her license at the end of the month and in August, she’ll be 18.  It’s really hard to let go of worry, especially when you can’t control the nuts driving out there and just like anywhere else, there are a lot of them and of course, (truth be told, other drivers probably consider me to be just as nutty as well).  Like the time my daughter was driving and was stopped waiting to make a left turn and cross traffic.  The woman behind her kept on honking at her, until I got out of the car and explained that she was only 16 and to give her a break!  (I don’t recommend doing that often, it may get you shot if you’re not careful.).

Or the fact that our world has changed significantly since 911 and that there are people who want to kill us and our society, because we don’t have their same views. 

So, what do we do, so we don’t worry? Well, we worry because we can’t control the situation.  My husband says it’s one of the things I have a hard time doing—to NOT try and control a situation.  But what’s funny is I know the ONE that does control it all and you know what? He’s got this (and he’s got “this” for you too).  One of the ways I try to think about it is this way, I keep thinking about heaven and then one day when I go there, I’ll just wake up and be there and NOT have to worry about ANYTHING..ANYTHING!   Wow, now just let that sink in for a moment.  Then, what will I do?  It’ll be just like the happy endings in the movies, but bettah!  (a little Massachusetts humor for you).

My husband says, “If you’re really a child of God, you won’t worry.” And that lovely statement is directed at me every time he says it.
Not worry? Yeah right.  If I don’t, then WHO will? 
-Who will worry about my kids getting into a good college?
-Or if they have good friends and don’t get bullied?
-Or that our family has enough money to pay all the bills, or every little extra cost that comes up?
-Or if they are lead away from God in this day and age of extreme temptation and secularism? 

Matthew 6:25
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

So, these are for the simple creature comforts of life, not about the harder stuff—right?

Matthew 6:27
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?

If anything, I think this scripture verse is almost saying that we’re wasting our time worrying and getting older doing it, more gray hairs you know.

So, how do we NOT worry?
So glad you asked and though I don’t have a scholarly answer, I think my answer is an appropriate one.

I want you to think back, back to two times in your life when something went bad, horrible, sad, slow, miserable, hopeless times in your life, one while you believed in Him and one when you did not or were not as strong in your faith as you are now.

Now, compare the two times together, when you went through a bad time, before you believed in Him (or were going through a time when you didn’t feel close to him or strong in your faith) and the other when you did believe in Him.  Can you compare them and ask yourself this?  “Was there a difference in the feelings you felt, while going through these two ordeals? 

Does knowing the Creator of the Universe, who made you and loves you NO MATTER what you do (or say or think), good or bad, make or made you feel, in that hard time that you believed, that you would survive it? 

I think it’s true that these types of trials sharpen us, strengthen our faith, and trust in Him and because that is true, God often times whispers to me during these tough times, “Just wait a week, or a month, or a year and things will be so different.”  And then I calm down, trust, pray, wait and see.  Every single time I SEE that truth that He has whispered to me each time that I (or my family) is going through a rough patch.  Wait—just wait on Him--wait a day, a week, a month, or even a year.  Your situation will be different.  Sometimes the worry puts a dark cloud over the goodness and brightness and happiness that can come often from the Unknown.  So, there are times I take a deep breath and think, isn’t this exciting?  I have NO idea what is coming around the corner-- the possibilities are endless, God’s possibilities are endless, His promises for His children are endless and YOU are HIS child. 

In my life I know this to be true for me (and search your experiences or keep a journal of the good and bad in your life and I’m sure you’ll find the same), God has NEVER let me down and even though I will let Him down and others (numerous times in my imperfect life) He never will and that leads me NOT to worry—well, to be truthful…not nearly as much, but I, like all other sinners who believe in Him, am relying on His strength to help me through it—and He does because this is His creation and He is ALWAYS in control, no matter how crazy this world gets. 

“Be strong and courageous!  DO NOT be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Here a website with some great Bible verses to help you address your worry and anxiety.  Memorize a few to have in your arsenal when you are feeling you need His strength.

Many blessings to you today and thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

First Post: Introduction to Crazy Christian Momma

Well ladies, I come to you as a Christian wife, working mother and, I hope, friend.    The reason I'm creating this blog is because I want all of you out there that are Christian mommas, to know that we all go through strange and tough times, silly times, times where we cuss, sin, yell, worry, do something foolish, and act just plain CRAZY!!!! Which pretty much means you're normal (even if you don't feel like it at times).  None of us are perfect, in fact if you're anything like me, you constantly (or maybe only sometimes) worry how others view you, especially around summer, when you dread going to the pool with your kids and somehow secretly pray for "The Rapture", so you won't have to wear a bathing suit and you will have that perfect body!    And "yes" I did type that, and "yes" I'm quite tired of trying to be that "Church Mom" my husband calls me when my kids are listening to music that is better than some of songs I listened to in high school, but act like I never did because I don't want to be donned a "hypocrite".  

This is a blog so you can laugh at the silly things I do, say, worry about, and want to do, all the while noting that I'm not perfect, and though I am striving to be Christlike, know that He is the only person who is (and was and will be) perfect and I also know that my journey will never end.  I will always be imperfect and I will always follow Him.  I don't consider myself any specific type of denomination, I don't get hooked up on rituals, or how I'm supposed to do this or that, God looks at the heart and we are to confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, love Him and others, and do the best we can by bringing Glory to Him through our actions and words, and hopefully bringing others to Him along the way, so they can understand the true Joy that the Gospel brings to ALL in this lost world.  It's a relationship with God, His Son, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit, NOT a religion to me.  If I just made your head explode (I apologize for the mess if may have caused.), then you may not want to follow my blog.  So, let me give you a little about my background.  

I'm 45, but sometimes feel closer to 65, at other times 30 and a lot of the time 10, but my kids think I'm too old to understand anything, (as some of you can relate) and that no one really likes me, and that I dress, as my 17 year-old daughter likes to put it, "Ewww" (Her favorite word at the moment).   I have  a boy that is 14 and a girl 17, (going on 27).  My husband is a Yankee from Massachusetts and I'm a southern gal from Tennessee.  We met at Disney years ago and moved up to Massachusetts almost 10 years ago (He says I'm his prize from the Civil War-or as us southerners like to call it, "The war of Northern Aggression!").  In addition to being a mother and wife (which are 2 of the most difficult jobs anyone can ever have), I am also a librarian, former teacher, and author.  

I want other ladies (women, if that's too formal for y'all!) to feel free to add comments to my blog posts.  It can be for suggestions regarding situations, topics of conversation, great Bible verses, requests for prayer, any kind of positive posts, (if you'd like to critique something I write, please feel free to do so).  I do want this to be a light-hearted and fun blog, so let's not take what is said too seriously.  I think that's one of the problems that Christians have sometimes and because of that, I think we don't allow ourselves to have the Joy that we are promised by God.  A Joy that is ours because we are His children and to me, that is a shame, so I'm hoping this blog will help to fix that, because I've allowed Joy to be absent from my life for way too long!  So, I for one, don't want to live like that anymore.  Let's show people how fun, crazy, silly, and REAL Christian women can be.  Don't hide it, because then people can't relate to us and understand that we aren't some alien species, but just as mixed-up as every other momma in this crazy, lop-sided world.  I do ask that you respect and love others that post things, please.    

I don't know how often I will post.  Hopefully a few times a week.  In addition to hopefully helping readers, of all backgrounds, I'm using this also as therapy for me because sometimes I'm a crazy crying mess and my husband tells me I need to talk to someone because he can tell I worry waaaayyy tooooooo much (Do I hear an Amen sister!)So, with the Lord's help, my hope is that this blog will help non-Christian and Christian sisters alike.

Many blessings!
Crazy Christian Momma

25 "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."
Proverbs 31:25