Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guest Post-Paige Barnes

Today I would like to introduce to you a very special guest blogger, Paige Barnes.  Paige is my cousin by blood and my sister in Christ.  I had asked her to share on my blog several weeks ago, and when God gave her the words to say, it was the same subject I was preparing to write about myself.  So enjoy her post, and then check out her blog for more!  Thank you, Paige for sharing.

Sucker Punched
 By: Paige Barnes

Realizing that you have not been truly obedient to God is like a sucker punch to the gut. It's like you think you are making progress, and then God speaks to you. And this time you can hear him because you are really listening.  And He tells you that you are not being completely obedient to him. You are partially obedient, but that is not enough. He has called you to more. He asks for and is due complete obedience. It's not because God is greedy and needs it, but He desires for me to be his pure and spotless bride. He knows that it is for my good and thus, for His glory. Some good has come from my partial obedience. Yet, I believe it is only the tip of the iceberg. 

There has been some life change, some heart change, some freedom.  His word says He has more planned than I can imagine for this life, but if I am only walking in partial obedience then I am only seeing part of the blessing. The blessing comes in pouring myself out for others, in the way God has called me to. Not the ways I choose, necessarily, because I often want to choose what is pretty and clean. Many times God wants to call us to service that is not polished and often messy. 
My pastor talked yesterday about serving others. I thought I was doing this one! I am always trying to teach or lead or help or something. And then my pastor asked who we might be overlooking that God was calling us to serve. 

 I felt sucker punched again. I grabbed some scratch paper in my Bible and began to make a list. Ten people. Ten people on that list that I am not really serving. Its not like I don't know God has called me to serve. So today marks a step toward total obedience. I have no idea what it will look like or what it will feel like. I can only imagine that it will be something similar to......freedom.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On a Very Personal Note-Perfect Peace

My blog has been silent for a couple of weeks.  I've spent a lot of time listening, intensely, to the call God placed on my heart more than two years ago.  Until now I have been able to shove it neatly back into that corner, waiting on this huge opportunity for everything to fall perfectly into place as I wanted it to happen.

God has called our family to make changes this year.  We started off looking at a relocation, to make things logistically easier.  Instead change has been about awakening our very complacent spiritual souls and reviving the heart of our family.  We have been so guilty of "going through the motions" of life, living by a checklist of what needs to be done, then falling into bed exhausted at the end of the day with nothing left to give.

I have been so incredibly blessed with a job that has fed my passionate desire to help people.  Its been an honor to know that every day I worked, I made a difference in the lives of people across our world, as well as my neighbors and family.  A fantastic career, good pay and awesome benefits.  Something great to make a family feel comfortable as we prepare for cars, college and retirement.

Yet I was falling into bed exhausted at the end of the day with nothing left to give the ones with whose care I have been charged.  A teenage daughter...now is the time she needs my advice and guidance.  A son who still hugs and loves on his mom...so short is the time until he becomes too cool for that.  A husband of 16 years who has stood by and supported me, and pushed me over the edge to pursue the person God has called me to be.  After a while even the job fueling the passion was a series of motions too.

So after much prayer as a family, I am taking a leap forward on faith, leaving my place of comfort to answer the call I have been asking to come in a different way.  I wanted a promotion, a pay increase and a regular schedule, but He has closed the doors on this avenue in multiple situations.  Surrendering to the call and stepping out to take this challenge has taken a bigger leap that I expected, but I have the perfect peace of knowing its the right one.

So for now, I will be working from home with a schedule that lets me finish by 3:30 and care for my family.  I can help people during my shift, and pack the job away until the next morning.  Its going to require a pretty good budget adjustment, relying on the diligence we've needed to have as we had gotten "comfortable."  We also know God is the provider and he has never failed to give us what we need.

I've also felt the calling to get serious with my writing, and now is the time for that.  The book outline, tucked neatly away in my journal, may very well find its way to publication.  I want to grow my blog, not to self serve or promote, but to reach those who need encouragement through Jesus Christ.

Most of all, I want to follow the will of my heavenly father as I discover the person he wants me to become.  So I ask for your prayers as I take this Leap forward with my life and as my family comes along for the ride. 

Thank you to the many who have touched my life during the past five years.  You know who you are.  The stories of courage and faith I take away, the privilege of friendships and working alongside such a caring and dedicated group of people, they will remain with me always and have changed my life in such a positive way.