Did you wake up this morning and put a problem on God’s plate? Did you say your prayer this morning and remember to ask God for help either for yourself or for someone else? How long did it take before you took that problem back on your own plate and stressed about it? Did you make it through the shower? Maybe you got to your second cup of coffee. Maybe you made it all the way to the end of the day before you were reminded of your problem and took it back. It’s hard isn’t it, it give it to God and have the patience and faith for Him to follow through.
God knows me, better than I know myself. He knows that I am a very visual person. I live for charts and graphs and organizing the data so I can figure it out. Shoot, I was an accounting major in school! I have to see it worked out on the paper for it to make sense. So when it came to the first steps in my spiritual journey, he put the book of Matthew in my hand. Matthew shares with us, the teachings of Jesus’ parables. For a visual person like me, this is what reached out to me. And then in chapter 11 (28-30) Jesus says his yoke is easy and his burden is light, that he will give us rest. This concept has stuck with me all these years. And it is something that I strive for all the time.
I hear all the time “just give it to God”, I’ve even often said to my own friends in crisis. It sure is a nice thing to think, but we all know that it is actually a very difficult thing to do. You can pray and pray about something, put it down at God’s feet and ask him take care of it. And then you wake up in the middle of the night and take it back and mull it around some more. Then you pray and give it back to God, then as soon as the situation shows up again, you pick it back up and put in your pocket and carry it around some more.
Because I am a very visual person, I have a hard time giving my “problem”, a non-tangible feeling/thing. To a non-tangible being and feeling like the job was done. So, because of my own need for organized, tangible, visual problem solving. I created my own visual. A Rubix Cube puzzle. A rubix cube has 6 sides, that are perfectly color coded. Each color represents an element of my daily life: Yellow: my business goals. Red: my career. Green: money. Blue: my family/friends relationships. Orange: my special needs child. White: my spiritual journey, of course there are so many more elements that I would need for more puzzles to represent all of my life, but these are the major ones right now.
So these elements of my life are beautifully color coded, just like I need so that I feel order in my daily schedule, however….they are not beautifully lined up. They are mixed up and jumbled together. I don’t about you, but I can’t solve a rubix cube. No matter how many times I turn these pieces. Sometimes I can get a few things lined up, but when I go work on the other side, it mixes up the first side again. This thing just turns on so many different axis, a.k.a. decision making and action. I sure can’t solve it, but you know who can.
It is easy to get buried under that worry and stress. To keep pushing your rubix cube further down into your pocket until one day you pull out your to-do list and everything you have shoved into that pocket comes out, falling to your feet. I was an accounting major. I’m sure many of my friends like to believe that I have a very well thought out and planned budget and the amazing money management skills. But as the saying goes “ the shoe makers family walks barefoot” … I am definitely a ‘spender’ not a ‘saver’ and have a mini panic attack every time I log into my online banking account. I try really hard to give it to God, to have that unfailing faith that He will take care of it, but it’s difficult. I whip out that rubix cube, I probably have a whole puzzle dedicated to my money stresses, and twist and turn it before the page even loads and I see what my balance is. This year, 2014, I made a silent new years resolution to myself, that every time I log into my online banking account, I close my eyes and pray that He will give me a calm and collected eye to understand my finances and have a clear head in my money spending decision making. It’s mid January now, and I’m still trying to work on that puzzle, even with my eyes closed, but I’m working on it.
“Just give it to God”. That sure is a beautiful notion isn’t it? It has taken me a long time, and a lot of giving, to keep learning how to do this. But one thing I have learned, is that God always gives me a second a chance to listen.
God calls on us all in many ways. We all here His voice differently. I know God is talking to me when something is continuously on my mind, it doesn’t go away until I do something about it. Writing these words for example, I have had these words swirling around in my mind for months now. When I’m driving, when I’m walking, when I’m getting ready every morning, when I lay down to sleep at night. So I sat down and started to type it out, I don’t know what will happen with this but I know that God will make it find its way into the right hands.
The good Lord started calling me long before I ever even knew who He was. When I was in high school there was always a small part of me that felt compelled to talk the special needs students in my class. Being a very shy and nervous person, I didn’t. But I looked up to the students that did volunteer with them. Even tho I always felt convicted to sit with them at lunch, or help them in class, I didn’t. Perhaps if I had known that the feeling I had was God, I would have listened and acted on it. But, as I’ve learned from Jonah, God gives us a second chance to act on the things we run away from. Now, 13 years later, here I am with a special needs child of my own. I’ve also gained loads of confidence that I have now, and never dreamed of having back then.
When I was about 16 I can remember the thought of God, and Angels, and Heaven was on my mind a lot. I had several friends who went to church, and I was curious. I also remember saying this: “okay God. If you are real, prove it to me. If you prove to me that you are real, I will find a way to go to church and get a Bible”. No surprise, I didn’t receive a sign or a miracle or something spectacular to make me believe. But like I said, God talks to me to putting something in my mind, at that point my life, I had no idea that’s what was going on . A year later, I was given a second chance to find Him. The thought of Guardian Angels was on my mind a lot, I thought about it all the time. And one day, I changed my question. I said “okay God. If you are really there, show me how to find you.” That goes into a whole different story when I met my very dear friend Kristin, meeting Diana Schuit, Nathan and coming to church.
Right after I graduated from LCSC, I got a job at a real estate firm. I was there for 2 years and was laid off. I lost that job just months after I was pregnant with my second child. I did not take this issue to God at all. I prayed about it, and said all things in a prayer that you might say to give a burden to Him, but I never really let it go. I shoved down in my pocket. I shoved it down there with all of my financial stresses, with my stresses of therapies and diagnosis of my daughter. I shoved it down there with my parents’ divorce. I shoved it all down into my pocket. About 4 weeks before my son was born, I was in the grocery store. I had hardly any money, and I was trying to decide what I really needed to get and what could wait until my husband’s next paycheck. I reached into my pocket to take out that financial puzzle to try to calculate it, and it all fell apart. All of those burdens that I had shoved into my pocket fell out onto the grocery store floor, as if my rubix cube broke into all of those 54 colored pieces, scattered up and down the isle.
I can remember standing there. Looking at my little girl sitting in the cart, not having the greatest day, the little bit of food in the cart compared to the list I had made, and I was standing there in a fog. I felt like I was standing in the middle of someone elses life, in a 3 dimensional movie and I didn’t have an answer. I picked up my child, and walked out of the store. I put her in the car, I drove home and I sat in the driveway and had a melt down. A week after that we lost the apartment, and had to move in with my inlaws. Even after all of that, I still shoved it all back into my pocket. 2 months after my son was born, I found a new job. I was making good money, and we got a new apartment when he was 9 months old. But I never really dealt with it, I just shoved it down, put a smile on my face and kept going on with daily life. It took me a good year before the numbness of that day finally wore off.
I worked at this new job for two years and guess what. I was laid off. Looking back on it now, I realize that I was given a second chance to make good of the bad situation. At the time, my first instinct was panic. I could not believe that this was happening to me again. But for some reason, I didn’t take the burden puzzle and shove it into my pocket. It was a long two years of being unemployed, but because I prayed every day and really truly gave the burden to God, I had the amazing opportunity to spend my son’s toddler years at home with him, and to start my own business. I had a consistent bible study every week with a very close friend and really started to grow and learn where I stood on my path with God.
Even through this rough patch, I was happy. I was doing okay, and it was because I treated this situation very differently the second time than I had the first time. I spent a lot of time with my kids, focusing on them, looking for fun and creative activity/therapies that would benefit both of them. I learned how to meal plan and budget food while keeping it healthy and fun for the kids. I dove into research to fulfill a goal I had since I was in school; opening my own business. In all of this I took with the faith that God was opening the doors, I just needed to open my eyes and look for the opportunity.
The jobs that I’ve had since then both came to me. They have both been perfect timing, with the perfect opportunities, providing just exactly what I’ve needed. These changes in my life have allowed me to keep my priorities in check. And even tho I haven’t solved my Rubix cube, I never will, I do pick it up less often and leave it on Gods plate more often. I’m that person who has my daily life goals written on sticky notes, posted on the inside of my medicine cabinet. Every morning, my groggy self, opens up the cabinet and looks at those notes I wrote to myself. And I take a minute to “give it to God”. And even tho I don’t always make it through my morning routine before I pick it up again, I try every day. Because I know that even if I screw it up once (or twice), God is going to give me a second (or third) chance to figure it out.