Trying to make it through life with His help.

Archive for September, 2013

The KEYS to my Future

Several years ago, a prophet told me that I needed to find four Keys in my life, then I could unlock the door and walk through it. Because this was a message for me, and me alone, it makes perfect sense. But when it comes to explaining it, I don’t feel like I can verbalize it well enough to explain it fully to someone else. All I know is that soon after, I felt an urgency to find a physical representation of these keys. And, they had to be substantial, not some little house key.

If you think about it, finding FOUR keys together wasn’t going to be as easy as you might think. Over the years, I remember seeing big, brass keys on a huge ring, (think Kirkland’s), but with those, there were usually only three keys. But I didn’t want the shiny, brass keys, anyway. These had to be OLD keys… thick, used, and something that looked like they could turn the lock in a castle door.

I knew if I went to the Nashville Flea Market the next time I went home for a visit, I would find my keys. So, I called a friend and asked if she would like to go with me. We spent several hours looking at the different booths. (If you’ve ever been to the Flea Market in Nashville, you know it’s not a small place). I finally found some old jailer’s keys. I knew I had to find four of them, and that they should be together on a ring. These were separate, but I thought maybe I could put them on a ring. I asked the man running the booth how much a particular key cost. He told me it was an original jailer’s key and it was $60. (For ONE?! my mind screamed!) I smiled, and put the key back. I was willing to spend some money, but I wasn’t feelin’ $60 for ONE key, or $240 for four!

Keys

Eloi Maftea
(Hebrew, “My God Keys”)

I just knew I would find my keys there, so, on we walked, looking here and there at all the different things you can find at a flea market. We walked under a pavilion and browsing amongst the tables, THERE were my keys! They were big, substantial, there were four of them, and they were on a ring! But there was no price. After seeing the one earlier for $60, I wasn’t holding out much hope for these. I found the person running the booth and asked the price. Bracing for the answer, I heard her say, “$12.” Needless to say, I bought them.

I learned a lesson there, too. You can’t make something fit into a dream God’s given you. $60 per key, plus finding a ring vs finding the perfect set of keys on a ring for $12. When you do what He asks you do to, everything falls into place perfectly.

That was about 2 years ago and since finding the physical representation of the keys, I believe I know what they represent. The first, to my knowledge, was something He asked me to do, which demonstrated Obedience. He asked me to go back to my maiden name. I’m not sure why exactly, but we rarely know the reasons, or can see the ‘big picture’. He had asked me to do this two years before, but life got in the way and I put it off.

Climbing the stairs to my apartment one night, He spoke to me and told me it was time I changed my name. I agreed, but I told Him I didn’t have the money, (it costs about $300), but I was finally willing to get it done. The very next week, I received a check in the mail that more than covered the court costs. And, after over 15 years, I took my maiden name back. And, as awful as that process can be, it was extremely smooth for me.

The other three keys? Well, I believe the last three represent my talents. The God-given gifts that I will use to glorify His name.

I believe God gives us all keys. We just have to be willing to take the time to figure out what they are. What are the keys in your life? Do you know what they are? Do you care? Find out. The journey of discovery is an exciting one!

Keys

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God’s Fingerprints

From the moment I was on my own here in Atlanta, ’til this very day, I can look back and see God’s fingerprints on my life. Even though I wasn’t going to church at the time, He still considered me His own, and was still guiding my steps.

There are so many instances I can look back on and know that He had a hand in getting me where I needed to be. From the apartment I ultimately chose, to the woman who lived below me. He orchestrated it all. If I had chosen another apartment complex or even another apartment in which to live, I, most likely, wouldn’t have ever met Betty, who loved me back to church.

At that church I met a man who became my best friend for many years. He helped me understand a lot of things when it came to men. (Ladies, if you’ve never had a male best friend, you should try it. It’s interesting). I learned a lot from him, we were great together. He provided a unique perspective on things, which for me, was what I needed. For a long time, we kept each other company since neither of us were dating at the time. When I started the “internet dating thing”, he helped to keep my head out of the clouds. Because, believe me, the men I talked to and met would tell you anything to get what they wanted. He used to tell me, “Until you meet them, they’re the Easter Bunny. They don’t really exist.” Which, believe it or not, actually helped.

Through him, I found the church I still attend today, Grace Fellowship Church in Buford, GA. In the eight years at GFC, under the tutelage and ministry of Rev. Dr. Randy Kennedy, I have grown more as a Christian than I believe I ever would have going anywhere else. Our church is small. It is intimate. We are a family. Music is Worship at GFC. You will hear nothing but the Word preached. There’s no drama or church politics. But God meets us there every Sunday. All of that, and the love of Jesus Christ poured out on us every time we meet, are just a few of the reasons I love my church.

Growing in Jesus can be very exciting. Learning to listen for His voice, finding your gifts, seeing the changes taking place in your life. These are reasons to grow. But, one of the most exciting reasons is to be used by God. If you let him, He will put you in situations and ask things of you that you would have never imagined. And each time you have the option to obey or not. But when you do what He asks you to do, the results are awesome. And, most of the time, you’ll get confirmation that it was Him. Then you can just sit back, pick your jaw back up off the floor, and be amazed at what He can – and will – do through you.

“Get useable, and God will wear you out!” ~Adrian Rogers, from a sermon by Rev. Dr. Randy Kennedy, September 15, 2013.

Can you look back over your life and see the fingerprints of God? A gentle guidance of ‘Go here.’, ‘No, not there. This way.’? Take a moment to look back over your life and see if you can find His fingerprints on your life. I bet you can.

Tomorrow is the first day of my new life.

On Friday, September the 13th, I was laid off from work. This didn’t come as a complete surprise to me. I mean, there’s only so long you can have nothing to do at work and still expect to have a job, right? I helped other departments with filing and was doing some data entry for a new program being implemented. But, they could find anyone to do that. I just wasn’t needed any more. After 14 years, that’s what it came down to. My team of three was over-staffed by one. And this time, it was me.

Now, you may think I would be pretty upset about this. But, in fact, I’m not. Sure, I’ll miss all the friends I had made there, but that’s not enough to keep you in a place in which you had pretty much become miserable. Most of the people were great. I don’t think there was even one person I didn’t like to be around. (Which wasn’t the case a few years ago!)

You may be asking yourself, “Why, especially in this economy, aren’t you upset about losing your job?” And my answer would be, because I have faith in God. And I know that He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11). One that I have no way of grasping yet, and something that only He can make happen.

The last few years at work have been an emotional roller coaster. Being in the industry we were in, there were several layoffs. So, for over five years, we’ve all been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop, wondering if we were next. We used to dread “Black Thursdays” as they became known, because that was the day they would let people go.

I had survived the layoffs and I have to believe it was for a reason. One I may never know, but He does. His timing is perfect. Often, the daily survival wasn’t easy, either. My boss drove me crazy at times, as many can do. I frequently felt like I was being picked on. (Which, as an adult, is just as frustrating, if not more so, as it was when you were a kid.) It seemed no matter what I did, it was wrong. I would just get into the groove of doing something and liking it and it would be yanked away from me, and I’d be doing something completely different. But, I have to say, that each time this happened, turns out, it was for the best. (God was obviously watching out for me, keeping me there for His reasons, not mine). Also, I’m not one to suffer change quietly…lol  So, if I was unhappy about the change, you pretty well knew it. I might stew about it for a few hours, but I always came around and went with the change.

Right after Labor Day, I had a major attitude adjustment. I knew it was going to be a particularly hard day. So, before going inside the building, I sat in my car for a few minutes listening to The FISH, (a contemporary christian radio station), and said a prayer. I gave the day over to the Lord completely. I knew this was the only way this day could be a good one. My attitude had gotten pretty bad, which isn’t like me. 98% of the time, I’m a very happy, upbeat and positive person. But the last month or so had thrown me for a loop. Change was coming, I just didn’t know how or when exactly.

That day was the first of many great days to come. Actually, it lasted until I was laid off.

When my boss came to me on Friday and said, “I need to talk to you.”, I wasn’t worried. As we started walking down the hall together, I figured out what was about to happen and I thought, “Oh, they’re going to let me go!” (I think I actually smiled!) As unusual as it sounds, I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t anxious. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t even mildly ticked off! And best of all, I didn’t get that sick feeling I think most of us get when something like this happens. I was totally and completely at peace. God had prepared me for it. He had told me to be prepared to leave, and apparently, I was.

Before letting me go, they offered me the chance of another position. This position was in telesales, {sigh}, which just isn’t my forte, at all. Appreciating the effort of trying to keep me employed, I talked to the manager of the department. Honestly, I probably could have told him what he wanted to hear and gotten the position. But I’d have been miserable. And, through out the ‘interview’, I couldn’t shake the “I need to get out of here” feeling, either. God was making it uncomfortable for me to be there any longer than necessary.

So, it took me a while, but I said my goodbyes and left the only company I’d been with since moving to the Atlanta area. Don’t get me wrong, there were tears. And unless you’re someone who has a lot more emotional control than I do, there’s going to be a few tears when saying goodbye to the people you’ve shared 40 hours a week of your life with over the last 14 years. It’s a bit sad that you won’t get to see them as often, or for some, ever again.

There was such a sense of relief, too. I’m hoping my stress level will go down. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been completely relaxed. I think I even sleep tensed-up.

So, to quote a familiar axiom, Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. I am really looking forward to, and excited about seeing, what the Lord has in store for me. I think from this day forward I will be walking in my destiny. And by keeping my eyes on Him, I will stay on the path He has chosen for me.

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