Sunday, December 28, 2014

Do You Hear What I Hear...

What I love most about my walk with Christ is that each and every day I have the opportunity to examine my faith - through prayer, scripture, Christian studies or Christ-filled friends, God reveals ways of new growth and brighter paths. It is important for me on my faith journey to reflect - where would I be if I didn't have Christ's presence in my life? God knows that many times I have called out the name of Jesus in times of darkness and confusion but also in times of joy and thanksgiving. It is also important for me to share my journey with others - to "be God's light" that shines through me for others to witness. It seems fitting, this last week of 2014, to share where my faith has taken me this past year, particularly a testimony of listening for and hearing God's voice...

Over the past year my faith walk has been a walk of patience, forgiveness and gratitude. I have shared in a previous post the journey that my husband and I, along with my ex-husband and his wife, traveled with our oldest son, Hayden. A path of poor choices, difficult decisions, confusion. A path that has found the road to healing, grace, mercy and trust. I have also experienced forgiveness in a healed relationship with my father. I have come to understand, through prayer, the things I could not see - truly a forgiveness that can only come from God. I have been extremely blessed by new and growing friendships, employment opportunities, women's conferences and church family and my heart overflows with gratitude.

But perhaps the greatest area of growth for me this past year was the desire to seek God's voice, listen for God's voice and to hear God's voice. It is no secret that I am one to make decisions based on what I want, how I feel and how I can gain. I desire instant gratification - so when I excepted a new position with The Food Bank of Central Missouri back in May, I knew immediately I was exactly where I needed to be. I did pray about the position before accepting - and I honestly felt God's approval. Working for a non-profit organization whose mission is to feed the hungry - I was humbled to be a part of such an amazing task. To physically stand in front of people who didn't know where their next meal would come from and to hand them food to fill their pantry - well, it filled that "instant gratification" desire. I didn't need to "wait" to see the fruits of my labor - it unfolded before my very eyes.

So it comes as no surprise when I share with you that eight weeks ago, when approached by a friend about a new position within his ministry at the Missouri Baptist Foundation, my faith was being tested once again. Our first conversation left me thinking of possible friends I may have that would fit the role of this new title - I certainly didn't think I might be interested - I was still "new" at The Food Bank and I loved my job. But then my thoughts changed as I learned more about this ministry. The more I talked with my friend, the more my heart began to whisper to me: pray. I am certain I first "heard" God when my friend shared with me that he would like me to fill this position, but wanted me to really pray about it - and he would be in prayer too. I immediately went to my husband and shared this offer with him and we agreed to both be in prayer.

Now, you should know, I am a "specifics" sort of gal. I need to see and hear God through specific events, people, scripture, etc. I share that with you because this is how I pray - I ask God to "specifically" show me. So my prayer was exactly that: "Father God, I need you to show me three times where you want me to be. God, should I stay with The Food Bank? Should I take this offer with the Foundation? Show me the way, God." I was looking for "clues," so to speak - and I patiently waited.

Certainly nothing happened overnight {the way I preferred} and I must admit that at times I was growing weary - impatient. Many times my husband needed to scold me - revealing to me that I was, again, thinking in the flesh and not by the spirit. However, over the next few weeks, God did, indeed, uncover three things that led me to believe that He was pointing me towards the Foundation job.

And sadly, friends, I have to admit that I STILL was uneasy. I loved my job at The Food Bank - did God really want me to give up this passion? I needed one more "sign," if you will. It was a Saturday afternoon. My husband and I were sitting on the couch and I confided in my husband that I was leaning towards the Foundation job but I was still restless over the decision. My husband asked what the restlessness was about and I shared with him that I simply didn't have the heart to tell my current boss at The Food Bank that I was going to leave my position and take up a new job with the Missouri Baptist Foundation. I had only worked for The Food Bank for a mere eight months - I adored my boss and I didn't have the heart to face him. My husband responded with, "Let's go to God with this." Of course! - So we did, in that very moment..."Father God, I hear you. I see with my heart that you are pointing me towards the Foundation. But God, you know my struggle. I don't have the heart to tell my current boss that I am leaving. So God - I need you to take this struggle. If I truly belong at the Foundation, I need the strength and the confidence to tell my current boss - I need you to take care of this for me."

This is where I relish in sharing my testimony with you - this is the part I love - when I want to climb to the rooftops and yell for all of creation to hear - "GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS! GOD ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS!" I also want to be sure to share with you that God doesn't always answer prayer so quickly - but in my case, in this moment, He did.

The following Monday afternoon, my boss at The Food Bank called my cell phone. When I answered he shared with me that he was resigning from his position at The Food Bank to begin a career with The Missouri Baptist Home and would be leaving at the end of December. ....My jaw hit the floor. It was in that very moment that I heard God's voice. I knew where God wanted me to be and the future He has planned for me. It is with extreme thankfulness and excitement that I announce I have accepted a position as Vice President of Marketing and Client Relations with the Missouri Baptist Foundation.

This was a test of my faith - a test of patience, prayer and truly listening and hearing. A test of obedience. And I am confident in saying I passed. And I reflect, once again - where would I be without God's presence in my life? God will always be my guide - whether the journey is difficult or easy - God is always with me. God refreshes me through His Word, prayer, friendships and His presence.