1/20/17 or 1/21/17 (depending on how you view it)
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” – Matthew 5:11,12 (NKJV)
In August 2016 I took a couple of weeks off work to get some stuff around the house done and to seek God. I’d been spending a lot more time with God since January and had used vacation time in months prior in an effort to dedicate time to God and seeking His will, so I decided to take vacation for a couple of weeks and do the same.
Thankfully, I have an aunt and uncle who were kind enough to allow me to stay in an apartment they had open. It was quiet and peaceful there, and family was right next door. I was able to read the Bible, blast praise and worship music, sing, write. It was great. But, I was there for a purpose. While I loved my job and enjoyed working with families as a case manager for a mental health agency, I felt like I needed to seek God’s will for my life. Actually, I wanted God’s will for my life.
I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I praised and praised. I entered into His presence. It was great! I wrote when I hadn’t written in months. I even met up with a cousin to discuss with her the possibility of her doing illustrations for a revelation God had given me months before and that I had been obedient with writing down.
I didn’t really receive any direction while I was praying and seeking God. It was the day before I was due to start back at work when God spoke to my heart. Have you ever known something in your spirit? Knew that you knew? Knew that God had spoken to you and gave you a directive, and instruction? That’s what happened to me.
Even though I had prayed and I believed He’d tell me in His timing, I wasn’t expecting it to hit as strong as it did or to even be what it was. Here I was on a Sunday, about to return to work the next day after being out of the office for two weeks, and I knew that I knew that it was time for me to give my notice at work. To do what? I didn’t have another job lined up. I wasn’t looking for another job. I wasn’t expecting to be quitting my current position. I wrestled with this.
I thought about the families, the kids, my groups, my co-workers… all of the people I’d be leaving and not interacting with on a daily basis. I paced the floors. I ran my hands through my hair over and over and over again. I prayed like nobody’s business. I anxiously wrung my hands. I kept taking deep breaths. But, the more I prayed the louder and stronger that “knowing” became, which just irritated me. I didn’t want it to be true. Like I said, I hadn’t planned on quitting my job.
I kept praying though, thinking maybe it was me wanting me to quit and that it wasn’t really God speaking to me. I prayed and told God that if it was really Him wanting me to quit then He’d cause this to happen or that to happen… and darn nabbit, it did. EVERYTHING I asked God to do as confirmation, He did.
On Monday night I typed up my resignation letter. On Tuesday evening I realized I hadn’t printed it off or given it to my supervisor. I gave God another opportunity to tell me I got it wrong, but again, He lined up events in the manner in which I needed them to so that I could update the date on my resignation for the next day and print it off this time. Only, as I made the “deal” with Him He came back and asked me if He did everything like I asked so that I would know it was Him, would I actually follow through the next day and give my notice to my supervisor?
Well, the question stopped me dead in my tracks… literally. I was walking and stopped and took a step back. I took a deep breath and said “yes”. Sure enough everything went like it needed to and the next day I handed my resignation over to my supervisor.
I was nervous and excited at the same time. I was excited that God had spoken to me and worked everything out up to that point. I was excited that God had something He wanted me to do. I wasn’t sure what it was. I was just trying to be obedient. But, I was nervous because I hadn’t given a resignation in YEARS.
My supervisor received it fairly well and was gracious enough to allow me to tell my co-workers. I couldn’t believe how well everyone at work (minus a couple of people) were taking the news. Telling my parents, on the other hand, that did not go over as well.
I didn’t really have answers for anyone. I didn’t have answers for myself. I just knew I was given an instruction and that I could be obedient or disobedient and I was choosing obedience.
I was officially not working beginning October 1st, and I had plans of organizing all of the items I had collected at work over the nearly 4 1/2 years I had been there, but in the organizing and putting away process some other things occurred which deterred me from my plans… or more like extended my plans beyond two months. Then, I was into December and Christmas.
Thankfully my church wanted everyone to dedicate this year to God and to dedicate the first 21 days to Him through prayer and fasting. So, I’ve been doing that. Unfortunately, I had planned on dedicating my prayer and fasting time to seeking God and His will and the next step in the process, but things have not gone according to my plan. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been spending great time with God and getting in His word and praying. My prayer life has seriously improved, and I love that. But, I’m not spending as much time seeking Him about what He’s wanting me to do. I’ve been so busy with other tasks He’s laid on my heart to do.
And, hear I sit, at 3:54 am on Saturday, 1/21/17 typing and writing this blog, which I haven’t faithfully blogged on in years. And all to share this:
While I haven’t known exactly what God’s wanting me to do, or how He plans to use my life, etc., I have known for a long time now, that if I stepped out and did what God wanted me to do, that I could potentially lose every relationship with my family members and possibly even with every friend I have. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor crying during time with God because I knew this, and my dad came into my room and I just flat out told him I had a decision to make. And, the more days that go by, the closer that time is coming.
I love my family. I love every one of them. I realize that I’ve always been considered “different”. I mean, at six years old I begged my parents to let me miss going to Chuck-E-Cheeses for my brother’s 5th birthday (which was a HUGE deal for us to be going out of town and to Chuck-E-Cheeses of all places) so that I could still go to church on Sunday. Originally, we were going to go for the day, but my parents decided to make it a weekend and stay with my aunt and uncle. I was devastated. I mean, I wasn’t just giving up Chuck-E-Cheeses, or celebrating my brother’s birthday, but I was giving up seeing my cousins I didn’t get to see very often too. I remember crying over it that whole week leading up to the weekend. I just couldn’t miss being with God, and at 6 years old, going to church was how I was able to be with God. Finally, my parents told me that if I really wanted to go to church I could stay with the aunt and uncle who took me to church and they would take my aunt and uncle’s son (my cousin) with them for the weekend. I was sad that wouldn’t be with my family, but I was relieved that I could still go to church.
Oh the comments and remarks and jokes and criticism I’ve heard over the years because of how “different” and “out there” I am… all because I genuinely want God to have control over my life.
And, tonight (even though it’s technically morning, it’s nighttime to me because I haven’t been to sleep yet), as I was reading out of Matthew, Matthew 5:11,12 struck me.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”
Just last weekend I was questioned and mocked about finding a job and what it is that God’s wanting me to do and whether or not I expect money to come out of thin air. And, that was by my mom and my aunt (the aunt who originally took me to church as a child, mind you; and both ladies have known God and professed to be Christians in their lives). I’m not judging them. I’m stating facts.
Yet, it wasn’t until reading this passage of scripture tonight that I realized that the comments, questions, remarks that I’ve endured the last few months (and the ones said behind my back) all because I sought God’s will and was obedient to Him is “reviling” and “persecution” and “evil speech” and it IS for His sake. While I didn’t think it was possible to feel encouraged about this… I do.
I am choosing to rejoice! I KNOW that God is going to honor my obedience. He IS going to DO the impossible in my life THIS YEAR! And, He IS going to let His work in me and through me be a sign and a wonder for all of the naysayers and unbelievers, all of the mockers and persecutors. AND, people ARE going to turn to Him, repent, and get their hearts and lives right with God because of what He is going to do! I believe it! And, I receive it! In the name of Jesus, let it be so!
And, I pray this is an encouragement to you. I encourage you, if you haven’t been seeking God’s will for your life, to purposefully and intentionally set aside time and seek Him with all of your heart. He DOES have a plan and a purpose for you… He has a good and peaceable future planned for you. You have not because you ask not (James 4:2)… Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7). And, if you have been seeking Him and you know He’s calling you to something; or, when He answers you and instructs you in the way He would have you go, GO. DO. Yes, you will be persecuted, mocked, made fun of, and ridiculed too, but REJOICE when it happens. If God is for you, who can really be against you? (Romans 8:31) At the end of life, we all will answer to God… not our family… not our friends… not our pastors or our teachers or our spouses. His opinion of you is the ONLY one that matters. We get one chance… one life… we can either honor and obey Him or offend and disobey Him… He will either be pleased with us or displeased. Either way, we answer to Him. What do you want Him to say to you on judgement day? The choice is yours, but know that if you choose to be bold in the Lord and to step out in obedience to Him, you will NOT be alone.