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Waiting is Not Easy!

I’ll admit – I stole this title from one my kids’ favorite authors. The books are a family favorite. 20170104_133108Turns out the guy who writes them started his career as a writer for Sesame Street.

Despite writing his stories for kids, his messages apply to everyone. They’re usually about being kind, thinking of others, etc. As the title suggests, this one is about waiting. And lately, my life has been all about waiting.

Waiting is far from easy. It’s downright difficult. Rigorous. Torturous. For me, it’s been a lesson in Faith.

I worked for the Pennsylvania WIC program for 17 years – most of it in the same office and some of it as a college intern before I became an official nutritionist.

The job itself wasn’t hard and I thoroughly enjoyed expanding my knowledge about pregnancy, nursing, infants and young children. However, as anyone who’s worked for a government-funded social services program can tell you, other aspects were not so fun. Over the years we dealt with funding cuts, changing administrators, a decrease in benefits, a lack of 401k, and a host of other issues that depended on the current whim of those in office. Despite the frequent uncertainty of my job, I felt called to stay. I found a “supernatural” peace that WIC is exactly where God wanted me to do His work. If the time came for that to change, he would let me know.

That change came in September of 2016, when our contract went up for bid and a new agency took the reins of our program. We worked closely with this agency for years, as they had always been the ones to complete our yearly staff and program reviews. They trained us on any new rules and regulations as well as nutritional topics. I had the option to reapply for my job and continuing working for WIC.

I had the option to reapply for my job and continue working for WIC.

I chose to walk away. I don’t approve of the way this agency conducts itself when it comes to finances or employee relations. The thought of working for them directly left a sour taste in my mouth. It was time to move on. It didn’t take me long to make that decision and when I did, I felt at peace that it was the right one. God had called me on to something new.

I don’t approve of the way this agency conducts itself when it comes to finances or employee relations. The thought of working for them directly left a sour taste in my mouth. It was time to move on. It didn’t take me long to make that decision and when I did, I felt at peace that it was the right one. God had called me on to something new.

Writing has long been a passion for me, one that I’ve dreamed about turning into a career. When I made the decision to leave WIC I had no concrete plans on my next job, but I felt like God was paving the way for me to write.

Squeeeeeee!

My husband and I talked. We made plans to turn one of the spare bedrooms into my “office” and my current babysitter agreed to maintain our current schedule. However, as eager as I was to dive into this new venture, I barely managed to get my toes wet.

It’s been a little over three months since my time with WIC ended and I’ve barely done any writing at all. Instead, God called me to be a stay-at-home-mommy and homemaker. Two things that you would NEVER find on my wish list. However, the only time my soul felt at peace were the times I was taking care of “home” – my kids, my husband, our pets, the house. Anytime I tried to push into a different direction or rush God’s timing, I met resistance in one way or another.

Looking back, God knew what he was doing. At the same time I lost my job, my husband took at promotion. It meant more time away from home, sometimes overseas for a week at a time. I became the “It-Girl”. I needed to be able to pick up the slack to allow my husband time to find his stride with this new job.

So, even though I desperately wanted to write, I graciously -(at least I hope!) – became a servant and took care of whatever needed taking care of. Surprisingly, I fell into the role easier than I would have thought possible.

God had called me to wait.

I never heard him say, “No, you can’t write.”  Nor did he ever divulge his plan to me in any degree. Nor did he drop any other kind of grand career opportunity in my lap. Instead, I’ve been standing in the hall, knowing that closing the door to WIC remained the right decision but not knowing when or if or how the next one would open.

Guys.

Waiting is HARD!

Especially when you’re waiting on God’s timing, not your own. Things happen when he’s ready to make them happen, not when you want them to happen.

However, this isn’t the first time I’ve been called to wait. Looking back, I can see other missed opportunities or times when I jumped the gun, all because I reacted out of fear instead of being obedient to his plan.

This time I took a deep breath, put on my big girl panties, and chose to wait.  I’ve wondered many times if other people just think I’m being lazy, that I don’t want to work. When I try to explain this whole I’m-waiting-on-God’s-call thing, I’m expecting people to look at me as if I’m loony.

I’m neither. I’m simply being obedient. I’m refusing to give in to fear. I’m refusing to play by anyone’s rules but those laid out in the Bible. I’m trusting in God to use me where he wants me and that when he’s ready, he’ll make a way for that to happen.

Do I hope it’s through writing?

(You shouldn’t have to ask.)

Of course! But I’m determined to wait for his verdict, no matter what it is.

Last night my husband came home with his three-month review papers in hand and all that waiting paid off. God answered in a big way and it’s opened the door for me to pursue a life I’ve only ever fantasized about.

I still have no idea exactly how it’s going to play out. I’ve still got a lot of unanswered questions. I’ve still got doubts and, yes, fears. I still have to write at my kitchen table because that office is still a spare bedroom. I’m starting a new career, at the bottom of the ladder, at age 37.

But I get to write.

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What has all this waiting taught me?

That we are still learning and growing during the wait. We are learning how to choose Him over the world. We are learning how to trust Him for everything we need. We are learning what it means to live by faith, not by sight.

He uses that hallway to give us an opportunity to grow closer to Him.

Obedience and waiting are choices. Hard choices.

I’m glad I picked the hard choice.

 

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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in christian, writing

 

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Looking Back

Well, folks, it is official.  I have been called back to work at my “real” job.  My two days a week of writing will now go back to two days a week of nutrition counseling.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m ecstatic that I can go back to the same hours I had and not have to figure out how to find a new job and afford daycare.  I do enjoy the people I work with even if I don’t always enjoy the work.

That being said, I will definitely miss these five months I’ve had to devote to my writing.  Actually, I’ll probably mourn them. . .

Even though I’m nowhere near a published author (yet) I have gained so much more in this process.

The biggest achievement for me is the ability to finally take myself seriously and call myself a writer.  These five months have allowed me to embrace this part of me and it has felt wonderful!  I no longer mumble when I tell people I write books.  Instead I say, hey, guess what?  I write books and I’ve got three of them on the Internet and I’d be SO happy if you’d stop by and read them!

Between the three stories I have posted I’ve accumulated over 26,000 reads and that number climbs daily.  I’m up to 40 followers and 243 likes.  I’m not the most popular person on Watt Pad – but I’m slowly making a name for myself and becoming visible.  That in itself gives me a sense of accomplishment even if I’m not available on Amazon.

I’ve also stumbled across a HUGE network of fellow writers and published authors who are more than happy to share their knowledge and tips with us up-and-comers.  I feel like I’ve barely broken the surface of the support that’s out there and what I have discovered is already hard to keep up with!  I’ve got so many websites and profiles that I need to check there’s always somewhere that I forget!

Whether it takes me six more months or six more years to publish, this network will always be there and will be a constant source of guidance and wisdom as I take the plunge.

I have been surprised and elated to find that other authors are willing and ready to offer positive, supportive feedback and encouragement even while trying to promote their own work.  It is a community with an extremely positive energy and I’m glad to become a part of it.

As much as I’ve enjoyed writing my own stories I have also loved reading other people’s works.  There is so much out there that is GOOD and just not enough time to read it.  That includes published works filling up my Good Reads account to the fellow wannabes I’ve met on Watt Pad and Authonomy.  Reading broadens my world and opens me up to more ideas for my own stories.  I crave and devour books like some people do pizza.  It’s almost an obsession but one I have no shame for!

I want to give a shout out to JJ Bonds and Roberta (both of which I have provided links for you to visit their blogs!), fellow authors who offered me support, wisdom, and encouragement and proved that it is possible no matter how long it takes or what route you choose.

So even though I don’t have a book in hand – or on my Kindle – I’ve accepted that I am a writer and I make no apologies for it.  If you haven’t already, then get your butts in gear and read my stuff!  It won’t be free forever!

To end on a high note – I had taken a hiatus from my Faith Writers website and participating in their writing challenges.  Just one of those websites that got pushed to the back burner for a while.  But I checked in to the challenge two weeks ago and submitted another piece.  While I didn’t win top prize I got positive feedback from the judges and I placed 6th out of 18 in my level.  Woohoo!

Hey, it’s something. . . .    :-p

Thanks for everyone who reads, offers encouragement, or just in general harasses me (you know who you are!) to keep me moving forward.  Despite my return to the real world, I plan to keep writing.  And I’ll keep you informed!

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Indie Writers, writing

 

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Not so coincidental. . .

For those of you who bothered to read my blog musings yesterday, I wanted to share this with you today.  As a member of FaithWriters.com I get devotionals emailed to me daily.  I’m not great at logging in and reading them every single day, so (I’m sorry to say) a lot of them end up getting deleted without me ever reading them.

HOWEVER!

When I checked my email this morning I decided to see what today’s devotional had to say and I’m SO glad I did.  It spoke right to me.  And while there may be such a thing as coincidence in life, I don’t believe anything with God is a coincidence.  He knows what we need when we need it. . .it’s up to us to listen for his response.

The devotional talked about change and how everything in life has seasons. . .including us.  Even though the winter seasons are hard to go through they are important for creating new growth and new life in the spring.  It’s an opportunity for us to weed and prune all the overgrown junk of the previous season in an effort to get ready for the next.  It sounds a lot more “romantic” than it feels, but it did make me realize that while being in employment limbo for the past few months hasn’t been fun it HAS given me a chance to know myself better and come to terms with where I am in life and how I want to contribute.

It’s given me the opportunity to embrace a part of myself that I’ve always been a little embarrassed over. . .the Writer.  I feel like I finally acknowledged a part of me that God wants me to be . . .and the freedom in that feels exhilarating!  I tried to keep that part of me hidden or at least subdued because I thought no one would ever take me seriously when I told them that I write.  Turns out, I was the one who needed to take me seriously.

Even though I have no more knowledge about where I’m headed than I did yesterday, I have been reassured by a Heavenly Coincidence in my email that He truly is working and that no season lasts forever, including the bad ones.

Here’s the verse from the devotional; the part that hit home for me and made me realize this is how God speaks if we only take the time to listen.

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!
Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

😀  How awesome is that?!

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in christian, writing

 

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Livin’ on the Edge

(To anyone who got my Aerosmith reference. . .kudos to you!  🙂  )

Have you ever reached a point in your life where you know something’s about to change. . .you can just feel the anticipation of something big lurking around the corner. . . and you don’t know whether to hug someone or run away?

That’s me, right now.

I have found this journey towards publishing to be a lesson in patience and had hoped to make my writing skills lucrative by now, in one way or another.  While I’ve discovered plenty of avenues with potential I’m still writing just for pleasure. . .and my readers are still reading for free.

I had also hoped that by the time my recall date for work came up I would be going back.  However, as of August 30th our WIC agency will be closing four of its six clinics and the other two are reduced to one day a week.  Not only am I still laid off, but the money has dried up to the point there may not be a place for me to return.  (Which, by the way, feel free to pray about or call your congressman. . .or both!)

I have been keeping my eyes peeled for something else. . .but a girl with an M.S. in nutrition and no R.D. behind her name isn’t qualified for much in small town Pennsylvania.  I would make a kick-a** secretary. . .but I wouldn’t get paid more than what it would cost to put my kids in daycare.  What’s the point?

I am teetering on the edge of a precipice and I have no idea whether I’m going to plunge to the bottom or fly to the other side.  The first one isn’t an option but my wings haven’t sprouted to accomplish the second.

It’s a scary, unnerving, anxiety inducing place to be.  I’ve gone through plenty of rough spots in life before, some infinitely harder than this, and by God’s grace have always landed safely on the other side.  However, each time one steps up to the brink of another unknown it is so easy to forget about the way He came through before and resign yourself to failure.

Thankfully, I found a fellow blogger who posted some inspiring words and am reminded that even when I don’t have a clue as to the future I don’t have to be scared.  Check her out. . .she’s got some simple but cool posts throughout her blog that I have always found to be uplifting.  (http://proverbsway.com)

The first post:

“Having a rough day?
 Place your hand over your heart.
 Feel that?
 That’s called purpose.
 You’re alive for a reason.
 Don’t give up.”

The second:

“Don’t worry.  God is ALWAYS on time.  Trust Him.”

Maybe they don’t speak to you the same way they do to me, but that’s okay.  It is exactly what I needed to hear (or read) today.  Just a gentle reminder that while the brink of an unknown can be an awkward place to stand it doesn’t have to be scary.

So, I’m going to do my best to wait with anticipation and not fear, for I can feel something coming.  I have no idea what it is but I have been reminded that when everything looks bleak and all hope lost, God delivers. 

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in christian, writing

 

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Today’s blog doesn’t have anything to do with the progress I’ve made in my writing journey. . .mostly because I haven’t made much progress in the past couple of weeks.

It has more to do with my spiritual journey – and the reason why I haven‘t made much progress lately.

I’ve got two days a week to work on my writing – which includes updating my blog, participating at Authonomy, checking in at WattPad and actually writing.  While it doesn’t seem like much of a list, it’s quite a lot to accomplish in the (roughly) 16 hours I have every week.

Those hours are a gift given by my mother who agreed to continue watching my kids two days a week even though I wasn’t going to a “real” job anymore.  She allowed me to follow my heart into this writing venture instead.

My perspective about my voluntary lay-off and call to write was recently challenged when my mother received the news that the pathology report from a recent test came back positive for Lymphoma.

I suddenly began to wonder if I was led to take this lay-off not because I have been called to write. . .but because my mother would be battling cancer.

We don’t know yet whether it’s isolated to the tissue that was removed or whether it’s a more widespread problem. . . she’s just recently begun testing with a cancer center.  Either way, I’ve still had to wrap my mind around one thing: my mother has cancer.

My parents are getting older, but to me, they aren’t old.  I’ve adjusted to the issues that come with age – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.  Overall, my parents, especially my Mom, have remained pretty healthy.

But cancer?

While Lymphoma is one of the most treatable types of cancer, it’s still cancer.  It still requires things like chemo and radiation, PET scans, and the life-long possibility that it will one day return and kill you.

I’ve had to consider how much my life would change without my mother.  At the very least, it could mean I spend the rest of my lay-off caring for her instead of writing while she cares for my kids.

The Lord works in mysterious ways – and sometimes he works in ways that we never saw coming.  But in the end, we’re grateful we listened even if we didn’t really know why.

I don’t know what’s going to happen – the tests may show that my Mom is in the clear and there is no further evidence of Lymphoma in her body.  She can go on caring for my kids and I can go on writing.

Or, it may show our worst fears and I’ll spend the rest of my summer caring for my Mom as she endures cancer treatments.

Either way, I have no doubt I was led to volunteer for this layoff no matter what the reason.

It has also reminded me how important it is to have a strong and consistent prayer life.  A few years ago I went through a rough patch in my own life which lasted for about six months.  The only thing that got me through was prayer – constant, consistent, earnest, gut-wrenching, honest prayer.

There were times I didn’t do anything except lay in a weeping puddle at God’s feet.  There were other times I charged into the throne room of God and asked boldly for Him to take action.

No matter which it was, and most times it was somewhere in between, the most important point was that I had an on-going conversation with God.  I never hung up.  Even when I said Amen, I never hit the End button.

I learned how powerful prayer is – how it can sustain a person at their weakest, when they are powerless to take action themselves.  And how God can use our prayers to move another person out of darkness and into the light, to change their heart and open their eyes.

I’m ashamed to say that once that rough patch ended and life returned to a more peaceful state, my prayer life eventually dwindled.  Not that I didn’t, or don’t, pray.  But not like I did then.  Not like I should.

I’ve hung up and let life (even my God-given gift of writing) take center stage.  Prayer became more of an afterthought.  Until now.

Until I find myself in a powerless situation again and suddenly I want those lines of communication open like they used to be.

Sad, that we tend to call on him so heavily in the bad times but can’t be bothered to keep up the conversation when everything is good.  It’s my fault and my action to change.

It did lead me to two different devotionals about prayer that really spoke to me. . .and I wanted to share them with you.

Both can be found online at RBC Ministries.  What do I want you to remember most about these two passages?

1.  Be real and be honest.  God wants your communication.  It doesn’t need to be pretty.

2.  Believe in His power.  And the power you have when you pray.

 

“Dad still remembers standing there at the edge of the woods listening to his mother pray. He remembers the intensity and passion in her prayer. He remembers hearing her pray for him, Joe, and Eileen. He remembers her crying with joy at the presence of her Lord as Jesus met her in the midst of her worship and petition. He remembers Popaw telling them that Momaw was in the closet, where she went to meet with God (Matthew 6:5-6).  Dad was given a great gift that day. He was able to hear how his mother prayed when she thought no one was listening. Christian prayer in its most intimate form is like that. It is an intimate conversation. It’s raw but beautiful. It is not ritualistic and measured but relational and empowered. It’s saying what you would say when you think no one but God is listening.”

http://helpformylife.org/2013/05/07/pray-like-no-one-but-god-is-listening/

 

“I will never forget the day Pastor Doyle called all the children of the church to the front of the sanctuary during the pastoral prayer time. As they gathered at the front, he asked them to sit down and then told them that one of their friends had gotten very sick and needed their prayers. He not only invited them
to pray with him for their friend, but he also held out the mic and asked if one of them would like to pray. Up shot Caleb’s hand. Caleb was 10 and had suffered from the same illness that now plagued his friend. The next moment Doyle did something amazing. He handed over the mic to the 10-year-old. And with his pastor beside him, Caleb prayed this simple prayer. “Lord, I know what Dallas is going through, and I know that Guillain- Barre sucks (yes, he said sucks . . . in church . . . during the pastoral prayer). Please touch him, be with him, and heal him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

http://helpformylife.org/2013/07/05/teaching-children-and-youth-to-pray/#sthash.7FC8YUcl.dpuf

 

And if any of you would feel led to pray for my mother – your petitions on her behalf would be ever so greatly appreciated.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in christian

 

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