Friday, March 26, 2010

She Speaks Conference

Dancing in the desert has become my new motto in life over the last year. My husband lost his job January 20, 2009. My husband was one of hundreds who lost his job on Jan. 20th with the election. Having been a Bush appointee, we knew it was coming, we knew he would need a new job. It was not for a lack of trying. He had been working on lining up something about 6 months before the infamous day arrived. The economy had gone in a downward spiral and instead of having the luxury of having his pick of jobs as one might imagine after leaving a Presidential appointed position, companies were laying off people right and left and were no longer hiring.

As a mother to 3 beautiful princesses, it became my job to ration milk, to not waste any leftovers, to make every dollar go as far as possible. I remember very clearly one February day, saying to my husband, "I just need to get some milk and bread for the girls to make their lunches." That afternoon, when I went to pick up my kids from school, I was handed an envelope. That envelope contained a gift card to a local grocery store. That day marked a journey that we have continued to be of trusting God.

Over the last year, I have kept a "blessing journal," writing down EVERY blessing God has provided for our family. This includes if someone buys my coffee at Starbucks, to free furniture, to doctors writing off bills that we no longer were going to have to pay. My job as wife became to help lead our family into a faith journey of dancing in the desert. We are still in our desert, but I can dance every day knowing that I serve a living God who is taking care of my family. I don't worry about providing milk for my girls. I know and have seen God provide. I keep this blessing journal as my "Ebenezer" as those stones of remembrance the Bible talks about. Periodically, we read thru the pages to our daughters just as the Bible says to pass them on to your children. I pray that our girls will know the tangible ways that God is taking care of them and us as a family.

My husband and I have been incredibly involved at our church as Marriage Mentors. I am weekly interacting with women that are sharing their struggles in their marriages. Because of today's economy there is a unique strain on marriages that our generation has never known. I believe God is calling me to share hope and encouragement of how to walk as Godly women during these desert moments. You see your desert may look different than my desert, but we all face desert moments. I have been approached about writing a book, sharing our "story". I am taking this one step at a time. I would love the opportunity to write a book as well as doing public speaking sharing hope and encouragement during this very difficult economic time. Just this week I saw this article in the Washington Post- This is not a problem that will end this year. I personally am encountering men and women who are writing ready to call it quits!

Why She Speaks: I first learned about She Speaks about 4 weeks ago. Shortly after that, I had another friend mention She Speaks. Obviously, if I am having trouble buying my kids milk, I can't afford to pay to attend a conference However, that does not mean I don't desire to attend this conference. It looks amazing! I would LOVE the opportunity to have the skills and knowledge poured into me so that I could do pursue writing and speaking with excellence. Just as my husband had a job interview today. I do not go to bed tonight with an anxious heart wondering if this is it! I KNOW God has a plan for me, His child. I trust He has a GREAT plan. He WILL give our family a job above and beyond anything we can ask or think. Just as I have that faith about the job interview today. I have that same faith that if God desires me to attend the She Speaks conference this year at this time, it will happen. If this is not the perfect timing, I will stay connected, I will pursue gleaning what I can from these wonderful ladies online and I will have a content heart. I WILL choose to Dance in the Desert Always!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dancing in the Desert

I don't know about you, but I cannot stop running into people whose lives are in the midst of crisis. I am talking about financial crisis, job crisis, marital crisis, health crisis, etc. I know very few people right now who would not change one single thing or everything is absolutely perfect. For those who are on the mountaintop, I am thrilled for you. There is nothing wrong with that. I have been on that mountaintop experience and it is a great place to be at. I am sure though that all of us whether we are on the moutaintop or down in the valley, we can all agree on one thing. The desert is a dry, lonely place. You feel alone. You feel isolated. You don't always feel joy. Your pain is intensified if someone doesn't acknowledge you a certain way. Your frustration is magnified by little things. Not many people CHOOSE to be in the desert. Not many people beg God for troubles. Not many people ask God for health problems, for their marriage to fall to pieces, for their kids to cry themselves to sleep at night b/c they hear their parents fighting. I know we didn't ask God to go over a year with no job. It is not in our nature to request pain and suffering.

I was noticing a passage in Jeremiah that jumped off the pages at me this morning. As I was sitting and drinking a good cup of coffee, I was reading in Jer. 2:2 that said, "I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown." Okay, in this passage God is saying this to Israel. Let this sink in ...God is saying to His you remember when we were young and in love? Do you remember when it didn't matter when we were in a desert land with nothing? Do you remember how you'd still follow wherever I'd lead you? You didn't complain, you were in love and that's all that mattered.

In my mind, I picture a young beautiful bride. Her face clear with a beautiful peaceful smile. I see her being giddy and full of life. I see her running barefoot thru the sand. I see her grabbing her lover's hand and looking at nature, seeing the sunset. I see her full of laughter, playing a joke, singing a song, as they walk hand in hand with sand beneath their feet. I see her throwing sand out of good natured fun to start a "sand-fight". I see a long white dress flowing in the dry air. I see two people in love. I see two people oblivious to the rest of the world. I don't see them "wondering" about what the mountains are like or what it'd be like at the beach or wondering how many flowers are blooming across the country. I see them enjoying where they are in life at that very moment in time. I see two people in love!

We are the Bride of Christ. Do you remember when you first asked Jesus in your heart? Do you remember your enthusiasm for Him? How did that feel? Did you feel that you would go anywhere and do anything for Him? God led HIS people, people that He chose, people that He set apart for His purposes, God LED His people in the desert in the wilderness. Why would God allow His chosen people to go in the desert? Right now, I'm not going to spend time on the "why" we go to the desert, there could be many reasons. Right now, I'd like to encourage you if you are IN the desert. The desert is not an easy place to be in. It is no ski resort in the moutains. It is no beach house on the beach. It is no rose garden. It is generally not a place of rejoicing, but what does Jeremiah say? Wow, when I read that today, it reinforced the challenge that I have been faced with and that is truly rejoicing with where God has me right now. If we are really in love with our bridegroom, Jesus Christ, we CAN have joy as we follow where He is leading us. Where is God leading you right now?

Whatever your desert in life is right now, I would encourage you to still follow Christ with the same enthusiasm as a young bride TRUSTING that He is leading you. It can be hard for some of us strong-willed women to trust our husbands to be the head of our home or to make certain decisions we may disagree with. It is hard to trust, when we feel out of control or nothing in life is going our way. It can be hard to trust His leading when you are in the desert and not sitting by the pool with a drink in your hand. But remember what He said, I remember the devotion you once had. I remember how you'd follow me (probably in blissful love) through the desert. When we are IN LOVE, nothing matters, right? We are so blissful and so care-free and nothing can get us down. When we are in love, it doesn't matter if we have fancy clothes or the biggest house on the block because we are with our soul-mate, our lover, our husband or wife. Don't you remember how you felt when you were first married, not a care in the world. You just wanted to be with your spouse. Same thing is true with Christ. If we are so in love with Jesus, it doesn't matter if we are in the desert. If that is where He leads us, then we know we can "enjoy" the desert because we are with our lover. If our focus and love is on Him, we can see the good in everything. We can rejoice in the desert. We can walk thru the desert with that blissful love because we have Him right there at our side...walking together hand in hand. I'm sure the desert has beautiful sunsets. I'd encourage you to dance in YOUR desert!