7.03.2008

The Wilderness

Just a warning...this one's going to be long.

Where to begin? This summer has been such a learning experience for Brent and me. I'll begin at the beginning...that makes sense. I taught 5th grade for a year at 2 different schools. The second school had 2 5th grade openings for the 08-09 year. I kinda put all my eggs in one basket and hoped to have one of those positions. Didn't happen. I had 2 other interviews, for 5th grade positions, that I thought were promising. Again, didn't happen. I sent resumes/emails/phone calls/applications/you name it to so many different places, schools and non schools--just looking for something. God was shutting every single door. I was very frustrated but never worried. I didn't understand why I couldn't get a job in the school system. Nothing made sense. I began to have a whole new perspective on Proverbs 3:3, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." As Aaron Shust puts it, "I am not skilled to understand what God has willed, what God has planned." The only reason I have for why I never got a job in the school system is simply that God just did not plan for that. He made things turn out really strange and odd just so He could have me where He wants me. In the midst of all this, I felt really drawn to God because I knew He was the only one that had answers. I earnestly sought Him, with all my heart. I wanted to please him, I just wanted to be where he wanted me. For about a week, I knew that God was preparing me for something different and possibly unexpected. Then I learned, through time spent with Him, that he was preparing me for the wilderness. Deuteronomy 8 is such a great chapter to read when you become prideful and have an "I can do this myself" attitude. I especially like verses 2-3, "And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did you fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." As a follower of Christ, I have to feed my spiritual life the Word of God. I can not be sustained merely on food for my earthly body. And that night, I realized that God was preparing me to take a job that paid less than what I was making as a public school teacher. Even in our sunday school class we were talking about money and just last Sunday 2 guys shared their testimony of how God provided for them and continues to do so. I remember a specific question in our book that asked, "Are you really prepared to take a job that pays less and will demand from you a lifestyle that is lower on the ladder than what you have become accustomed to just to be in God's will?" And that night I wrote in my prayer journal, "I want to be humbled and led into the wilderness. I want to be tested. I want to be found faithful. And if that means I have to learn to live without money, learn how to stick to a strict budget, learn to eat manna, so that I can know you and trust you to be my Sustainer and Provider completely, fully, wholly-then I'm all yours." God is just so wonderful. Brent was on the same page as me. He was never worried about my job, he never pressured me to be aggressive about the job search, he trusted God with me and knew He would provide. So, I established that I was going to have a lower paying job that what I am used to, then I started praying for wisdom because I didn't know what kind of job that would be. In 1 Kings 3, Solomon asked for an understanding mind and discernment between good and evil before he became king of Israel. God was pleased with him because he didn't ask for riches and honor, but wisdom instead. And God gave it all--wisdom, honor and riches. Not that I am seeking wisdom so I can get more than I asked for, but that is just a testimony to how great our God is. He wants the best for his children and will give us more than we can imagine, if we will just trust and seek him. When I began seeking wisdom and understanding beyond my own, God began teaching me that the gain from wisdom is better than any profit I can gain. Proverbs 3:13-15, "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, nothing you desire can compare with her." The eternal blessing of God's wisdom does not compare to the fleeting blessing of money or material possessions. I do not say any of this to praise myself or give me any credit. God deserves the glory for all that I have learned. And it is only because of Him that I am able to give Him my heart and seek His will. I say this hopefully as an encouragement to others. My God is real. He lives. He is at work in the heart's of his children. All the promises in Scripture are real, living, and active. And if you allow yourself to be humbled by Him, and let Him lead you through the wilderness, and be wholly His, you will find that nothing can be compared to knowing Jesus Christ, to loving Jesus Christ, to trusting Jesus Christ. Money is not what keeps me going, a pay check is not what provides for me. I was comfortable in my financial situation, and now God has made things uncomfortable...because he wants all of me. He wants me to trust him ONLY. I could have no income and God would still have a way to provide because money is not what provides, God is. And the one thing Brent and I have to remember while we are in the wilderness--God is not teaching us to live on less money, God is allowing us to live on less money so we can draw nearer to Him. And I pray we do not lose sight of Him. I pray that we consistently use this time God has given us to seek Him, grow closer to Him, and closer to each other.

As promised, God provided for us. I got a job today! I will be teaching kindergarten at Covenant Classical School. It is a private pre-school. The best part is, I will be working with a faculty of Christian people who have a relationship with the Lord and love Him. I will be challenged and encouraged daily. And to add to the blessing of having a job, I also found out today that I will be on the Education and Curriculum Team for Lindsay Lane Christian Academy (our church's school that will start August 09). I will be helping find the best curriculum for the new school. In the meantime, I will be using a widely-known Christian curriculum at Covenant which will hopefully provide insight for our LLCA team. It's funny how God works.

4 comments:

Kelley said...

that was the best blog post ive read in a long time. im so happy for you!

Random thoughts by Rebecca said...

I love you a ton! You're such a blessing to me!
- Rebecca

Jill said...

Praise God!!! This is one of the most astounding posts I have ever read and I think there is much to be gained by us all by reading it :)

TurlScott said...

Wow... is my heart smiling or what?
~dad~

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