Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Lousy Dilemma

What a Lousy Problem!
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A group of young mothers visit in the park while their children play nearby. Their conversation ranges from lack of  sleep, to the Little League coach who is a bit too competitive, to the latest epidemic of the sniffles at school. These women have much in common, and they learn a lot from each other. They can talk about anything - triumphs and trials alike - confident that their friends will understand. They can talk about anything...almost.

Sandy watches her six-year-old daughter, Lexi, playing on the swings nearby. She twists the chains of her swing until they are wound up tightly. Then she leans back and lifts her feet from the ground. Lexi squeals in delight as the swing unwinds and her long dark hair flies through the air.

Lexi's hair. Sandy groans silently at the apparently beautiful sight. Everyone always commented about Lexi's pretty hair. But no one knew what Sandy knew. Somehow or other, Lexi had gotten lice, and so far, Sandy had not been able to completely get rid of the pests. She had tried everything she could think of, but nothing worked.

If only she could talk about this problem with her friends as easily as they all talked about the other problems of life. But she couldn't talk about this. It was too humiliating. No, she couldn't talk about it. If only she could.

If only...indeed. What Sandy doesn't know is that her friend Lauren had dealt with exactly the same situation with Cindy just last year. Same thing for Becky and her daughter Sierra. Both of them were relieved to be done with the problem, but there is no way they would admit they had ever faced it to begin with. It was too embarrassing. Terry and Natasha had not encountered the dreaded louse yet, and sincerely hoped they never would.

The fact is, if Sandy took the chance to share this problem with her friends, even as they had shared many other life problems, she would have found help and support from other moms who had been there, done that. Lauren and Becky had answers they could have shared. Terry and Natasha, too, could have gained a bit of knowledge that might help them somewhere down the road. If only one of them had the courage to share.

A Serious Case of Spiritual "Lice"
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As creepy and disgusting as those lousy little critters are, there are far more serious kinds of "lice", far more serious secrets that people keep. There are certain problems, struggles, sins - call them what you will - that we think, for some reason, can never be shared with anyone. We struggle with them alone. In an effort to feel especially spiritual, we tell ourselves we want to deal with them with God, and no one else needs to ever know.

The trouble is, sometimes that strategy just doesn't work. It isn't that God is unable to help us. He is perfectly capable of setting us free from whatever is holding us captive all on His own. He doesn't have to work through other people, but He often chooses to work through others. That is what all the "one anothers" in the Bible are about. God wants us to work together, to support each other. 

Our enemy, Satan, is the one advocates avoidance.
He is the one who encourages hiding.
He is the one who wants to keep us silent, separated, and struggling.
He loves to see us living with a spiritual "lice" infestation.

God calls us to bear each other's burdens (Galatians 6:2).
He calls us to share the good things He has done for us.
He calls us to grow together.
He calls us to share with each other how to be free of spiritual "lice".

So What Do We Do About Spiritual "Lice"?
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I've been on both sides of a "lousy" situation. I know what it is to struggle in secret with something that I can't overcome on my own. I also know what it is to be set free from that same struggle when I finally brought it into the light, and allowed a handful of trusted sisters in Christ to know what was going on. They went with me to Jesus, and HE set me free.

Since then, I have shared what God did for me with others on several occasions. I have had the privilege of walking with a number of people as they took their first steps into the light of freedom in Jesus.

To those who are even now secretly struggling with a "lousy" situation, may I share something I learned from experience? That voice you "hear" in your head telling you that no one else would understand, that if anyone knew what was going on, everyone would reject you...that voice is a lie. It is true that you want to pick carefully who you share with, but once you reject the lie, God will show you who is safe.

To those who have already been set free from a past "lousy" situation, may I encourage you to be open to sharing your story as God leads? Not as a confession. No need for that as you have already been forgiven, freed, and restored. Share it as a testimony. Your story of how God worked in your life may be exactly what someone else needs to hear to give them hope, and encourage them to step into the light.

We don't need to live with spiritual "lice". Let's help each other get rid of any "infestation".

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You're Hired!

I had just finished some grocery shopping and was getting ready to fill up the gas tank in my "new" Subaru Impreza. 
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It is during those necessary visits to the gas station that I most miss my beloved Harley Junior. Why? Because the same amount of cash that runs my car for a ten days or so would have powered my motor scooter for two months. Oh well. (sigh!) I suppose I'll get used to that.

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Anyway, I had just begun fueling my car when my cell phone rang. It was the manager at our local Hobby Lobby. I'd had an interview with him a couple weeks ago. Praise God, I got the job, and I start this Thursday. This was very good news for me. 

In spite of the fact that this is a part-time job, I am very thankful. I can see God at work here. 
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  • This is a job that leaves Sundays free. 
  • I believe it is work I can enjoy. 
  • Even if it isn't where God has me for the rest of my life, it is a good place for now.
  • Even if a second part-time job doesn't come about, I can use the next few months to develop work-from-home possibilities in writing, editing, or some such field. Public speaking might be another possibility if God opens the doors.
I really appreciate those who have been praying for me. Don't stop. I may not know exactly where God is taking me, but I trust Him to get me there in His time.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Part-Time Problems...and Potential

Well, it has been nearly one month since Rachel and I returned to the USA. Rachel is doing well in school. I have been busy looking for work in a number of different areas.

Last Thursday, I had an interview for a job. The interview went well, I think, and I am waiting to hear whether or not I get the job. I hope to get the call any time.

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The trouble is, the job is only part-time. I am finding that many of the available jobs in the current economic climate are part-time. As I'm sure you already know, the health insurance situation forces many employers into a situation where they can't afford to provide health insurance for full-time employees. The simple solution...for to hire two or three part-timers to replace a full-timer who leaves their employ.

Of course, this means that those two or three part-timers won't have any health coverage, or earn enough money to support themselves. It is then probably necessary to look for a second part-time job that can coordinate with the first one, neither of which provides health insurance.

That is the situation in which I find myself. I could look at this as a problem. In a sense, it is. In another sense, though, part-time employment also opens up possibilities. In addition to applying for work, I have spent a good deal of time online exploring possibilities for freelance work - writing or editing.

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I found one website specifically dedicated to freelance jobs. As I entered my information into my profile, I had to select what skills I have. Then, I have to test myself in these various skills so potential clients can decide whether or not they want to work with me.

Some of those tests went very well. I tested in the top 10% in them. In other areas, however, I found that...well...I wasn't quite as good as I thought. No problem, though. I can go to other sites online and brush up in the areas where I am not so strong.

To make a long story short, if part-time employment is what God opens up to me at this point in my life, I choose to see it as a situation full of potential, rather than problems. Left to myself, I'd choose a good full-time job in an area I love. If God has other ideas, I trust Him to know what is best.

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9

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