Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Message is Clear

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Ten weeks. That's how long it has taken me to write since my last post. I've tried to write - heavy messages have been on my heart and playing over and over again in my mind. But working third shift, directing our Shakespeare play and managing a household with four children was taking its toll. I'd write four paragraphs and suddenly, my eyes would start to close - no longer able to stare at the computer screen.

One week, I had the opportunity to also squeeze in the teaching of a Musical Theatre Workshop from 11am - 2pm, which meant less sleep, of course. This has also added up to "Less Time for God." No time for devotionals as driving to Dunkin Donuts had become less appealing in my exhaustion at 2am when our crew takes lunch. No time for blogging. At this pace, I was lucky to check my email once a week. Filling my ears with praise music from my MP3 player was no longer allowed at work - no headphones are allowed on the floor. And church? Well, I would make it on Sunday if and when I could get my body to keep moving from the time I got home until the start of church. As soon as I sat down, it was lights out.

I continued to talk to God as much as possible. I continued to sing praise songs while I was stocking shelves. But in comparison to where I was just a couple of weeks ago when God and I were cruising along Glory Highway, I was feeling like I was again at the edge of His Mercy. This is not because I've filled my life with sin, but because I haven't completely immersed my life in Him, step by step and day by day. My heart and spirit long to turn the clock back to just a few short weeks ago.

The blessings have continued. The apparent squeezing of my spirit over the past ten years has all but stopped and a new joy in the Lord has been found. Through this time, I kept asking God, "What will you have me write next?" I kept hearing Him answer, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." I'll bet you won't be surprised that on Tuesday of that week, "Seek ye first" was the subject of my daily email devotional. Okay Lord, when I hear You, I must remember to listen. Oh, how God has revealed the meaning of this passage to me in new and various ways through the passing weeks.

It all started at Wal-Mart when my manager brought me into her office for my 90 day evaluation. She showered me with praise for my hard work, dependability and flexibility. "You should really consider becoming Management," she said. Climbing the ladder at Wal-Mart? Now there's something I never thought I'd do with my life. It's a big corporation. There's security in that. I could climb and climb if I wanted to. But do I want to? More importantly, does God want me to?

Like a flash of lightning, the answers came. Work became impossible. Management became, well..., bossy. Co-workers became disgruntled and filled break times with their misery. It hit me, as I felt their negativity soaking into my pores, this was not the place for me.

I'd stick it out. The money was good, but something had to give. My only defense, my only weapon was to continue to praise God - continue to cling to HIM - continue to thank Him for what He was doing in my life - KNOWING He was doing something.

A couple days later, Derek and I were dreaming about what we'd do with our money if ever one of his plays got discovered.I told him that the Pregnancy Care Center was my favorite ministry in the Susquehanna Valley. I would definitely be donating money to them.

The next day, I received a PCC newsletter in the mail. They were hiring an Event Coordinator. Something spoke in my spirit that I needed to apply. The next day, I just appened to be meeting with Senator Madigan's office at the Cherry Alley Cafe, which is right next to the Pregnancy Care Center. When the meeting was over, I stopped and inquired about the position and picked up the application. I let FOUR weeks lapse without submitting my application. All the while, the message pounds in my head, "Seek ye first...," which my spirit translates into "Seek Me first, Danielle... Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."

Sandy Klingler from the Pregnancy Care Center finally called me. She said her staff had been praying and she thinks I'm "the one" for the position. Keep in mind at this point, I hadn't even submitted my application or resume, but according to Sandy, God says I'm the one.

So the wrestling match was over. Yes, I was wrestling with God. Don't ask me why. I don't know why I was so apprehensive - it would be less money, being that it's part time. That was it - the money kept me from applying. How would we make it? Derek had quit Boscov's. We'd be back to what I made at Weis'. So I cracked open my Bible and found "the verse" in its context:

Matthew 6:19-34 -

19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.
23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 "And who of you by being worried can add an hour to his life? 28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 "But if God so
clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly
Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

There it was. The answer I needed. The humility I had to swallow. The trust, the faith and the acknowledgement that I had to have - to know that God. Period.

So I went through with it. I applied. I interviewed. I got the position. And of course, since I started walking in this new found faith, the blessings have flooded through and over those walls that were once sure to keep them back.

  • - The week that I applied, Derek received a letter from Domestic Relations. All signs point to the amount of child support that is deducted from his paycheck being lowered.
  • - Zoe's surgery was paid for and successful. She will have a new smile by the end of the month.
  • - Our school tax refund finally came which allowed us to put our van back on the road.
  • - Our van, which sat for months and months needed very little to make it roadworthy and pass inspection.
  • - When we were slightly worried that we would have to dip into our weekly pay to cover the balance of our van's repairs, God surprised me with Holiday Pay from the Fourth of July which completely took care of the added expense.
  • - I completed my last night at Wal-Mart last Wednesday. My managers were sad to see me go, but for the first time ever, I cannot say I was too sad to leave.
  • - I began my new position today.
  • - For the rest of July, God has paved the way with "extra" income coming just when we will need it most. This will take away the sting of the lower pay and ensure that we will not have to struggle to make ends meet.

On my way to the interview, this odd song popped into my head and out of my mouth before I even knew what I was singing. It was an old Margaret Becker song. I asked myself, "What made that pop into my head?" But I kept singing, Then I got to the chorus:

"All that I am, and all that I will be,
I place in your hands, I rest at your feet.
All of my life, indebted I will be, to You."

I laughed in spite of myself and then started to cry. God has not wasted one moment of my life. It was all put to use and placed in perfect order for such a time as this.

In the wee hours of the morning, as I'm working my very last shift at Wal-Mart, a song comes to my heart:

"I'm leaving it all to You,
I'm leaving it all to You.
You are GOD.
There's no limit
to all that You can do.
So I'm leaving it all to You."

At last.... Sweet Freedom.