God’s timing

I remember clearly the day I first came to my current church, completely overwhelmed by life, but knowing I needed healing. God spoke to me that day, and said, “Come back… I have something in store for you.”

I had come to the church looking for healing, and healing I found. Within a short period of time, I got to know their pianist, a wonderful man named Jim, who was also a fellow engineer. He and I hit it off well, and he became like a father figure to me. He was a phenomenal pianist, and we enjoyed playing music together. When he retired and moved south, he left his console keyboard to me. It now sits in our studio, used to teach others how to play the piano.

Jim and I remained close over the years, and, as he was getting up in years, I prayed for his health. He and his wife are truly a blessing, and they have raised a wonderfully loving family.

Over the past year, as plans were unfolding for what is now our studio, I had, in the back of my mind, a feeling that I should reach out to him and tell him my whole story. Few people really know my whole story, and honestly, I think if people were to hear it, they might either not believe it or think that I’m certifiable. I ignored the feeling for a while… but felt it strongly last November. I messaged his wife, Pat, and said I had something I wanted to share with them and asked her to confirm their email address. Jim replied with their email address. It took me until January 13 to work up the courage to reply… even though I felt they would understand my story.

On Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 1:00 PM SB wrote:
Hi, Jim. I’m so sorry for the delay in filling you in on what’s been going on, but somehow I’ve got to trust Gods timing is perfect.
My story is really quite long and convoluted to be honest, but in my prayer time over the past few months I have felt a gentle nudge to share it with you specifically. I’m not entirely sure why, but trust God enough to know I need to follow that nudging.
I’d like to start by sending you a book. The book was written in 2009 but sat on my hard drive until 2017 when, during a long solo drive in my car, God asked me if I was willing to share my story. I said, “yes, of course I am, Lord, but what story?”…. then I remembered the realistic fiction book I wrote years before…. next thing I knew I was publishing (under a pen name, of course).
In all honesty, the book is a bit dark, and chronicles a woman’s journey through depression and/or spiritual oppression. Although fiction, when you read it, you may recognize pieces of reality of a life similar to mine.
I don’t have your mailing address with me.. can you please send it?
After you read the book, I will explain further.
I’d like you to keep this confidential until I have a chance to finish telling you the story to date.

SB

Jim replied right away that he’d be honored to read the book, Masquerade , and I sent it to him right away. On January 29, Pat sent me an email…

S,
We finished the book–very different difficult subject, There is a whole world out there about which we only know a very little bit. As mentioned in the book most everyone knows someone who has tried and/or succeeded in committing suicide, and we are among them–both in the family and out. The book was an eye opener about the topic of suicide and depression. 
If we are doing God’s will there will be satanic attacks making us doubt, etc. but we must resist–stand firm and believe what we know to be true. The Lord is with us and cares about us.
Jim has several procedures and a surgery coming up next and the following. He is not doing very well right now. In fact I read the book aloud because he is having trouble reading. How about if I let you know in a couple of weeks or so when he should be doing better and we can discuss the book then?
Thanks for sharing this. The title was very apt–we all play a masquerade at times.
Pat

I saw the email on my phone on Wednesday night, but Rob had just gotten discharged from the hospital and I went to check on him so I didn’t reply and then it slipped my mind.

On Monday evening, February 3, I replied,

Yes indeed! I am praying for Jim’s upcoming procedures and surgery and praying for you as caregiver.  
The book was only the beginning of the wild road the Lord has taken me in the past couple of years. I have been working on a timeline to share the highlights of this wild ride and will be prepared by the next time we talk.  
I am trying to stand strong against Satans attacks and believe wholeheartedly that I am doing what God has called me to do
I felt strongly He wanted me to share with you and will keep you both in my prayers in the meantime

Blessings, SB

On Tuesday morning, I got an email from our church’s prayer chain saying that Jim has passed away the evening before. His funeral service was held at our church yesterday. When Pat saw me in the receiving line, her first words were, “how ironic the timing! But God is good. Keep trusting Him.” His service was a blessing to me, and I’ll be sharing more about it soon so you can be blessed, too!

I cannot begin to understand God’s timing, but I know that, for some reason, He is continuing to use me and prepare me to keep doing His work. I am blessed to be His.

Be blessed today, my friends.

SB

I stand alone

International Woman’s Day?   I’m sorry, I don’t get it.  Why do we need a day?  Can’t we just be awesome every day?   And can’t the men we work beside be awesome every day? I work in a man’s world – I truly do – I earned a degree in electrical engineering and remember only about 5 women in my classes who finished with me.  I worked REALLY hard to earn it.   I have worked for more than 25 years in a field dominated by men, and have been graciously given opportunities to grow and advance my career to what I’d like to attribute to hard work and dedication.  I am not so naïve to think that my salary really matches that of my male counterparts with the same titles, but in all honesty have never let that bother me.  I’m so very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given, and will continue to work as hard as I can to be the very best that I can be.  I would expect nothing less from anyone else, man or woman.

While I don’t want to offend any women out there, as we’re all entitled to our opinion.  My opinion is that I’d rather not be known as a “burn your bra”, liberated woman, but rather someone who just wants to work hard doing what she believes will make a difference. I am prepared to stand alone in that opinion. 

For the record, though I have never been a stay-at-home mom (mostly because I never wanted to be – truthfully – and not because my kids aren’t awesome, cuz they are!), I have respect for those who are – THAT’s a tough job.  My mom stayed home when I was young, and it was only because my father passed away that she went to work.  I was fortunate enough to have her stay home with my kids when they were young – which was, in part, my way to give back to her what she lost after my dad died.  It worked out well for all of us.

So, on this day-after International Woman’s Day (perhaps similar to Alice in Wonderland’s Happy Un-birthday I should call it “International Woman’s Un-Day”), I want to take the time to wish MEN and WOMEN everywhere just a happy, awesome day, period.   Go be awesome with one another.

I heart you all.

SB

 

Our purpose

The notes below are from the sermon series in our church over the last few weeks on knowing Gods will for our life….

We think our life is about figuring about Gods will for our life as if we’re the central character. In fact, it is His will in our life for His purpose. He is the central character, and our role in His story is to point to Him.

We are created to worship Him.

Am I filling my life with things that are for MY life or for His?

Sometimes we have a “Dip and skip mentality”. Dip into the promise and blessings but skip the responsibilities and commitments and obedience for Jesus.

We allow the devil to get into our thought process and we get confused.

You will not pick up the cross if you have your self interest at heart.

To know Gods will:

1) spend time in His word

2) spend time in prayer. Talk to God.

3) do ministry for him. Not necessarily in the local church. Tell others about Jesus

4) surrender to what you hear him tell you. Surrender to his will

Be blessed today

SB

What must I do to come home?

Several years ago, I attended the Catalyst Convention in Atlanta where I had an opportunity to hear many speakers talking about various aspects of leadership. The convention is hosted by Andy Stanley, one of my favorite speakers, and though the conference is church focused, the content is good for any kind of leadership role.

During the conference that year, Judah Smith spoke one evening, and gave one of the most powerful representations of the story of the Prodigal son that I have ever seen. He talked in raw detail about some of the ways in which the young man squandered his fathers money, and the various sins he committed and how messy he was; how when he returned home; and he talked about how his father ran to him while he was a long way off – and welcomed him with open arms – he didn’t wait for him to come home and get showered and clean himself up – he was just so excited that he returned home – he knew there would be time to really clean him up later, but wanted to have a party to celebrate his return right away.

Judah Smith Prodigal

Just as the angels in Heaven rejoice over one sinner returned home, so should we! Often, however, in our churches, we are more judgmental, making those who have returned home feel unwelcome, look down on them when they falter. On the contrary, we need to understand that our path hasn’t been a straight one either, and offer to help them along the way, not to judge them if/when they stumble.

What must I do to come home?

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”

If you are far away today, Know that there is a Father waiting to throw a party for your return. Know that there are people willing to help you on your journey, to help you clean yourself up.

Be blessed my friends.

SB

Getting what we want

My dog and I have been at odds for the past few weeks. He’s on a kick where he will wake me up multiple times throughout the night to go outside. It’s truly worse than having a newborn baby in the house. (Ok, maybe it’s not, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had a newborn in the house).

At any rate, last Saturday, we had fallen asleep with the TV on as we often do, when, at 1 am, the dog woke me up. As I returned to bed, I heard the familiar voice of Andy Stanley giving a message on getting what you want. In my year of WAIT, my ears perked up. I stayed awake long enough to hear the message and thought I’d remember to look it up to listen again. The next morning came and went and I forgot all about it.

This past Saturday, same thing. Exactly at 1 am, the dog once again woke me up, and we returned to bed to hear the second part of the series that had started last Saturday. Coincidence? Or Godincidence?

The series is entitled:

How to get what you really want

Turns out there’s an app for it also, so you can watch any series he’s had. I’ve long been a fan of Andy Stanley, not only as a spiritual leader, but just a leader role model in and of himself. I’ve read several of his books on leadership and attended the Catalyst Convention several years ago. One of the things I appreciate most about Andy is that, although he is an Incredible leader and spiritual mentor, he comes across humbly, as someone who also struggles with temptations. He is real. Genuine. I appreciate that, as someone who struggles sometimes to live my life faithful to what I’ve been called.

Similar to stopping when I heard Renner a few weeks ago, I stopped to pay attention. I believe God allows these kinds of thing to happen to get our attention.

English Standard Version
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

He started his message with the Apostle Paul saying “why do I do the things I don’t want to do and not do the things I want to do?” Andy’s message was essentially this: Don’t trade what you ultimately want for what you want immediately. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be deceived into thinking what you want in the immediate is what you want forever. Following Jesus will make your life better because He will point you to Ultimate instead of immediate, valuable instead of natural. We will never get what we really want until we understand what we really value, and when we understand our value in Christ Jesus.

I’ve got the app now and am hoping my dog sleeps through the night on Saturday, but know I can still catch the message!

Great message.

be blessed

SB