Signs

36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel [a]through me, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel [b]through me, as You have spoken.” 38 And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.”40 God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

Over the past decade or so, as I’ve worked to get my life really right with God, Ive asked Him to show me signs that I’m on the “right” path… signs that I’m doing what He wants me to.

The first time I recall asking was when I realized that perhaps teaching music was part of God’s plan for my studio/coffee shop idea, which I felt was an idea planted by God. Oddly enough, as i periodically sketched out ideas about a “coffee shop”, I was focused on coffee and music venue, but had not really considered lessons. I began teaching lessons as a side gig in 2012 when my husband was hurt and off work for an extended period of time. It was a way for us to make enough extra money to pay for our own kids’ music lessons. I had been teaching a couple students just on Monday nights when I had the aha moment that perhaps this was part of the plan all along. I prayed and asked God that, if it was indeed part of His plan, that He would provide students.

Within a relatively short period of time, my students brought referrals to me and my home studio exploded into 27 students. At first, I was only teaching on Mondays… then I said I’d open up Tuesdays… and now I’m literally teaching 5 days a week in addition to my full time job .

I always viewed asking God for a sign as a sign of weak faith until my pastor friend showed me this passage.

Over the past four months, as I look back at this baby business trying to get off the ground, facing Rob’s health issues and a host of relationships challenges, I find myself asking for signs once again. I can almost not count the number of different types of signs I believe I’ve received this week alone… from lesson referrals, to chance meetings with artists, and a somewhat random connection to a couple of old friends of Robs, with whom I will have lunch today.

I am confident of this… that He is in control and using me for a purpose that I cannot fully comprehend… to reach people for Him. I pray that He will find me faithful to His purpose.

I know how I would like all of this to turn out… and I’ve made my request known to Him. My desire is that God would heal Robs body and mind and use him to tell his story to reach people who need to know the transforming power of Jesus. But I know that He has a more Divine purpose, and I am at complete peace that, even if He doesn’t answer my prayer the way I want Him to, that He will use our present circumstances to bring glory to His name.

I am waiting expectantly to see Him shine!

Be blessed today, my friends

SB

God knows what we need…

My Bible study yesterday….

James 1-2

1:1 James, a servant [1] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Greeting

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, [2] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass [3] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. [4] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

God is awesome… to give me this passage as I face trials… I am trusting him, not only with regard to my friend Rob’s health, but with the studio that He very clearly organized. God is good. All the time.

Be blessed

SB

Release and surrender

Two days ago, I was processing my emotional state in present circumstances . I knew in my head that I had to surrender my feelings to God but I was having a hard time. I prayed and asked God to help me to surrender my full trust to Him

Over the course of the morning, I felt a release of my emotions, and a calm peace came over me. I recognized the feeling from a time, many years ago, when I was able to finally realease my present circumstances over to God and truly say (and believe!) “not MY will, Lord, but YOURS”.

My will is that God would either heal Rob instantly or take him home. They seem like the only choices…. but I am reminded that Gods ways are not our ways.

Sometimes I think God’s simply waiting for US to be ready for His answer. He’s waiting for us to align our hearts with His. That’s when He can really use us and that’s when he can really bless us

I’m reminded of the first time I experienced this. In my early twenties, working my first “real” job out of college, I decided I hated it. Long story, but I didn’t like the boss or the work or the people I worked with. As a female with a degree in electrical engineering, I assumed it would be easy to find a job. After three or four months, I still hadn’t and was getting frustrated. I remember vividly going to lunch by myself on a Monday, wrestling with God over why He wouldn’t answer my prayer, when I suddenly thought He might have a reason for me to stay… perhaps someone in the company needed to meet Him and I’d be the conduit. In a moment of humbleness, I surrendered my will to His and accepted, with the peace that comes from full surrender, whatever He has planned. Exactly four days later, I was on a sales call with a small company, meeting with the director of operations, who mentioned they were looking to hire engineers. I gave him my resume, he interviewed me right there, and offered me a job on the spot. I went to work the next day to give my two weeks notice and my boss said, “nope. You’re done today”. I started my new job exactly one week after I had fully surrendered my will to His.

As I sat there thinking about the past 14 months, knowing with all my heart that the studio and my business partner were all very clearly orchestrated by God, I give full release to Him for what happens in the future. My prayer is that He will use our present circumstances to reach people who desperately need Him.

In that experience, I realized that what God wanted, more than anything, was for me to rely on Him. When I was able to humble myself, and accept His will, He blessed me.

Yesterday, I got an email from an engineering manager in the company where I work. This man, who I believe is a Christian, worked along side Rob for years and reached out to see if I knew how he was doing. Steve and I had talked in the fall and I learned his wife is battling cancer, too. Steve told me that he and Nick (who also happens to be Robs college roommate and works in the same company) were concerned for Rob.

I filled them in very high level details and said Rob could certainly use their prayers and support. I told them I’d share more but didn’t want it in writing. We’re having lunch together tomorrow. I believe Nick also knows Jesus, but I don’t know how deep either of their faith is. I am praying for each of them, for their families, for their struggles and for their faith. I am trusting that God is using this circumstances to draw us all closer to Him

I’m thankful for Robs friends, knowing that if he survives, he’s going to need a support network bigger than me.

I’m thankful for a God with whom I can grow and learn, who loves me unconditionally.

In Him I pray that His will be done, with Rob, with the studio, with my life, and the lives of others who are watching this unfold.

Be blessed today, my friends,

I will look up

I will look back and see that You are faithful
I look ahead believing You are able
Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all

SB

Stare in His direction

A few weeks ago I met with an artist, a dear friend of mine, who is a phenomenal artist with whom I’m planning an art show for spring. I was filling him in on some of how the studio came to be, as well as current issues.

Later that evening he sent me a text that simply read, “God is good. Stare in His direction”

I think sometimes we get worked up over present circumstances (I know I do) and try to figure out what we need to do when all God wants is for us to trust that He’s got it.

I had a bit of emotional and spiritual release yesterday, relinquishing control of my thoughts and concerns about Rob, the studio, and others to God the Father. I am trusting that He’s got this… and He’s got me..

New International Version
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The release is freeing. And healing. And just what I need to move my thoughts forward.

Henry Davis Thoreau said, “God confidently in the direction of your dreams”, which is an awesome quote. I would paraphrase slight to say, “Go confidently in the direction He has called you”.

In my present circumstances, there is still much uncertainty. However, I AM certain that He’s called me to open this studio in this place… and I am going to stare in His direction, going confidently in the direction He’s called me, trusting that He will equip me to do what He’s called and provide resources to accomplish all He wants.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB.

Even if

As I drove from my office to my studio yesterday, the first song I heard was one called “the story isn’t over”. It’s ironic, since Rob and I often talked about the story of our friendship isn’t over…. even when I thought it was for more than 10 years.

When we first talked last year about partnering to buy the building that is now the studio I dreamed of, I told him that I felt like Gods purpose in that place was bigger than me, bigger than him, bigger than both of us together. I felt like God chose that particular place for some reason. We talked about the healing and forgiveness that took place in our friendship, the restoration that God brought to broken things in both of our lives… and how He wants to do that for all of us. Rob talked about the path of destruction he’s left behind him due to bad decisions, and consequences of those decisions that brought pain.

We looked forward to the story that God is writing through our lives, both individually and through the studio. He allowed me to dream endless possibilities and “we could do…”s. We talked about the fact that he challenged me and I challenged him, and we both respected each other enough to let the other share their opinions openly, without fear of condemnation or judgement. We’d encourage one another to dream and challenge one another to try new things, new perspectives. We made perfect business partners, in my opinion. Many people spend a lifetime never having a friend like that. I’ve never truly felt unconditional love for someone before, but God has given me a glimpse of His unconditional love for us. Maybe because I am far enough removed from the decisions of Robs past, I am able to acknowledge them without judgment, and gently encourage him to blaze a new path in Gods goodness. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to learn a small piece of what Gods love is all about, and am now beginning to apply what I’ve learned to other relationships in my life.

When I left the studio, I called the hospital where Rob is to see if he’d been moved to the rehabilitation center they talked about moving to… they hadn’t moved him yet, so I stopped to see him, since the hospital is about 5 minutes from the studio. He was sleeping when I got there, and I prayed that God would give him a few lucid moments with me. He opened his eyes and said my name, reached out to hug me, and I prayed with him.

My request, as it has been for the past 14 months, since he told me he has cancer, is that God would give Rob 15 more years of good health, as he did to King Hezzekiah in Isaiah 38. fifteen years for Rob to tell his story of Gods transformation in his life…

I tucked his covers around him as he curled into an almost fetal position, kissed the top of his head and prayed one last time. As I left, I stopped by the nurses station to thank them for caring for him. His nurse told me that they were still running some tests to try to understand what happened. They believe something neurological, so the Neurologist wants to review. They haven’t given up on understanding what happened. They’ve tested to see if his cancer spread but haven’t found any. They didn’t want to move him until they finished with some more testing.

Dear Lord, my prayer is that You will guide the doctors to uncover the root cause of Robs issue. I pray You will bring healing to his body and mind, restore him and give him a voice to share Your miracles. If that is not Your will, Lord, I pray that You would take him Home. I know he knows Jesus as his Savior and will be with You in Heaven. I am trusting You with the studio… after all, it is Yours. If it is Your that this studio thrives where it stands, I trust You will provide the means. If it is not to be, I pray You will guide me and direct me in next steps. In all of this situation, I pray that You alone would be glorified.

In Your Name I pray

Amen

Loving my prayer time…

When we do things consistently, they become habit and then they become lifestyle. Even before I decided my word of the year was PRAY, I’d subscribed to the command “pray without ceasing”. I often find myself conversing with God throughout the day on many topics, so much so that I truly FEEL as though He’s a friend walking right beside me.

A couple years ago one of our youth asked me to name someone I’d like to have dinner with that I don’t normally talk with. When I said Mozart, he said I failed… as a youth leader I should have said “Jesus”. At first, I was sad that I “failed” so I pondered why it never occurred to me to say Jesus. Then I realized it’s because I feel as though I talk with Him all the time.. I’ve never talked with Mozart, even in my mind.

I am convinced, more than ever, that the God wants to speak to us and through us, and one of the ways He does this is through prayer time. I’ve been starting my day with devotion and pray and I’ve got to tell you, my prayer list is long!

I can’t imagine starting my day any other way..

I’d like to hear how you pray… do you set specific time aside or do you pray throughout the day? Only at meals? Bedtime?

Be blessed today, my friends.

SB

Requests

Early last fall, a pastor friend of mine introduced me to a man named Bob, who has been working on writing his story of deliverance from alcohol addiction. My friend knew I had published a book and thought perhaps I could help Bob navigate the publishing waters, but I felt as if it was a Divine meeting, though I wasn’t sure why.

Bobs story is one of complete deliverance through God the a Father, and God has given him a ministry among those in recovery. Every morning, he sends me a scripture by text. This was today’s.

I’ve shared with him the situation with Rob and asked if he would pray that God would be merciful once more with Rob. He said he would.

As I sit quietly praying, I am struck by a couple of things that I know about God. First is his timing… though sometimes WE think His timing is off, it never is… There are things that God, in His infinite wisdom, can see when we can’t. I think about the 30 years or so I’ve prayed for my husband… the 12 years or so I’ve prayed about a coffee house/music studio… the 10 years or so Rob and I didn’t talk… meeting Bob a month before Rob and I reconnected…. the answers to some of those prayers have happened within the past 12 months.

My obvious immediate prayer is for Rob, for God to allow his mind to return once again.. But bigger than that, my prayer is that He will reveal to me His plan for my life… and the lives of those around me. I believe firmly that God is at work for His ultimate purpose. Im thankful to be part of it. I lay my prayers before Him and wait in expectation for His glory to be revealed.

Be blessed today, my griends

SB