I love story’s, they paint a picture of an idea, an experience, or a lesson learned, piece by piece, step by step. With unexpected twists and turns, and a few unique characters along the way. The best ones always have an ending you just did not see coming. I would like to share with you a short story that unexpectedly unfolded in our lives over the last year and a half.
Twists and turns, things we did not see coming, yet in looking back were clearly orchestrated for a purpose and outcome for Gods glory and our good.
2 Corinthians 18; 9 says
We were under great pressure far beyond our abilities to endure, so that we despaired even of life. In our hearts we felt death.
But these things happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead.
What happens when the things you have depended on are taken away, what do you do? When a life time of planning suddenly becomes irrelevant, where do you go? When the income and acknowledgment you have worked to build are removed then who am I. What do you fall back on?
At 56 these questions became and unexpected part of my life. My employer seemingly determined that the value I had been providing at a very high level was no longer needed. My everyday purpose, my plans, income and value from my perspective were discarded. What am I going to do, what can I do, the words “I don’t know” became a maddening ongoing part of my vocabulary.
Every door I opened, every contact I made closed or became a dead end. Frustration, anger, and panic became a part of my every day routine. I am at the end of my resources, my understanding, my skills, and my plan of action because none of those things are working.
I began to have conversations and prayer with my family looking for sound advice and relief. I reached out to those whose counsel and experience I trusted. I reached out to Pastor Joe Scofield from the encourager’s class at Prestonwood Baptist church where Vilma and I attend. He was very gracious and over several weeks set aside time for us to talk. We had conversation over coffee, mostly me letting out what was inside, Him listening, and providing encouragement.
One afternoon in Pastor Scoffields office we finished our conversation and He said I have someone I want you to meet, Ron Kelly. He told me a little about Ron and he picked up the phone and called him. He talked for a minute to the person on the other end of the phone and handed me the phone. Ron and I talked briefly and he scheduled a time for us to meet the very next day for coffee.
See I have realized thoughtful action overcomes fear, often times I have said to someone after they shared a personal need with me “I will keep you in my prayers”. That’s a delay, the proper action, is to take action, to intervene, to access the resources our Heavenly Father has at “His” disposal the people, places, or things that truly make a difference.
I promise you after I handed the phone back to Pastor Scoffield I was hopeful and encouraged that my need had not been set aside for another day but was a priority. Pastor Scoffield accessed a resource at his disposal and in turn Ron accessed and provided that next import link towards the resolution of my need.
From a high profile position with a large international Financial Corporation to a personal decision to serve others as a leader, teacher, and public speaker in biblical financial teaching. Ron is the director of The Prestonwood Foundation and has a truly unique life story of his own.
Ron and I begin to meet almost weekly for conversation and encouragement. A safe place to share my thoughts, concerns and often my hurt and fears. No judgment just large doses of prayer and encouragement.
At one point I shared a dream I recently had about of all things a monster truck. It truly seemed to be direction in regards to this particular moment in my life.
I dreamed I was running away from something or someone and I was very agitated. I was in what seemed to be a monster truck. You know the ones that are so high you need a ladder to get in. Large tires, cramped seating space, flashy exterior, and above it all. It’s all about power, brute force, and able to over power and muscle through anything. I was driving, up high, in what seemed to be a very large warehouse. I could see tools and materials on the ground below me. I was looking for a way out of the warehouse. I saw many open doors and exits but because I was up so high I could not get through the doors.
I saw two men outside of the truck door on the driver’s side. One was large the other was small. The larger one reached inside the cab of the monster truck and grab the GPS off of the dash. I took the keys from the ignition and began hitting him on the head with them.
As this was happening something with numerous legs or tentacles attached to my head. Something like a centipede but with a hard shell. The smaller man told me to dismantle the legs and pull them off one by one from the grip they had on my head. As I began doing so I noticed it did not hurt like I had expected. As I thought about this dream when I woke up I came to the conclusion this is how it applies to me.
The monster truck represented my self-will and desire for significance. I had been determining my own way and direction (the GPS) and not totally depending on Him. I desperately wanted to get out of the warehouse (where my way of doing things had taken me) where I felt trapped and frustrated and be able to use the tools that were clearly available to me. There were numerous open doors or exits but being up so high (my own self-imposed need for importance) I could not escape. To do so would require steeping down from the driver’s seat and not in control of the course or direction.
The large man is my Heavenly Father reaching in to my life to take way the things I had been using for my direction and purpose (the GPS). I stubbornly attempted to hang on to the keys (control) and used them to assert my will. The smaller man is the Holy Spirit and directed me to begin dismantling those thoughts, and ways of being that had become so attached to my mind and way of thinking. In doing so I experienced freedom and relief, not pain.
I am amazed at how this simple yet detailed dream speaks to me. I needed to understand how I had arrived at my current destination and how to correct my course.
Proverbs 3 : 5-7 instructs us to Lean on trust in and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight and understanding. In all your ways know, recognize and acknowledge Him and He will direct and make straight and plain your path. Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn entirely away from evil.
There were other conversations, times of prayer, and a new willingness to reach out to other Christian Men that God has placed in my path. I asked them for their prayers in regard to understanding Gods will and purpose for my life. In return I received their candid input, as well as ongoing encouragement, even today.
I have learned that Gods Will is not guidance but a guide, found in God’s Word. In it you will find salvation, the infilling of His Holy Spirit, sanctification, surrender, and submission. Gods Will can be found inside your gifts, confirmed and nurtured by family and Godly friends in times of conversation, prayer, and counseling.
It would take significantly more time than we have this evening to acknowledge and share all of the blessings my immediate family as well as you my Prestonwood family have provided to Vilma and I. From Prestonwood Career Transition workshops, networking, Counseling, and Job Board Postings available through Prestonwood Bapstist Church. An ongoing legacy of faith, prayer, direction, and commitment to Jesus Christ.
I started writing short stories and poems almost 20 years ago in regards to encouragement and with a spiritual bent. Mostly as therapy for myself. I set them aside in a briefcase never knowing that their words would one day provide much needed encouragement for me and my family. I would like to leave you with one short poem and hope that it will be an encouragement to you as well.
“A Prayer of Encouragement for Patience and a quite Spirit
I sat for a moment
A tired and weary Self
I dreamed of things to come
I appreciated those that have
My heart has a sense of what is coming
Yet anxious for it to begin
But sometimes tired of just running
Patience and a quite spirit
Do not come easy for me
Setting aside for now
Easily said to let it be
Keep moving keep moving
One step at a time
This race is not yours
Let God fill your mind
That work to be done
Is his you will see
And started long ago
On that old rugged tree
On bended knee and tears of joy
You will find that peace
That your heart craves and others need
Where struggle and fear find there release
What’s important you now know
It’s not silver or gold
A gift given not earned
It is that love that you hold
In times of challenge
And difficult days
That place of comfort
For spirit and praise
Your heart knows
Known to you all of your days
That unseen source
That prompts you to praise
Still waters are yours
Drink deep when it flows
God’s Word is the source
From where all blessings flow
Practice what you have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace, of untroubled, undisturbed well being, will be with you.
May God bless your life as you pursue Him.
May Gods love and kindness direct you as we are renewed and strengthened. As he does a new thing in our lives, the journey to our new life is on foot. Led by the Spirit and Gods Word, to serve Him, and others.