Testimony Time

          I am still working on the Seoul stuff but I have some testimonies to share. The first portion is part of the end of my Seoul series but I can’t wait.

It was my first communion after returning home and it was a great day. After foot washing, one of my church members tried to get everyone together for prayer and I grabbed her hand.

“Let’s get this circle started.”

“How are you? How was Korea?’

“Teaching wasn’t for me but I loved living there.”

“You working now?”

“No…”

“Want a job?”

“Yes!”

“Okay, I’ll let you know when you start in a couple of days.”

          So can I get an amen? Just like that, my prayers had been answered. I had been praying for a job for ages. I have done a lot of temporary jobs and I wanted something more stable. This too is a temporary job (at the time I wrote this) but it is at a university where I have worked twice before thanks to that very same sister in Christ doing the Christ-like thing and filling a need where she saw one. It turns out that someone broke their leg and would be unable to work for a few months but God is all up in this situation. He did not answer my prayers the way I hoped but He worked it out for my good and to his glory.

          I feel pretty comfortable at my job, which, as a shy person, is a blessing; however, I always wonder how I can represent God in the workplace. My mom is wonderful at this and I admire her for it. She has started a prayer circle at work, which is going strong, and she regularly talks to and encourages her coworkers in Christ. I am so proud of her, she has come a loooong way. I am nowhere as social as she is so my methods and movements are not as spectacular but I prayed that I could show Jesus at work if only a little and He answered!

          I heard my boss listening to a gospel song and I told her about Urban Praise, which is a wonderful online gospel station that even has two-minute sermon snippets and life advice regularly. It is not an SDA station so there are bits I disagree with but to combat my coworkers’ music and conversations, it is great! I emailed my boss the link and she was pretty excited and thanked me for it. Next, there was a visitor in the office who quoted a gospel song on her way out. I found out her name and sent her the link plus a video of Andrews University’s Deliverance Mass Choir and she loved it. Then I sent the same to my sister in Christ, who works in the same office, so she can have it when she needs a praise break. Last, was another woman in the office who asked me to fix her computer. While in her office, I noticed she was playing gospel music from her iPad. When I was finished, I asked her if she liked gospel and gave her the link too so she could use the online player and save her iPad battery. She really appreciated it and I thought, “God, you are amazing”.

          All of the people whom I had the opportunity to share with have important positions; Coordinator, Associate Vice President, Director, and Associate Director, which makes even more of an impact. They all have offices so they tend to play their music without headphones. They also get many visitors for meetings and whatnot so anyone who steps into their offices can hear it too so it is like passive witnessing in a sense. Even though it was not a huge life-changing thing, I am glad that I could inject a little spirituality into a secular environment.

          One more thing I wanted to write about was my jury duty adventure. I had jury duty on April 23rd and if you have ever gone, you know it is terribly dull, for the most part. I will be the first to say that I am directionally challenged and I consider it a huge victory whenever I get somewhere I am unfamiliar with without incident. Unfortunately, this day was a #fail.  I have no idea what causes this phenomenon but no matter how much I stake out a location, Google it, or write my own tips and tricks, about 85% of the time I come out of subway and walk in the opposite direction of where I should be going and don’t let there be more than one exit, I will wander aimlessly in the labyrinth. Anyway, what should have been a 5-minute walk, most of it around the perimeter of the courthouse itself, turned into a 30-minute excursion.

          I walked to the end of the block and asked someone to point me in the right direction and after two blocks and a left, I arrived at the federal courthouse…not the civil courthouse where I was supposed to be. And now I know that there are two courthouses…in close proximity to each other. I asked a security guard for help. After two more blocks and another left, I was on the right track. There was a girl talking to a guard a ways ahead of me. As I got closer, I could hear the guard giving her directions so I asked the girl if she was going to the courthouse for jury duty, she was so I told her to come with me. She had a hard time navigating and was anxious since she was not familiar with the downtown area. We walked and I told her what to expect since it was her first time serving.  Even after all that, we made it on time.

          A few years ago, I would have overheard the guard giving directions as I passed by and walked ahead on my own, not to purposefully be rude and unhelpful but just to avoid interacting. Putting in earphones, sometimes with no music playing, taking the long way to circumvent people, reading, talking on the phone, or pretending to so I can avoid speaking to anyone; I still do things like this sometimes but not nearly as often as I used to. I do not want my ways to prevent me from being kind and I definitely do not want to miss out on helping someone in need or showing the love of God because Jesus did not but sometimes I get overwhelmed and quickly revert to old ways (that’s a lesson in itself and Peter comes to mind). These things may seem like small potatoes but it is progress for me so these small things make me excited about my spiritual and personal growth.

*Bonus I found out the next week that my job term is likely to be extended, this week someone asked me was I still interested in another job and a contact I have in Korea said he will be contacting me about a job there.

 

Key

            So I am working a little bit (praise Jesus!) and in each cubicle where I work there is a file cabinet that can be locked with a key. Unless you are super trusting or do not have anything of value in there, it is expected that you the key home with you when you leave. Okay, cool.

            Well it was cool until I misplaced my key. I was so mad at myself. I cannot imagine what my face looked like while I was retracing my steps. Back in the cafeteria where I got breakfast earlier, I asked the cashier, “Excuse me, did I leave a key here?” She smiled and held it out towards me. “Whoop! Whoop! Thank you!” (I only said that “thank you” part out loud).

            While there was not anything of monetary or material importance in my drawer, I put the things I was working on in there. Now that I think about it. If I had not recovered my key, I probably would have done the work that I could and spent the rest of the day twiddling my thumbs rather than ask for help (yeah, yeah, I know).

            Friday, I reached into the pocket on my bag where I usually keep my key and once again I get that stomach-turning, vertical-drop-from-the-top-of the roller-coaster-AAAHHHH!!! feeling. I said a little prayer, “God, surely I am overlooking my key in this 7”x7” pocket on my bag. Please let it be there when I look again”. I search my bag again. Nothing. “Come on God! Seriously?! Ok ok, maybe I will learn from this. Deep breath, calm down.” I check my pants pockets, even that tiny 5th pocket (out of desperation). Nothing. I check all six of my coat pockets (it’s an awesome coat). Nothing, wait…oooh, a piece of candy. GAAHH, that is not what I want! I do the circuit again; bag, pants, coat. Nothing. “don’t cry, this is minor, no big deal. Just retrace your steps, it’s fi…WAAHHH. (kidding, I didn’t cry).

            I thought that maybe my key had fallen out in the car so I headed back outside. I asked the guard at the front desk had anyone turned in a key, “nope, but you can call maintenance and they will cut you a new one”. “Thanks” good to know, I thought. I meander my way back to my car, scanning the ground. Pause,… “is that…God you are killing me”. My key was lying on the ground about 4 feet from my car. I delicately picked up my key by the key ring and cradled it against my cheek feeling like I was the father whose prodigal son had returned (kidding, didn’t do that either). I thanked God and hustled back to my desk. I was thankful but I wondered why I had to go through all of that. I figured that God knew how dimwitted I could be so why did he not just prevent that whole situation. Then something amazing happened. God quickly helped me change the way I thought about all that drama. Maybe he just wanted me to talk to Him. Maybe he allowed what happened just so I would call His name. Maybe He wanted my attention so I would focus more on Him. I did not get it the first time so He had to bring it up again. I can speculate all I want as to God’s intentions but the results are real and true! I am still amazed at how quickly He turned things around. It is more my nature to wallow in self-pity than to see a silver lining so for my mindset to have changed so quickly and drastically could only have been God’s doing because it definitely was not mine.

            Will I misplace my key again? Sure, probably before the week is out but now that I have passed this test, I will be spiritually and emotionally equipped to handle it next time. My mom believes that when God is trying to teach you something via a test, He will bring that situation around over and over, giving you the opportunity to get it right. This is the first time that I was aware of this happening to me. I am awestruck at how it played out and I pray that I will be able to discern these situations, learn from them and continue to grow!

A Prayer(6)

           I am a shy person, so when I am asked to something that requires me to stand before a group of people I usually decline. Of course, I want to do my best for God so I am making an effort and saying, “yes” more often. One thing that I enjoy doing is praying. All I have to do is step to the mic and say, “Good morning church, please bow your heads and close your eyes” (or some variation thereof) and spill my guts to God. Everyone’s eyes are closed, no one is looking at me and my knees stop knocking together (as much).

            I was asked to do opening prayer then teacher’s prayer the next week and I would like to share them with you.

            Holy Spirit, come and fill this place. Embrace and comfort us as we gather together in the house of the Lord. Spring brings revitalization, renewal and new life. The vegetation is being restored after winter, which reminds us of how you were resurrected in a hardened, cold world, we rejoice in the new life that you bring and worship your name in the spirit of holiness. Please be with those that are on their way as well as those who cannot make it. May we continue to be led in the path of righteousness with earnest and loving hearts, *Bless the teachers as they are the vessels that contain your word. Be with them as they pour knowledge into us so that we may overflow with you spirit. In your holy name we pray, amen.

            Merciful Heavenly Father, we humbly come into your presence with a spirit of praise. Thank you for bringing us through another week to see another blessed Sabbath day. You are the Great Teacher but you have impressed our Sabbath School teachers to instruct us in your word. Please be with them as they lead us. Let the words you speak through them take root in our hearts and may the Holy Spirit water us with your blessings so that our relationship with you will flourish. In your name we pray, amen.

            In an effort to become more involved in my church, I went to the Sabbath School Council meeting and Sister Nance made a comment about how the youth run from prayer and do not participate. I agreed and reflected on my own actions. Even though I usually pray when I am asked, sometimes I am not so eager. It is not that I do not want to talk to God or am embarrassed but I tend to revert to a “go-to” prayer of sorts and repeat myself when I am put on the spot (I like to write them out beforehand).

          When Brother Noakes asked me to pray again, I said “no”. I had done it the past few weeks (not that it meant anything). Then I remembered what Sister Nance said about running from prayer and I vowed right then and there that I would not say “no” anymore if anyone asked me to pray. So I changed my mind and said “yes!” I truly believe that God spoke to me through Sister Nance to bring my attention to something I could not see before.

           This time I prayed: Loving Heavenly Father, we come to you with a grateful spirit, thankful that we can see another Sabbath day. It is chilly outside but please send your Holy Spirit to warm our hearts so that we may be receptive to what you have in store for us. Be with as we fellowship and worship today in the spirit of holiness. Amen.

A Prayer (3): A Prayer for Soothing

           My Lord, most worthy and high God, you are beyond precious to me and of infinite value. I humbly come before you in prayer to lay my burden at your feet. Instead of the happy, hopeful, peaceful spirit you desire for me to have, my spirit is downcast and restless.

            I am angry with myself for what I cannot do and my inability to change as dramatically, drastically and as quickly as I want to. This easily frustrates me and I wonder, “What good am I. Of what use am I to anyone in this state?”

           Consider my words Lord, and when you speak I will listen. I cannot do anything without you so please work in my life and rearrange anything in my life that you have to in order for me to change. Change my mind. Change my heart. Change my life. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort me in this period of anxiety and soothe my restless spirit so that I can move forward and not drown in these stagnant feelings but cling to the buoy that is your loving care and kindness.

            All these things I ask of you claiming the promise that if I ask, it shall be given to me and that you hear my prayers. In your holy name I pray, amen.