Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A New Day . . .

I walked out the door and started my 8-block-trek up Dolores street. The sun is shining brightly and its only 8:30—definitely didn't need my sweater and jacket. I feel fresh, new, nervous and excited just like the first day of school—where you could imagine what it would be like but really had no clue what was in store. (I even bought a new pair of dress pants for the occasion!) The sites on the streets were new to me . . . the 'For Rent' signs caught my attention immediately, the unique looks of the edwardian-style apartment buildings, parents dropping off their youngsters for school or daycare, and the all-important pedestrian 'walk' lights. I tried to notice everything.

Yesterday was my first day of work! Yes—I got a job. Just a temporary position with a non-profit called "Jews for Jesus." I work 40 hours a week for 4-6 weeks. The job: data-entry operator. What is that? Well, when you give a donation to a non-profit you eventually receive a receipt—my job is to enter in your donation information so each receipt is customized with the name, address, and donation amount printed on it. Its not exactly the most exciting job in the world obviously—but it is interesting to me (granted, I've only been doing it for 2 days).

Why is it interesting? For the last two years, I have worked for a large non-profit bringing in millions of dollars. I designed their receipts, their monthly newsletters, and other information the ministry sent them . . . and now I see how they kept it all straight. I understand the effort it takes to customize all those donor letters, receipts, appeals etc. (Sorry to spoil it for those who thought some poor employee had to type each letter individually so it looked like it was personally addressed to you!)

Let me back up to the beginning of story—where I walked out the door and was suddenly in San Francisco. Chris and I know a young couple in our new small group who got married just a few weeks after we did and are just now able to go on their honeymoon. They asked us to stay in their apartment while they're gone for the week (for free)! So, Chris and I are getting to 'try-out' living in San Francisco this week. We LOVE it!! The apartment is right in the middle of "The Mission" district which is exactly where we'd like to live. (And it cuts out the hour-long commute and transportation costs we have while living in Castro Valley.)

We have been blessed this week for sure—Chris is still working at his part-time temp job, I have this new temp job, and we're actually staying in San Francisco! Last week was also really great as Chris's mom, Sheryl, and younger sister, Shannon came to visit! You'll have to check out photos at here on facebook —hiking the Elkhorn Slough and the Muir Woods and visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium were all fantastic. And getting to spend time with my new in-law family is always a pleasure!

Continue to pray we find full-time and long-term employment soon. Now that we've experienced life in the city, I'm not sure how much longer we can wait to move here!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Struggles in Servanthood

Even though our situation remains the same—we don't have full time employment, we don't have a home, we don't know what to do next—I feel like I'm on a roller-coaster. Usually, I know that we are where God has told us to be, I am at peace, and have hope that someday soon we'll have work. Then there are days like this past Sunday where I feel like I want to scream and shout and be angry at God. It took me a while to actually put into words the frustration I was experiencing—I wanted my own way. I wasn't getting what I asked for and I was throwing a temper tantrum just like a two-year-old. (I didn't actually start pounding the floor but I thought about it.)

Everyday I remember the passage that inspired me to start this blog . . . "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you." Well, we've been praying and asking like crazy believing that our requests will be granted. And everyday—nothing. I've been asking so many questions lately but never hearing any answers. I want to know why we don't have jobs yet . . . when will we have them . . . what will we be doing . . . where will we be living . . . when will we find a home . . . how long will this family let us stay here . . . is this right? Basically my question is, "God, why don't you give me what I want—when I want it?"

As I was processing this emotional battle and trying to figure out why I felt the way I did on Sunday, Chris was talking to his parents. He told me that his dad had gone through something similar many years ago where his cry to the Lord was, "Lord, don't I have rights?" To this the Lord responded, "No, I bought those on Calvary."

When Chris retold the story I felt like I was slapped in the face—of course I don't have rights. I've heard that before (thank you Jake Peterson and Prism). I should know that. But knowing that and believing it are two different things. If my life was purchased by Christ's blood and I am asked to serve Him with all that I am and all I do—I don't have rights. I am a slave to Christ. Does a slave become angry with his master and start demanding his rights? Not according to the Word.

I know that God is not my fairy godmother here to make all my dreams come true and make my life easy. But that is honestly how I treat Him sometimes. I think God knew that I would feel this way . . . that many people would feel frustrated by the turns life takes. There are so many passages in scripture that confirm it! Life won't be easy, we will have struggles, and God has his own way of doing things.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14

Thankfully, these verses calmed my anger and brought me peace once again. I can't imagine what it must be like for those that don't believe God has a plan—that He is with us. I might go through feelings of anger every now and then— or impatience, selfishness, pride, etc. But I can't live that way for long! The Spirit has a way of softening my heart giving me peace—and renewing my passion to be Christ's servant.