HIS Way is Better

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I’m not an avid writer. I’m not even a good writer.  But, when asked to write a post as a guest blogger for the Women’s Ministry’s blog, I felt led to try.  Like all Christian’s, I have a story to tell.  The problem is, I rarely tell it.  I don’t know why, because to be honest- its uplifting, exciting and proves the goodness of our Lord and Savior.

Two and half years ago, I was notified by the company I work for there would be a significant restructure. This restructure would leave hundreds of people out of work or “displaced” as they so eloquently called it.   I had been with this global company for 8 years, working my way through an intense and grueling management development program.  I was promoted and had just finished my first year as a district manager. I had proven myself to other leaders in the organization. I felt inspired to work harder and smarter than my more senior peers and had moved my team from the bottom of the pack to the number 4 position in the country.  So, as you can imagine, the news of the layoff hit me hard and overwhelmed me with disappointment.

The company had notified me about the impending layoff months before it actually happened.  At the time, I was involved in a weekly bible study that met on Sunday nights. I vividly remember spending week after week talking to these ladies about my job situation and praying together about the outcome.  Weeks  passed. I gave birth to my second child, Eli, and was thoroughly enjoying maternity leave.  In April of 2011, I received a phone call from my director that I had lost my job.  As much as I considered myself “prepared,” it still felt like a knife in my back. I literally sobbed as I hung up the phone.  I had spent months praying about the outcome, and even though I knew God would take care of my family, I was disappointed. Slowly, worry crept back in and I started to become very anxious about my career.  (Anxious is my word. My husband would call it neurotic).   I continued to pray about it, and graciously – my sisters in Christ did too.

You hear about ways God answers prayers.  The bible is full of stories of people who trusted God and He moved in mighty ways.  Moses, Daniel, Noah, Abraham… all turned it over to God and He showed up.   That’s not to say they didn’t have periods of despair and doubt.   But, they trusted Him to provide – even in a dessert with no food, water or protection.  I certainly am not comparing my story to these mighty men.  But, I will say, even through my worry and anxiety, I trusted God would prove His way is better than my own.

The week before I would be “officially” unemployed by Novartis, a unique opportunity arose.  I was able to stay with the company and work part-time in a sales capacity.    I would have never picked part-time work for myself.  I would have never thought I would take a step back on the career ladder. In fact, I had already been offered another job by a different company.  But, God spoke. I knew the part-time job would be a blessing to my family in a capacity far greater than money.

Now, two years later, I can tell you, it has been a phenomenal blessing. I have spent countless hours playing with my kids, taking them places, reading them books and just being a happier mom.    What I can also share is now, two years later, I am back in the same situation.  My company is doing yet another layoff.  I will find out in a few days if they are eliminating my position.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still scouring the internet for job opportunities, having periods of extreme stress and worry, but I know – beyond a shadow of doubt- that God’s plan is at work. When I feel my faith fading and I begin slipping back into a world of worry, I remember the work He has already done in my life and all the blessings yet to come.

~Robin

 

Meet Our Guest Blogger:

My name is Robin Veazey. I am married to Greg and have two beautiful (although rambunctious) boys – Jake (4) and Eli (2).   We have been with FBC Cabot for about 5 years.  I was saved at an early age and raised in a Christian home.  I strive to raise my kids in the same environment.  

Sweet Surrender

So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:3-7  

I have fretted about this post all week. I assured our dear Social Media Coordinator Amanda, that I would have it to her yesterday. Last evening I messaged her and told her I was unable to complete the task after several attempts but would have it submitted Thursday without fail. I asked God, ‘what do I say? What do I have to offer these ladies?’ As I sit here tonight, almost audibly I hear Him saying “Sharalee, you have Me, tell them about Me, offer Me”. 

Sweet ladies my heart cries out for each of you to know the deep love of the Father. No matter your age, your appearance, your past, your present, your family circumstances, your pain, your guilt, your sin, He longs to know you and to be known by you. He pursues you relentlessly. 

I spent 6 plus years in the pit, in the mire of guilt. Days would go by without a shower, clean clothes or even leaving the house. My children received from me what they needed to physically function but little else. I had committed sins that I thought could not be forgiven. I was raised in church, I was saved at 14, I knew better, what was wrong with me?! Deep pain had turned to raging anger and from that anger sickening sin was born. When the dust settled I was an empty shell who believed I was not worthy to live in the real world any longer. Everything I had touched was hurt or destroyed. 

You might ask “Sharalee, why would you bring us to such a place in your life? What does this have to do with God’s pursuit of me?” Precious ones, God pursued me through the sin, through the guilt, through the darkness of deep depression. As I look back over those years I can see His protection, His provision. More than His protection and provision, He continued writing His story in my life so that one day He would be glorified!

Rest assured dear ones that in your surrender to His pursuit He will be glorified! At His prompting I said yes, I repented and surrendered my life to Him anew. Now, I am blessed to come alongside each of you as we seek to go deeper with God and out of that depth comes service to our Great God and in turn the surrender of others. 

To God be the Glory! 

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

 

Post written by Sharalee Tidwell. To learn more about Sharalee visit the “Meet the Leadership Team” tab at the top of the page.

 

Words

So I like words. Love them actually. Always have. Story goes I was reading the Campbell soup labels at the grocery store when I was only three. I haven’t stopped reading since. I read almost anything and if I don’t have anything else to read, I will revert to reading the Campbell soup label. I like to write words too. I mean, I AM blogging. And oh my, do I love to speak words. Especially words of instruction to my children. You see, I am convinced that I have so much wisdom to impart and that I just need to find the best way to say whatever it is they need to hear. Even if that means I say it 10 different ways in the same conversation. Problem is they tune out. I see it. About 30 minutes into my life changing lecture, eyes glaze over, gazes start to wander, and they make noncommittal sounds to make me think they’re still listening. My almost 20 year old daughter recently gave me some advice. We were discussing, over a simply divine Carmel macchiato at Starbucks, what I needed to do to get through to her brother, my 16 year old son, about a particular issue. (Talking to teenaged boys is so different than talking to teenaged girls.) She reached across the table, gently laid her hands on mine and said “mom, don’t use so many words.” Wow! It was honestly at that very moment like God spoke those words directly into my heart. Don’t use so many words.

“Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2, 3 NKJV)

I don’t want to be known as a fool. And I don’t want to talk over God. I don’t want to overstep my role as a parent and try to be my children’s Holy Spirit by talking so much that they can’t hear Him on their own.

Instead, I’m learning to be concise.

Dear Lord, let my words be few. And those I do speak, may they only bring you glory.

I have a lot more to say on the subject but I’m trying to not use so many words.

~Patti

 

Introductions:

My name is Patti Dills. I have been married to Jared Dills for 20 years. I have four kids Kayla, Jacob, Nathan and Isabella. We have had the privilege of being a part of the First Family for 22 years. I have homeschooled for 14 years and I am passionate about family and the discipleship of my children. When I was 16 years old God adopted this sinner into His family. His grace and mercy still overwhelm me. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

At our church in Illinois, where we were stationed previously, the pastor posed the question, “If you could write a letter and give it to your 18-year-old self, what would it say?”  The question, although not extremely profound, tumbled around in my head in the days and weeks that followed. I believe that it impacted me so greatly because the list of warnings and bits of advice I would write to my younger self was rather lengthy. When it came down to it, I found that at the core of all of my past regrets and bad decisions was an apparent lack of direction … a lack of Christ.

Despite attending church as a youth, I never owned my faith or had a relationship with my Savior. I had questions but they were not being answered and the gospel message was not being lived out in my home. I’m from a big blended family where both of my parents have been married and divorced numerous times. I was loved but I was not raised in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). I lived with my father who was very strict. We were given responsibilities at a young age; we were taught to respect our elders and dress modestly.  I didn’t hang out with “the wrong crowd.”  My curfew was 10 p.m. and any male friends I kept company with had a firing squad type introduction to my dad. I was taught to work for what I wanted, and I maintained good grades.

The testing came when I joined the Air Force at the age of 17. Of the many things I had been taught in life, nothing prepared me for that freedom! I had a moral compass but found myself without an anchor. I was “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). I was introduced to alcohol and began to pursue the party scene. By the age of 25, I was soul sick and looking for a change. So I joined the Alaska Air National Guard. The part-time service allowed me to go back to school full time. I was surrounded by friends, peers, and co-workers, yet I felt terribly lonely.

Then God. Never would I have guessed that my supervisor would have such a profound effect on me. While I learned the ropes of my new job he made big waves with his small talk. We talked about church, beliefs I had grown up with, and questions that I had about the Bible. For the first time my hard questions were getting scriptural answers. I was really receptive to what the Spirit was saying to me through my co-worker. God was removing my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh. The transformation was painful but grace was a soothing salve for my wounds.

I surrendered my life to Christ in February of 2003 and laid my life at the foot of the cross. God began to work on my heart. I began to check my motives against His word and make decisions that I thought would be pleasing to him.  So drastic were the changes in me that some of my friends and family members were left confused and confounded. That’s when I began to realize that Christ in us has such a profound effect on those around us.

While I may not actually be able to travel back in time and give a letter to my younger self, there are younger women right now who can learn from me. I can testify to the mistakes I’ve made and to the redeeming power of Christ in my life. Whether they attend church or not I can explain the importance of pursuing a love relationship with Him. When they ask the hard questions, I can point them to the scripture and teach them how to find the answers for themselves. I can set an example for younger women by the way I serve God and others and how I love my husband and children. Best of all I can share how God relentlessly pursued my heart. Regardless of who you are, where you come from, how you were raised, or the choices you have made Christ loves you and He pursues your Heart. (Luke 15:3-7, Romans 8:31-39, 2 Peter 3:9, Romans 5:8)

– Amanda Geaney