Abundant Living

In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Starting Out

One way to help get each Holy Habit entrenched in my life:

1. Sharing
My time at work - Spend more time watching our SSD & AC at work.  Looking for ways I can help them grow professionally

2. Simplicity
Watch less TV - Currently, I am ashamed to admit this but, I spend about 3-4 hours of every day watching TV.  I will reduce that to 2 hours.

3. Increased physical activity
5 days a week do something physical for at least 30 minutes.  Even if it's just riding the exercise bike while watching TV.

4. Healthy Eating
Use online food diary at least 6 days a week to keep track of what I'm eating.

5. Bible Pondering
At least 3 times each week engage in personal study in 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

6. Gratefulness
Speak out about 1 thing -Each day find at least one thing at work that I'm grateful for and speak that out to someone. Each day find 1 thing I'm grateful for about John and tell him.

The big 6

I typically think of habits in terms of bad ones.

Maybe that's because I've got more than my share of bad habits.

Habits can be good though.  It's the good ones that I want to get more of entrenched into my life. I've heard the phrase holy habits used before.  I'm attracted to that phrase.  I've always been a sucker for aliteration. This year I'm feeling impressed to develop what I'll call holy habits in each of the following areas of my life:
  1. Sharing
  2. Simplicity
  3. Increased physical activity
  4. Healthy eating
  5. Bible Pondering
  6. Gratefulness

Sharing my life

Graphic from I was just thinking
I've long been snagged when I read the words from 1 Thessalonians 2:8 when Paul talks about not only sharing the gospel, but sharing His life.

Do I ever do that?  How do I do that?

From the time I first learned how to get up in front of a group to share my testimony , I've struggled with sharing personal things.  I was 16 years old at that time and remember working with an adult and a friend on how to present in front of groups about what God had done in our lives.  When I gave the two of them my first attempt, my friend candidly let me know that it was boring, that it could be anyone's testimony.  I'd neglected to share who I was.

I think this is still confusing.  It doesn't come naturally for me.

Part of why is because I'm a classic introvert.  I have a friend where I used to live who is a classic extrovert.  She's always sharing on Facebook, twitter, and in person what's going on with her.  She's down to earth and fun and interested in you.  People are drawn to her. I'm not like that. 

I care deeply about people but struggle with appropriate ways to show that.  Sometimes I write notes from my heart to people who I'm in ministry with and that seems to bless them.  When I facilitate small Bible study groups I do share some of my personal life.  In those settings I think I'm seeing more of what Paul was writing about in this passage.  In these small groups we're invested in each other, we talk about the Word and our lives. 

Today as I was reading in I Thessalonians 2:5-8 I was challenged with the thought to do this more in my job.

I was the assistant administrator for 3 years for a man who was not a Christian.  That man was one of the greatest leaders I've ever known.  Of course he didn't share the gospel with me but he did model sharing himself.  He invested in me as no one ever has before or since.

I think the Holy Spirit is pricking my heart to do that at my current job.  I've been there four months now.
Father, please show me who you want me to work with and how.  The social service and admissions directors come to my mind right away, so teach me how to invest in them and empower them to become better.  But perhaps you can use me to help this director of nursing services to become better.  It would certainly have to be You through me because she's not at all open to my speaking truth into her life.  Maybe you even want me to impact that AR girl who's so smart and oh so difficult.  Oh Father, just use me.  Make me smarter than I am 'cuz I'll need to be.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The new year comes with challenges

Graphic from Snips & Spice
 Do you ever feel like your life is too much?   Like you're not up for it?

 Sometimes I do.

I'm in a season of my life right now where I'm dealing with some big challenges.

I keep reminding myself that God has me right where He knew, before all of time, that I would be.  I keep choosing to believe the truth that if He has allowed me to be in these situations, then He will equip me to be effective.  He'll use me to change situations, circumstances, and people - or He will change me.

Given this, a quote from Mary Anne Radmacher that I read a couple of weeks ago keeps reverberating in the back of my mind: "Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, I will try again tomorrow."

It is with this mindset that I came to my time with God this morning.  I'm currently working my way through the book of 1 Thessalonians.  As I read the 2nd verse in the second chapter it stood out to me this morning:

We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition (NIV).

Off the top of my head I couldn't remember what exactly had occurred to Paul when he was in Phillipi.  I had to re-read the account in Acts 16:16-40.   Then I had one of those oh yeah, now I remember moments.  This is the account when Paul and Silas were out preaching and a demon possessed slave woman kept following them around yelling. Paul found it difficult to preach with all that noise so he cast out the demons. Her owners were upset because her demons allowed her to tell fortunes and made them money.  So her owners stirred up opposition to Paul and Silas.  Paul and Silas ended up being stripped, beaten with rods, then put in the inner most cell of the prison with their feet in shackles.  This is the same account where later they were singing and praising God, an earthquake occurred, their chains were broken, and the cell doors opened.  They stayed and got all the other prisoners to stay as well.  The guard ended up taking them home and tending to their wounds.  The guard and his household came to faith through the whole experience.

What hit me this morning was that being beaten with rods and imprisoned in shackles must had been a wretched experience.  The kind of experience that can make one not want to risk that again.  Paul came into Thessalonica and was again opposed, but he went ahead preaching any way.  From these verses I  think that Paul experienced trepidation.  He wasn't some kind of super hero who didn't care if he was beaten or imprisoned; that fact caused normal human fear about going out there and preaching again. But he went out there any way.  He wanted to follow God's leading, and he looked to God for help. God empowered Him to rise above any fear and go ahead.

God can do that for me too. But how?

Romans 8:20-30 talks about the fact that we live in a world where sin has it's effect.  All of creation looks forward to a better future.  ( I think this better future referenced here is both the Millennium as well as the new heaven and new earth.) In the context of this discussion about how we are suffering now I come to the 27th & 28th verses:

 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

There's so much in these verses:
  • The Holy Spirit is searching our hearts
  • The Holy Spirit is interceding for us that we'd experience God's will
  • God will work in all situations to bring good to us 
 I'm not sure that I really understand about God searching my heart.  He already knows it. I appreciate Beth Moore's words regarding this: "God's testing of our hearts is to our benefit even when we dread what He'll find.  Our freedom comes with the head-on collision between the truth of Christ and God's truth about us. There beauty meets ugly, and authenticity is born."

I know I'm grateful that I've got the Holy Spirit interceding for me that I'll experience God's will. That God will work in all situations to my good.  I want to have an authentic faith that makes a difference.

One of my challenging situations is things going on in the life of my middle son.  I know that I'm praying and praying for this son.   I want to be sure to give this son unconditional love while not approving of all his choices.  I want to be wise in my interactions.  I'm constantly asking God if I should speak the truth boldly, or just quietly wait on Him to work. I'm glad to know that the Holy Spirit is interceding for me and my son.

The other source of challenging situations is problems at work.  There are problems with some of the leaders in the building. Systems are not in place and being followed. The nurses are either not properly trained or are not following their training,  and they have difficulty with logical independent decision making. The director of nursing has many incredibly good characteristics, and many terrible characteristics; she fights me as I'm trying to make positive changes.  Sometimes I struggle with feelings of not being good enough - I'm in charge of this building and have been here for four months and it's still a mess. Then I remember that I believe God gave me this job, so He must know that I can do it.  May He empower me as He did the apostle Paul.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

God's work?

As I was spending time with God this morning this portion of the scripture passage I was reading stood out to me:

30 Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God's work. 31 Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away. 32 In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. 1 Corinthians 7:30-32A (NLT)

I found myself moved to ask forgiveness for my attachment to the things of this world and for the Holy Spirit to convict me when I am getting too attached.  Then I found myself asking What's God's work for me in my life right now?

 I want to spend some time thinking on this today.  Some stuff I know are God's work for me:

* To continue to impact the lives of my sons (ages 20, 21, & 26). None of them live at home right now.  So I call & email them regularly.  I feel good about that part.  But I'm impressed to spend more time praying for them.  Oh Father, show me how to pray more for my sons.

* To be a helpful and encouraging wife to John. I'm convicted to be more positive and not let work and life stress impact me in such a way that I complain to him.  I have to be so positive at my job that sometimes I kind of take stuff out on him. Oh Father, empower me to have a steadfast heart for John.  Help me look for and see the ways I can be a help and encouragement to him.  Please put a guard on my lips Holy Spirit to keep me from being a negative, complainer toward him.  Help me come up with positive ways to approach problems in daily life.  Help me know when it's best to just let things go.

*To be a light for Christ at my job. Oh Father I thank You for my job.  I thank You for your favor on me and the ways I've been able to get things done. Help me be smarter than I am and learn all I need to learn.  Please help me pursue and achieve excellence and find even more ways to give the glory back to you. Oh Father, make me aware of the hearts of those around me.  Give me insight into ways each day I can encourage the people around me.  Show me practical ways I can extend your love at my work.  I need your great wisdom and I thank you for it. Christmas is coming and I feel impressed to write a special note on a Christmas card for each of my direct reports.  Oh Father give me the thoughts and words so that it may be meaningful to them and accomplish what You desire. 

*Women's Ministry at church. Do you still want me there Lord?  Please make it clear to me if You want me to do something different.  For now I  know I'm supposed to continue facilitating this specific Bible Study on Thursdays until we're finished.  Oh Father, may this study be Yours.  Please accomplish what You want thought it and help me not get in the way.  May I follow Your leading.  The results are Yours Lord.  

* The people at my last job. I don't feel finished there Lord.  I still feel connected to, and love them.  Show me how to stay in touch in Your way.  Thank you that Kimberly reaches out to me still.  Show me things I can do with her or how to minister to her.  She doesn't even believe You're real.  There are so many Believers in her life, wonderful people, she's attracted to You in them but just doesn't know it.  Oh Father use me there.  And Jonathan.  You had me invest in him professionally and he says he's yours but he seems so immature in Your ways Lord - is there anything you want from me there?  

*Is there something else I'm supposed to be involved with or doing that I am missing?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two weeks and a day

Photo from http://www.ugluu.mn
It's become a habit.  Every morning about 10 minutes before our stand up meeting starts I walk into the admissions coordinators office and ask, "So,...what's our census?  Medicare?"  Then we talk a bit and I go on to the meeting. She follows after she finishes what I interrupted.

Today when we're talking she asks how long I've been here.  I tell her two weeks and a day.  She responds "You've done more in two weeks than the other administrators did in the whole time they were here!" My heart overflows.  These are words I love to hear!  Out loud I say something about sometimes you don't see what administrators are doing; hoping that I come across humble.  Inside my head I'm rejoicing.

Lest I get too impressed with myself I remember that they've had 6 administrators before me during the past two years.  So none of them were there long.  None the less.......I'll take the good when it comes my way.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Only God

I've not posted in a long time because I've been writing, writing, and writing some more for school.

But I just had to share about how God blessed me!

I've shared here about all the tribulations I've been through with my jobs.  Since 2009 when the economy tanked, I've been underemployed and making around 60% of what I used to make.  I've tried to seize opportunities where I've been working to make a difference. I've sought to be a person of gratitude.  Sometimes, by God's grace, I've been successful in these two endeavors.

Recently this is what God did:

  • I was not seeking a job or applying for work or even talking about getting another job.
  • The Clinical Director of a small management company with whom I used to work contacted me.
  • We scheduled an interview on a  Friday that she had to cancel.  We rescheduled for the next Tuesday and I was going to leave work, drive out to Victorville (close to a 50 mile trip), and then go back to work and make up the time.
  • I prepared.  I researched the facility, got together an outfit, got a sharp looking notebook to bring in to the interview, read up on tips for effective interviewing.
  • Monday DPH showed up at a building where I am training the new administrator for their annual re-certification survey so I called the clinical director on Monday and explained and asked to re-schedule.  She said yes we'd do it the next week.
  • Tuesday I arrived at work at a home in Riverside at 6:30AM which meant I left home at 5:30AM.  I'd arrived home from work the prior day at 9:30PM.  I left the house with wet hair.  It was a hot day, my jacket was wrinkled, I had on sandals and looked rather dreadful.
  • The clinical director called me and said herself and the company owner would drive to where I was at and could I just meet with them for 10 minutes.  I felt I had to say yes so I gave her the address of a Starbucks nearby.
  • They arrived around 4PM, after DPH had left for the day.
  • I talked with them for around an hour.  Instead of it being a typical interview they told me all about the job and the kind of person they wanted and what they expected of that person.  I asked a ton of questions -but not the interview type - just sincere questions in response to what I heard. My deficits from not having ran a geriatric building were out in the open.  I think that I presented myself as exactly who I am-none of the make-yourself-look-good stuff that the literature suggests  you do in interviews.
  • The owner asked if I had any more questions and I said no.  No one seemed to be ending the interview so I thanked them for their time and I had to go back to work.  I told the clinical director I'd call her.
  • 5 minutes after I got back to work the clinical director called me. She asked me how much I wanted for salary and when I could start.  I always hate that question about how much I want so I named a number.  She said no don't ask for that and said a number $10K higher.  She talked with the owner and came back with a salary $5K higher than I'd originally named.  The owner had also included a bonus of $1K per quarter for any quarter in which there are 50 or more medicaid patients (they are currently running in the low 30s) every day of the month.  
I did not make this happen in any way.  Only God could have made this happen.  By the way there are only 3 nursing homes in the high desert area and this one is a 5-star facility.  I am grateful.
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