Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Judge Each Day Not By The Harvest, But By The Seeds You Plant.

Many years ago I worked as the director of a non-profit food bank here in Panama City, Fl. My pastor at the time, Pastor Perry Dalton, put me in place for the job, trained me, encouraged me and turned me loose. It was awesome! I loved doing seminars and training sessions, on site inspections, coordinating food deliveries, raising hunger awareness in the press, and even working closely with the USDA. We doubled the number of non-profits that we worked with during the first year.

One day he walked into my office and brought a large picture. I do not recall what prompted the loan of this picture but he propped it against the wall on one side of my desk and said, "Here. This is going to help you. I'm going to leave it here for as long as you need it." I looked at it and read the script out loud:. "Judge Each Day Not By The Harvest, But By The Seeds You Plant." It was a profound moment for me.  It was like God Himself had whispered in my ear and even though I am sure the reason he brought me that picture was work related I knew that God intended for me to understand who He was calling me to be in the bigger picture.

I was a fairly new Christian and wanted so badly to see everyone get saved RIGHT. NOW. And I wanted to be the one to lead them to the Lord. Not out of personal pride or tracking numbers but because my salvation experience had been so radical and life changing that I really wanted to be a part of that kind of transformation in the lives of the people I cared about. There was a man in our church named Jack and it seemed like all he had to do was say the name of Jesus to a total stranger and they got saved. I wanted that SO BAD! So I poured Jesus into everyone I came in contact with. I was SO EXCITED about God! And then they would go to another church and get saved. Or a revival. Or a visit with another friend would become their salvation experience. I would be so excited for them but inside I would wonder what I was doing wrong. [Like God's timing for the salvation of others was mine to choose, right? Um. Wrong. lol.]

At times like this God would bring that picture back to my mind. He used that to show me HIS plan for me, as opposed to  what my own plans were. Jack is what I call a harvester. I am a seed planter. It's clear to me  that it is so important for each of us to know God's call on our life and for us to not try to walk in someone elses call. As I embraced my calling, to be a seed planter, an encourager and an instrument of God's love to others, I began to clearly see the fruit of my labors. I looked at each day and asked myself if I planted any seeds of Christ in others rather than did I lead someone through the sinner's prayer and salvation. And Man! I have to say it feels GOOD to walk in my calling and on the path God has for me. Teenagers and young adults seem to be my "kingdom" destiny and the Lord draws them to me without fail. I have the honor and privilege of spending countless hours with them, planting kingdom seeds in them, encouraging them, and loving them unconditionally as best I can.

Recently I got a phone call at about 11:00p.m. from a young man who I have spent a good bit of time with, loving him, encouraging him and doing my best to answer his questions about God. He came to me over and over and over again, but never took that step to Jesus. After 3 years of planting seed in his life, encouraging him about God, loving him and praying for him, he accepted the Lord at a young adult home group. I was so excited! And he called me right away because he wanted me to be the first to know! God was extra good to me in that! And that's not all!

An awesome young lady came to my house the night before Thanksgiving and told me she had gotten saved and baptized while away at college! Hallelujah! It was so exciting to sit with her and another young woman of Christ at my kitchen table to hear all about it and rejoice with her! I am in awe of what God is doing! Our relationship began when she was a sophomore or junior in high school and has continued through her second year at college in another part of the state. I have loved her, encouraged her and prayed for her. I know that God has orchestrated our friendship. God is so faithful!

It's all so exciting to me, to see years of seed planting come to bear fruit. I can so clearly see the path the Lord has for me and I am joyfully walking it out. And you know what? It never even crosses my mind to look for harvest opportunities anymore, I'm too busy planting those Kingdom seeds and having a blast doing it!

Blessings, ya'll,


Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventures in Employment Chapter 2 "Alyssa's Story"

I was taking pictures and helping out at the Auxiliary Camp in April when I saw my daughter come rolling through the band courtyard on her bike. Now normally I would not find that unusual but she was supposed to be at work. She parked her bike and as she walked towards me I could see that she was upset. I asked what was wrong and she told me that she had just been fired from her job.

Like me, Alyssa loves her job. She has been working at this theatre for just over a year and really could not believe that she was let go. She was in shock and terribly upset. Here is her story.

The manager called her into his office that morning after a staff meeting and let her know that he had to let her go due to her exceeding the number of write ups over a certain period of time. The write ups were over things like being short a couple of large soda cups when inventory said she should have had more or maybe her cash drawer being over or under. After a certain amt. of time they" time out" on her record and are discarded but hers came too close together. He was upset because he did not want to let her go but his hands were tied by corporate rules. She left and decided to "ride" her frustration and disappointment out on her bike for the afternoon. She had no idea that I was at Bay High so it was very much a Divine Appointment that she would roll through and find me there.

I hugged her and comforted her as best I could, then took her to lunch. We prayed together and left it in God's hands. I went back to Auxiliary Camp, she went to ride her bike some more.

Later that evening she received a call from her manager and things began to fall into place.

The manager was so troubled by having to let Alyssa go that he went back and rechecked every single write up against cash and stock balances for that day. On two of those, both by the same manager, the stock and cash drawers balanced perfectly, yet that particular manager wrote Alyssa up anyway for her drawer not balancing. He was fired not long after that so he was no longer available to ask about the discrepancies.

The past suddenly came into glaring focus for Alyssa. She began to recall the following.

*She was written up for those 2 shifts very early in her employment, and the manager had pulled her cash drawer, took it to the office, counted it and wrote her up. The very next shift a different manager pulled her cash drawer, then came running back out of the office and told Alyssa to immediately go count her drawer as she was not supposed to pull it til after the employee counted it. Alyssa mentioned that the other manager did not let her count it. The lady manager seemed surprised at this and told Alyssa to never let anyone, even a Mgr., pull her drawer without Alyssa counting it first. Alyssa was so new she didn't think anything about it, trusted the other manager that wrote her up as being honest and it never happened again.

*When this particular Mgr. was let go, he got a job at a place that a friend of Alyssa's worked at. When the friend asked the former Mgr. if he knew Alyssa he said some terribly derogatory things about Alyssa, telling the friend that he could not stand her. When this news got back to Alyssa she was surprised and confused, he had always been very nice to her face-to-face.

The Head Mgr. was relieved and glad to find those write ups to be false and asked Alyssa to come back if she still wanted the job. Of course she said yes.

What Alyssa learned from this:

She learned that God's favor is greater than all the verbal protests and pleadings she could have done for her job.

She learned that God is her champion and defender, she need only call on Him.

She learned that God is a God of justice and can see His justice all in this situation.

And most importantly, she could see that God moved on her behalf and ordained and orchestrated her steps that entire day. He sent her bike riding to the exact destination she need to be at to receive prayer and have her focus turned to Him, not her circumstances.

The Head Mgr. had no peace until he did deeper investigation. That's God! He also discovered that other write ups had expired but were not removed from her file. So Alyssa has a virtually clean slate and a tremendous testimony about her God. Go Alyssa and GO GOD!

"When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers."

Proverbs 21:15 ESV

Adventures in Employment Chapter One [Jeremiah 29:11]

It's been a crazy week.

Many of you know I have worked for the local affiliate of National Public Radio for 12 years. I am happy there. I LOVE my job. I have always felt appreciated at my job and work with a great group of people.

Two weeks ago a huge amount of funding got cut from Public Radio and in a second round of cuts at the state level, Gov. Rick Scott cut ALL funding to our station. The losses totaled about $150,000.00. That's a LOT of money and our station took some serious hits job wise and funding wise. My job was one of them.

I work very part time and our livelihood is enhanced by my income, certainly not dependent on it. The financial impact was not nearly so huge as the emotional impact. I have always felt like Gulf Coast State College was to be a part of my life for a very long time in some capacity so I began to question that maybe I had misunderstood God. I had a short term identity crisis--I had been this person doing this job for so long, what did this mean for who I was going to be now?

Over the course of many years God has repeatedly brought me back to a very simple concept, it's not about what I DO, its about who I AM. And the Lord brought this front and center in my thoughts immediately after I was told my contract was not being renewed. I was not surprised as I had been following the news. I WAS surprised at the identity crisis since I thought I already had a good handle on the "being" vs, "doing" concept. And yet here I was, once again, wrapping up such great investment in what I "did".

So I wrestled with it and with God's voice over that 2 days or so. My husband and I prayed together and individually. We prayed that God would work all this out according to His plans and purposes, not ours. And both of us knew very clearly that I was to wait. Do nothing, and see what He would do. That meant no job hunting, no putting my name and/or situation out there with an announcement, just WAIT.

In the meantime I wrote my Division Head and my Programming Manager letters of thanks for the awesome 12 years, reassurance that God would take good care of me and others affected by the loss of funding, and expressed my own compassion for them and the difficulties they have faced in trying to financially keep the station afloat while making the hard decisions to let some of us go. I had peace, REAL peace about everything. And my JOY remained intact too. I am fairly certain that people who know me had no idea I was going to be leaving the college in a few short weeks. God was so near to me and just so GOOD to me during this time. My time with my husband home could have been overshadowed by the news but instead God made our time even better than it has ever been. Crazy in the face of all that was going on but in my experience God shines the brightest when things look the craziest.

6 days later I went to work to begin the process of transitioning my responsibilities to the Programming Manager but the station got knocked off the air repeatedly that day so he was in crisis mode and unable to spend time with me getting the transition started. I was a bit disappointed, I was ready to do this and excited about whatever God was going to do next and this seemed to hinder the moving forward component of things for me.

7 days later I receive a phone call to go see my Division Head next week and sign a 1 year renewal on my contract. I was blown away! I certainly did not expect to continue employment but I did expect God to move somehow. Talk about unexpected!

So even though I will continue to "do" what I've been doing for over a decade; I will do it with a fresh understanding that producer, writer, website contributor, voice, those are things I "do" not who I "am" and I am extremely grateful to God for how He has moved in this tough situation.

Blessings, Ya'll,


Thursday, January 13, 2011

My first Zumba class today......

The college is offering free Zumba classes for employees so I got my courage up and decided to go for it.....

I was so proud of myself at my first Zumba class today,

the music started,

I felt like I caught on quickly,

managed to avoid looking at my roly-poly self in the mirror,

was getting down and boogieing....it was fun!

....after a while I was sweating and really feeling it but I was thinking, man, this isn't as bad as I thought.....

then I saw the clock....we had only been doing it for 4 minutes.


after that I thought this class is NEVER.GONNA.END..... D: !!!!!