God’s Lesson Plan for Me

(This is somewhat of a long post for me because of all my copying and pasting of stuff I’ve read lately.)
I love it when God keeps bringing the same topic to my attention. I like to think of it as His lesson plan for me. About a week ago a precious friend e-mailed me the following devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

I stared into the frustrated eyes of my friend last week as we talked about her calling to write. She has big, big dreams, and her dreams seem to be coming true far too slowly.
I told her how much I understood. Stepping into my calling was a long time coming, too.
My specific calling is to teach, speak and write. Your calling may fall into a myriad of other categories, but every calling is equally high when it's in obedience to the Most High. We're ALL called to ministry of some sort.
My calling didn't materialize in a year. It has unfolded during the last 35 years, and each phase of that unfolding has shaped and re-determined the final product (which I know won't be final until my last breath!).
The unfolding looked kind of like this:
Becoming a passionate teacher of young children.
Marrying my best friend.
Investing years in my little boys' lives.
Teaching adults as they chased dreams that passed them by in their teens.
Volunteering in women's ministry.
Visiting home after home as the "Welcome Wagon Lady" in my new town.
Accepting invitations to speak at my church and others close by.
Joining the Proverbs 31 Ministries' speaker team.
Returning to a frustrating year of elementary school teaching.
Stepping in to my calling of equipping others in their calling.
I've look at my list many times and thought, "Wow. I wasted a lot of years." But I've come to realize it's just not true. Every relationship, every job, every opportunity has prepared me. Psalm 90:17 reminds me that God establishes the work of my hands. With each change, I've had an opportunity to view that next place as stepping into a calling. Sometimes I did. Sometimes I didn't.
Often I was irritated at the seeming meaninglessness of what I was doing, but now I see. Every diaper changed, every knee kissed, every book read, every late night listening, every dying to self, every lesson plan made, every story crafted, every presentation made, every meeting attended, every spreadsheet created, EVERY THING...
It all counted.
Every moment was an unfolding of my eventual calling. God used each stepping stone to establish the work I'm doing now.
Don't despair today when you can't see it. Obey God and trust that He is working. His timing is so rarely ours, but it is always perfect. Instead of chaffing under the seemingly mundane, embrace each task as a building block for the dreams in your heart. Don't give up hope.
I promise ... it's coming
And then just four nights later I read this in my Jesus Calling devotional book.
When I give you no special guidance, stay where you are. Concentrate on doing your everyday tasks in awareness of My Presence with you.

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking I needed to be doing something else and something more but nothing has been reveled to me yet. One of my friends is home from his first year of missions and he will be leaving at the end of the month to pursue missions full time. During my second visit with him, I told him that I felt like I was doing nothing in comparison to him. He’s been in Australia, England, India and China spreading the Word. I couldn’t help but reflect on what I have been doing this past year.

I’ve had this deep yearning for more. I have also been a little frustrated that I wasn’t being called to do something. Doors have always opened for me when I’ve had this feeling before. It has always been clear as to where I need to be. I’ve told my friends a lot lately that I just need to have a particular mission and that I want to do something that will make a difference. But just as God so perfectly does, He spoke to me. I am not one to say I’ve ever heard God’s voice but God definitely speaks to me in many forms. Just like when all of a sudden a friend forwards me her devotional for the day and it is the answer to what I’ve been searching for. And then again, a few nights later I read the only words that could comfort me “stay where you are.” I am so amazed that God cares so much about me to speak to me and tell me exactly what it is that I need to hear. No, I may not being doing what I consider to be great things but I am where God wants me to be. I have not been told to stay. Everything is all a part of His plan. Every person I come in contact with, every opportunity and every hardship is all a part of the plan.

Mini Au Gratin Potato Stacks Recipe

Mini Au Gratin Potato Stacks
(This was inspired by the Rosemary Potato Stacks pin on Pinterest. I made those first and didn’t like the Rosemary so I decided to come up with my own variation and everything is better with cheese. )
Place cupcake tins in muffin pan
Lightly spray the tins with cooking spray
Slice 4 large potatoes very thin (half inch thick)
In a large mixing bowl mix together the following ingredients:
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

Place around 4 slices of potatoes in muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Let's Get Real

One of my favorite things about my relationship with G is how well we both know our own strengths and weaknesses in our marriage now. I know what I bring to the table (the good and bad) and he does too. As we are nearing our second anniversary, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier in our relationship. I am not trying to paint you a perfect little picture because it is far from that. It is just knowing where I am weak and strong and vise versa has somewhat taken some of the pressure off. He now knows I am cranky without sleep. I know he takes four years at the grocery store. I can’t really qualify it but coming to terms with who we are in our relationship has made a remarkable difference. The best part of nearing two years of marriage is I know his annoying traits and he knows mine. And by knowing them we can laugh at each other and try to see past all those annoyances. Here are a few random conversations or situations that are pure examples of us.

We had just left a marriage ceremony for a family friend. They had a hand ceremony, where they held one another’s hands and the preacher said something along the lines of, “these are the hands you will hold when you are happy, sad, weak and strong”. We got to the car and I held G’s hands and said, “and these are the hands you will want to choke one another with”. He laughed and said he thought the same thing.

The other night I somehow managed G to watch part of Sex and the City 2 the movie. There’s a part where Big and Carrie decide that they are going to be away from each other for two nights a week. I told G that didn’t sound like a bad idea. He in return tells me I preferred our original setup when we were dating in college long distance with 2 nights together and 5 nights apart. I told him that sounded even better.

We had just sat down to dinner after a long day and our door bell rings. I tell G to ignore it. Our cars where in the garage and none of our front lights were on. He told me that maybe one of the neighbors needed something. (Like people still borrow a cup of sugar from their neighbors!) He goes to the door and it is solicitors. He listens to their spill for over 15 minutes. I get impatient. Imagine that! I go to the door and tell the solicitors that we just sat down to dinner and that they need to come back at a later date. G stands there dumbfounded that I just did that. I closed the door and he tells me that they are just trying to earn a living like we are. Oh my!

So you see folks, life isn’t as grand as we make it all out to be or as G says as everyone makes their life out to be on facebook. My husband annoys me more than any other person on this earth and vise versa. But he is my husband. The one that is there holding my hand when things get rough, even when I’ve wanted to choke him with those same hands earlier that same day. So laugh at yourself and stop focusing on where the other one falls short but take notice of where they go long.