The last few weeks have been full of ups and downs. Trevor finished school with lots of prospects and interviews... and over the weeks they slowly dwindled. People were hard to get ahold of and non-comittal about time frames... One company had him come all the way to Austin for an interview, then decided they couldn't afford to hire anyone. I know the job market is fierce and crazy, but it had not really affected us until now. We had comitted to not renew our apartment lease in February, hoping we could get something more like a house or townhouse, even if Trevor got a job in Fort Worth, and not wanting to lose a deposit if he got a job out of town. So since Feb 28th, all of our things have been in storage and we've been living out of our suitcases visiting family and floating around. Trevor got a temp job as a Graphic Designer here in Fort Worth, but was waiting to hear about a full time position in Houston. Just as we were ready to look for a place in Fort Worth, and after 4 interviews (!!), they offered him the job. WHOO-HOO!!
I honestly never thought I would live in Houston. It's almost like New York to me-a massive, sprawling concrete jungle! Very intimidating. But I love that some of our dearest friends are there and we have lots of good churches to choose from. And how can I not be grateful for this blessing? My hope was that Trevor would get to earn a living doing what he is good at and passionate about and now he will! The company is really great and exciting and family oriented- the Creative Director invited me to come along when they offered Trevor the job and showed us both all around the office. I know God's hand was in this opportunity- I happened to email a childhood friend who happened to suggest Trevor email one of the managers of the company (a good friend of hers) who explained that one position had just opened up. They never even posted the position online (so we never would have known about it if not for my friend) and my friend wrote Trevor a great recommendation. But the most flattering thing they said was that they hired him because of his portfolio. I'm sure some more experienced people applied for the job, but he was reassured that he is really talented. I am so, so thankful for this blessing and look forward to the new "adventure." :)
Thank you for the prayers- I have no doubt each one helped us! We'll probably be moving the first week of April, if we can find a good rental by then. I've been scouring the net, but have not found anything yet. We've had so much help and assistance offered from our Christian friends and family. I'm reminded often now that though our home may change with the jobs, I am always comfortable and at home with my husband and my brethren who remind me of our eternal home.
I've been thinking a lot (still) about my gramma. I keep thinking about all the things about her that were truly great, unique characteristics. They were subtle little things that made her so warm and magnetic. I've found that I'm still drawn to and appreciate the people who share these qualities:
- A true listener. She was "quick to listen and slow to speak." When you talked with her, you knew she was listening to understand, not just waiting for you to finish so she could respond (like one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. :))
- A generous hostess. She wanted to everyone to feel welcome and cozy in her home. She would often take requests for meals or make special desserts just for her guests. She did not want anyone to feel like an inconvenience, always going above and beyond, offering more and more to make others comfortable.
- A gracious guest. If you gave her a mile, she would only take an inch. She would not allow anyone to go out of their way for her when she was the visitor. Everytime she came to our house, she brought the smallest amount of luggage, would wait until late at night to shower after everyone else was done, was up before everyone tidying up or making breakfast. It's easy to offer "a mile" to these types of people!
- A diligent worker. From sun up to sun down, she was constantly on the move. She took her roles as a wife, mother, gramma, home-keeper, cook, and Christian sister very seriously.
- A benefit-of-the-doubt-giver. I remember calling her and telling her I was tired or that I didn't feel very productive, and she would make excuses for me before I could. "Oh yes, you have so much going on. You need some R&R." It really had an opposite affect on me, because I didn't feel the need to defend myself and then thought, "No, I really don't have any reason not to do what I need to do!"
- A does-not-ask-for-anything-in-return kind of friend. Disclaimer: There was a short period of time during my teenage years that she told me on more than 1 occasion that she wished I would make more time for her and grandpa... BUT, generally, she didn't ASK for anything. I think some people have been so disappointed by others that they feel the need to push, guilt and ask for everything. But when people do this, it really takes the joy out both sides of the situation. The person who "gives" does not get joy of out of giving to this person because they were not given a chance to give without being asked. And the person who "gets" does not feel like anyone gave because they wanted to, but because they felt guilty about not giving. It may be a risk not to ask, but because my gramma took this approach, it was so easy to want to give her love, attention and affection. I looked forward to spending time with her, and never felt like I "had to be there" or was counting the minutes until I could leave. I loved that about her. She wanted others to have the freedom to choose and give love willingly, not out of obligation, and it was more precious to everyone because of that attitude. Second Disclaimer: There were times that I wish she would have asked for the things I did not realize she needed. We all need to be willing to admit we can't do everything on our own... But while we can all help serve each other, true friendship is really earned by selflessness. And she had that. :)
*I thought of a couple more:
- A doesn't-worry-about-getting-credit lady. She would wave off any attempts to dote on her, which made us want to pour praises on her! It is so refreshing to find these people who really are not concerned with getting credit. This is a tough one!
- An over-user-of-'thank you's-and-'I'm sorry's. Where these phrases may be difficult for others to formulate, she was very familiar with saying both and offering them freely. There's no harm in offering either one more than expected!
These are just a few things I have been admiring about her and ways I hope I can imitate her more and more as I get older. Though she's no longer here on Earth, I hope I won't forget the memories of her sweet and tender heart.
This was read during church services yesterday:
"Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord AS LONG AS I LIVE;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being."
I had some notes in the margin of my bible that said:
"Praise to God heals us and gives us perspective."
"Praising God helps us know God and ourselves, and helps us realize our own need to trust in Him."
"Praise helps us know that God can change our lives."
I have been so consumed with thinking about Trevor finding a job and asking God to help us, I have not done enough of this... I'm going to make a note to really praise God for all He is and all He has already done. :)
Okay, so after my post last week and the encouraging comments made, I got up the nerve to email an old friend (since middle school) and started a spiritual discussion. I told her though I had always been open about my life choices, I wanted to have an open discussion with her about why. I confessed I had not been open enough with her about what I've studied, how I've tried to mold life around my relationship with God, and how important it is to me that she know some of the things I've learned. I asked her to answer a few questions including:
What formed her spiritual beliefs, What defines her moral standard, What does she think about the bible, If she has any questions about the choices I've made over the years... etc.
She wrote me back and said that she started writing the answers, but wanted to give it some more time and thought and that she would be open to this discussion. I was relieved! I'm still waiting on her final response, but I am telling you all (or you few :)) so that I have accountability about following up with this and being bold, loving and true!
Pray for me, please, and for my friend. :)
I saw a Facebook status the other day that said something to the effect of, "An atheist gave the argument that most Christians don't even really believe what they claim to, because if they really did, they would be telling everyone."
That statement has been rolling around in my brain since I read it. Then on Sunday, I heard a sermon about three ways to have enthsiasm for the Gospel:
1. Understand and appreciate what it is.
The point was made that Paul describes the Gospel in Romans 1 as "the gospel of God" (the origin) and "of Jesus" (the content.) Then, in chapter 2, he calls it "my gospel" because he believed it, preached it and practiced it.
One of my New Years Resolutions is always to spend more time reading, understanding and thinking on God's word.
2. Tell somebody about it.
Paul said he was not ashamed of the Gospel because he believed in God's power to bring salvation to everyone. Rom. 2:16
When threatened by the Jewish council for their boldness, Peter and John said, "...for we CANNOT BUT speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20
Jesus used His last moments on earth to tell His followers to "go and teach," when He could have left them with any other thoughts.
3. Respond to it.
The point here was to admit our short-comings and to resolve to be better.
So, I admit, active evangelism is one of my short-comings. I tend to take a "passive" approach: to only live as an example, mention biblical scriptures or topics, and wait for others to approach me with questions. But the truth is, living as an example is only part of our responsibility to reach the world. I have every incentive to tell the Good News, and yet I avoid initiating a spiritual discussion. I know this is what God called us, ME, to do, and I have the examples of so many zealous workers in the New Testament and in my life. I work from home, so I'm not confronted by worldly people everyday, but I have a few old friends of different faiths who I have never asked to study. One in particular, I did study with, and it did not end well. She became closed-hearted and considered what I said to be "my opinion", though she did not have much to say about the scriptures we discussed. She was hurt and upset that, as she saw it, I did not see her denomination as "acceptable to God," but we maintained our friendship. That experience definitely weakened my confidence. But if God is for us, who can be against us, right?
I need to find the words and courage to approach some of these people I love so much, and to look for opportunities in new places to present the Word of God, as He intended.
Has anyone had any positive experiences or any suggestions for approaching this sensitive topic you would like to share?