Good morning, beautiful readers!
I’m going to share a little bit of my heart with you today. To be honest, this isn’t the easiest thing to share. It’s something that’s caused me no small amount of shame, anxiety, insecurity, and troubled thoughts. But it’s been on my mind a lot lately … so I thought perhaps it was God prompting me to share.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
This post is going to be about work, money, jobs, independence, responsibility, and trusting God to provide. That sort of thing.
(picture found on pixabay.com)
I never was very career-minded. In fact, I tend to be a dreamer – I believe it’s part of my personality as an INFJ. From a young age, I loved reading and writing—all things books, really—and by ten-years-old, decided that I wanted to be a published author when I grew up. So I pursued writing. I wrote all the time. I filled up numerous journals and notebooks, and even took to typing out my stories and thoughts on the computer. I had stacks and stacks of handwritten stories and many documents saved onto the computer.
I did some babysitting here and there once I turned twelve. At around fifteen-years-old, I got a sort-of summer nanny job. Once I week I took care of a little baby (perhaps six months old?) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(found on pixabay.com)
It was around that time that my mom, my siblings, and I started cleaning our church once a week. We did that for a couple years.
At sixteen, I got my first “real” job. It was at Dairy Queen. They needed good workers, someone from my youth group recommended me, and so I was like, “Sure, why not? It’s probably a good time to start working part-time.” I hadn’t been actively searching for a job, but I was eager enough to accept the position.
Working at a fast-food restaurant turned out to be a rather intimidating experience for shy, insecure, introverted, teenage me. My voice was always too soft, even though I felt like I was shouting. All the details I was expected to learn overwhelmed me (though I actually caught on quickly enough). I felt uncomfortable wearing the required black slacks and stuffing my thick, waist-length hair up beneath a baseball cap. But, I did learn some things! And for that, I am thankful. It wasn’t horrible, but it was very stressful for me. Three mornings a week I skipped breakfast (because my stomach hurt from anxiety/stress) and hurried off to work. Around lunch time, I would start feeling tired and dragging, so I’d reluctantly drink a glass of soda (I’m kind of a health nut, so I disliked the idea of drinking a sugary drink three times a week!). Then I’d get home, probably eat a late lunch, and sit down and put my feet up because my legs and feet ached so badly. And then do some schoolwork.
I cleaned bathrooms (which caused some serious anxiety for my germ-freak self, especially at that time, ha!), spilled a strawberry sundae on my shirt when I was carrying two full trays into the dining area, fumbled through drive-through duty for the first time when the manager abruptly put the headset on me, and messed up a few times as I went through the general learning process of doing something new. I blushed and stuttered when boys flirted with me now and then. I got yelled at and grumbled at a few times, and my super-sensitive self blinked back tears and was sure my manager and the restaurant owner rather resented me.
Perhaps everyone feels this way, but my first job was really stressful for me! Not because it was actually so horrible, but because every little thing seemed magnified and overwhelming in my mind.
I only worked there about three and half months before turning in my notice so I could go live in my “home state” (place I was born) with my relatives for a month, and then just put all my focus back on school work and writing.
(found on pixabay.com)
So really … that was my only official job.
My family moved out of state the next year (2014). About a year later, July of 2015 (I think), I moved back for a couple months with my older brother. Then moved back in with my family. Then the next year, April 2016, my older brother and I drove to my “home state” and I ended up staying there for 9-ish months.
I’d planned to stay permanently, but just wasn’t really finding my place there. And I missed my family. Especially when some of my six younger siblings would write me letters saying how much they missed me, and how I was the best big sister, and how they wished I would come home. It nearly wrenched my heart out, haha! My anxiety had already worsened in the last couple years of moving around, but that year it was pretty bad and I also struggled with some depression. It definitely wasn’t all bad, though! My aunt & uncle, grandparents, and cousins loved on me, and I got to meet new people and experience neat things. But when my older brother and I flew back home in January 2017 for a late family Christmas, I ended up staying. My parents bought my brother and I plane tickets out there for my mom’s Christmas present (*smiles*), but they never bought me a return ticket like they said they would, so I’ll just blame it on that, haha. Summer of 2017 was spent, almost to the very last hour, remodeling the house my parents bought and everything having to do with that.
Anyway. Since my brief time at Dairy Queen, I’ve written up a resume, filled out many applications, gone to multiple interviews, and almost got at least three different jobs (two of them were at libraries! *smiles*). For various reasons, I didn’t end up getting them.
And now I’m here. Twenty-one. No job. No car. Unsure of where my path is winding.
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
I did buy a car while I was living in my “home state”. But it was not fit to drive the many miles home, so I have it no longer. And I’ve been blessed with many babysitting and cleaning jobs during my “unemployed” years!
Nevertheless, I feel this sense of shame and this feeling that I’m wrong. I feel both “behind” in life, and trapped because I didn’t get started at the “right time”. Sometimes it feels like I’m struggling to keep my head above the waves of doubt, fear, and a lack of confidence.
…I never gave much thought to jobs and careers. (Though I did take a couple college classes in my last year of high school.) I was too busy thinking other deep thoughts (haha). I did expect to get a job. But I’m a dreamer, and my head and heart were filled with ideas and plans and passions for writing novels, starting blogs, doing Bible studies, connecting deeply with people, touching lives, and impacting the world. Not to mention, I’d always expected to get married young. My mom had. My grandmother had. My great-grandmother had. Most of my friends and cousins got married between the ages of eighteen to twenty-one-years-old.
(found on pixabay.com)
So in all my plans and ponderings, I’d seen myself being married at eighteen or nineteen. At least by twenty-one! (Ha!) I saw myself loving and serving my husband and raising children with him to know the Lord. I saw myself running my household—cooking, cleaning, baking, homeschooling, etc.—and writing stories as an adored hobby. And sharing my book collection with other avid readers. To this day, I still often picture myself doing these things, and also keeping up this blog and opening up my home to people – making meals for friends and starting Bible studies for teens and single adults. I dream of joyfully keeping a home and ministering to people from it.
4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
Proverbs 31:10-13, 15, 17, 20-22, & 24-31
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands,
1 Corinthians 11:3
3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
That’s obviously not to be. Not right now, anyway. I’m in a different season of life right now. And I struggle to figure it out! I don’t believe my dreams were bad or wrong, and I still have hope for them! But right now, I have to find out how to live as I should as a Christian, unmarried adult woman in America.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
Should I have done things differently? Should I have stifled my dreams? Should I have tried harder to find jobs? Not moved around so much (as an adult, that is. I didn’t have much of a choice when my family moved!)?
I don’t know. People make me feel like I should have, like I did something wrong. Like I’m lazy and irresponsible and immature.
And it’s hard. It’s hard to think of people thinking badly of me. It causes all sorts of anxiety. (Yes, I struggle with insecurity, being a people-pleaser, and a lack of confidence. You probably know that if you’ve read this blog! I’m not trying to whine, just be honest. And I’m learning! God is teaching me to find my confidence in Him.)
Have I done things wrong? Yes. Am I imperfect? Without a doubt. Have I not managed my time wisely some years? Absolutely. Could I have done things differently? Probably so.
But I did what I did.
That’s what happened.
That’s how life went.
And God used all those years to teach and grow me, and do things in my life and the lives of those around me.
It’s not wasted.
Even if I made mistakes and messed things up and took forever to learn certain lessons … He was with me even then. He was working in my life.
The past is the past.
I can’t change it.
It may or may not have put me “behind” in this life as I learn more of what it means to live as an adult.
But, do I trust God? Do I trust Him to provide me with a job, and a car, and a ministry, and everything I need in His timing?
19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Do I trust that He is able, even if I haven’t been technically employed for a long while? Do I trust that He can redeem past mistakes and errors?
25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.
Do I trust that He can use, is using, me now, even while I don’t have a job?
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Do I trust Him, even when people talk negatively about me?
Even when people make me feel worthless and stupid?
Make me feel like I’m unwanted and not belonging anywhere?
They don’t know my story. That don’t know the anxiety and depression and other health issues I’ve dealt with, and how that’s hindered me. They don’t know my heart. They don’t know that I desire and I’m trying to love and serve God and people in the ways I know best! They don’t know how I strive to fill my days with some sort of purpose … cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, helping out with the children, seeking God in prayer and His Word, helping a little with teaching school, and writing these blog posts. Driving the older kids places. Editing my stories. Grocery shopping. Organizing and sorting through things. Trying to encourage people and start being a mentor-of-sorts to my younger sisters.
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!
I have’t always done well. I haven’t always strove to have a helpful and serving attitude toward my family. I haven’t always been thankful. I haven’t always tried my best and done everything as unto the Lord.
I know there are people who deal with anxiety, depression, different health issues, and all sorts of things and still have done better than me in life. They’ve had their steady job for years. They have a car. They have a house. They know where they’re going in life.
I’m not trying to justify everything about myself, and my life, and my choices. I think I tend to try to paint everything in as positive a light as possible, perhaps because I hope there will be someone out there who believes in me. I list out all these things and ramble on so, maybe because I’m trying to convince myself that I’m okay.
(found on pixabay.com)
That I haven’t ruined my life. That I’m not a failure.
But I can’t find that confidence in other people. And I certainly can’t find it in myself.
2 Corinthians 10:7
7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.
I must find it in God.
I can only find it in God.
Because, you know what? Loved by Him is my identity. And He is worthy of my trust. He is so able to work everything out for His glory and my good. He can redeem my past mistakes. He is still working on me, and He does not forsake me. Sometimes I look back and think, “Oh my, I’m making this ever a process!” But He is ever faithful! Sanctification is a process! ❤
8 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
And I am an individual person with my own, unique story. I need to stop comparing. Stop trying to measure up. Stop trying to take everything into my hands and think I have to control and take care of it all.
2 Corinthians 9:8
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
My faithful Provider is taking care of me.
Do I deserve it? Of course not. But He chose me. He wants me. He delights in me. Because I’m His daughter now. And I need to hold onto faith that He will lead me on the path that He has for me and provide for me along the way. I need to grow in faith that He will give me His strength to take the steps needed, even when I’m anxious, tired, not feeling well, or worried I’ll lose my purpose and not be impacting people for His kingdom if I work at a fast-food restaurant serving people unhealthy food, (haha, I seriously worry about this all the time. I have the INFJ personality, and I try to find purpose and meaning in EVERYTHING. It can be exhausting, yes.)
So, He can do ANYTHING! He can do things beyond my wildest dreams and hopes! He uses MY WEAKNESS to display HIS STRENGTH. He has been pursuing me and taking care of me since the beginning of my life – since before!
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
I trust Him.
My friends, I am so imperfect! But my God is so perfect. Look to Him, not me. And I hope, if you can relate to me in this, that this post was an encouragement to you and blessed your heart. God loves you, precious soul. He’s taking care of you. You can trust Him with your life. Every detail. Surrender your plans and let Him lead.
2 Corinthians 9:10-15
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Lady Grace ❤
Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.