Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Voice of God

This past weekend George and I got the itch to get a new car. Not so much a car, but an SUV - anything with more space. Now for those of you reading this and shaking your head saying ' I tried to tell you that when you bought a Jetta!', all I say to you is that you make your decisions based on 1 - prayer and 2 - the information you have at the time. At the time we purchased our small Jetta, we needed a commuter car for George and gas prices were at $4 a gallon. The Jetta was the ONLY vehicle we had a peace about and that is why we got it. So put that wagging finger back in your pocket.

ANYWAY... we decided to look at the Chevy Traverse since we really like it, it's roomy and it is American made. When we got to the dealership, it was closed. We looked at the prices and doubted we could have afforded it anyway. Perhaps we can, but it wasn't in the cards for us on Saturday. Bummed, we left to go finish our Christmas shopping. We had a wonderful day laughing and strolling through the mall together. We didn't even complain about having to change Andrew's very poopy diaper (and pants) in the car twice. My child actually had to ride home in a shirt and his diaper. Redneck?!?!

On the way home George starting talking about the Traverse and how we got 'shut down'. He laughed that God shut the door to that deal really quick. Wagging his finger in the air he said (with a very thick Spanish accent) 'No, No Jorge! Not today Jorge!!". I of course I laughed and asked him if that is how God sounds, to which he responded 'To me he does!' We both laughed as we quickly unloaded the car of child and gifts. His comment, however stayed on my mind.

I thought about what George had said and thought about what God's voice sounds like to me. Perhaps I should say what the Holy Spirits 'voice' sounds like to me. When I am 'chatting' with the Lord about light hearted things and I need a friend, I get a very witty response from him which includes words like 'dude', 'little fella', 'girl' and phrases such as 'Oh my', 'Now you know good and well...', and 'Puh-lease'. You see, when I chat with the Lord - sometimes I laugh. He makes me laugh because he has a sense of humor - he has to, why else would he have given me a sense of humor?

There are times, however, when I do not feel like laughing. Times when I am sad and I guidance and not a friend. These are the times when the Lord's voice is very soothing. Very calm and to the point. He very quickly, in a very loving tone reminds me who he is. He feels me with a sense of security because of what he says and how he says it. I truly find rest in the voice of the Lord.

So, does he speak to everyone the way he speaks to me? Maybe, but I don't think so. I am sure he says the same things, but the way he says them is probably different. As I thought about this, I realized that the voice of the Lord is very similar to the voice of the women in my family, mainly mama - but also all the other women including Grandma. You see, they are the one's who I have always laughed and cried with. They are the ones who get late night phone calls of panic and distress and talk me off the ledge. They are the earthly people who I have always ran to 'to make it all better'. It only makes sense that the voices that love the me the most would be the voice that accompanies God's words to me. Does that make any sense at all?

I know plenty of God fearing people who I am sure talk to the Lord daily. I feel certain God does not say to them 'Whatever giruhl, you are too crazy!!'. I just find it hard to believe - I could be wrong. I find it hard to believe that when the Lord speaks to my non-English speaking Mother-in-Law that he says 'Dude, those quesadilla's look awesome!'. I think he probably speaks very revrent with a soft tone and in Spanish. He speaks all the languages - not just Southern.

Now, please do not think that I am trying to paint God as a sufer dude. I am just saying that when he speaks to me he is funny at times. He is my very best friend which means - I think- he takes on the personality of someone I would actually be friends with on Earth. I think he does that for all of us. When I call my closest friends we can tell with in the first 30 seconds if it is going to a funny call or an 'I need advice' call. God takes way less than 30 seconds!

So, I don't doubt that God sometimes calls George 'Jorge' and speaks in a thick accent. Why not - George does that and so does his family when they are being funny. I am sure when God is teaching and comforting George he drops the accent and speaks in a loving, reassuring tone - whatever that is to George. God is ever amazing to me - continually shows me how Great he is. One day 'Dude' will drop from my vocabulary and I am sure it will then drop from the Lords and will be replaced with something else. How does the Lord speak to you? Do you even know?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. Psalm 28:7
I am not entirely sure how to start this entry off since there are so many things on my mind that I want to get written down. You see, I have been a 'Christian' since my conception and have been saved for many years now, yet I still have that moment of panic that hits just before I see God move in my life (and the life of others). When God get ready to show you just who is in control of the show, he leaves no stone unturned!
A couple of weeks ago I noticed that my paycheck had me listed as single rather than married, so I called HR and got that switched. That little change resulted in almost $270 additional each month. I was very grateful for that as was George. Finally things were starting to look a little better - we had a few credit cards paid off, baby expenses were leveling off, the house in Orlando was in good shape and now we had a little bit of extra income. I felt great - I was already decorating the front rooms of the house in my mind.
I sat at my desk as my coworker shared that he and his family were in some pretty tough financial times. He is the only one that works plus they have 4 children. Now, he is an associate pastor at his church so he was already trusting in the Lord, but you could see that he was in distress. I told him 'John, you continue to give God what is his and he will meet your every need.' I meant that and he knew it to be the truth also. We talked on and then I got an email from Ty. Funny, in the middle of my conversation with John (while I was over joyed with my current financial situation) God chooses to 'work'.
Now, as you know Ty rents my house in Orlando which helps us out a great deal. He pays 3/4 of the mortgage plus I know the house is being taken care of in my absence. Well, Ty has taken a good job opportunity back in Tallahassee and he will be moving out in 2 weeks. I was not taken by surprise with this email since mama had already given me a heads up. However, there is a big difference in preparing for reality and living reality. While I was very happy for Ty, we now have 2 mortgages.
I realized immediately that God was using this as an opportunity to grow George and I in our faith. I knew that things would probably be tough for a few months, but we needed to trust that the Lord would take care of us. I was ready for the task. I called George and we discussed and he went from panic to calm to panic to calm. I have been through a few more (and much longer) financial droughts than George has so I knew I had to live my faith in front of him as to keep him more in the 'calm' than in the 'panic'.
So here is where we are... we have to rent out the house. This means going through a management company. We will have to pay the management company for their services, we won't be able to rent the house for the amount of the mortgage which means if something happens - we have no back up money. My payment goes up in March because I lost homestead when I moved the Texas. Until it rents we have 2 payments, water and utilities. It's Christmas too... while we don't HAVE to buy for each other, we do have others we must buy for (6 year olds don't understand financial woes!). We have vacation coming up at the end of the month also. To top things off, we are on the last box of diapers that were given to us via the diaper derby at George's office. This means that for the first time since Andrew was born, we have to buy diapers. You know, they ain't cheap!!! So now, that 'raise' I got has been snatched away and then some.
Regardless of the circumstances at hand, I know God is in control. I know this because he has worked such miracles in my life in the past. It is good to look back sometimes because it gives you strength to move forward. George and I sat at the table and discussed what we were going to do and I told him 'It is easy to trust God when you can handle it without him, it is a totally different thing when you realize you can't handle it without him.' I watched George put our tithe check in the offering plate on Sunday and I knew what an act of faith that was. I am excited to see how God moves in our lives over the next few months, but I don't want to wait until he does to praise him for it. This time I am praising him in advance for the blessings that will come.
I know that God may choose not allow my house to rent for 6 months or ever. I also know that if he doesn't then he will provide what we need to make the payments. If a prolonged period of financial struggling is what is needed to grow our faith then I am prepared for that. Don't misunderstand me... I DO NOT want a prolonged period of financial struggling, but if that is part of the plan, then I am willing. Having to fully lean on the Lord and watching him bring us through can only make us better parents, better spouses and better servants. That's the whole point, right?