Friday, August 27, 2010
God works all things out for the good, time and time again.
I've began a side venture, focusing more on my writing. It's tugging at me again, that need to create, to say something. So I've decided to give the next year to putting 100% into making a living at writing. I'm learning to do freelance magazine writing, and continue to work on my novels. And I'm chronicling my journey along the way.
On the sidebar is a picture of my laptop and a link to my new site, Jackie Castle's Story. You'll see a lighter side of me as I talk about this new crazy venture I find myself on.
In the meantime, I told you last week that I was going to be able to substitute. Well, I'm official now, with a badge and a long-term job. So the next couple of months will be interesting. I'm praising God that he's made a way that I can pay my bills while I work toward my writing goal.
I hope you'll stop by my writing site and see what I'm up to.
I'm still here, though, sitting under my quiet tree, listening to Holy Whispers teach. I can't do anything without Him and His guidance. It all starts at the foot of the tree.
Wanted to share this video while you're here. I love this song. And I'm glad that no matter what's going on, I have a closest friend until the bitter end. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality.
It's also the way to shut down debilitating, self-criticism, even when there is something to it.
And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God!
Friday, August 20, 2010
Tuesday morning, I was writing in my journal, talking about figuring out bills and thinking about writing the magazine ideas I had. My planned subbing job that I'd been counting on to supplement my income had fell through. I was jobless and after this last check wasn't sure how I'd get my bills paid. Even if I did begin publishing, it would take awhile to receive the money.
Yet, I've determined I will trust God in all this. That He does have good plans to prosper and not bring harm. I believe it, but when I'm sitting in front of my checkbook... well, you know.
I'd actually written these words:
"More than anything, I want to be in your will and I'm just uncertain right now. And I'm scared. And I hate that I'm not helping to support my family right now when Bob is working so hard."
Perhaps it was the sheer honesty of my words that changed things, I don't know.
But as I went about my day, I began to feel compelled to go up to the sub office and ask to be put on the list.
Let's get something straight, Jackie doesn't like like going anywhere and asking for anything. I get nervous and tongue tied and ... well, it's just embarrassing. But the thought wouldn't' go away.
About noon, I began to have his conversation with myself. Or maybe it was with God. Either way, this is what I heard:
"You belly-ache over not having a job. But when given a possible solution, you whine that you don't want to do that. For Pete's sake!"
Yes, I often say for Pete's sake to myself. I don't know why.
That did it. I decided, fine, I was going. I would just get my purse, drive up to the office and walk right in. I would just do it. I had nothing (seriously) to lose.
The whole time, that inner voice was saying, "Good, just go. Great, see ya. YOU HAVEN'T LEFT YET!!?"
So I went up there, told the man my story about how I'd been an aide last year and quit so I could sub and now I couldn't sub because there was so many people..."
When he heard I was a former employee, he took me into his office, looked up my application and said he would fit me in.
I'm going to get to sub after all. All the worry-ful weight I'd been carrying slid off my back and dissipated like mist. Honest. I felt lighter. I would have a means of supporting myself while I wrote. My bills could still be paid. Praise God.
That's all I could do on the way home. Praise Him.
Praise Him and get to writing, which I've done. With a renewed sense of vigor and enthusiasm.
And that, my friends, is how truly Awesome the God I serve is.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
It does not fear when heat comes;
A repost from the archives because some things bear repeating.
Monday, August 16, 2010
And I wondered as she sat there, arms cross defensively across chest, brows puckered in consternation and lip protruding in petulance how often God sits across from us thinking the same thing.
There have been times when I felt like I was banging my head against a stone wall with God. Nothing I prayed for happened. Doors kept slamming in my face. And I’d sit with angry tears wondering why things couldn’t just go my way for once.
Maybe, it’s simply because I’m not being very Yes-able, either.
What does being Yes-able mean?
First off, being Yes-able means my face is toward God and I’m really listening.
Often I’ve watched my kids while I’m lecturing them about something and their glazed-over eyes are focused on the floor, their shoe or on a dangling string hanging from their shirt hem. And I’m left wondering if they’re even listening.
When we look at our circumstances instead of God, we do the same thing. I want to be like Samuel when the Lord first revealed himself to the boy and Eli realized who was calling Samuel’s name.
So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening ‘.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening. 1Samuel 3:9-10
When He speaks, I need to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Second, being Yes-able means you’re also Work-able.
Be willing to accept correction and willing to change what needs to be changed. Nobody likes discipline.
Hebrews 12: 5 says, "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Hard times condition us, and draw us closer to God. Don’t let them shake your faith. When I’m faced with a disappointment or frustration, I remembered Joseph in prison. God had promised he would rule, and instead he finds himself in a dungeon? But Joseph needed that prison time to learn the things God needed him to learn in order to be a great leader.
Third, to be Yes-able means you are Will-able.
Yes, I know that’s not a real word, but we have to bend our will to God’s so we can walk in harmony with Him. Obedience. He said he wants it more than sacrifice.
But Samuel replied: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
When God asks for hard things, are we willing to obey? Sometimes I find myself making excuses, just like my kids do when I ask hard things of them. Yet as a parent, I never ask my kids for anything I know in my heart they aren't able to accomplish. God is the same way. And if it’s too hard, He will direct our steps. That’s the kind of God we serve.
God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. He has good planned, not evil.
So when I hit up against a stone wall, I have begun to examine myself and ask,
Friday, August 13, 2010
Think I'd be happy to stay at the year I'm at. It's been all right. Not one of my best, but not one of my worst, either.
Actually, a friend posted this on my facebook wall:
And I thought, Gosh, that looks like a roller coaster, which is kind of what this year has been like.
And I'm thinking that Man's best laid plans really must be a joke to God. I mean, I had a plan. I knew where I was going and what I was going to do this year and that darned roller coaster took a sharp turn I didn't see coming.
I remember a scene from the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin where the grandma is talking about how some people like the merry-go-round. (I had my hand up saying, "Oh, me, me!) While some love the dips and turns of the roller coaster. She, on the other hand, had found the roller coaster more exciting.
I beg to differ. I've never been a roller coaster fan. Never. I even hated the kiddy ones when I was young.
Yet... I guess, in the long run, the dips and turns are what makes life interesting.
Well, here's to another InTeReStInG year!
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
(Prov. 3:5&6 MSG)
Monday, August 9, 2010
I got into my car the other day and noticed that the temperature read well over a hundred degrees.
For those of you sweltering under the heat, these next pictures might cause you to let out a yearning sigh.
For those who see this for the better portion of the year, I don’t want to know what you’re thinking right now.
I smiled, knowing soon those leaves would turn gold, red and brown, those acorns would begin to ripen and the squirrels will go crazy-mad over them. They’ll be throwing late night BYON parties. (Bring Your Own Nuts- for those who don’t understand the ways of squirrels like I do.)
Praise God that this world and all that’s in it is ruled by seasons, by the rising and falling of the sun, by change day in and day out. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. How many times have you saw someone after many years and thought, “Whoa! Look at you…”
We change. Seasons change. Circumstances change. Problems go from bad to worse, and more often than not, to nothing at all.
Whatever’s happening right now, whatever season we find ourselves in, this too shall pass.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
I can rejoice in this truth: That as long as I’ve asked Jesus to live in my heart, and I’m trip-skipping along the Kingdom road, then whatever I face now is the worst it’s going to get. I’m on my way home. Where I’ll spend eternity with God. Where there’s a big, for-real Jesus hug waiting for me.
In the meantime, He’s got me by the hand, walking through the high places, and the muck. Getting me through each season and on to the next.
Hang in there friends, fall and winter shall pass as well, and then spring is just around the corner.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
May we cling to Him with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our spirits and with everything else we have within us...
Monday, August 2, 2010
As I looked at it, I wondered, was the fed bird actually the favorite? Perhaps the other sibling was a glutton and snagged all the worms and she needed to hold him down? Perhaps she had stepped on this one's head the last time to feed the other bird. Perhaps this really was her favorite and the other one was destined to always be last.
The possibilities are endless... especially in a writer's mind.
Things aren't always what they seem.
I'm thinking of the times I've felt in last place, looking around at others who have more, do more, are given more and win more. Much as I hate to admit it, I've cried, "But God, look at them. They have two and I have none. What's up with that?"
I'm not proud, but there it is.
Awhile ago, I remember reading in the Bible of when Jesus commissioned Peter to feed his sheep. (John 22) Peter looks back behind them and says, "But what about him?" And he indicated John, who considered himself to be the one Jesus loved. Maybe John was one of Jesus' favorites. He stuck with Jesus all the way to the cross while the others fled. Either way, John knew where he stood with his master and Peter seemed to not be so sure, especially after Jesus asked him three times if he really loved him.
I love Jesus' answer which was basically, "What I chose to do with him isn't important to you. What's important is that you follow what I say for you to do." (My paraphrase- go read it yourself to see if you think I've interrupted it right.)
Jesus had big plans for Peter. He was the rock the God would establish his church upon. Peter had a bumpy road ahead and he needed to just focus on what God had called him to do and not worry about what others were going to do. This is the point, I think, Jesus was trying to make to him, and us.
We are who we are. God is no respecter of persons. The sooner I can learn to keep my eyes focused on Him and not my circumstances, and definitely not other's circumstances, the more my steps become firm. For he promises to guard our steps and to walk with us always. (Ps. 91)
We were created with a heavenly plan and purpose in mind. Each of us unique with our own quacks... uh, I mean quirks. For good or bad, we are who we are.
Since He doesn't make mistakes, then what are we so concerned about?