Posts Tagged ‘life’

Several months ago I wrote about how I didn’t receive a promotion at work that I had been working so hard to get. It has led me on a journey the last few months wrestling with questions about the events of everyday life. The main questions being, “Is God sovereign over every detail of my life?” “Am I living in a way that lines up with what I believe?” “Do I need to change how I live based on what I believe?”

The Promotion
After months of questioning why I didn’t get the promotion at work, I came to a place of contentment with my current position. I was able to find a new outlook on my mundane job. I was able to see all the opportunities where I could help customers in need and serve them in a way that wasn’t possible when I didn’t want to be there. I was able to see how this job is God’s grace so that I can work hard to provide for my family. Most importantly, I was able to see that I was doing the exact job that I am supposed to be doing, and if I was supposed to be doing a different job, The Lord would have provided a different one.

Well I’m happy to share that I did end up getting a promotion at work! The panel that interviewed me for a previous job opening actually created a new position that was seemingly tailor made for me based on my experience and the needs of the department. I am just overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness.

Where do I go from here?
Has getting the promotion changed what I believe about the sovereignty of God? Do I believe I got the job as a result of my hard work or did I get the job because of the sovereign hand of God? Am I more blessed because I got the promotion? These are all difficult questions that I am still working through, but I do want to share where I have landed thus far. While I do believe God blesses in special ways and gives favor at certain times, this is more focused on his sovereignty. This is not an exhaustive explanation, nor one to pick apart every word I say, and is not a final conclusion. It is the conclusion I have come to thus far in the midst of much prayer and contemplation in light of the current circumstances of my life.

Do I believe I got the job as a result of my hard work or the sovereignty of God?
When it comes to the question of whether I got the promotion based on my hard work (free-will to make a choice about my future career) or the the sovereignty of God, I do not believe it is one or the other, but both. I am convinced that everything is subject to the sovereignty of God and that He is in control of everything. When I say that, I do not mean that we are just puppets being controlled by strings at the helm of God in heaven. I am saying that every detail that occurs in the universe is set in motion by God as the creator of the universe. In other words, we have complete free-will that is subject to the sovereignty of God. Not where I live with anxiety about what he may or may not allow me to do, but because he is so good I can know that he chooses to do what is best for me, for the church, the advancement of the kingdom, and the praise of his name. In that I find my greatest joy and deepest satisfaction. You may not think that being under God’s sovereignty is something to delight in, but for me, there is no better place to be than to be exactly where my Lord wants me to be, doing the very thing my Lord wants me to do, at the time he has appointed.

Am I more blessed because I got the promotion?
One might say that I am blessed or that God has given me favor because I got the promotion. As I read the scriptures, I do find examples of blessings and favor that is bestowed on God’s people in the form of a favorable outcome or gift, but I also see something much deeper. I do not believe that I am more blessed because I got the promotion. Even more so, I do not believe that I am more blessed at any point in time because a life event or circumstance ended up being a good or favorable one. That includes getting a promotion, getting a new house, getting a spouse, having many children, or anything else that one would consider a favorable or desired outcome in life. I believe those are all evidences of God’s grace but not any more so than those circumstances not happening. God’s grace and blessing is not just found in favorable outcomes, but also found in what we might consider unfavorable outcomes.

A good working description of grace would be: getting what you don’t deserve. A good definition of blessing would be: God’s favor in the form of a physical gift or circumstance. So if receiving grace is getting what you don’t deserve, who am I to make the ultimate decision of what I think I deserve? I don’t deserve anything. Everything I have is God’s grace. If receiving a blessing from God is receiving something from God as a sign of His favor, who am I to make the determination if his favor comes in the form of a favorable or unfavorable circumstance in life? Can I even say that getting this new position is a blessing purely on the merit of advancement or promotion? Can I equally say that the blessing would be to stay at my old position? I don’t see how either of those outcomes with my employment, or how any other event in life can really be 100% chalked up as a blessing or favor from God.

I can confidently say I am blessed not because of any circumstance of this life, but because I am known by God. This allows me to not be tossed to and fro by life’s circumstances. Every time something bad happens I don’t think the world is crashing down around me, and equally helps me from becoming prideful where I think I am the king of the world when things are going well in life. It frees me to work really hard and do my best at everything in life without the fear of not having it validated by success or perfection. I am free to be me. An imperfect person who falls short on a daily basis, but because God is so good, I can trust that he has everything perfectly under control.

Where my soul finds rest
At the end of the day there are a few things I am certain of. I am more loved by God than I could ever dream of. Not because of anything I have done, but because of God’s grace and mercy in my life. I am blessed by God because I am known by him, not because of any favorable circumstance of this life. Blessing is found in being known by the one who blesses, not in receiving a blessing. I have already received the greatest blessing a man can receive… Jesus paid the debt for all of my sins and because of that I will be with him forever. Every other gift I could ever receive just doesn’t compare to being with Him. When I trust in the Lord, I am free to dream big, I am free to work hard, I am free to take chances, I am free to pursue opportunities, and I can accomplish great things. With that trust in the Lord I can also fail, I can be let down, I can be mistreated, and I can make mistakes. So whether in the midst of celebration or misfortune, because both will happen in due time, I will praise the Lord because of my salvation.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6

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As I pulled up to my last order of the day today, I dreaded getting out of my truck, and wish I had just gone home instead of working overtime. This house is in one of the worst areas in Riverside, on one the worst street in the neighborhood, and the house was super sketchy. Then I was greeted at the gate by a sweet little girl. She had a huge smile and was a ball of energy running all around. As I was working she followed me everywhere I went, asking me all kinds of questions and telling me all about herself. She insisted that I knew that she was 5 years old and that her name is little Jo. She was just the cutest little girl.

Her Grandma (who I thought was her mom) told me about how she has full custody of her granddaughter and had adopted her. You could tell by her body language that it wasn’t under good circumstances. Little Jo called her grandma mommy and not grandma, so I’m assuming her mom isn’t in the picture. Then she began to tell me that her granddaughter only weighed 1 pound when she was born, that she actually had a twin who died at birth, and that she wasn’t expected to live. Little Joe spent the first 3 months of her life in the ICU hooked up to all kinds of tubes. The doctors told her Grandma that if she lived, that she would have scoliosis so bad that she would never walk and that she would have down syndrome. Now I am even more amazed at this little girl. Here is this sweet, running, jumping, smiling little girl who is nothing shy of a miracle. I took a little bit of extra time to talk with her and bounce a ball back and forth with her. I was just amazed at the gift of life as I was playing and talking with her

As I was working inside the house little Jo just followed me around talking up a storm. As sweet as this little girl was, the things she was telling me were making my heart break. She was telling me how her brother told her not to be afraid of the cockroaches all over the house and that she is scared to get bitten by one. She asked if I wanted to hear a story and told me about how her grandpa had recently died. She talked about how she can protect herself if she needs too. Just story after story of horrible things she has seen at such a young age. I had to keep changing the topic to something that would make her smile because I couldn’t take it. This little girl is lucky to be alive, yet her short life had been so painful and she has been through so much already. It just breaks my heart.

Please pray for little Jo and her grandparents. The house they just moved into is a wreck. It is owned by a slumlord who wont make any repairs but it is all they can afford. There is no furniture, the house is in need of lots of repairs, and the cockroach infestation is so bad that they are living in an old motorhome in the driveway. Pray that little Jo can remain strong but retain the innocence of a child. Pray that as she gets older she doesn’t remember the things she seen as a child. Pray that the owner of the home helps this family. Pray that their financial situation gets better so that they don’t have to struggle to have the necessities of life. Pray that little Jo would flourish under the care of her grandparents. Pray that little Joe meets Jesus at a young age and sees her life as the gift from God that it is. Pray she sees her life as God’s grace. Please please please pray for little Jo.

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I read this yesterday and it really struck me to the core. There are parts of my heart that were being turned over as I read each and every word. I know I have a lot of wrestling to do, both in prayer and in my journals. There is just so much in this. I pray it touches you in the same way that it did me. Thank you Natalia Parker for sharing this and allowing us to see your love of life, your love for your family, and your love for The Lord. You and Scottie are such a blessing to so many.

“Start where you are… I’m not talking about cooking as a performance, or entertaining as a complicated choreography of competition showing off. I’m talking about feeding someone with honesty and intimacy and love, about making your home a place where people are fiercely protected, even if just for a few hours, from the crush and cruelty of the day. Start where you are, Talia. Start documenting your life now. Stop waiting for the moment when you will be able to “catch up” and have figured out the “best” way to beautifully, simply, perfectly, pinterestly, chronologically, uniformly and easily put it out there somewhere for the world to see. If this is the case, it will never happen. You will never catch up. You will never find THE way to document perfectly. You will continue to spend your time wishing… wishing you would — print your pictures, learn to use your nice camera, upload the days pictures to social media, blog what Jesus is doing in your life, wishing you would be unashamed about the epic adventure you are on. START WHERE YOU ARE. Share what you want. Share so others can see. The blessings, the heartaches, the moves, the travel, the messy, the no makeup, the adventures, the leaps of faith, the ride. These things in your story all point to the greatest story of all. Your heart beat is for Jesus’ scandalous grace and relentless love to penetrate the hearts of those you love and touch. For others lives to be wrecked by His selfless sacrifice and pursuit of their hearts. To know that the crushing standard to be sinless and perfect was destroyed when He took yours and their place on the cross. It is finished. You do not need to live in fear or condemnation. He has sacrificed himself for you, for eternity. so. JUST START. Start where you are today. ((this is for me mostly. As a reminder. Truth filled self talk. But also for you – my friends, family, followers – so you know my heart. Why I don’t share & why I wish I did. Our life has not been “normal”. We have been put in places many people never will consider their normal. To be a part of the professional sports world. I fear that my posts of what we consider our daily life are show offy – so I don’t share. But then I feel claustrophobic and like people don’t know our life and I have to always catch people up on a one by one basis. So, I am going to share our life. I promise to share the mess and trials, but also the blessings and triumphs. I miss sharing life together and as we enter this next even more crazy chaotic stage, I need an outlet to share our life – ultimately for His glory.”

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