(Originally posted on my FB Site August 22, 2009)
Today I need to get something off of my chest…. I am scared to pieces to even open up and post this… Whether or not you are a person of faith, as I am without apology, I hope that you can really HEAR where I am coming from, even if only in principle. Your friendships each mean something valuable to me; even with the varying degrees of things we each believe, the thing that unites us is our passionate love for America and, for most of us, our Conservative and Founding Fathered principles. I love you all for that!
I am an honest and straight forward person and don’t know any other way to be. I am typically a very positive person regardless of what is going on in my life. I believe everything happens for a reason and in that Bible verse that promises, “God works all things together for good…” He has proven this all to be true in my life more times than I can count. But even we faith-filled and positive people can get very discouraged and even despair. Further, for as open as I am, there is a “safe place” in my heart with a high wall around it that is not easy to infiltrate. I am both very open yet very private. Usually, in that safe place is where I keep my pain, my vulnerabilities, and my most sensitive core of my heart. Every once in a while, I allow myself to take a risk and put things out there that might hint of what is going on deep inside. Sometimes, if I think there might be some trust, I might expose some of that and test it out. It is the rare occurrence that I am grateful I did. More often than not, it only validates why I have built that wall to protect my safety zone.
It is hard for me when I am misunderstood, judged, and rejected, just like any other normal person. It is human nature for us to not look to one’s heart and so I do not, in turn, judge others for being, thus, so human. Nor do I expect others to get it, or get me. I learned a valuable lesson early on in life: to the degree that you cherish what I offer, is to the degree that you can have. If you cannot cherish the front yard of my house, why should I invite you to my dining room table for a family, home cooked meal? Because I have no pretense, I usually expect that most people are the same. I trust you until you give me reason not to do so. I respect you until you give me reason not to do so. I accept you at face value because I know you can accept me at face value. Now, I am far from perfect and will never claim to be as such. I only ask that if you want to discuss my faults, please just get them right as there are plenty to choose from – but do not attribute to me faults I do not have. That is what hurts.
I share this prologue so you might better understand my heart when I share what is next. I am in a life transition. God has brought me through a very dark season in my life into a new light where I finally understand, everything I have ever been through, good and bad, every detour, every disappointment, every sacrifice, every gift He has given me, every life and job experience, and every skill set, has all brought me to this point in time. It is like all of the sets are up, the lighting is perfect, lines memorized, the house is packed – everything is in place for me to finally begin the path of doing what He called me to do, that which brings me joy knowing I am in the center of His will and He is pleased. There is no greater feeling than that, especially after such a long time in the wilderness of life. I finally understand what my life means and what I am supposed to do and I can hardly wait to get at it.
If you are familiar with any Bible stories, specifically the story of Joseph, God speaks to my heart and teaches me from this story almost more than any other. I know what it is like to be betrayed by those I considered family, for them to try and destroy me, and leave me in a pit alone to die. “Pit time” is such a dark experience. You are there alone and no one but God knows you are there. It has been some of the loneliest of my life but also the most intimate with God. The lessons learned are invaluable. I know what it is like to be accused of things that exiled me and sent me away to a prison-like form of life. I know what it is like to wonder about all the dreams that were supposed to be my life but are not, and to question God, “What do you want from me? This is not the life you promised! This is not the life you showed me! What does my life matter anymore?” Joseph ultimately was brought through ALL of this and placed in a high place of authority where he was used to bring so much blessing and help to others, especially those who first derailed and detoured him by throwing him into that pit to die alone. In order to be in such a place of leadership later, and to do what he did, it was necessary for him to go through the things he went through in order to learn and grow and to be ready for it. All of those things MADE him, they never destroyed him. God gave him this vision of his life as a teenager but it wasn’t until he was an older man that the vision of his life even began to come to pass. My life has been no different.
You have heard me make the quote: “I am like a finely sharpened and prepared arrow, ready to be shot from the right bow to hit my God-ordained mark.” This is how I feel. I finally know where I am going, what I am called to do, and the favor and grace is there for me to now go and do it. It is like there is this bridge just up ahead in the distance. Once I reach it, and begin crossing it, my life is forever changed as I enter the season of my life where I begin doing all those things that long ago, God gave me the vision of what I would do. He has opened the doors for me to see the bridge and to go across it. In addition, He has closed the doors behind me so that I cannot ever go back. What is left is this small wilderness between what was and what is soon to be. Like the Israelites of old, in the Bible, when Moses was leading them out of slavery in Egypt and towards the Promised Land, they had to go through the wilderness to get there. At first they were so ecstatic to be set free, but the journey of the wilderness soon left them grumbling and complaining, saying, “At least when we were slaves we had shelter and food.” They actually looked back at slavery with some level of longing to return! They endured being treated so poorly as slaves, but they couldn’t handle the wilderness! Every time I feel this way, God reminds me that there is no going back to Egypt! So the only way for me to go now is forward, through a short wilderness (the only short one of my life as the others have all been very long), towards His promises for me.
Now that you have the metaphorical and Biblical foundation of my point, there is a very real and practical interpretation. For almost 20 years, I have worked in Corporate America and while it has provided all these years (I have been self sufficient, on my own, and taking care of others, since I was 18 years old), it has also been slowly killing my spirit because I was a slave to it and not free to utilize my real gifts and talents. I know how to make lemonade from lemons which I do almost too well – the problem comes when it causes you to lose sight of the chocolate of life and you settle for good lemonade. That was me. So, now I am awake from that slumber and moving towards the chocolate. Lemonade is not even an option anymore.
Back in May, I lost my job and I have not been able to get a new one since. Yes, a lot of it has to do with the Obama-conomy. I have been an Executive Assistant for almost 20 years with a lot of success. This is not a hard job to get. It never has been for me – I have always worked. I spend a good portion of my day applying for all of these jobs I see out there. I am signed with 17 Agencies and 5 Online Services. For all of my effort, I cannot get connected to one of these jobs! A wise man in my life once said, “The way you can tell an open door is that you don’t bust your nose trying to go through it!” My nose is in a cast right now!! I get the message – Egypt is no longer an option! Unfortunately, I still have to pay the bills and right now, I am fighting to hold onto my house – all of this a total first in my life! It is not only humiliating, it is down right frightening!
That is the here and now – the little wilderness I am in. The bridge is the book I am writing. God easily opened the door for this and I even have a wonderful and credible Publisher! Once I get the book done and published, things will change for me financially and as well as for my career. I write the book from a God given and passionate place in my heart – finances are a by product and not the motivation. (There are 4 others in my heart that will follow the first one) In fact, I have made a promise to God, from that first book forward, I will create a Charitable Foundation to which I will tithe faithfully of all income earned. Money is for living and providing opportunity; you can’t take it with you to the cemetery. In fact, there is a line from one of my favorite Musicals, “Hello Dolly,” that says, “Money is like manure. You need to spread it around to encourage new and young things to grow…” It is how I see it and how I want to use it once I have it. I have always done this with whatever I have had, but now I will have the opportunity to do so on a greater scale which has always been a dream and prayer of mine. All of this is awesome news! I have such HUGE plans and dreams – God is calling me forth to finally live them saying, “NOW is the time!” Finally! It has all led to this….
Only there is one more wilderness, a short one, between my Egypt and that bridge, and I have been distressed for weeks trying to understand how to get through this wilderness. Unfortunately, after getting to the point of emptying my small 401k, I have exhausted every resource I had financially. Right now, I have a figurative gun to my head as I am trying to hold onto my house. This very immediate need has distracted me from writing my Book and moving me towards that bridge. I am out of money and the doors all seem closed as to how I generate more. I feel so alone in this plight.
It is hard to share this and to so vulnerably lay my heart so bare because I run the HUGE risk, at least from my perspective, of being so totally misunderstood and turning others away from me. Sharing this honestly with others can be a total turn off, especially in the “bail out” society we live in. I admit that I totally suck at asking for help - I am used to being the one doing all of the helping.
Perhaps it is my pride that is holding me in this wilderness as it is now 11:59pm (figuratively speaking) for me and I am only now really opening up about my plight. Should I have done so long ago? I didn’t want anyone to know – in all honesty, I still don’t. It gives the appearance of something it is not and I don’t want to go anywhere near that appearance – at all!! I prayerfully am seeking, “Lord, what is the right thing to do?” He says in the Bible, “You have not because you ask not.” So, the closest I can come to that is to “advertise” my Mary Kay Business (something I have done for fun but now is my only source of immediate potential income). Even doing that does not feel right to me! I don’t know how to ask for help - I don’t like being in such a place of need. It is beyond humiliating to me, and perhaps this is the lesson I must learn so that I am held to my promise when I am in more prosperous times.
I share all of this with all of you because, as I said before, I don’t know how to be anything but honest and who I am. I cannot have pretense. I am credible, but right now, I am also vulnerable. What is God’s answer for this short wilderness? Only two things are crystal clear for me: Egypt is not an option, and once I get to the bridge, everything changes for the better. How do I get from here to there? It is total darkness for me.
In practical terms, I want to have my book done and ready for submission to the Editor by the end of February 2010 (or sooner) because it needs to be published in time for the 2010 Elections. I don’t know how to get from here to there, I just don’t. I can only surmise that I need the answer to come from another source. I am humbly asking whoever reads this, please hear my heart, pray, and if God gives you any wisdom in the matter, please share it with me. I am looking for that God-inspired voice of wisdom, not just off-the-cuff, even though well meaning, advice. I am humbling myself, and it chokes me up to share that because it is just so difficult for me to do, but I am humbling myself that I may hear from God, however He chooses to speak to me, through whomever He chooses to speak.
I will end with this… And this is soooo hard…. I have a dear friend, Dan. I have tagged only him in this Note. As we have spoken recently, it has been proposed that perhaps a small group of people, with him, could help sponsor me through this short time. He would use his Business as a form of collateral. Is THIS God’s will? Is THIS God’s answer? If so, as is true to form for me, I ask, “Why, Lord? Why like this? What is the purpose of doing it this way?” Is it to remind me that all I do for Him is a partnership and all glory goes to Him? I just don’t know. I am looking for the answers…. This short wilderness is a stark contradiction to what lay just ahead, from where I have already been, and who I am/what I am all about. Please pray and if God gives you His wisdom or even a small piece of it, please share it with me. If you agree with Dan, please feel free to connect with him, as these are his feelings:
“I am constantly left with the understanding that God wants to raise the few to make His plan possible in your life so they in turn will have the opportunity to share in the rewards of your service. This is a highly vulnerable thing to ask, and an equally faith based issue to respond to. Those who are able already have the knowledge in their heart of how God is raising His own to great service, and they will automatically be drawn to the light of His plan. This plan is not for everyone, but it is for some because God keeps telling me I should not be alone in this. I am guessing that after you have taken this step, God will allow me to speak to others on your behalf.”
I pray above all things, you hear my heart. I just feel the proverbial gun to my head financially and it is paralyzing me from moving forward towards a very bright future of service to my fellow Americans. And this process makes no sense to me at all in light of who I am, where I have been, and where I am going. I just don’t get the irony of it at all. I am just trying to humble myself and hope you hear my heart, that vulnerable part of my heart I usually keep safe with me behind the wall. Thanks for your prayers!!!
With gratitude and a lot of trepidation,
P.S. Aside from my Mary Kay Business, areas I desire to work in if there were opportunity to do so (and I have the proven skills) are with singing, article writing, and voice-overs/acting.