A Warning!

A few days ago, I received a text from a friend asking me if I wanted to meet her for coffee at a local restaurant. I thought that was great and we set up a time for the next day. After setting it up I suddenly became consumed with thoughts about running into a woman, I will call her Jane, while there. The thoughts came out of nowhere. I haven’t seen Jane in almost two years and what makes matters worse my last encounter with her was not pleasant. In terms of our personalities, Jane and I are opposites. She is very aggressive, and I am not. So, my thoughts of running into her in the restaurant were focused on seeing her and finding myself in a difficult, challenging, aggressive conversation; something I most definitely didn’t want to do! But at the same time, I had no reason to even think that she would be there. Yet, for some reason, I was consumed with these thoughts. It seemed like every thirty minutes I was thinking about her and praying over both of us.

As I tried to figure out why I kept having these thoughts, I tried to come up with some sort of a logical reason or connection for the thoughts. I had never seen her at this restaurant before, I didn’t know whether she even went to this restaurant. I did know that she worked about two miles from the restaurant. So, I attributed my thoughts to a figment of my imagination triggered by the location of the restaurant.

The next day when I went to meet my friend, I arrived at the restaurant about 20 minutes early. I sat in a chair near the door so I would be able to see my friend when she arrived. But as I sat I became consumed with thoughts about running into Jane. I began to wonder if I should move away from the door, out of sight. After giving it some thought I decided that I had an overactive imagination and I would stay put. My friend arrived and we found a table near some windows facing one of the several walkways to the front door. After chatting with my friend for about a half-hour I looked up and saw Jane walking up the sidewalk to the front door. My heart almost jumped out of my chest. I did a double-take just to make sure, and it was her. I turned my attention back to my friend, but from the corner of my eye, I saw her glance over at me. I did not see her once she arrived in the restaurant. The restaurant has various walls and corners, so I didn’t know where she sat.

While talking to my friend I was only half engaged in our conversation. I kept thinking about what happened the day before and being consumed with thoughts of Jane. As I talked with my friend, I realized that God knew she was going to be there. Then it hit me! He was warning me. He was preparing me for the encounter. When I saw her, I did not have any negative feelings towards her, and I did not feel any anxiety. Knowing that He warned be about having a negative, or challenging conversation with Jane, I made it a point to focus my attention on my friend. I did not want to open the door to a potential negative encounter with Jane so I decided it would be to my benefit to avoid her.

 Praise God for the warning! I pray if the Lord warns you that you do not ignore Him as well.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. Matthew 2:12

Blessings,

Sandra

Clicked into Place

This week has been a challenging one. In addition to teaching a strategic management class to graduate students, I am also taking a week-long workshop required for all instructors. This workshop was extremely important because I needed to pass it in order to continue teaching at the graduate level.

I wanted to do well, so I canceled all of my activities for the week to focus on teaching my class and attending the workshop. In order to get a head start on the workshop, I began three days early to give me enough time to complete the daily assignments successfully. I did not just want to pass the workshop by the skin of my teeth, I wanted to pass with flying colors!

Though I started three days early I still struggled. As each day passed, I was becoming anxious because I was not ahead like I thought I would be. The workshop was just downright hard! I felt like I needed more time, but three days was all the school allows in terms of early access to a class or workshop.

Finally, day one of the workshop rolled around and I moved ahead with caution, trying to remain calm. At the end of the first day, I felt confused and frustrated. Fear and panic were bubbling at the surface of my skin. About halfway through day two, I stopped to take a break. I needed to refocus and take a breath. I needed to get it together because I had three and a half days left and I needed to be sharp and focused.  I didn’t want to allow myself to develop a bad attitude or for the frustration and fear of failure to consume me.  So, on edge, I left my office to get some lunch.

While eating lunch I tried not to think about the workshop, but I knew sooner rather than later I needed to get back to work. The time had come to return to the workshop, so I stood up and began walking back to my office. As I walked, I prayed, “Lord help me to do well in this workshop. I’m not understanding this. Help me to get it. “

I walked over to my computer and as soon as I sat down it felt like a light bulb clicked on.  Fear and anxiety left, and I had clarity. Within 15 minutes I not only completed the activities for day two with full understanding, but I also started the assignments for day three. I finally was a day ahead like I originally planned. From that moment of clarity, everything just clicked into place. Hallelujah! I passed the class with flying colors.

4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4

Blessings,

Sandra

 

He Never Gives Up!

A few weeks ago I had to make some decisions about the medical benefits I wanted for the upcoming year. My initial thought was that I would just go in and reapply for all the benefits I had for last year. But that was not the Lords plan.

On the day enrollment was to begin I woke up, and the first thing the Lord told me was to cancel my medical benefits at work and to move the money I would save to my 401(k). As soon as he said it, I jumped up in bed and yelled, “That is a great idea!” I am a veteran, and I can get my medical care at my local VA hospital without a monthly charge. I was so overwhelmed with excitement. When I got to work, I logged on and declined medical coverage for the next year.

A couple of days later fear hit me because I thought, oh my goodness, I think that there were certain benefits that came with having medical insurance at work that I would lose if I drop medical coverage. When I printed out my selections for the upcoming year, all I saw was the word DECLINED. None of the things I thought I would have regardless of if I had medical insurance were also gone. This freaked me out. Having the right coverage is important, and from what I could tell I did not have all the coverage I needed. I was in fear mode, completely forgetting what the Lord told me to do in the first place. Fearful I would lose benefits I thought I might need, I changed my elections to keep my medical insurance.

On the last day of the enrollment period, a coworker asked me a question about his benefit selections. I wasn’t sure of the answer, so I told him I would get the answer for him. I contacted our benefits representative and asked her. In that conversation, she not only answered his question she also unknowingly confirmed for me that I would not lose the additional coverage I thought I would lose. That’s when it hit me. I went full circle. First, I was going to keep the same coverage as last year, and then the Lord said no, so I dropped the medical coverage; then I freaked out and took the coverage back, and finally, I went back and did what the Lord told me to do in the first place.

I thought of all the time I spent struggling, researching, doubting and questioning if I really heard him in the first place. What a waste of time. I felt so bad! My heart ached with the thought of doubting Him. But that ache quickly changed to love, as I realized how he orchestrated a coworker asking me a question that provided two answers, on the last day of enrollment. Praise God He never gives up on us.

6 I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work[a] in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you[b] and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6 The Passion Translation

Blessings,

Sandra

Help is on the Way!

I woke up yesterday morning, and the Lord immediately told me to contact a woman I know whom I haven’t seen in about two months. Ever since I’ve known her, she has struggled with various health challenges. He told me to contact her because she needed my help. Once I thought she was up, I sent her a text and asked her how she was doing. She immediately called me back and told me that she had undergone some major surgery.

She said that her recovery was coming along pretty good, but she said that she had used up all her vacation time and her sick time, so she wasn’t getting paid. She told me that without a paycheck she had spent all her savings and she had less than $100. I asked her how I could help her, and she said that she needed some groceries and $5 cash. I said no problem and she text me her grocery list. I assured her that help was on the way. I went to the store and got her groceries and dropped them off at her house along with $10.

She was very grateful, and I told her it was my pleasure. I said, as a Christian that is what we do; we help those in need.

16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:16

Blessings,

Sandra

I am Home!

During this time of the year, I always feel blessed about having a home, and I enjoy putting up holiday decorations. It reminds me to be grateful for what the Lord has done in my life.

I’ll never forget when I went on my first house hunting trip. The realtor took me to several houses, but I did not connect with any of them. That’s not to say they weren’t nice homes, that’s just to say they felt like a building full of empty rooms. The houses were cold and uninviting. That is until one day she called me to view a house she thought I might like.

The agent picked me up, and we drove to a small quaint subdivision. We walked up the driveway and the stairs to the living room. As soon as I stepped foot into the home, something in my spirit said, “Your home!” I was so excited. I told the realtor, “This is it!” She said, “Hold on you haven’t even seen the rest of the house.” She said, “Also there is another one for sale two houses away.” I said, ” I don’t need to see it, this is it!

I couldn’t think of anything else. My mind was consumed with making an offer. I wanted to leave, and rush to the office and make an offer before someone else did. Just for the heck of it, just to make things look like I was doing my due diligence, I walked through the house and looked in all the rooms. I was floating on cloud nine.

Once I viewed the entire house, to appease the realtor, I agreed to go and see the other house for sale. When I arrived, I felt like it was just a building, with a bunch of empty rooms. I didn’t connect with anything. I went through the motions and walked through the entire house. All I could think of was, why am I here? The first house was my home. It spoke to me the moment I stepped foot in the door.

Seeing that I could not be swayed the realtor took me to the office and we made an offer, and it was accepted. I floated all the way back to the hotel. The next day while I was at work the realtor called me, and she said, “You know sometimes the builders don’t want to have to deal with removing the furniture that was used to stage the home. If you’re interested in it, I can ask them if they’re willing to leave it.” I thought, that is so awesome! Sure enough, they were willing to leave it. What a blessing. The Lord gifted me with a beautiful fully furnished home.

After having been in the house for 21 1/2 years, I take comfort in knowing that he handpicked this home for me and has allowed me to live in it for such a long time. He was right, I am home.

Blessings,

Sandra

The Last Minute!

Today a friend of mine asked me to pray for her financial needs. I told her absolutely! There have been times in my life when I was in dire need of money to pay my basic needs, let alone anything above and beyond that I might want. Those times were the most difficult and challenging times in my life. I certainly wouldn’t want to repeat them, on the other hand, my faith grew exponentially. I learned when there’s nothing else that you can do, you stand!

When I spoke with my friend, I remembered a time when my car insurance was due. If I paid my car insurance, I wouldn’t have enough money for any other bills or food. If I paid the other bills or food, I wouldn’t have enough money for car insurance. I weighed my options and decided I better pay the car insurance. I did not want to get into an accident or to get caught with driving without insurance.

I waited until the last-minute to pay, so my only option was to go to the website and pay the bill online. I had never done this before, but I knew my insurance offered the option. I went to the insurance website to the online billing tab and followed the prompts. To my surprise as they walked me through the payment process they gave me an option called 50/50. This option allowed me to pay half of my car insurance at that time and the other half at the end of two months. I was ecstatic! I took the option which allowed me to keep my insurance active, pay my other bills, and buy some groceries!

God is good! It’s not a coincidence that I didn’t write a check several weeks earlier and instead waited to the last-minute. God will take care of us. Just believe and trust that he will. We don’t know how but as long as we stay prayed up and listen for his direction he will get us there.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Blessings,

Sandra

Repeat!

This past week I had a doctor’s appointment downtown at a major hospital. The hospital and the parking area has been undergoing a significant amount of construction. Because of the construction, we are told to arrive for our appointment at least an hour in advance.

A few days ago I was unable to make it an hour in advance. Instead, I arrived at the entrance to the parking garage 30 minutes before my appointment. This is a multi-level garage, and the cars were lined up winding around every aisle on every level in both ways. I thought oh my goodness! I prayed for the Lord to get me a parking spot soon, so I wasn’t late for my appointment. I sat in the line scooting forward inch by inch for about five minutes. Suddenly on the right, I saw a van backing out giving me the opportunity to park in that space. The van was right in front of me, so I waited for them to pull out. Unfortunately, I did not pull in to this parking spot. I moved right past it. The reason was because I thought that the only level a visitor could park on was the blue level. I was on the green level, so I did not want to get a ticket for parking in a space I wasn’t supposed to park, so I let someone else in.

Much to my dismay as soon as I let the other person in and the truck before me move forward about a foot there was a sign on the ceiling that indicated visitors could park on the green level or the blue level. All I could do was just say oh no Lord I didn’t mean to pass it up! I told him that I thought that I was on the wrong level. I apologized for not taking the spot that he gave me. So I asked him to get me another one. In less than five minutes the traffic in the parking garage opened up! When I turned the corner, this new aisle was almost empty except for a huge van trying to get into a parking spot designed for small cars. I patiently pulled up near the van. When he realized he couldn’t get his van into that spot, he moved on, and I parked in that spot. So praise God I was able to get to my appointment 20 minutes early.

As I was pulling into the parking spot, I kept thanking the Lord for opening up the traffic and opening up that spot for me. As I thought about what he did, I thought about how sometimes we ask the Lord for “one” thing. And if we don’t get it, or we miss it we stop. This had never happened to me before. When I pray for a parking spot, I get it. I’ve never had to pray for two on the same day at the same time. It taught me to keep repeating my requests. Sometimes when we do not get what we ask for we feel defeated and miserable and just keep moving on. I’m willing to bet that if I had done that this time I might still be riding around that parking lot looking for a spot. I’m so glad that he hears all of our prayers. Even the ones that we repeat over, and over, and over again.

Blessings,

Sandra

Assurance!

A few years ago in the middle of the summer I woke up one day and my air conditioner was not working. I was freaked out, to say the least. Not only because my air conditioning was out during one of the hottest times of the year, but the potential expense to get it fixed. To add to my anxiety was the fact that the next day I was expected to leave for a week-long vacation. The trip had been planned for a long time, and it was too late to cancel. There wasn’t enough time for me to get the air conditioning fixed on that day so I had to take the trip knowing that I would return to an extremely hot home with a broken air-conditioner. Immediately I started to pray.

As I made the long drive to my vacation destination, I prayed for a simple, low-cost solution to fixing the air conditioner. Once I arrived, I found myself worrying about the situation. Then all of a sudden the scripture came to mind about casting all of my cares on to the Lord. I decided I needed to do just that or I was not going to have a good peaceful time while on vacation. I would put my trust in the Lord and enjoy my vacation.

After it was over I jumped in the car to return home. Worry free and at peace, I drove home. Then suddenly as I drove down the highway, a stone hit my windshield and put a small chip in it. The chip though small, looked to be large enough and deep enough that over time it would crack and I would have to replace my windshield. Undeterred by this event I prayed that the windshield did not end up cracking and I cast my cares on this issue up to the Lord as well.

Though this was another serious blow, I stood on my faith in the Lord. Both of these events, the broken air-conditioner and the chip in the windshield were unknowns. Unknowns can often be worrisome. I didn’t know what was wrong with the air conditioning and what it would take to fix it and I didn’t know if the windshield was going to end up having to be replaced. But what I did know was that the Lord was my helper, my provider, and my protector!

Once I arrived home, I said another prayer and called the manufacturer of my air conditioner. To my surprise, I found out that it was still under warranty and it would not cost me anything to have it fixed. I had the air conditioner for almost ten years, so I thought surely it was out of warranty. I was wrong. Praise God!

I called to tell my parents the good news. When I told my father about the chip in the windshield, he told me that there was a product that you could purchase at an automobile supply store which would prevent the chip from causing a crack. I thought hallelujah! I jumped in the car and drove down the street to my local auto supply store. I got out of the car and headed for the door. Then I stopped to go back to make sure I had a good idea of about how large the chip was. To my surprise, I couldn’t find it. Somehow it had disappeared. I was so excited. I said praise the Lord! I got in the car and I drove home.

I do not recall anywhere in the Bible where Jesus worried about his prayers not being answered. He always had the assurance of knowing that prayer is always answered. Thank you, Lord!

Blessings,

Sandra

Not a Fluke!

I have long abandoned the idea that there are such things as flukes or coincidences in my life. I am a firm believer that everything is orchestrated by the Lord. However, with one particular family member he thinks that is rubbish. Particularly when I told him about a situation with one of my college classes.

I have been teaching college part-time for almost 16 years, and I gave the scheduling of my classes to the Lord. I believe Him to bring me what I need when I need it. Since it is a part-time position, I get paid when I teach. I have come to rely on this income, so naturally, I have plans for my paycheck each month.

The Lord’s scheduling is awesome, and I teach regularly. However, one month I sat down to look at my budget and my paychecks and I could see that when the next month started, I did not have a class on the books. This meant no paycheck for the next month. Without that money, I knew that a bill was not going to get paid. I did not know where the money was going to come from; but I did believe the Lord and his Word, so I buckled down and used scripture to keep me out of fear, and his promises to keep me in faith.

A couple of days after the month started I was praying. During prayer, the Lord instructed me to go upstairs and clean the bonus room. The bonus room still contained contents belonging to my sister who had passed away. In obedience, I went straight to the bonus room and cleaned it. I didn’t half clean it. I cleaned it thoroughly. I cleaned the closet, as well as all of the cabinets and drawers. I was exhausted, but I finished in a day. The next day I got an e-mail asking me if I was interested in teaching a class. I responded, “Absolutely!”

I believe the delivery of this class was a result of my obedience. There was nothing coincidental about it. The start of this class meant a paycheck for the month. My relative said it was a coincidence and that I was one of those Christians who believes everything was from God. I said, “Exactly!”

Blessings,

Sandra

To the Rescue!

It always amazes me how the Lord knows exactly what you need when you need it. Just at that time when you think he’s not there, or he’s not listening, he shows up. His presence in what we consider a small gesture, can turn around your entire life. Not just your day, but your life!

Over the past several weeks my personal life has been busy with home repairs. Day in and day out I have been pulling up carpet and painting. At the same time, my work had become very busy, and stressful. I seldom get headaches, but I found myself over the past several weeks having to take aspirin.

This past week was a particularly difficult one because I have been feeling a great deal of pressure to complete a project. One day I was mentally and physically exhausted, and my head was pounding. I needed relief, so I slipped into our chapel and started to pray. As I prayed, I spoke from my heart and told the Lord I needed a hug. I said, “Lord I really need a hug this weekend.” I said, “Please bring someone to me who will hug me.” This might not seem like a big deal to you, but it is a big deal to me. I think I mentioned in a previous article how my sister taught me the value of a hug. Not just a hug, but a good hug! As a single person, I do not have a lot of opportunities to get hugged, particularly when I am feeling down. It is a situation I have learned to pray my way through. This was one of those days.

After praying, I left the chapel and went out to the call center floor. I was looking for someone to talk to with the hopes they could cheer me up. I walked to the middle of the floor and stood there for a minute. I said, “Hi” to a few people, and then I was about to leave to go home when I looked up and saw a friend walking down the aisle. She was packed and ready to go home. As she passed me, she reached, out and rubbed my back and gave me a slight hug. She then said, “Are you all right?” I shook my head and said, “No.” She said, “Is there something I can do for you?” Before I could respond, she reached, out and put her arms around my shoulders and gave me a big hug! I said, “The hug is good!” She rubbed me on the back again then walked out the door to go home.

I turned around as well and headed back to my office when I suddenly felt the presence of the Lord. I was so overwhelmed with his love. I thought about how so many times he came to my rescue with encouragement when I needed it. I was humbled as I realized how just a few minutes earlier I asked for a hug, and a few minutes later I got one.

Blessings,