This is me and my "twin" sister (yup, can you believe we are 8 years apart?)!!!
I love you my Sara-Bara!!!
I can't believe we are on our 7th week of The Confident Woman Book Club! Are you guys enjoying the book? I hope so. I hope reading the book and our thoughts are helpful. Remember Suzette's blog is really awesome, so be sure to view her take on the chapter at http://godlyrose.blogspot.com
Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
I believe this verse is the crux of Chapter 7: The Power of Preparation.
God is preparing all of us who trust Him and love Him and choose to follow Him for His plan. He has given us certain experiences, certain people, and certain gifts, to mold us and change us, and conform us to be the confident woman of God that He wants us to be. The more we trust God and allow Him to direct our paths He can prepare us for what He has for us. But with that preparation may come hardships, and we will need lots of patience on our parts.
Joyce was saying that "Most things are harder than you ever thought they would be, they take longer than you ever thought you could endure but they also pay greater dividends than you could ever imagine." Is she talking about childbirth or what? Maybe because I have two babies and their births are so fresh in my mind, but when Joyce was talking about how God gives a job and we think it is going to be easy...and then we find out...whew!!! That wasn't so easy! I think this is motherhood in a nutshell! I think because I always babysat, had a younger sister, and I ran a successful classroom anywhere from 16 to 25 third and fourth graders, I always thought raising one kid would be no big deal, really, how hard could it be, what's all the fuss about? (Really God does have a sense of humor) Ha! I learned that birthing children and having children and being a stay at home mom is hard work, and some people make it look easy, but truly it is very demanding, but it is also one of the best things and most rewarding things I think I will ever do! I just think it is so funny that I thought it would be a piece of cake! As all of you know doing whatever God has a do and doing it well takes time and dedication and so does preparation!
Sometimes God gives us difficulties or challenging tasks like being laid off work, an illness, a surgery, a loss of a loved one, or you name it, so that we learn to "trust God in this way as a testing time for preparation" for something bigger or something that God has for us later on... We can trust that whatever He puts in our path He is right there to guide us and lead us and teach us something about ourselves so that we can grow in confidence.
Look at the lives of Joseph, Esther, and Peter (Joyce goes into greater detail) ...they each had periods of preparation that were not so easy, but God's plan was perfect, and so was His timing. Some of their experiences were humbling, but God used that to bring glory to His name. I like when Joyce said, "Sometimes bitter experiences we endure are the best teachers we have in life." She also says that in Isaiah 61:7 "God promises to give us a double reward for our former shame and trouble." Joyce went into detail about how being the child of sexual abuse from her father led her to want to leave her home once she finished high school, this prevented her from going to college but forced her to go straight to work to be able to support herself outside in the real world. She still gets flack from others that she never went to seminary...but God was able to use her in a mighty way. God was able to change her circumstance and honored her because of her faithfulness to Him. Look at all she has accomplished...and she has earned honorary bachelor and graduate degrees in theology for all the books she has written.
One of my favorite quotes from Joyce and a lesson I really need to learn is: "Don't be in such a hurry to rush through things that you miss the lessons you can draw from each day."
Joyce talked about the importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses. She said it is important to know your strengths so that you can "gain confidence in your abilities." "Praying is probably the most important part of preparation." I am ashamed to say, that so many times I am rushing to get things done, I oftentimes don't stop to pray unless I am in front of a meal, in a crisis or someone has emailed or texted me to pray... that sounds awful...but it is so true...I fill my life with all good busy things but what gives me guidance, patience, and strength for each day? My prayer time with Jesus!!! Ooooooh this chapter is so good! I need these simple reminders so often, how about you? Even Jesus said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing." Yup, he's right! Not well anyway!
"Be a lifetime learner." Being a lifetime learner means never feeling you've arrived. It means constantly learning new things for the field you work in. It means staying connected to other people who have been through what you're going through. It means you will gain more confidence and people will see that and gladly will have more confidence in your abilities.
Thanks for reading with me guys. I love sharing with all of you!