“Expect the Unexpected”

It was a warm autumn day when I sat outside of our office suite, savoring my chimichanga del mar for lunch — my fave craving during this latent phase of my pregnancy — when I looked up into that blue sky and asked GOD what He wanted me to do after this third baby was born.

I knew in my heart of hearts that the corporate world was not my place, not with three children (7 year old, 15 month old, and a soon-to-be newborn) to raise. There had been a stirring in my soul during the last trimester of this pregnancy — an uneasiness about returning to this workplace environment. The mere thought of returning to the demands and stress of the business world and the weight of my position in management (not to mention all the traveling back and forth to our corporate office in Massachusetts) just made me, well, nauseated to say it mildly.

But explaining it to my husband was going to be the bigger battle. Not only were we on the cusp of being a tribe of five, but we carried debt and mortgage and expenses that typical thirty-something-year-olds don’t manage well when they’ve been making above decent incomes. I was about to tell my husband that we were going to suddenly become a single-income family.

Staring up into the heavens, I asked GOD to tell me what He wanted me to do — if I were being led to leave this secure career and salary. He whispered to me, “Teach.”

Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5 AMPC

Huh? I was perplexed, but my brain went into forward mode and translated that whisper into something similar — a reasonable facsimile of what was then part of my job responsibilities in Human Resources was what we used to call Training and Development. In ancient times (I’m being facetious) it was conducted in a ‘people interacting with other people’ environment — today, we have what’s called LMS (Learning Management Systems which take all the people interface out and puts you in the face of a computer screen). Ah, but of course, The Lord wants me to use my skills and talents in ‘teaching’ as I do in the business sense — so I thought.

So I set out to develop an entire curriculum on The Returning to Work Woman — What You Should Know. Back in the day, we didn’t have fancy printers at home, and personal computers came at a hefty price. I managed to hammer out my proposal (even went to Kinko’s to have it printed and spiral bound — woohoo) and set out to market myself.

Needless to say, I was turned down at every attempt. From soliciting my services in the form of a six-week summer course at the local community colleges, to a one-day workshop/seminar at the city recreational center.

Walking away rejected, I just shuddered at the thought that I misunderstood what The Holy Spirit had distinctively told me during that lunch encounter. Where did I go wrong?

Our Scripture verse from Psalm 37 admonishes the Believer to commit the matter to The Lord — that means every part of the concern. I thought I did — but I had only trusted Him with the outcome, not the preparation, nor the ‘idea’, or the management thereof — much less the timeline. I had not fully committed the matter to the One Who had whispered the promise to me; only a portion of it. To make matters worse, I assigned which part I would surrender. *Palm to face*

Back to prayer … let’s revisit the same verse in another translation …

Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Psalm 37:5-6 Message

I confessed my ‘failure’ and my ambition to run with my human senses — according to what made sense. After all, GOD created my brain to run very logically. And heaven only knows that all of us logically-minded ones are creatures of practicality. Which means that everything makes sense and fits into a neat and tidy box. Wrong.

When the time came to behold this expectant baby boy, my life was nothing like I had imagined it would be. Here I was with a 7 year old, a 16-month old and a newborn. No family members around the corner, or down the street — or even in the same area code or zip code. All of my babies entered the world by way of that wonderful procedure known as the Caesarean-section (some of you can relate; for those who cannot, it’s like being run over forwards and backwards by a Mack truck). Mama always told me, “Honey, you can figure it out.” So that’s how I made a way through all that comes with starting out your family in this manner — very logically figuring things out.

So when it came to understanding what exactly GOD meant by teaching, I had to “open up to GOD and keep nothing back.” I had to get out of my own way and let The Lord have His Way.

You moms of three’s know what I mean when I say, “Some things during some seasons are a blur …” Funny how moms of three’s seek each other out in crowds. You meet up and upon learning that your commonality is your family mini-van and the use of that middle seat in the second row, you almost instantly ask the proverbial question: “How big are the gaps between your kids?” Yes, there are certain conversations that you can only enjoy with other parents that can commiserate about the fact that you’re outnumbered by little people in your own house.

With all the activity between three different stages of development going on simultaneously under one roof, I literally had no time to ponder the details of GOD’S promise to me — in the rare moments (potty pauses) that the thought crossed my mind, I was certain that He would strike that reset button at a much later date. Wrong again.

When I initially went to The Lord in prayer about my maternal desires, and the passion to fill the lives of these little ones with knowledge of Who He is and Who He wants them to be, I voiced my priority as a mom. I spoke to GOD about my deepest longing to be that mom who would be there for them, through all their homemade projects, after school sports activities, their tutoring sessions, friends’ birthday parties — to be there for them emotionally and physically — that was the deepest longing in my heart.

Less than one year after the birth of our third child, I immersed myself into the fitness industry and GOD carved out a career that would span nearly two and one-half decades. I had no idea — but GOD had already mapped it out before I was even conceived.

Let me be clear here, that this did not merely land on my doorstep in an Amazon box. Nor did I receive a special email invitation. The Lord had been preparing me all along — but I did not see this coming, until it arrived. My formal education and academics in college were all geared towards suiting me up for this dramatic turn. But I had to let go of the past track-record in that corporate environment, to grab ahold of the reins in this new adventure. It’s not easy to trade in your brief case for a gym bag and your stilettos for Nikes.

Yes, there was formal training and exams and certifications to be earned. But The Lord never disappointed or abandoned me. In fact, the work behind the scenes was relatively ‘easy.’ It felt so natural — like I was meant to do this new thing.

So good were the results of all The Lord’s anointed endeavors, that I had more work available to me than I dreamed of. I even had to ‘refuse work,’ in the effort to maintain a stable family life. Yes, when we invite GOD to show up, He shows off and leaves footprints and fingerprints all over the place!

What are you asking from GOD at this moment in your life? Have you sincerely communed with Him over these deep longings of your heart? Take a few (or several) minutes right where you are and write those things down and then lift them up in prayer to him now.

As I stated earlier, GOD had been preparing me all along — equipping me — for this assignment. I just had to step aside with all that I knew about myself, and let Him redirect the talents and build on the skill set.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 The Message

Believe me when I say that I empathize with you if you are going through a decision-making season — Lord knows that I have been there (more than once) and know well the frustration of UFOs (Undeniable Fear of Objectivity) Syndrome. It’s difficult to imagine yourself making major changes that will impact your life (and likely the lives of others). And I refuse to make trivial the weight that you carry — it is real. But GOD is reality.

You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh. Psalms 38:9 NLT

I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 CEV

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Philippians 4:13 AMPC

And the reality is that if you belong to Christ — you have a personal relationship with the Father through His Son, Jesus — you have one job to fulfill: obedience to His Commands. These scripture verses are promises that we can bank on only if we are joint heirs with Christ.

I have found that it is true — to obey is better than sacrifice. If we would only make the priority to focus on Kingdom principles (the Precepts found in The Word of GOD — which by the way, are the examples Jesus gave us when He walked the earth), rather than trying to ‘force’ the changes ourselves, GOD gets the glory because we have relied wholeheartedly on His Will over our lives (the idea, the timeline, the management of the assignment/project).

Let me step into your living space right now and offer a few steps to help you hear what The Holy Spirit may be speaking to your soul regarding your dilemma, pending decision, whatever it is …

Commit to prayer. Plainly tell GOD exactly what is on your heart and mind. No need for any fancy talk or Hallmark card verbiage — your Heavenly Dad wants to hear the entire saga from inception to how difficult it feels to your fear of the unknown afterwards.

Fasting for real focus. I had never been a fan until I actually followed through. There’s just something about zeroing in on the Word of GOD and hearing from Him that tends to get blurred out by food — and all the tiny thoughts about meal prep and taste buds and pleasant smells. I’m not going to provide recommendations for duration — you will need to contemplate that. But I will endorse setting aside the daily bread for the Heavenly manna — even if it’s for just one meal or one day.

Call on your circle of Believing Friends. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20 HCSB. Whether it is for support in lifting up your request, or for clarity that you can see what GOD has placed in your hands — hearing others pray on your behalf is truly a blessing and an awesome way to share some love.

Write and record the waiting journey. This will be for your sake, as it will be a testimony of how you acted during your waiting period and serve as a future reminder that your Father in Heaven provides for you this side of Paradise. You will have something tangible with which to testify in the wake of your next season of decision and asking (which by the way, will be as soon as you turn the corner from this one).

Get ready to rumble. If your decision or request has anything to do with Kingdom Real Estate, you will definitely have to suit up and be prepared to defend your turf. The enemy fights over what he knows will defeat him — it’s that strength that can move mountains and get some life-changing work accomplished. Your super suit consists of the full Armor of GOD …

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Ephesians 6:10-12 The Message

And in the infamous words of my adult BFF, Jo, “Just wait — GOD is going to blooooowww your mind!”

It is my heartfelt prayer, Sister, that you surround yourself with those who love and care about your spiritual well being, most importantly your relationship with The Lord Jesus. These handful of dear friends will love you to and through your situations, praying for and with you at every turn. You are invited to start here if you need to build that circle. (((HUGS)))

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwoVisionary

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