Okay, so much for writing everyday or at the very least more than the two times I have written this month. It isn’t because Jesus and I haven’t been busy or because we haven’t had anything to share, it is simply being too wrapped in other things together that we haven’t had a moment to write and post but trust me…He is still all over our lives.
My daughter is still in California and her boyfriend’s family is being tested in situations that need prayer (and they are getting it). I could not be more bummed that Baby moved but am reminded daily why Jesus let her go on this road trip “….for such a time is this.” Esther 4:14. She is able to help this family in a way they would never ask for but, because of Him, they don’t have to. It was great to be let in on this part of His plan this week and to share with the mom of this family…a bit of comfort in knowing they are not alone and despite never meeting, they are part of our family…tied together by our children. My husband is still unemployed but Jesus is giving us glimpses of His plan for us with each phone call, email, interview, or JobShop. Friends are being called for references and his diligence is unwavering. My husband is truly living the “Faith and Footwork” promise we made to Him for this year and I know that we will be let in on the full part of the employment plan he has for us soon. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD….” Jeremiah 29:11-14
As my husband was at an all day JobShop offered by our church, I “went to work” in my library/office; just me and Cardboard Jesus. I have been blessed to sew journal covers and scripture sleeves for an upcoming Women’s Conference that a fellow Lyla is presenting at next weekend. She has asked me to bring my ministry to the women attending that conference so they may have to opportunity to purchase something as a “marker” of the importance of the event or what they have gotten out of it. “She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.” Proverbs 31:13 (I don’t work with wool and flax but fabric. It just means that she is skilled in working with textiles to provide for the clothing needs of her household….. I can do that.) “She perceives that her merchandise is profitable, Her lamp does not go out at night.” Proverbs 31:18 (Profitable indicates that she is able to realize economic gain from the diligence of her labor, which she uses to purchase a field and provide for her household. I am not looking to purchase a field anytime soon but helping to provide for my household while my husband is looking for work, is a great thing … simply by using my sewing machine from mom and my skills given to me by Him. My lamp does go out at night although some days it goes out a little later than others so I can meet my self-appointed quota for the day in order to make more products to sell at this conference or others; or craft shows at churches, etc.) “She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.” Proverbs 31:24 (This indicates skill in creating clothing of beauty and value. Such activity exemplifies a high degree of entrepreneurial skill and responsibility in making financial decisions and undertaking commercial activity. Wow…. I like to think that when Jesus and I are working in my library/office that we put out things of beauty with His word on them, that people want. Everything I do is for Him and he is giving me these opportunities to not just make this a “hobby” ministry but one that can sustain our family a bit while getting His word out there.)
During the Christmas services at our church, our pastor told a story. Two men pass in the hallway of a church; two men than have worked together for 10+ years. They both have this look as they approach each other and say “Hey, Tom, how’s it going? Wow… I didn’t know you went here.” The other replies “Yeah, awesome. So, you’re one of “us”, huh? I had NO idea.”
Can you imagine? Working with someone that long and not only did they not know that you were at the same church (which would be easy since our church is pretty big) BUT, they didn’t know that either were a Christian. Our pastor said that if your life is truly transformed and you have been changed IN HIM….you won’t have to tell a single person. They will know it by the way that you act and present yourself. Hence… I think that EVERYDAY should be “Take Jesus to Work Day.” Granted, it would be easier if everyone had their own personal Savior (Cardboard Jesus…like I do) but that isn’t what it is about. I know that people in my life KNOW that I have changed and been transformed because of the way I act and present myself. I don’t have to drag my Cardboard Cut-Out with me as proof. If we all had Jesus with us in our hearts and “took Him to work with us” everyday, imagine the lives that could be touched and possibly changed by simple actions; Christian actions, us being more like Him.
First I was the girl that was transparent in bible study; spilling her “stuff” out on the second week. Telling my story and where I came from just to give them a glimpse of what Jesus has done for me in my life. The result: Others following suit, being bold and telling their “stuff,” knowing that what “Happened in Bible Study….stayed in Bible Study.” A group of 10ish women bonding through the study (The Sacred Echo) but finding more than that in friendships, stronger relationships with Him….and each other. Now, secondly…since being home from California, I am the girl that is not just transparent but “silly” in a way. My relationship with Jesus is personal. More personal than I ever imagined and one I could not be more thankful for. My friends know that I am the one that talks to him like he is my imaginary friend, the one that I ask advice from, talk with as if he is in the room…no matter where that room is. I have never been one that is great at “praying” but He and I have THE best conversations ever because He listens.
When my husband and friends asked how this relationship evolved to what it is today, it sounds almost sad in its explanation, but I say simply… “I was lonely.” I had a lot of time to myself when in California and no matter how much my friends and family in Michigan connected with me…it just seemed like it wasn’t enough and I was missing out. I turned to the Word…His word. I found “friends” by reading the bible. It was like reading a novel and being sucked in, having these stories and letters become stories about people I passed on the street and letters that Paul wrote to me. (It is a bit like “The Bachelor” in that I know he was “talking” to others and forming relationships with other people but in my mind….it was all about me; advice that he was giving to me to pass along to others, and I couldn’t get enough).
But, my Lylas love me anyway…maybe even more since I have returned than before I left…if that is possible. And I know that I have come to be closer to them since my return and I can’t help but think it is all HIM and because WE are closer. Sure, I am the transparent, silly Lyla. I am the one that says it’s okay to talk about Jesus like you really had coffee with him that morning or you talked with him about a specific situation and “You know what Jesus had to say? Oh my gosh…let me tell you.”
You don’t have to have a 6’2” Cardboard Jesus like I do, in order to take him to work with you; or to take him along to a hockey game like we just went to last night. He is with us always and others will see Him in us, no matter where we are…if we are truly transformed in Him and want to be more like him. My good friend Paul says it more perfectly than I could ever attempt….
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” Philippians 3:12-4:1
Now… I want to share links of a couple of my Lylas that DO take Jesus to work with them because they are His entrepreneurs and do His will every time they put together a talk or piece of jewelry in His name or write about Him for others to see his awesome will in their lives through their devotions.
Shameless plugs for the work we do in Jesus because He rocks and we can’t help but share that.
My ministry for bible covers, scripture sleeves, and ideas we chat about while Jesus and I work together. (My website is still a work in progress….but so am I. I promise to have it functioning by the end of the week and look forward to any feedback you have to give.)
Lynnette and her amazing insight into jewelry and His word. I would love to be more like her when I grow up and thank Jesus for the friendship that he brought to me in her every day. And you know what? He NEVER gets tired of hearing it OR about her when we chat over coffee.
Heather and the gift she has for wanting to show other women the vision He has given her for their lives and the encouragement she extends to others on their path to find their destiny He always intended for them; through her blog and through her ministry at HBMinistries.