Daniel --- week 2

Relying on faith rather than my own understanding....

That's what I've chosen to write about this week, mainly because that is one of the most gargantuous problems in my life. I'm a nurse. I fix things. Need an IV started? I'm your gal. Having trouble latching a baby to a breast? I can help. High risk delivery? I'll be right there.

So when it comes to finding solutions, I so desperately want to be in charge. Right now, my family is at a standstill of sorts. My husband is at a point in his seminary career that we can now move on. We can move off campus, out of this dinky little apartment into the real world again. He can finish everything online, even.

My husband, by the way, is a genius. No really. He is smart and funny and has had a very successful career as a writer, columnist, and reporter. After Hurricane Katrina, we surrendered to ministry. We sold our house and moved to New Orleans. He gave up a job as the managing editor of a successful newspaper and went to work in the seminary's PR office, making about half the salary he was making at the paper. But we both felt it was what God wanted. We felt sure. We felt peace.

Fast forward 4 years and here we sit. At a standstill. Paul has sent resumes all over the country. Nothing. Nada. Ništa. Or, since we're discussing seminary, δεν.

Not knowing what is happening, or what will happen, is a problem for me. I want a plan. I want to know what God is up to. Frankly, He's been pretty silent about all this. In my believer's head I know that He is at work and He has a plan. I could go on and on with examples of how He has shut doors in our family's past that we later found out was for the absolute best. I know that. I pray for those doors to close. I pray that He will give Paul and I a desire for His plan and His purpose.

This would be where that thing called faith comes in. Thank goodness there are 2 of us in this marriage, or I'd have surely blown it by now. I emailed my husband some jobs that were so far out of the "ministry" realm it was laughable. He just gently reminded me "we don't want to take our eyes off the ball...". Faith.

I love in the second chapter of Daniel how he went and made an appointment with the king before he knew what the king's dream was. He had faith that God would reveal it to him. And then he enlisted his prayer partners and they beseeched God together. Wow. If that ain't a kick in the pants.

I have so much to learn. Like Robin said in her post, "at this point in my Christian life I should be showing more maturity than I do." For a 44 year old woman who has been a Christ-follower for 36 years, my faith should be a whole lot deeper than it is. Humbling, to say the least. Shameful might be more like it.

Daniel showed tremendous faith. So did his buddies Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They joined forces in prayer and God revealed to Daniel mighty and amazing things. Things that not only saved his life (and the lives of his friends), but provided security for him economically and physically. God promises all through His word that He will take care of us and bless us if we will lean on Him. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

Starting today, I'm going to be more deliberate about a few things. First, I'm going to confess to God (and to you, my friends) my sin of wrestling for control. My life belongs to God. It isn't mine to control, it's His.
And in bold, Daniel-esque faith, I am going to ask you to be my prayer partners. I'm going to ask you to pray that God would reveal His plans to me and my family and that we would be 100% obedient to His call.

Whatever that might be.

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. Isaiah 28:8

Daniel Safari.....week 1

I'm safari-ing (is that a word?) through the book of Daniel with some online gals. Before I launch into some lofty theological discourse on the book of Daniel, let me first say that I never get beyond something like the first 5 chapters of Daniel before fear grips me as the prophecies and all those 7's start showing up and, well, scaring me. So this will be a first for me.
A couple of thoughts about the first chapter:
  • Daniel resolved in his heart. In verse 8, he resolved not to defile himself. I love that. He made up his mind. "Resolve" is a word that you hear in conjunction with heroes, Olympic athletes, people overcoming great odds, and occasionally a carpet cleaner. But Daniel knew the right thing to do and did it.
  • God blesses obedience. In verse 15, it says that at the end of the ten days of eating only vegetables and water, the 4 boys looked "healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food." Think of it: offered to you are a beautiful, multi-course meal from the finest restaurant in town. It probably smelled divine. But the boys said no, a salad from McDonald's will do me just fine. That, my friend, is resolve. And God blessed it! More than they could think or imagine.
I've tried all week to think of a time when I stood apart or took a stand for something that I believed in like Daniel did. Honestly, I've never done anything as courageous as Daniel. The only thing that comes even remotely close is simply my day to day walk with Jesus. I work part time as a nurse and talk about my life and my struggles just like everyone else. I complain and grumble. I even slip up and say a bad word every now and then. I hope that my co-workers and my patients see a little tiny glimpse of a speck of Jesus in me, but I'm not so sure they do.

However, God is teaching me. One of His most powerful tools are through my children. The 8 year old came home last week with this story:

Tucker got in the car and told me that he was talking to a few of his classmates (who are Jewish). They were talking about Christian vs Jewish holidays and finally Tucker said, "I know you don't believe in Jesus. But all you have to do is read the New Testament. Then you will see that Jesus is God's Son." The kids replied, "Yeah, but Tucker, the NT isn't part of *our* Bible. We don't believe it." And Tucker said, "Well, just read it. Then you'll see." Very simple. Very straighforward. But to an 8 year old who is as social and friendly as they come, he risked them making fun of him or ostracizing him to share the truth of Jesus.

When I grow up I want to be like Tucker.