Life is Hard!

I am a strong believer that God uses everything that happens in life to teach us something about Himself if we will just listen to His Spirit and allow Him to instruct us. Then I search God’s Word to see what God has specifically said regarding what the Spirit has impressed upon my mind.

I am a pen turner and I love to work at my lathe. I have learned many things about life as I work at my lathe. Each step of the process in turning a piece of wood or antler into a pen is painful to the material with which I am working. The process includes cutting, drilling, shaping, sanding, polishing, friction, and pressure. But when the process is complete the material has been transformed; it has new beauty, value, and purpose. Something of little value now has greater value, all because it endured a painful process! Life is full of difficulties and it easy to become overwhelmed. But there is a purpose behind each hardship; they are all part of a process to shape and mold us into some of greater value and purpose. My desire in writing this blog is to encourage and maybe stir up some conversation with the lessons that God has been teaching me through the painful process of life. Life is hard, but God is good. May He continue working His process in my life.

If you are going to read any of my posts be sure to ready "Introduction to Lessons from the Lathe". In that post I lay out the basis for all the other blogs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Certification Test Quickly Approaching

Greetings friends. It has been a pleasure to be able to write positive and upbeat updates again. God has been doing amazing things in my life and the life of our family and I can't help but rejoice and praise Him for it. Not that God hasn't always been at work and doing what is best for our family, even in the worst of times; I was just too consumed with "my problems" to recognize His presence.

My health has been much better lately. I enjoy being active again. Walking, either on the treadmill or with Brenda early in the morning, is something to which I look forward each day. I am rediscovering how good your body can feel after a little exertion.

I am enjoying rising early for extended quiet times with The Lord before getting the kids up for school. Brenda laughs at me (gets frustrated with me really) because I have my "workstation" around my recliner. I have my crate which holds my systematic theology books, a couple of books on prayer, my Sunday school curriculum on Baptist Distinctives, and other assorted study materials. The end table on one side holds my iPad, Computer reference book, and study cards. The end table on the other side holds the devotional book that I am going through with the kids and is where I keep my coffee cup. On the ledge of the windowsill next to me, I keep my box of pencils, pens, and highlighters, my glasses, and other miscellaneous materials. I guess I can understand her frustration now that I look at it a bit more closely! Anyway, I am finding such joy in reading, studying, and praying through all these materials. God is speaking to me so clearly and I just can't get enough of His Word.

God has been giving me lots of opportunities to develop my computer skills in practical ways. I have had so many friends bringing their computers to me so that I can clean them up and get them running efficiently. Many have donated their old systems to me; a lot of them heavily infect or not operating. I think that has been the most beneficial part of my training. It is good to study it in a book; but when you can actually get into it and experience it, it just sticks with you that much better. It is really cool when I get paid for my time; it is like God is saying, "If you are faithful to do the things I ask (like complete this training) I will be faithful to provide for your needs."

My pen business has all of a sudden picked up. I had a small sale last week. The customer was so pleased with her purchase that she contacted me to purchase 20 more! When someone is that pleased with your work it is a huge boost in confidence. So on top of all my studies and computer work, I am busily working at getting this order together. God is good.

With all that is going on, I am having to work real hard at being disciplined to stay focused on getting ready for my certification tests. The first test is Thursday, May 22, and the second will be the following Thursday. I feel pretty confident about the the first test but I never feel completely ready. There is always more to review, always more to memorize, and always more to practice. Brenda is constantly telling me not to stress, that I know more than I give myself credit, and that I am better prepared than I think. But I am the type of person who does not want to give myself the excuse that I have not done all that I can to be prepare. Pray for me and my family as I get through these next two weeks.

I had an opportunity to go visit one of the locations that is run by the organization which paid for my training and for which I may work in the near future. I was very impressed. Not only do they pay well and give benefits, they understand people who live with disabilities and chronic illness. Everyone that is a part of the organization has a document illness or disability, because of this the organization goes to great lengths to help facilitate the success of each individual. I am excited for the potential of working for such a great organization. If all goes well; I pass the test, get through my final interview, and pass my security clearance (they have a contract with the Department of Agriculture;) I would begin working in September or October.

My plans for the summer are working at the camp 4 days a week, doing my internship two days, and on the seventh day...! It is going to be a crazy summer but I am really looking forward to it. At camp I will be working with the worship team; mentoring, putting together the song list and helping to create the service flow, and maybe playing along with them. It is great to have the opportunity to pass on things that I have gleaned from my years of experience and watching others grow in their ministry. I feel blessed to have this opportunity.

There is so much more that I could share, but I have rambled on far too long and I need to get back to my studies. Thanks for all of you who have faithfully followed our journey and have prayed for us through out the years. Your support and love are what God uses to keep us going. Remember to pray especially for my upcoming certification test.

God is good!