Wings of the Dawn

January 2016

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." {Psalm 139:9-10}

New Format

Okay, I guess it's a bit obvious, but I'm trying out a new format for my newsletter. I've been sensing the Lord saying the for the past few issues that I need to be ready to try something new, and last week's theft of my computer {see below} made the hypothetical change a necessary one. So please bear with me while I get the bugs worked out! :) And hopefully, once I can replace the computer, I'll be able to find some software that will make it possible for me to continue with a similar (though updated) format to what I had before. That's all... carry on. :)

New Years Bring New Adventures

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father…”

Such truth! And so evident in my life this past year!

I’ve had many “adventures” in this first year of living in SC. There was the adventure of job hunting, the adventure of my JEEP dying on me while driving DOWN a mountain, the adventure of training for a race, the adventure of driving 600 miles on my own for the first time, the adventure of having my house be broken into, the adventure of working retail during the holidays… all these stories could fill this newsletter with glimpses into my crazy life. But the one thing each of the stories has in common is that God used every one to show me His faithfulness.

“All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided…”

First, the job. Before I moved here, I had a job lined up that promised many hours. Upon arrival in SC, I quickly found out that the hours weren’t going to be quite what I’d thought. So began a search for a second job- one that might actually pay the bills. Almost immediately, God literally handed me a job in the retail store at Cracker Barrel. (Miraculous in its own right- NO ONE hires in January!!!) This turned out to be the PERFECT job for me; one that utilizes my organizational and detail oriented skills, as well as presenting me with a challenge to grow in my people skills [*ahem* INTROVERT!!!] and practice adaptability.

Within a few short months of beginning the job, I was made Merchandise Handler (the person in charge of setting up all the new displays, stocking out the sales floor, keeping the stockroom in order, and processing all the incoming merchandise). This position gave me more responsibility and more one on one interaction with my manager and crew. (An unforeseen perk to my job is the amazing people I get to work with and invest in! A few are Christians, but most are unbelievers, and I have been both amazed and blessed by the love God has given me for them, the relationships I’ve developed, and the open doors to talk about Christ with so many of them.)

Yes, this job puts food on my table and keeps a roof over my head, but even more than that I get to go to work every day and see God build His Kingdom a little bit at a time through my interactions there. I love it!

“Thine own dear Presence to cheer and to guide…”

This year has been unquestionably marked by the word: JOY.

I have seen myself grow in joy- to be filled with an unquenchable spirit of joy, no matter the circumstances. It’s not happiness (happiness comes and goes, and can never be simultaneously felt with sorrow, fear, hurt, or loneliness), but rather it’s a deep, abiding joy that stays constant even in the midst of hurt and sorrow.

The reason for this joy is the Holy Spirit living within me.

That’s the beauty of the life of a Believer!

So many people think that being a Christian means working really hard to make Jesus proud by being good all the time. But that’s so wrong! Being a Christian means letting go of your own self effort and trusting Jesus to work His life out through you by the power of His Holy Spirit dwelling within you. It has nothing to do with you at all! He does the work.

This isn’t a new revelation for me, but it’s a revelation that has certainly started to become a reality in my life this year. Fact is, I can’t do this thing called “life” (as a Christian or otherwise). I can’t make ends meet, be my own breadwinner. I can’t figure out taxes, fix my car, navigate through insurance, or be an “adult”. I don’t understand the finer points of finance, relationships, communication, or social graces. I’m helpless! But in recognizing the desperation of my need, I’ve found the Helper Who will never leave me or forsake me, the Friend Who sticks closer than a brother, the God Who knows my form and remembers that I am dust, the Helper of the fatherless, the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, my Creator. He’s the One Who gives me:

“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…”

Especially during the dark times.

No doubt about it, those who are allied with the King of kings and the Lord of lords have an enemy who despises them. He is constantly out to steal, kill, and destroy. This fact hit home in a new way last week.

I came home from work late one evening to find that our house had been broken into, ransacked, and robbed. The house that we three roomies declared to be a place of refuge and peace; a place of restoration (especially for the foster children in our care, but also for anyone who would come with need). That refuge was violated in a big way. I won’t say we weren’t shaken by it. Our peace was taken for a while, and an unwelcome spirit of fear definitely settled in our home, but through it all our faith was unshaken. Even the night it happened, as we waited for forensics to arrive, Ashlyn and I sat there praising God that no one was hurt, marveling that we felt no ill will towards the person who did it, and rejoicing in the fact that God only allows things in our lives that will ultimately work for our good. Yes, we suffered a huge loss financially (my computer was one of the many items stolen- hence the fact this newsletter is totally different than you’ve seen it before), but that is nothing in the grand scheme of life. Our perfectly loving Heavenly Father has given us strength for today, and we have bright hope for the good He will bring out of this in the future!

“Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

Looking back on all that has happened over the past 12 months, I can't help but be excited for what the year ahead of us holds.

Blessings, indeed! Blessing upon blessing! My heart overflows with excitement, gratefulness, gratitude, hope, joy, promise, and purpose. “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)