Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Do I REALLY trust the LORD?

I am about to find out how much I trust the LORD, or not. Come August, I will be leaving my family electrical business and pursuing full-time counseling. For the past year, I have been counseling one to two days in Saltillo. For the past 11 years, I have done it part-time. Things are changing, though. I am pursuing it FULL time, for my livelihood, for the first time ever (since 2002).

I am excited and know God has led me to this point, but just typing that sentence and making it public knowledge triggers my anxiety! There's no pretending. I am taking a huge step of faith.

I am thankful for my dad and his "crew" at Rebel. He believed in me enough to bring me into the family business to learn it. He has provided for me and my family in so many ways. I have learned tons and am forever grateful. I know he's a bit sad and disappointed that he isn't passing it on to me. He wishes I would take over, and at first that was my plan. I have been "straddling the fence" for quite some time now, trying to decide if I wanted to pursue it or not. I finally made a decision. One that I feel is right, but is not easy.

I don't know why I am making it so complicated. I wish it wasn't a big deal. But to me, it is. I am slow to make big decisions, maybe because I feel a bit insecure, fear failure, fear not being able to provide for my family's financial needs, etc. After doing it a year here in North MS, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt (well, maybe a small piece of doubt, ha) that God is leading me to it. He has confirmed it in so many ways, even recently.

There are lots of reasons I "shouldn't"  pursue counseling full-time:
  • My past sin and moral failure
  • The economy
  • Uncertainty
  • The licensing board
  • Certain people's opinion
I acknowledge these reasons but refuse to let them decide my future. At the end of the day, I believe God is opening up the door for me to pursue full-time counseling. I don't know how, when, or how fast it will happen, but I have to trust His plan is best. No more settling for less.

I believe I have a message of hope to offer my clients, particularly in their marriage and in the lives of men. I feel more confident as a counselor than ever before because of what God has done and is doing in my life and marriage. I want to use my personal tragedy and moral failure FOR GOOD. I was tempted to give into despair in 2011, but God kept moving me away from shame and toward something positive. Only He can turn something so ugly into something beautiful. I know that I must keep doing my own recovery work if I am to remain faithful and growing as a follower of Christ, husband, counselor, father and friend.

August is probably one of the most expensive months of the year for us. Or, some years it has felt that way. I don't know if we will have enough money to pay all of our expenses, while remaining faithful to give to the church. When the bank account is low, will I trust? When money for bills isn't available on certain days, will I trust? When I have a slow week of client appointments, will I still trust?

I know I will have some anxious days and stress. I already have this summer and the past two years. In many ways I am starting my career over. It takes time to build a private practice and establish credibility, especially after such a fallout I experienced. Will I trust in the mean time? I know God is faithful, so will I rest in Him or give in to fear?

Last Sunday pastor Whit preached on Isaiah 36 and 37. Just what I needed to hear! Basically, King Hezekiah was facing defeat and all looked hopeless. There seemed to be "no way" he and his people would survive. So King Hezekiah laid before the LORD a letter full of threats that he had received from his enemy. Hezekiah pleaded to God for help and asked Him to intercede.

Isaiah 37:15-20 (The Message):
  15-20 Then Hezekiah prayed to God: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies, enthroned over the cherubim-angels, you are God, the only God there is, God of all kingdoms on earth. You made heaven and earth. Listen, O God, and hear. Look, O God, and see. Mark all these words of Sennacherib that he sent to mock the living God. It’s quite true, O God, that the kings of Assyria have devastated all the nations and their lands. They’ve thrown their gods into the trash and burned them—no great achievement since they were no-gods anyway, gods made in workshops, carved from wood and chiseled from rock. An end to the no-gods! But now step in, O God, our God. Save us from him. Let all the kingdoms of earth know that you and you alone are God.”

Guess what? The LORD answered his prayer and came through. Are we surprised that God can do what seems impossible? Sadly at times, yes. Skip over to Isaiah 37:33-38 (The Message): 
Finally, this is God’s verdict on the king of Assyria: “Don’t worry, he won’t enter this city, won’t let loose a single arrow, Won’t brandish so much as one shield, let alone build a siege ramp against it. He’ll go back the same way he came. He won’t set a foot in this city. God’s Decree. I’ve got my hand on this city to save it, save it for my very own sake, but also for the sake of my David dynasty."
Then the Angel of God arrived and struck the Assyrian camp—185,000 Assyrians died. By the time the sun came up, they were all dead—an army of corpses! Sennacherib, king of Assyria, got out of there fast, back home to Nineveh. As he was worshiping in the sanctuary of his god Nisroch, he was murdered by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer. They escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon became the next king.
And the crowd goes wild!!!!!! The LORD did the unimaginable and gave victory to His people when there seemed to be no hope!!!! Surely I can trust a God who is capable of wiping out an army of 185,000 to help me provide for my family. Surely!!!!

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!!!!!

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