Forward Progress

It’s been a while since I’ve really shared about the specific circumstances going on in my life. Thankfully, right now, there seems to be forward progress.

First of all, things have moved ahead in my attempt to get help from the DVRS. They are going to fund my going back to school! I will be attending an Institute where I will study Microsoft Office applications along with Quickbooks software. My goal is to get a job working at a small store (preferably an art store), assisting them with their financial records. My first day of class is actually this upcoming Monday! I am nervous and excited at the same time. I’m hoping that I will be able to keep up with the pace of learning and to comprehend the material. Prayers are much appreciated! 🙂

Secondly, I’ve started a little side business with Steeped Tea, a company that originated in Canada and has now moved to the US as well. Steeped Tea sells delicious loose leaf teas along with adorable tea accessories – and I have the opportunity to share these products with my friends and family. I have to say, it’s been a challenge with my social anxiety, but I am taking it day by day. I’m hosting an “Online Party” right now, and hope to hold an in-home party sometime soon, so that people are able to taste the teas and learn more about their health benefits. If you enjoy tea and would like to learn more, I would LOVE for you to visit my personal Steeped Tea website, A Heart for Tea. Here you will be able to view an online catalog, get to know more about this wonderful company, and make a purchase if you see something that you like!

A third area in which I have made positive strides is my involvement in the Handbell Choir at my church. At first I was SO anxious and perfectionistic, making it quite difficult to enjoy the actual art of making music. But God has been teaching me to let go of the desire to not make any mistakes, and to try to focus on having fun. It is not easy, and I do not always succeed – but I am doing better, and for that I am thankful.

The point of this post is to share my gratefulness to God for answering my prayers and for giving me some forward direction. It’s been a long struggle, but my Lord is faithful – and He is unfolding His plan for me little by little.

Be encouraged! Even if you feel “stuck” where you are right now, change could be right around the corner. ❤

Photo Credit: Amanda Sandlin

Singing in the Fire

The following story was related by Mrs. Charles Spurgeon, who suffered greatly with poor health for more than twenty-five years:

At the end of a dull and dreary day, I lay resting on my couch as the night grew darker. Although my room was bright and cozy, some of the darkness outside seemed to have entered my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. In vain I tried to see the sovereign hand that I knew held mine and that guided my fog-surrounded feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering.

With a sorrowful heart I asked, ‘Why does the Lord deal with a child of His in this way? Why does He so often send such sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does He allow this lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?’

These impatient questions were quickly answered through a very strange language. Yet no interpreter was needed except the mindful whisper of my heart. For a while silence reigned in the little room, being broken only by the crackling of an oak log burning in the fireplace. Suddenly I heard a sweet, soft sound: a faint, yet clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window.

I asked aloud, ‘What can that be? Surely no bird can be singing outside at this time of year or night.’ But again came the faint, mournful notes, so sweet and melodious, yet mysterious enough to cause us to wonder. Then my friend exclaimed, ‘It’s coming from the log on the fire!’ The fire was unshackling the imprisoned music from deep within the old oak’s heart!

Perhaps the oak had acquired this song during the days when all was well with him – when the birds sang merrily on his branches, and while the soft sunlight streaked his tender leaves with gold. But he had grown old and hard since then. Ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up his long-forgotten melody, until the fiery tongues of the flames consumed his callousness. The intense heat of the fire wrenched from him both a song and a sacrifice at once. Then I realized: when the fires of affliction draw songs of praise from us, we are indeed purified, and our God is glorified!

Maybe some of us are like this old oak log: cold, hard, unfeeling, and never singing any melodious sounds. It is the fires burning around us that release notes of trust in God and bring cheerful compliance with His will. As I thought of this, the fire burned, and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely revealed before me.

Yes, singing in the fire! God helping us, sometimes using the only way He can to get harmony from our hard and apathetic hearts. Then, let the furnace be ‘heated seven times hotter than usual ‘ [Daniel 3:19].

~ taken from Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman –  March 13th entry

Photo Credit: Jonas Nilsson Lee

A Time of Transition

It’s been a time of transition.

I’ve begun my business as a Steeped Tea Independent Consultant, and I’m learning more each day. I’m tasting the teas, reading the manuals, connecting with others on social networks. Trying my best to make it work.

I’ve also received notice that I have been approved for funding to go back to school. I will be studying Quickbooks and Microsoft Office, with the goal of securing a job working for a small shop (hopefully art-related), handling their finances. I have mixed feelings: anxiety, excitement, doubt, hope. I’m praying that God will guide and direct.

These steps of faith are good. But they are not coming easily for me. I have daily struggles that threaten to hold me back, but I must trust that what God has started, He will complete. All I can do is continually surrender myself to Him and to tip-toe forward.

Transition can be positive, and I’m hoping…and praying…and trusting, that this time of transition will lead to a place of abundance. I know that it will not come without it’s valleys, because the valleys are always there. But I am grateful for the progress, and looking forward to what the Lord will do.

Photo Credit: Jeff Sheldon