The Open Door

Acts 14:27

And when they arrived, they gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.

Thought for the Day:  God opens doors

For two years, I found out yesterday, well a little shy of two years, a precious lady at our church has been praying diligently for me to find a job.  As she came up to me yesterday at church, “How have things worked out for you in finding a teaching position?”  Excitedly I told her that I do have a position for the next school year.  She teared up and said, “I have been praying for you….I always love hearing about prayers answered as it reminds me that prayers work.”  She has been a constant encourager for my family and me through this time since we have been in Georgia, and the love shows on her face every time we are in conversation with her.  As I shared with her about all the different doors that seemed to close for me, even after having great interviews, was discouraging at the time and I wondered why God was closing the doors.  I didn’t get it.  Then, when a long-term substitute position opened at my son’s school, I jumped in and began work.  I loved my work and was encouraged every day by those around me, but having it lead to a full-time position was not clear.  Then the day came, at 9:30 in the evening, when I was offered a position in the school nearest me…and in one of the best elementary schools around.

I shared with our sweet friend that at that moment, I knew why the previous doors had been closed.  God simply did not want me to walk through them.  Two days ago, we drove by another school in our area where I interviewed.   The building is exactly like the building where I got a position.  As I drove by I shared with my child, “Honey, can you see that school is the same type of building as your school?”.  “If I had been offered a position and taken it, I would not be at your school next year.  God closed that door and I am so glad.”

Many prayed for me and could not understand why so many doors were shut for me.  But then the door that was supposed to open did….and God let me walk through.  God knew, but I believe God wanted me to interview in the different schools.  He knew that I needed to receive knowledge through each of those interviews of steps I needed to take.  Through those interviews, I realized that I needed an extra endorsement on my teaching certificate – ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).  So, I studied and took the ESOL test and passed.  Adding that endorsement helped in my search of a position, but more than that it gave me essential skills to succeed in my new position.  God said yes and opened the door when HE knew it was the right one – because HE led me to that widely opened door.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for friends who pray for us and encourage us in such special ways.  Through the prayers of those remarkable people, we realize how You listen to us.  Thank you also, God, for the closed doors that keep us from going into places you do not want us to go.  Thank you for making clear the open doors we are to enter.  You are awesome!  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Friends who are encouragers

The Praying Hands

imageIsaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Thought for the Day:   As we remember loved ones, let us remember how they led us is our faith journey.

Looking through things at my family cabin last week to decide what needed to stay for sale or needed to be packed to bring home was difficult.  In every drawer, cabinet, shelf, or display was something that brought back memories.  The drawers contained trinkets and items that are not worth anything, but when I pulled them out I remembered special things about my Daddy and Mama.  Fishing reels, weights, and lures brought to my mind memories of my Daddy preparing for his fishing days.  Decoupage boxes and pictures were everywhere, hanging on walls and laying in display cases, reminding me of my mother’s many hours in our home kitchen gluing, sanding, varnishing, fine sanding, and buffing the pieces to perfection.  Boxes of puzzles and games such as Trivia Pursuit and Monopoly reminded me of all the puzzle and game times our family had together while we visited the cabin.  The item that grabbed my attention the most and probably was the item I packed the quickest was my Daddy’s praying hands sculpture.  During the years since we visited the cabin, I have wondered where that sculpture ended up.  I thought maybe I had packed it in the attic years ago or that something else had happened to it.  I had been concerned a few times about its whereabouts.  I found a special part of my family memory and now it is a part of our new home.

What was so special about that sculpture?  I have a couple of other praying hand sculptures in our house and I have seen many in stores I have visited.  What makes that special is that it was special to my Daddy and that it was always placed in our home as a constant reminder to pray.  That sculpture adorned special places in my parent’s homes, but it must have adorned my memories as well.  In these years since I last remembered seeing the praying hands, I have often thought about them and wondered where they were.  As a child, people and places become important to our faith journey, and we remember those people and places fondly.  As a child, the praying hands became an important part of my faith journey.  It wasn’t the sculpture though, it was that it was a part of my Daddy’s faith journey and since he shared his faith with me, it is now a part of my faith journey.  What do I think of now as I look over at the Praying Hands on the hearth?  My Daddy’s faith in our precious God.  What do I want my children to think about when they look over at the Praying Hands on the hearth?  Their Mama’s and Grandfather’s faith in our precious God.

Prayer:   God, thank you for memories of times past.  Thank you for memories of not only our faith journeys but the faith journeys of those who have gone before.  As we remember our loved ones in special ways, let us remember most where their faith helped us in our faith journey.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Faith Journey