This is the end….

 

Ok, so you are probably wondering why I put a funny cheese commercial at the beginning of this blog post.  Well, it’s kind of long story. So, my short-term disability ran out on October 21, 2016. I thought I was going to be getting a fantastic job, but not quite sure if I was ready to be working full-time with lots of travel. Turns out, they did not feel I had enough experience in an area and not enough knowledge in another area. So I didn’t get the job.

I should note that prior to my short-term disability running out, I applied for Social Security Disability, which takes about 3 months to be approved or denied.

Back to not getting the job. I’m not sure who I spoke to, but was told to file for unemployment because I did not get the job but no longer on short-term disability. I was accepted for unemployment benefits right away, but I had to go through a screening call to make sure I qualify. Well, I got the call, which was not an easy one! The woman wanted to know if I was disabled or employable. I tried to explain that I am employable with limitations. She would not accept my answer. “You are either disabled or employable, Ms Wilson, you can’t be both!” She wanted a note from my doctor saying I was employable without limitations. I felt I was between a rock and a hard place. I won’t tell you that I didn’t cry. I did!

Almost immediately, the Message version of Isaiah 43:1-4 came to my mind.

When You’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

43 1-4 But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
    the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead-end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

Also, a song started in my heart:

When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan’s manifested schemes
And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fears
Don’t let the faith you’re standing in, seem to disappear

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seems to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

I felt comforted by God. I know He loves me, He has a plan and He is in control. Later in the day I ended up at a Job Center for a class. Ironically my badge had expired even though I was doing things to keep it active, so I had to meet with a counselor for a new badge. I met with a lady who is a Sister-in-Christ and she told me that she could not tell me what to do but to trust God to show me what was the best thing to do. She explained that with me being “employable with limitations” that I would qualify for job training (which I was not eligible of getting before because I didn’t qualify and because they didn’t have funding) and possibly help from Department of Rehabilitation (which I also had applied for).

I had pretty much decided that I would not worry about losing unemployment thinking I might get Social Security Disability. However, I called UCSF to talk to them about what they thought I should do. No one contacted me back in time to do anything about unemployment, so when the letter of denial for unemployment came, I was not surprised at all.

This morning, I was looking at my bookshelf and opened a devotional book I have not read yet. There was a challenge on the page I turned to, so I read it since I like challenges. It read:

“Challenge: Today make the LORD your dwelling place. Let Him be the one that delivers you from your enemies. As you talk and pray to God, ask Him to show you the best way to handle a current crisis. Like He did with David, He will deliver you. May God bless you.”

I decided to verbally acknowledge the LORD as my dwelling place to at least take part of the challenge. I started to pray, “God, I don’t have a current crisis that I know of….” Immediately I thought “you won’t receive Social Security Disability.” I knew that it was the LORD and not the enemy. And as crazy as it may seem, I heard the mailman drop the mail in the box right then. Sure enough to His word, I received a letter from Social Security that I do not qualify for Social Security Disability because according to my doctor at UCSF I am “employable with limitations”.

I could not believe it! Well I could, but I couldn’t. The same thing that disqualified me from receiving unemployment was also disqualifying me from receiving Social Security Disability! Wow! That is just unbelievable!

No Bible verses came to mind. No songs of hope sprang up in my heart. Just the enemy telling me that I thought I was at the end before but now I was at the end. “There’s no hope for Michelle…she will not be able to get the training she thought she would be able to get since she won’t have any form of income from State or Government!”

Then a song arose but not one from God. “This is the end, beautiful friend, This is the end, my only friend, the end. Of our elaborate plans, the end.”

I was sure that I have seen a video of a mouse in a trap with this same music playing. You think, “poor mouse!” It truly looks like the end for the poor critter. And that is what it feels like for me right now. But the mouse ate strong cheese and as a result was able to “bench press” the bar that had snapped to take life from its body to the tune of Eye of the Tiger! Hee hee! My God is much stronger than the strongest cheese! He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  He is my dwelling place and He will deliver me from my enemies.

I love when I can laugh at Satan. He may think that I am at the end, “But my God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). I laugh at Satan, not because I know God’s plan or how provision will come in, but because I know God is faithful!

Tonight when I talked to my housemate about my day, she told me, “I want you to know, you will not be kicked out of my house if you can not come up with rent! Just know that, ok?” I am already praising God for the blessing of the beautiful home I am living in as well as the generosity my housemate has already shown me. Now I praise God all the more for an assurance of housing in a time of uncertainty with my finances. God is already showing Himself faithful!  Praise God not only is He my dwelling place, but He has provided a dwelling place!

Making Kingdom use of the time

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Today I was reminded of something I prayed the other day. I am so tired of wasting my time on Facebook, playing games, looking at the guys on Christian Mingle, reading the funny pages…etc! I want to be using my time for Kingdom purposes! Today as I was studying Ecclesiastes with a friend, she mentioned Psalm 90:12. We talked about the difference between worldly wisdom and the wisdom of God. We are to ask God for His wisdom.

After my friend left, I was reminded of the prayer I prayed that I might use the time I have here on earth for Kingdom purposes. YES! This is what I want. I want to number my days and use them wisely.

So I thought it odd when I felt like I was supposed to walk to the Post Office taking a route that led me past Target. I found myself questioning the LORD. I have too many things. Why do I need to go to Target?img_20160831_160559 “Cookie Cutter”. Ok, I am supposed to look for a cookie cutter – which kind of makes sense since the package I was taking to the Post Office was cow gingerbread cookies for my Step Mom Belva Kay (well and for my Dad too! But Kay is the cow person.)

I like to surprise people and God will occasionally show me who to surprise and how to surprise them. (I ought to ask more Him more often!)

I thought about my timing. It was already 1:11pm and we have been going through a warm spell the last couple of days. I would be going in the heat of the day, but knowing God is my shelter, I ventured out.

It was very warm, but there was a nice cool breeze, so it wasn’t too bad! I got the package sent and then headed to Target. I looked and looked for a cookie cutter. Finally I found a set of 3 but I really did not feel like that is what I was to buy. So, I questioned if I was hearing the LORD correctly. Then as I was about to give up, I decided to look into the Halloween section. As I passed the first aisle of Halloween, I noticed a very nicely dressed middle aged woman. She was beautiful, but I thought she might think I was strange if I walked up and told her that. So I went to the baking section. I was intently looking at the cookie cutters when the woman stopped right next to me.  I told her, “you are beautiful!” She blushed and thanked me then told me that I am beautiful too. Then she moved her hand and I saw a very fancy cross on her necklace. Then I said, “oh that makes sense – the light and joy of the LORD are on you.” She again blushed and told me that she tries to walk in that. “Oh I know how that is,” I said, “I have to say, ‘Less of me and more of You LORD!'” She agreed and then told me that her children and grandchildren all lived out of state. She was thinking about sending them something for Halloween but wondered if she should bother. I told her I was looking at the cookie cutters but that I no longer celebrate Halloween, instead I celebrate the harvest. She liked that very much. She told me that she had many pumpkin things at home that she could use but couldn’t find anything she liked at the store. I decided on the 4 different sized pumpkin cookie cutters instead of the fancy pumpkin cookie cutter with a bat. The lady then told me to have a good harvest. I said, “God bless you!”

As we parted, I almost cried. I used to ask God for Kingdom appointments but have not asked Him in a long time!  All I could do was praise God for allowing me some Kingdom work.

As I walked toward the cash register, I thought I would check the price of cereal. One that I used to buy was a decent price. I checked the sugar content because I am trying real hard to get off processed sugar. “Wow, 8 grams of sugar!”, I thought. As I put the box back on the shelf a woman was reaching for it. I said, “I didn’t think it had sugar in it, but it does!” The woman said, “I don’t think so,” as she looked for herself. “Wow! That’s crazy that this company gave into the sugar fad. This is supposed to be a healthy cereal!” I told her that one of the cereals that I eat which is sugar-free is “Uncle Sam”. After we talked about it, she told me that she was glad to have bumped into me so that she would know the new info.

After she thanked me, I went on my way. “Thank You LORD for another appointment.” I really want my life to matter. I want to encourage people, to surprise people and to see people walking in their God given gifts. I want to make the most of the time I have. Yes LORD, Yes LORD, Yes, Yes LORD, AMEN!

Today’s encouragement: I encourage you to ask the LORD to help you to make the best use of the time you have been given. Ask God to help you use your time for Kingdom purposes. Then please share what God has you do with your time.

Psalm 90:17May the favora of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.