Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Archive for the ‘finances’ Category

Bugs on the windshield

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There is a Jamie Grace song “Beautiful” that was playing on my headphones when the text message came in..

On the way to work – car died
Car wont turn over
roadside assistance here now
roadside left, waiting tow truck
towed to garage, waiting on the mechanic
head gasket blown, oil and radiator fluid everywhere – too costly to repair

Words fell like bullets into my gut.  And yet the song continued to play and the lyrics jumped into my consciousness:

When trouble seems to rain on my dreams
It’s not a big, not a big deal
Let it wash all the bugs off my windshield
Cause You’re showing me in You I’m free
And You’re still the refuge
That I’ve just got to get to
So I won’t let a day go, won’t let a day go by
So put the drop top down, turn it up,
I’m ready to fly.    – Beautiful, Jamie Grace

By faith i will not focus on the trauma of the loss of our only vehicle.  By faith i will let this rain storm wash all the bugs off my windshield, and trust this is working toward a greater goal.

Its strange to say I have a deep peace in this decision. I will trust God for the provision of a vehicle, which will be functional, and which we can afford.  He has provided our every need in the past, and he changes not… so

“Lord, this is your strength. You own the cattle on a thousand hills, and your wealth is beyond what we might understand.  You have told us that you are our loving father, and that if a child would ask his father for a fish would he give a snake instead (no, absolutely not), or would he give a stone for bread. No, you are good, and even before we were aware of the need you knew.  You hold everything in your control.  Please lead us and guide us to the vehicle you wish us to find, and provide the means to purchase it.  Today, unwaveringly i will trust you for this.  You are indeed worthy to be trusted, and i thank you now in advance knowing that an answer is at hand.  Amen”

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Written by Barbara Bloom

January 15, 2014 at 9:49 AM

God is Good… all the time

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Years ago that was a very popular expression in the city churches… and i remember hearing a large african american woman say that all the time.  Her life was a story of challenge, trial, adversity, and loss.  It seemed that at almost every turn she expereinced yet one more departure from normal and mundane life.. but she always came back with that response “god is good… all the time… and all the time… God is good.”  Intellectually i understood her cry, and in my head i knew this to be true.  Every passage of scripture backed her statement up… and in every instance where an older saint came to the notice of the world for something heroic, startling or shocking it was always the same song… God is good… all the time.

I am not heartless, and i do not forget to connect my heart to my knowledge, but there was one thing missing from my life those years ago… it was that direct and immediate application of this principle in my own life.  Until our job loss my view was that God was indeed good… he provided cars, a job for each of us, and good health, all the food we wanted, and a life filled with stuff.  We could buy whatever we wanted.. well, almost everything.  He provided warmth in the winter, and fresh cool breeze in the summer…. and we were very insulated from the palpable cry hidden in that woman’s statement.  For we knew a god that prevented us from knowing the pain of joblessness, or of death.  He was a God of the mountain tops….

and it was only when our jobless adventure took us deep into the valley and the shadows of death that we really understood the goodness of God, walking us through times when we were not certain how any bills would be paid, or if we would have food on the table.  He provided.  Never beyond exactly what we needed, but his provision has been right on time, precise, calculated, and a blessing.  And he has held us in those emotional times when the world just did not seem right, or we wondered what else would be taken from us… but as the dust settled we knew he was looking out for us.  He cleared our plates of the burdens of excess, providing just what we need.  Is God Good?  Amen

Is God’s way my way? Not on your life.  But is his goodness better than my very life? You Bet. 

So i think back those many years, and still hear that deep growly voice shout from the depths of her soul “God is Good… all the time”… yes, in the death of a son,  and in the loss of that job, and in the time when a spouse walked out, and when the car died, and the house is falling apart.  Is God able to meet the need? Absolutely.  Does he want us looking to him for everything – Yes?  Does he take joy in being our provider, our savior and our friend – Amen.

So the God of the mountain tops does visit the valleys, the deep places where there is great pain, and challenge.  And he walks with us through these places, and stays with us as we ourselves change, shed the garments of materialism, and of greed, and of selfish desire…  For you see, we had worn worldly garments of self fulfillment, of greedy behavior, of indulgence, and of taking for granted the opportunities he had placed in our lives.  That valley shook us to the core.  Bankrupcy – of our souls, emotions, spirit and of our wallet… everything felt like it was stripped away, or ripped away.  In those moments i remember saying to God over and over “Please dont let us be homeless!”  And slowly we emerge from those  rags we once wrapped around ourselves, naked, sad that we have gotten it wrong for so long.  The message of worldly materialism is a distructive one, masquarading itself in a cloak of luxury, and desire, appealing to the deepest fleshly desires… and it was in direct opposition to the God of Creation.  He had other plans.  He allowed us to have alot stripped away – naked emotionally, financially, spiritually.  And naked we find ourselves being handed garments of praise, richly appointed clothing of humility, of dependence, and of selflessness.  We are no longer our own, and we no longer look like the world.  We emerge from the valley dressed in the garments of our God, prepared for us, that we may proclaim to every ear that will listen “God is Good… all the time”.  The climb up the mountain from the valley is challenging.  Rebuilding our lives is not for the faint of heart, but God has known that he designed us for his service, and for surrender from the world. 

Perhaps you ar e there… the economy has thrown you down for the count, left you wondering what your life is about or how you will ever regroup and move forward.  That same God who is Good will be there for you, and see you through this adventure, until one day you kneel in his presence in heaven, with this world’s struggle ended, and eternity beginning free of all of this.  My challenge is look to Jesus… fix your eyes on him, read his word, and yield your emotions and your mind to his spirit.  Stop letting the emotions lie to you, and let Jesus show you his goodness, his kindness, his mercy and his grace.

What is keeping you from yielding to his sovereign will today?

 

Written by Barbara Bloom

July 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM

keeping my whits

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Friday was a day filled with major blessings, emotional highs, and so intense frustration that desperately tried to steal any hope that God is in charge of our lives.

As you know we have been on the hunt for work – a full time job- for 23 months for the hubby, and 17 months for myself. I think we are becoming insulated from the frustration of a work environment that does not want 50 somethings who have experience and education… we are no longer pretty, and perceived to be wanting the moon in tow with the big salary.

Well, anyhow, along with unemployment comes creatively paying bills. We have tapped the savings out long ago, and then the 401Ks, and now we have enough for one more mortgage payment then who knows where it will come from. Unless the employment situation turns around we are not sure where this money is going to come from – and everything in me wants to be scared and totally freak out like a small child who has lost any senses of security. But then that still small voice of God reminds me I am his, I am bought with the blood of the lamb, and i am loved, cherished, and he will not let his children beg for bread. Aaaah, the voice of God breaks through that crazy welling up sense of panic.

So I ask myself “Do you really believe that your life is in God’s hands?” “Is he really going to come through and open a door of employment for one of us?” “How big is God- am i out of his grasp?” My mind has been running at hyper speed, toggling between the definitive “YES! YES God loves me and has me in his firm grasp – and it even says in Isaiah that he has my name written on his hand. Not one sparrow falls to the ground without the father knowing this, and how much more important am i.” and “Look where you are now – everything about your life is upside down… look deeply at your life- how good can this be that you cannot find a job? why did you do grad school? that really helped, didn;t it?”

No, I am not hearing voices. I think this is just the spiritual war for my mind. I know that I must constantly lay it all down.. surrender my life, my mind, my circumstances and my very being to Jesus and leave it with him.

“So tonight I come to you Jesus, giving you my thoughts, my emotions, my sight, and my very life. You are the all knowing, always present, loving one, the savior, my redeemer, my king. I honor you and yield this life to you again. Like prisoners of war I march my thoughts to you and hand them over too. I know that apart from you I am nothing and can do nothing. I ask you to guard my thoughts, keep my gaze on you, and show me what you want of my life. We have seen you move in miraculous ways and the enemy try to swoop in to steal the blessings. I hide behind your shield, your armer, and want to retreat into you as my high tower. As this battle continues give me your wisdom and your strength to know how to proceed. I do ask Lord if you would open a door for a job- for income to pay our bills. Show us where to look, and make that way for us please. I yearn for the day when you call us home, and we can fall before your mercy, yielded fully from this sin scarred body, and this sin scarred world. Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

January 20, 2012 at 1:35 AM

I am tired, i am a child that is scared

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and i am feeling like my options are gone. This search for work is distressing, agonizing, and deeply disappointing. When did we as a society decide that 50 was too old to work? and when did the 20 somethings take over running the world.

and why is god silent?

God, i know that you don;t change, and I know that you stand watching over us, loving us, wooing us, drawing us with cords of love, but why do you allow us to go through such deep valleys>?

I am humbled by life, and i know that I am less than nothing. When I apply for work i get rejections. Oh, they say they love me, but they hire the other person. God, i know you change not. I need you so very desperately. I need to know that you have a plan for my life and this plan is one of hope and good. This valley is hard, i am beaten up, our money is dried up, and my hope is fading. I want to believe but I desperately need you… i desperately need your intervention in our lives.

and i need you to break through the welfare mentality that is besetting our family. I don;t want charity – i want to work. I don;t want special deals for the poor. I want to earn a living and bless others. I am crying to you lord, and my heart is heavy, my soul faints. Please fill our lives with new opportunity. Please change our hearts to see you. My hands are out, begging you as a ragged begger… you a re the wise and holy god that created everything. Come and sooth my fearful childlike soul. The song says you have made a way where there was no way and we are saved. Amen, amen, amen.

Thank you lord forsalvation ,for calling me to your side, for washing me of my sins, and for lifting me from this deep mire of sin. My heart aches for this time we are in, for the rejection we both feel, and we need you to rescue us from rejection. Please lord, we need a miracle. We need you.

Written by Barbara Bloom

October 5, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Lord help me learn to rest in you

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Lord,
It is 6am and my sleep pattern is all messed up from working those occassional night shifts, coupled with anxiety about the current state of our life. Yes, the bankrupcy is final, the time share is gone, and so are most of our big bills, but we are still not working,and the savings are draining out. The little start up business is not paying the rent, and most employers seem to have slammed their doors to us. So where do we go and what do we do?
and then a still small voice says – “Do you trust me?”
What? “Do you trust me – you remember me, the creator of all life, the one who hung the stars in space, and set the planets in their orbit, the one who spoke and the waters and land seperated, the one who breathed and man came to life. Do you trust me?”

humbled i must say yes, but i am afraid Lord. I am afraid of being on this journey outside my comfort zone.

“Fear me, not life” “Fear the one who can take your life.”

OK, i understand. But will you please hold me until i stop shaking inside. will you give me your wisdom for the future? Will you guide us with your strength and wisdom? Will you open a door that we can earn an income to pay our bills?

“Trust me, my child” “Trust that I have a plan for you, that I want to give you a future and hope. Trust me.”

I will, but i need your strength to indeed live up to this, and trust you with my whole heart. I am still scared. This year has given us a lot of ugly reminders that unredeemed humanity is vicious, sadistic, and uncaring. I wrestle with forgiveness… and then there are times when I know I have declared forgiveness for these people. Help me not be so double minded. For I want freedom from those who have hurt us. I want release to love youand to love people and to share the hope you have given me.

“Yes, trust me though. Let go of your understanding and trust that I am doing a work that you may not see right now. Wait for me, wait for my good hand, and trust me please. For I love you with an everlasting love. I have bought you with the blood of my son. You are mine,and nothing can seperate you from me. Trust me. REstin me.”

and all i can say is “Lord help me learn to rest in you.” amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 5, 2011 at 5:12 AM

Its the middle of the night and…

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what a metaphor of my emotions and thoughts.. the middle of the night, the time that is the most vulnerable for those who seek sleep but it does not come. It is a quiet time that allows the mind to race, and the subtility of satan to creep into my head, and speak of fear, of anxiety and of the uncertainty of the future.

And here I am with an odd mix of thoughts rolling around in my head… satan speaking into my head, and the sound of a book on tape of elizabeth elliot’s book “no graven image” discussing her missionary journey in equador. How i admire that woman, and the courage to follow the lord in spite of seemingly uncertain times – a husband killed in the field, a young child at her knee, and her willingness to continue to go forth to reach the very people that killed her first husband, Jim Elliott in the jungles of Equador. Her faith in the Lord was a rare, obedient, deep faith. It has always attracted me, but has come with a mixture of wanting what she has and fearing what that might mean.

But why do i fear? Is it this temporal world I fear? No, i think i have learned it is a character flaw in my heart – i am a control freak! I have learned this through the journey of this past year. And I have learned how little i have control of. Truthfully everything is in the hands of the lord to suite his purposes. And quietly the second part of that flaw is my shallowness to trust my creator. It all sounds so easy when you read of a missionary like Elizabeth Elliott – but i know it is not easy… it is impossible.

Under the crucible of joblessness, recent bankrupcy, depleting reserves of money, and mounting bills comingled with large doses of a sense of purposelessness and loss of identity we have both been quite the pair of debby downers. but somehow all of the promises of God are still true and sure. Somehow there really is hope and purpose for us. We are loved. My flesh wants to know “How long, o Lord” – How long will you keep doors shut? What do you ask of us? What do you want from me today? for the resto f my days? Please open the door somewhere so that we can at least pay our bills… electric, gas, water, house payment, gas for the car. and perhaps food!

If you subscribe to the idea that nothing is without purpose as I do, the sound of this book reading to me in the middle of the dark night somehow awakened a hope, a sense of the way god chooses to use his children.

I have thought of this past year as boot camp, of a time of building my faith muscles, of seeking god for my every thing, including an opening to return to functional employment and for that for my hubby.
A family that looses one income is a challenge, but for both of us to loose our jobs, leaving me with only a small part time job was something that gave me anxiety for a long time.

I have used the metaphor of looking at rushing river, and before i knew what happened i was in the river, raging water propelling me down river, and to where i know not. Fight the water? not possible. Avoid the rocks? not always possible. Crash over the falls – inevitable. Survive? – not in my hands.

In my head I hear a multitude of scripture verses, and the chorus written by Owl City’s Adam R Young:

I can finally see
that you are right here beside me
I am not my own
For I have been made new
Please don;t let me go
For I desperately need you.

Ok, this post is all over the board…. but I did sit down to talk about the wrestling match for my thoughts. And I wanted you to know that I believe a part of the refining process involves becoming disciplined to hear only the voice of God…. and to take all other thought to the lord much like an army takes prisoners of war captive to their commander.

So Satan, I want to remind you that I have been bought with the blood of Jesus, and he is my Savior, Redeemer, and my friend. In this season of testing Jesus is my provider, and my sustinence. In the name of Jesus I ask that you leave me alone, and you flee from my family and my house. Thank you Jesus for your sustaining, keeping, protecting grace and mercy. Amen

Written by Barbara Bloom

August 16, 2011 at 4:18 AM

waiting and wanting and waiting more

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i just want a job. i want to work. i want to put my skills to the test each day and contribute to society, to a company, to life. but my applications are rejections, my request falls on deaf ears. I even begin to wonder if God is silent in this adventure.

and then i ask what have i done to be in this place. am i unpresentable to society? am i scarred, marred, damaged goods? or am i just too old?

I mustered the courage to call an employment agency yesterday and by the end of the conversation wondered why i was still breathing air. She, the smug guardian of employmennt, harshly judged my every word. Who is she and how did she get to this place of power? Why did i let her go like that?

so the day today has been filed with questions of god, and of myself. Should i loose 30 lbs, pray harder, turn over more stones? Why isnt the art business doing better, and why the hell is everyone so pessimistic? Love those face book posts that say “run, get out – it is a difficult road to travel” well, hells bells, having no income and noone willing to hire you is no better.

so why did i do graduate school? and why is it that when it is my turn in life i get shit on, and turned to the curb? And you can read all the self help things you want – 100 top things you should do, 10 things you should never do, how to get the job every time, how to sabotage yourself…. the chatter grows in intensity – and all i want is a damn job… i want to pay my bills. i want to contribute to society. AND I WANT THAT FOR MY HUSBAND ALSO…

SO I AM GROWING TIRED, WORN DOWN BY THE TEST, YIELDED TO YOU LORD, BUT YOU SEEM SILENT, AND DOORS SLAM SHUT. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME>? WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO> I AM AT YOUR MERCY, for i know you control everything, and you are the one who ultimately makes jobs appear, gives us direction and purpose. I want your will. I want the shame of not knowing how we will pay the mortgage to stop. please god, release this worker to a job earning income. release me to glorify you.

Written by Barbara Bloom

July 12, 2011 at 7:08 PM