One week later on March the 2nd at 9:00 in the morning I pulled into the parking lot for Coordinated Charities of Athens TN. I called Mom to let her know I had arrived then, after I hung up, sat in the car for a moment thinking everything through.
Why am I here?
"Prove to ME you love ME"
Okay God, here it goes.
I didn't want to be there. I wasn't even for sure I belonged there. But God asked me to do something for HIM, just because I loved HIM, so thus I was there. As mentioned before I was suppose to work from 9 to 12.
I worked 'till 2.
I helped pay the IRS and checked the numbers on the 200 ledgers given to me.
I hate numbers.
The room was chilly and I worked by myself for half of it.
I hated being alone. I panicked when I was alone.
I left there happy. Happy! Even though I spent the day doing something I didn't like, and wasn't very good at, I enjoyed myself and promised to come back. Was I crazy? Maybe. But all I knew was that for the first time in years I felt like I had a purpose, a calling, and I was fulfilling it.
The story doesn't end there folks. The best part is yet to come!
The third time I was up there Kevin and I were taking our lunch break together. He had mentioned before on my first day that he was trying to make some changes that would put the focus back on GOD and make the place more obvious to people that they were a Christian based organization. So I asked how it was going for him. Sighing, Kevin dropped his arm and said:
"Honestly Susan, I'm worn out."
Then he just begins to unload on me. Not the my-life-stinks-and-I-need-someone-to-complain-to kind of unloading but the I-really-just-need-to-talk-to-someone-who-understands kind of unloading. Kevin had a staff meeting about a week before where he had presented this vision to the full time employees. I won't tell you everything that happen but know that the next week was very stressful for Kevin and he was still feeling pretty low when I talked to him.
The whole time he's talking I'm about to jump out of my seat with excitement! Why? Because everything was suddenly so clear now! Let me explain what I mean by going back to our disease metaphor.
The reason the symptoms of a disease show up is because your body can no longer harbor a disease so it gives you physical signs to show that something is wrong and something must be done about it! Without knowing it I had become discontented with where my life was at and my spiritual self was begging for a change. If I was completely honest with you I would have to admit I hated my life. I felt completely useless and unloved. I knew there was something better but I didn't know what it is and just like in medicines
You can't cure an illness unless you know what's causing it.
I had to come to the fact that I was selfish before I could begin treatment. So what was it that finally cured me?
Was it something my mom gave me to help calm my nerves?
Did Kevin somehow make me feel better about myself?
Did my circumstances get better?
I began to get better when I stopped trying to make life revolve around me and the way I thought it should be, and let GOD control my life. I let The Author of Life write my story the way HE wanted it to be and stopped trying to take back control of it.
All the pieces began to fall into place. I became so sick because GOD needed to get me to the point where I was willing to finally listen to the plan HE had for my life. I needed to see just how selfish I had become so GOD could change me into the person HE made me to be. And the worst part of it all was that I had to come to the realization that I had been boxing GOD in instead of letting HIM just be GOD. The moment I stopped trying to get my life to work the way I wanted it to be and started letting GOD be GOD I stopped surviving and began living!
It was no coincidence that Kevin just happen to stop by that day and that the conversation just happened to turn to his job. No coincidence that Mom got to the breaking point that finally pushed me to do something about my situation. All this that Kevin had just told me about just happened to occur around the time I began working there. There were no coincidences, everything happened just the way it needed to happen.
All to bring me to the point where I realized, not just how much I needed a Savior, but how much others do as well.
Right then GOD was pointing at Kevin and saying to me:
"Serve others. I need you to be a physical picture of ME to him so I can remind him that I still care. And not just him, but everyone else in your life. Be who I made you to be and show others that I love them so much that I don't care what they're going through or who they are I just want them. Show how crazy in love I am with them by being the person I made you to be. Love people when it's hard, fight for them when they can't, and I will be with you forever.
Because I'm that crazy about you."
I can't even begin to describe to you the joy I felt in that moment. The peace and certainty that GOD really did have everything under control. That HE hadn't forgotten about me or the plans HE had for me before I was even born was just amazing! Even as I type this I feel tears come to my eyes as I think about just how much my GOD Loves me. That HE would plan all this out to show just how much HE values my life and that HE wants me to be a part of HIS Great Story is overwhelming. Right down to the details GOD had brought me to this moment in this small back room somewhere in east TN and this not only was for me, but it affected others too.
So that's where I am now. Did my life get easier?
Did it change?
I still have just as many problems now as I did before all this happen. There are still days that I wonder if this is all just a dream and one day it's all going to come crashing down. I'm still waiting for the big storm to hit because I know (because I have experienced before in my life) that once you start running after GOD Satan will do anything and everything to stop you. But there is one thing that he can not, and will not ever take away from me:
I now know that "...all things work together for good to them that love the LORD. To them who are called according to HIS purpose." (Romans 8:28). That HE really does love me and has not forgotten me. I may be temporarily distracted from that fact but all I have to do is look around me and the evidence is clear. From the car I've been loaned for the summer, to the check I just received for a sewing job I've been working for months on. I am being taken care of by Someone Who not only knows the story of time, but Who wrote it HIMSELF!
Life is not perfect. I have not been "cured" from my illness but by GOD's grace
I am being made new everyday.
I still have days I doubt and am discontent with my life. I have grown to hate my bed because it means every morning I wake up to roll over and not see someone there who's going to share all of life with me. I'm going to have to say goodbye at the end of summer to two boys I've watched since they were 3 months old and look for a new job. I sometimes fear I may no longer be able to afford to make an hour and a half trip to Athens every week. But GOD isn't through. He's still writing my story and has proven my whole life that I can trust HIM with my future.
And that's exactly what I'm going to do.
P.S. It has been about 4 months since my last panic attack! I even had to look back on the calendar to try to figure out how long it had been because I had forgotten! My birthday this year fell on a Thursday, I know I was sick that Friday and was fine by the next Monday. So somewhere over the weekend was when I started to feel better. GOD was waiting to heal me of my selfishness and just needed me to see HIS plan to move past myself and to serve others. Just saying I serve a mighty GOD who not only is powerful, but is good.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?...
...If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there...
...Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalms 139: 7-12
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