Tag Archives: Solomon

And So The Story Goes, Part 2

Three years earlier I had gone through a time of intense prayer and fasting to determine what future God had for me.  I felt God speak to me very clearly that I was to go to seminary because He was calling me to full-time ministry.  This thought had never occurred to me before and it took some time to wrap my mind around it.  The school I was interested in had a distance education program, so I assumed that was the way I was to attend there.  I would not consider leaving Nashville. 

My job required me to travel extensively and I was often out of town Tuesday through Saturday for weeks on end.  With the hours I worked and the demands of travel, I wasn’t able to focus on school work.  I spent several years applying for other jobs, trying to find something that would pay a little more so I could afford school and stay in town.  With nearly every job opening, I made it to the final cut only to lose the job to someone else.  It was very frustrating and I couldn’t figure out what God was doing.  When I got engaged, I truly hoped that we would go to seminary together, which made a lot more sense to me than going as an unmarried female. 

When my engagement ended and everything else fell apart, I knew that God was telling me to GO to seminary – in Virginia Beach.  He was going to get me there, even if He had to kick me out of Nashville by force.  We moved around a lot while I was growing up: I went to 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 2 high schools – and then I changed colleges three times in four years.  All this transition made stability and security very important to me.  I don’t like to move.  I wanted to live in Nashville for the rest of my life.  Leaving didn’t appeal to me, except that I knew a change of scenery would probably do me some good. 

There was also the huge financial issue of going to school.  I still had debt from my undergraduate degree, plus credit card debt.  I’d worked hard to reduce it significantly, but it wasn’t gone.  I had no idea how I could pay for graduate school, but I applied anyway and prayed hard for financial aid.  I asked God to prove Himself and if He really wanted me to go, I would get a 100% scholarship.  The financial aid letter came back with news of a 20% grant.  I was beyond disappointed, but I knew the minute I read that letter that God was not releasing me from the call.  I had to go.  God led me to the book of Proverbs and showed me many times how Solomon commanded us to get knowledge, get wisdom, and get instruction – and that it was worth any price.  With fear and trembling, I decided to take out student loans.

One thing I had learned well in Nashville is, “It’s all about who you know.”  I knew our church’s senior pastor was friends with the dean of the school.  I tried to set up an appointment with the senior pastor to ask him to let his friend know I was coming to the school.  But our senior pastor was in the middle of writing a paper for Oxford and couldn’t meet with me.  I was devastated, but God reminded me that I knew Him and He is the One who opens and shuts doors. 

My mother and I scheduled a trip to Virginia Beach in July to check the area out and look for a roommate, housing, and a job.  The university hired writing coaches, so I applied for that job.  In the interview it came out that I was a professional meeting planner.  The person interviewing me stopped the interview and took me to meet her co-worker who was trying to hire a graduate assistant to help him plan student workshops.  My background and experience were perfect for what he needed and I got hired.  I was one of the only students who went to school with a job already lined up.  It was such an encouragement to me. 

Not only did that job suit me, but I was put in a cubicle in a large room with other people my age.  We all got along great and had a blast working together.  I used to go in on my days off just to say hi to the friends I worked with.  It also led to a secondary job as the newsletter editor for the university.  Almost everything about that job was a blessing to me and I relished the good atmosphere after what I had just left.  It was healing to my soul.

I had a hard time finding a place to live because housing is so expensive in Virginia Beach and my cat was not exactly a positive thing to perspective roommates.  I prayed and prayed about what to do, not wanting to leave Moses the kitty behind but unable to find a place to live.  Several days before I was to leave for school, I got a call from a woman who rented me a room in her house close to the school and let me bring Moses – all for a really good price. 

After being out of school for six years and struggling with severe depression in college, I was also terrified that grad school would be too hard for me.  I wondered if my brain still worked like it used to or if I’d have to study 2 or 3 times harder than everyone else.  I worried that my professors wouldn’t be interested in teaching a girl.  I was full of fear.  Thankfully I had a few friends who encouraged me and believed in me.  They listened faithfully and repeatedly told me that I could do it.  After all that God had already done to pave the way for me, two weeks before classes started I panicked and seriously considered not going after all.  Through the prayers and encouraging words from my friends, I finally accepted that this was the time I was to go and nothing was going to stop me.  Once my mind was made up, I dove in and gave it everything I had.

3 Comments

Filed under Spiritual Life

Wisdom isn’t Free

A while back, I heard a father talk about how he prayed for his children to have wealth and financial security.  This amazing father is setting up his children to be financially successful.  My first thought was: Brilliant!  What a great gift to his children!  My second thought was: I wish my parents had prayed that for me.

 

As I sulked about it for a few days, I began making notes to pray for my own children’s financial future.  I dreamed about all the things I could pray for my yet unborn children – financial security, health, godly mates, long life, and so forth.  In the meantime, I was feeling resentful toward my parents for not praying for me to have financial stability and wealth.  As it goes with most of these things, God soon opened my eyes to a greater concept and showed me the wisdom of my own parents. 

 

Mom and Dad were always very intentional about teaching me – Scripture, leadership principles, stage presence, respect, thankfulness, concern for the under-dog, and even how to do things that seemed like too big for a little girl.  They especially taught me about wisdom, reading Proverbs to me and teaching me about Solomon.  I’m not sure how many times they talked to me about Solomon, or how old I was when I heard the story for the first time, but it is a story that has remained with me all my life. 

 

As I considered the Solomon story, I remembered that God offered Solomon anything he wanted and Solomon asked for wisdom.  I’ve always been struck by the fact that all this happened in a dream.  If Solomon were awake and had friends around him to consult with when God made this offer to him, it might have taken him a while to decide what he wanted.  He might have asked for more power, to be healthy in every way, to be the most influential man who ever lived, or to have his children be wealthy and secure.  All of these are wonderful requests, but in his most vulnerable and open state, he asked for wisdom to rule the people well.  God was so pleased with Solomon’s request he was also granted wealth, honor, and a long life (I Kings 3). 

 

Mom and Dad taught me if I prayed for wisdom, God would be pleased with me too.  Not only would He give me wisdom (which God promises in James 1:5), but all the other things I need in life would be given as well.  Suddenly I understood why my parents hadn’t spent a lot of time praying for me to be financially secure or wealthy.  They knew if we prayed for wisdom, those things would come as well.  A wise person cannot help but have honor and be financially successful! 

 

The one thing Dad did not share with me during those lessons is that wisdom isn’t free.  Wisdom comes with experience, which is why we typically associate the elderly with wisdom.  Our hair gets gray because the life experience we have sucks something out of us.  Our fashion standards today tell us to hide our gray hair because it means we’re O-L-D, when in fact it represents life experience and wisdom.  It’s embarrassing to be 33 years old and have half of the hair surrounding your face already gray – or is it? 

 

I’ve discovered over the years, as I have prayed for wisdom nearly every day of my life and in many situations, it is a costly request.  Wisdom comes with experience.  We have a choice of how to handle each challenge that comes – will we learn from it or will we resent the hard things and waste our time asking God “why?” 

 

The thing is, knowing the cost of wisdom, I’ve continued to pray for it.  When I was in my early 20’s, I saw marriages all around me either ending in divorce or failing to thrive.  I saw people hurting one another out of ignorance or fear and it made me so sad.  I prayed that God would teach my future husband and me everything we needed to know to have a joyful marriage – before we married each other. 

 

I thought that prayer meant I would learn a lot of things quickly.  I had no idea that more than ten years later, I’d still be in the learning process.  I spent several years regretting that prayer and repenting from it.  But recently God spoke to me during a time of prayer and seeking.  He told me to stop regretting that prayer because He had heard my heart.  He understood what I meant:  I wanted to enter a marriage relationship with tools in place to help me deal with the problems that inevitably come in any intimate relationship.  He heard my heart’s cry and is honoring that request.

 

My parents did not pray specifically for me to be financially secure or even wealthy, but they did teach me to pray for wisdom, which encompasses all those things.  They also taught me through their daily lives how to be a financially secure person.  They taught me to tithe, to save, and to be frugal.  I did not value those lessons at the time, but they gave me a firm foundation to fall back on when I finally came to my senses about financial matters.  Sometimes I am a slow learner, but my goal is always to be learning and growing.  I’m thankful for those gifts they gave me. 

 

The father who prays for his children to have a secure financial future is a very wise man.  He is doing well for his children.  I’m thankful for parents who also prayed for me to have a secure future by teaching me the value of wisdom and praying for God to bless me with that wonderful gift. 

3 Comments

Filed under My Crazy Family