Laying Out a Fleece

a.jpg

by Tracy Cooper

Have you ever felt so ill-equipped to do the task God has laid before you, that you actually lay out a fleece before God?

“Gideon said to God, “If this is right, if you are using me to save Israel as you’ve said, then look: I’m placing a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If dew is on the fleece only, but the floor is dry, then I know that you will use me to save Israel, as you said.” Judges 6:36-40 The Message (MSG)

Gideon was willing to do what God was calling him to do, but because of his feelings of inadequacy, he wanted confirmation.

There was a time when God called me so far out of my comfort zone, that I wasn’t really sure I was hearing Him correctly.  How could he possibly think I was capable of doing that job?

Have you ever felt that way?  How could God possibly be calling me to…  confront that person?… complete that task? … handle this situation?… move my family?… change jobs?

Well, that was what I thought.  I was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom when our children were young.  A job I loved. I always knew that was the job for which I was created. So when I started to feel restless, 15 years into the gig, I wasn’t quite sure why.  Why would I consider doing anything different than what I have been doing? I am comfortable here. My family needs me in this role.

Yet, I was being nudged to do something new.  Something that might take time away from my family.  Was I ready for that? I didn’t know what it was, but the nudge was real.

The struggle started to take place just before Lent in 2004.  Lent, a time to reflect on the life of Christ. A time to dig deeper spiritually and to self-reflect.

Many of us use this time to sacrifice something we love.  This gives us time to reflect and pray whenever we are craving that “thing”.

Others of us choose to add something to our day.  Daily Bible reading, devotions, acts of kindness. Anything that helps us draw closer to Christ.

I decided to “add” to my day and read through “The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?” by Rick Warren.  A 40-day study. Perfect.

As I went through the study, the nudge grew stronger.  It was definitely time to do something new. And what I was hearing was it was time for me to do some work outside of the house.

Well, that is a scary thought.  I haven’t worked in the professional world for 15-years.  What could I possibly do now? And besides, I love being a stay-at-home mom.

So, it was time to lay out my fleece.  Lord, if I am hearing you right and I am to go back to work, then you must meet these conditions.  Yes, that is exactly how I said it… snarky and all.

  1. I will work only during the hours my children are in school.

  2. I must have all holidays and summers off with my children.

  3. Although teaching is probably the only job that fits into these conditions, I cannot be a teacher!

I needed to know if it was just me feeling restless because my children were much more independent (10 yrs. - 15 yrs at the time);  or if it was God putting this restlessness in my heart. Hence, the fleece.

Well, God accepted the challenge.  He immediately dropped an opportunity right into my lap.  New Life was looking for a new Preschool Director and asked me if I’d consider the position.  The thing is, my degree and experience were not in education. I knew that I knew nothing about being a preschool director (except that I was a preschool mom for many, many years).

Ok, let’s check the fleece.  Surely it won’t pass the test.  (1) √, (2) √, (3) √.

But wait God, I forgot to add one more condition.  (4) It must be something I know how to do. God has such a sense of humor!

I knew His answer, “I have fulfilled all of your conditions.  Now you must trust that I will equip you for the job.” Wow. How do you argue with that?

I accepted the job and learned that I needed to hire a new staff and purchase a curriculum.  Did I mention I was not an educator? Hiring teachers and choosing a curriculum were completely out of my comfort zone.  “Trust me,” I heard.

God supplied the preschool with amazing, qualified teachers and an awesome curriculum that year.  And I knew that He was in control!

I was blessed to be in that role for 10 years.  And I was amazed that God used me in a position I never imagined I was capable of doing.  And I wasn’t.  But He equipped me, guided me and provided me with everything I needed because I trusted Him.

Are you being called out of your comfort zone?  Have you laid out a fleece, yet still don’t trust that God will equip you?  I encourage you not to miss the opportunity God is calling you to. Trust him.  If He is calling you, He will equip you!




An Unexpected Obstacle

An Unexpected Obstacle

by Isabelle Sullivan

This has certainly been an interesting year for me. As  a tasked oriented women who likes to get things done, I pride myself  on giving 110% to whatever project I am working on. Usually, that means I am in charge of getting things done that make other people’s lives easier (laundry, dinner, Gusher schedules) or creates a grand experience for them (vacations, mission trips, balloon festivals). It gives me immense joy to make other people happy.

Wrapped in a Pretty Little Bow

Wrapped in a Pretty Little Bow

The nicely decorated department stores in all of the feel good holiday movies make it look so easy. When the shoppers leave the stores all of their gifts are wrapped perfectly in bright and shiny paper with giant sized, perfectly tied bows. Meanwhile, I sit in the middle of my living room floor with tape stuck to my fingers, wrapping paper that is cut too short to make the ends meet, and bows that look more like pancakes than they do toppers for a present.