Proverbs 1:6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Father, today I pray especially for teenagers struggling with difficult choices. Remove any pride that is in their heart causing them to do things their way and not Yours. Give them understanding of Your never-changing Word, open their eyes so they may see that some of the things they have read before is now being clarified to meet them at their point of need. Teach them Father, that no matter what circumstances they may find themselves in - You are in control.. even when it looks like the things of the world are winning. You have given us the solid Rock of Christ Jesus to build our faith upon. You Lord, have promised in Your Word if we acknowledge You in all our ways that You will direct our path. Quicken their hearts to hunger and thirst for the things that are pleasing to You… to spend time reading, meditating on the Word of God and time in prayer. I praise You for the victories that are going to be given to those who believe upon Jesus Name, to the glory and honor of God the Father. In Jesus Name I pray Amen
As I find myself reflecting more and more on my walk with Christ through the years….I cannot help but wonder why He would choose one such as I to share my faith walk. The ups and downs of my choices, my open rebellion to authority. I was often a spoiled brat, that did not care who I hurt or used to get my way. I ran from God, my parents, myself. I was insecure, not really sure of who I was and that seemed to overflow into all my decisions.
This is an exceedingly hard time for me to write about. I am finally a senior in high school. I was not sure of what I want to do after school is over. I had always thought that I would just get married and raise a family, but my teacher and guidance counselor said that was for later, after I had a career. She told me to choose a career and write about why I thought that would be a good choice for me. So I begin to think of what I could do for a career. I thought for a while that I would like to be a beautician like my cousin Odeline, but after doing my friends hair several times I came to realize, that I did not want to spend my life doing that. Then I thought about nursing, but working part-time after school in a nursing home soon showed me that even though I loved the older people, enjoyed spending time with them and helping them, I did not care for the way they were often treated by the nurses and doctors. Now that I am older I understand why they had to be tied to a chair or restrained in bed, forced to take medications, but at that time it seemed cruel and harsh. I did not want to be a part of doing that. So I was really up in the air about what to do…… finally after thinking I just want to get married and have a family; out of spite I wrote that I wanted to be a plumber. Their pay was good. There were not a lot of women in that field. I researched it well and wrote what I felt was a good paper. Needless to say, it did not go over well with my teacher. I got a D- and when my parents read her explanation they grounded me. Everyone knew that I was mocking the assignment, refusing to take it seriously and do what I was supposed to do.
Then out the blue - my on again, off again, on again boyfriend asked me to marry him. He was going into the Navy after graduation and wanted to be sure that I would be waiting for him. I quickly said yes, now I know what I am going to do after graduation…..all those years of dreaming of being married and having a home of my own was going to become a reality. Who cares about that silly assignment!
I went home excited, proudly wearing my new ring. I had the world by the tail. No more thinking about a career. I will at last be a homemaker. My parents were not excited when they heard the news. They were angry. They reminded me how many times we had broken up. ..every year all the way through high school…. In their eyes, I would date him until someone else came along then when I grew tired of the new person, I would call my old flame up and we would start dating again. They said I didn’t even know what real love was and there was no way that I should marry him. We argued a lot— but I did not give the ring back. As a matter of fact; I saw more of him than ever before. I was sure that I would be a good wife. They pointed out the differences in our religion. My minister would not marry us – something about being unequally yoked and unless I agreed to change to his faith we could not get married in his church either. We were going to run away and get married but I wanted a church wedding. So I pouted, plotted, argued, pleaded, but they would not budge….. neither would I. No matter how much I ranted and raved, my parents stood firm. They would not give their blessings until I grew up. Finally graduation was over and he left for basic training in the Navy.
I was so lonely. I didn’t fit into the summer activities that my friends were doing because they were busy making college plans, working summer jobs and going on dates in the evenings. I cried a lot. I wanted to enjoy my last summer as a teenager. I wanted to have fun and it sure wasn’t much fun staying home every night writing letters to someone miles away that seldom wrote back. I must admit that I resented his freedom, going through basic had to be better than staying at home and listening to my parent tell me I was immature and selfish. I was angry at him for leaving, my parents for not understanding and supporting my decision to get married, my friends for not having time to do things with me that did not include their boyfriends. The consequences of my choice to become engaged to someone my parents did not approve of was in reality controlling of my life. To me at that time it was not an option to listen to them. I was reacting to hearing some one say I love you. My thinking was how great he made me feel when he said I was beautiful. He loved my smile. He needed me. I never gave thought to the fact that I really did not miss him as I should have. I was too busy whining about not getting my way, being angry at my friends who were dating and having fun while I sat at home.
One day near the end of summer I got a long letter telling me about his week-end leave. He described all the great places that he and his buddies went to and I was furious. He was having fun and I was sitting home every day! I was so mad at him. My letter to him was spiteful and cruel to say the least. I broke up with him in that letter and told him that when he came home on leave after basic he could pick up his ring. That evening after mailing the letter, I told my parents….. NOW I hope you are happy. You have gotten your way. I am not getting married. They never asked why, only did I pray about it first. I stomped out the room, yelling that is none of your business!!
That questions really shook me up. Why after all these months of saying that I should not get married did they want to know that? I thought about that a lot. Honestly, I had not been praying about any of it. Not even whether or not I loved him enough to say yes. I had ignored my relationship with God and went through all those months doing it my way. Not really caring what anyone thought or wanted. I was selfish, uncaring about others, it was all about me and what I wanted. I seldom went to church. I was so angry because the wedding could not be at our church. I was angry at God for allowing all this to happen… I just wanted my childhood dream of marriage to come true. Everyone, even God was against me. Or so it seemed……
After I had given the ring back I was amazed to find that my parents were right. I did not love him as he deserved to be loved. I was in love with the idea of being married, loved and needed by someone. I thought I could change him from his religion to mine… My parents were right also about me using him so I would have a steady date… I gave no thought to how I might hurt him in the process. It was all about me and what I wanted. It is to my shame that I hurt him the way I did.
So from my heart to yours….I was a real jerk and it has not been easy to bare my soul for all to see. But, I am trying to be obedient to the call that God has placed on my life at this time. I know that there are others that are confused and trying to do things their way. Most of us know we never go through anything that someone else has not already gone through, yet we tend to believe that our circumstances are special. Different. The sad thing is……if I had not turned from God and did it my way, so much of the drama of those months could have been avoided. I made the choice not to go to church, not to read the Bible, not to pray, not to seek guidance for one of the most important decision I would make in my life….my selfish decision affected not only my life….. but the life of the young man.
I never talked to God about it until after the fact. The more I thought of my parents question…did you pray about it first….my behavior….. the more I realized how far from God I had drifted. I was glad to be finished with the school part of my life. I did not want to go to college. Yet, I had to make a decision about what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Because of the circumstances of those months during my senior year I had no other career goal.
I began to journal again. This time though it was different. I asked myself questions about what do I want to do for the rest of my life ….what are my choices if I do this? What will I gain by doing it? What could go wrong? Am I willing to accept the consequences of another bad decision? Am I turning away from my faith if I do this? Do I want to do this because it is an easy thing to do? I learned the hard way that decisions made in haste are often regretted. The consequences of that decision has led to a life long regret of how cruel I was.
All of this questioning did caused me to think about looking for a different job. I was only working 15 hours a week at the nursing home. Not fully understanding the why I felt that I should apply at the Toll Road restaurant, I applied and was hired immediately. The hours were steady and the pay better than what I was making. I started working in the bay area at the Glasshouse Restaurant on week ends and in the evenings. They were great about giving me hours after mom got home from work so I would have transportation since I did not have a car of my own. Even though I really had no desire to be a waitress, I really enjoyed the work and the people I worked with. It was fun talking to the travelers. I was once again at peace and happy. I was sure that I was doing what God wanted me to do even if I did not understand why He thought this was the job for me.
God often takes us out of our comfort zone so we can grow into the person that he designed us to be. He never leaves us or forsakes us. It is we that choose to leave Him out of our decisions. No matter where you are in your journey with God he is patiently waiting for you to seek Him more and more. He really does want to be involved in every detail of your life. Have you chosen to do this or are you still doing it your way?