When discussing the topic of marriage, most people stated that the first year would be the most difficult. Well, it’s 70 days before our 1-year anniversary, so technically we still have time to make it terrible, but I can definitely say that it truly has been a positive lifestyle change. Now, this is not to say that we are perfect, because we certainly are NOT. If there’s anything I’ve learned my first year, it’s that Satan works tirelessly to twist things in your marriage, while severely tampering with your thinking patterns, and if you don’t surrender your life and your marriage to God, Satan will succeed in the destruction.
Becoming closer to Him during trials:
A moment where I truly learned to place my trust in God was during a major unpredictability phase in my life. If you know me, you know that I don’t like unpredictability. There was “talk” about laying people off almost immediately after I accepted a social work position at Providence Hospital. Nothing really came of it this time, but the subject occasionally surfaced, and about a year later, our boss called our entire department into a meeting. The hospital was “restructuring” and they had change focus to outpatient services versus inpatient. What this translated to mean was that healthcare was changing, and our system no longer needed as many inpatient staff to do the job. This was terrifying. I remember crying in the meeting because at that moment, I felt entirely unstable. I hadn’t even lost my job but I was convinced it was me. Why? I couldn’t have shown my true work ethic in just one year. I was the last hired on, so for sure it’s me, right? The worst part: we wouldn’t know anything for at least 2 weeks. What?! Don’t tell me that. You mean to tell me that we have to wait 2 weeks to know anything? Just get it over with and tell me that I’m fired. So, for two weeks, my co-workers and I joked (comic relief), about the “pink slip” that one, two, or maybe 3 of us would receive from HR. I soon realized that I was spending entirely too much time entertaining thoughts produced by Satan, and I wasn’t truly surrendering my life. David and I would pray at night, and I remember saying, “I don’t know where you want me to be God, but lead me down the path you want me to take, I trust you.” David and I would talk, and he always reminded me that it’s out of my control, and to just let God have it. So, I decided to hang a verse on my wall at work that went a little something like this: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1: 2-6
I continued to pray about my situation. I also started applying to other agencies as a “just in-case.” I had skimmed the Internet for opportunities with that “talk” re-surfacing several times, and applied maybe once but never with the intention of leaving the hospital so soon, unless the rumors were true. Within days of applying after “the meeting,” I received a few interview offers. My first thought? CRAP! They’re in the process of deciding who will go, and here I am asking to take off of work for multiple job interviews; what am I going to do? Again, I had to place my trust in God. Days later, I received a few career offers and then it came decision time. Worst.timing.ever. Or, was it the best.timing.ever? Well, God’s timing is perfect after all. At this point, I had found out that my job was safe at Providence, but David was out of town and work was crazy. So I prayed, prayed, prayed some more, asked friends/family for advice, and prayed again. I had to make a decision, write a resignation letter, and talk to my co-workers all within 24 hours, and I hadn’t even made a complete decision—I literally put it off until an hour prior to calling my new agency. I knew God was placing something on my heart. I knew that I needed to accept the therapist position at Waco Center. I would be working with adolescents who desperately need help. This is what I’ve always wanted. I would get my clinical license, and there would even be a pay increase.
Well, it has been two months in my new profession, and words cannot begin to explain the Grace, patience, and opportunities that God has placed in my life. All along He knew exactly what He was doing. It hit me. If I hadn’t faced the trials and the fear of losing my job, I would’ve never searched for other opportunities, and if I had not searched for other opportunities, I wouldn’t have truly considered accepting a new profession.
Satan’s place in our mind:
So, my trials truly made me closer to God because I allowed Him to take the control. And what was Satan’s position in all of this? Remember those negative thoughts that made me feel that I was not doing my job diligently, or since I was the last hired on, I was sure to go? That was ALL him. He lies. He will continue to lie. He will produce negative thoughts that will cause us to go crazy if we choose to entertain them.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Sometimes I will read verses over and over just to ensure Satan has left my side. Sometimes I have negative thoughts about marriage that transfer to negative thoughts about my own marriage, which become confusing. I’ve read that God is not the author of confusion. Satan despises our happiness; especially when we love and trust God in our own lives and marriage. I learned that we have to surrender our lives completely to God. One inch of sin will allow Satan to enter our lives. We may think that certain TV shows, magazines, music, and lifestyle choices don’t hinder our relationship with God. The truth is, we are slowly, but surely allowing Satan to enter. He gets through cracks. I learned that I couldn’t make excuses or justify things. I found myself forgoing scripture reading when I was tired. I learned that this is an opportunity for Satan to enter my life. I found that skipping “bible study” with David or forgetting to pray together would always lead to something negative.
So in the 294 days of Mrs. Fowler, I have truly become a better person and I have learned to trust more, love more, and hope more.
If any of you ever struggle with negative thoughts, know that God does not produce these. He gives wisdom so freely, but we have to surrender. We have to let go and let God.
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
I just started this book, and I am LOVING it: shout out to Haley for recommending this!