Susan Jane King

Thriving with Jesus in life's ongoing challenges

Go Ahead and Interrupt!

interrupting

 

During the past few months, two of my children experienced a crisis that rocked their world for a season. One received unsettling results regarding a medical test, and another reached the breaking point while dealing with an ongoing struggle. As their mother, I stayed on my knees in prayer . . . and I asked others to pray, too. I am extremely grateful for those who stood by us and prayed for us during that time.

Some amazing things happened.

On the day I asked one friend to pray for my child with the medical issue, she not only prayed, but she also went out of her way later that day to take that child a bouquet of roses and an encouraging card full of scriptures. My child cried, feeling completely overwhelmed by the love and grace of God displayed in my friend’s kind gesture.

My other child got to experience the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord as well. A pastor from our church drove to where that child was located, talked and counseled with them, and helped them understand their feelings and make a plan for the future. That particular child seems lighter and brighter these days.

Let the Lord interrupt your plans.

Looking back, I am astounded at how both my friend and our pastor allowed their plans for the day (or for upcoming days) to be interrupted for divine purposes. They acted in response to someone else’s needs. I know the Lord put it on their hearts to act, and they replied with a resounding yes to His request.

It reminds me of Jesus. He allowed His Father to interrupt His schedule all the time. He made Himself aware of everyone around Him, and when His Father told Him to reach out to someone, He did. He welcomed Nicodemus at night. He started talking with the woman at the well. He told Zaccheus to come down from the tree. He gathered the little children into His lap. Jesus was so in tune with His Father’s leading that He said He only did what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). He also said He did not do anything on His own initiative, but He only spoke as the Father taught Him to speak (John 8:28).

I’m a list maker. I create my “To Do” list for the day, even for the week, mapping out my plans well in advance. These recent experiences have taught me the importance of allowing the Lord to interrupt my plans. From now on, I hope to make my list and then pray something like, Lord, here is what I feel led to do at this point, but I am open to Your revision of these plans. Go ahead and interrupt!

Divine interruptions can yield divine results.

My two children are doing much better these days. The medical issue has settled, and my child has a greater peace about the experience. The ongoing struggle still remains, but my child’s perspective toward it has changed. In both cases, the Lord used His saints to bring love, encouragement, peace, and wisdom into my children’s circumstances. As a result, they know Him better. Their faith has been tested and strengthened, and they have been better equipped for the rest of their journey with Jesus. All because God’s people responded to God’s leading.

Though most of us live rather hectic lives, may we always allow room for divine interruptions!

Question: How have you been blessed by people who responded to God’s interruptions? Share at the Comment link below.

 

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I’m Glad I Lost My Job

firing

My youngest sister lost her job two weeks ago. The news spread ripples of shock through our family. An accomplished labor and delivery nurse, my sister had spent the last 17 years helping to usher new babies into the world, affectionately and professionally caring for both mothers and infants. The healthcare community in her area respected her skills and compassion. Like a divorce or the loss of a loved one, her departure from the medical center left a gaping tear in the fabric of healthcare at its best.

Why?

That’s what I asked when I heard the news. I called my sister, who was still reeling from the shock of arriving at work and being told she no longer had a job there. The human resources representatives handed her a box containing the contents of her locker and escorted her out the door.

Ouch!

I hurt for my sister and cried with her. How could they treat her like that when she had dedicated her professional life to serving so many and enhancing the medical center’s reputation?

But I told her what I knew to be true:  Wherever she landed next, she was going to be great blessing.

God moves us and disrupts our plans for His purposes.

When David and I were two weeks away from getting married, I lost my job. It was the first job I landed out of college. I loved my job at the public relations and marketing agency, and all of a sudden, I was sitting in front of the president of company, who was telling me they were making cuts and I no longer had a job. David was still in graduate school, and we needed my income. I filed for unemployment, and on our honeymoon, I even had to visit an unemployment center to report my job search activity.

I took the first job I was offered—editing books at a publishing company. I often wondered how that job fit into the fabric of my life . . . until recently. Amazingly, I am writing a book. It contains the lessons my son Patrick and I have learned while living with his autism. Patrick will be 21 years old in March, and he is thriving. All those experiences at the publishing company are benefitting me greatly at this phase in my life. (In addition, the Lord has provided some wonderful friends and family members, who are also helping me edit the story.)

God had a greater purpose in moving me. He promises that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). He also says, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

I was devastated when I lost my first job, but today, I’m glad. The Lord was doing something in that experience, something that involved His plans, which are always best.

God moves us so others will know Him.

I recently read in my Bible that after Stephen was stoned, a great persecution arose against the church, and believers were scattered all over the region. When they were forced to move to other areas, they shared about Jesus wherever they went. Ultimately, people began to call them Christians. (Acts 8:1; 1:19, 20-26) A great hardship made them move, but once they moved, people got to hear about and experience Jesus through them.

I know other people are going to be able to experience great kindness and love through my sister, wherever she lands in the days ahead. She cares greatly about others and desires to help them. She is the type of person who makes a place better because she has been there. I have experienced God’s goodness through her countless times, and I know others have—and will in the future.

Please join me in praying for my sister during this transition . . . that she would know the Lord’s great love for her, and that He would continue to use her to share His love with others.

We are all ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), and sometimes, He gives us a new “assignment.”  Wherever we go, may we continue to spread the sweet fragrance of Jesus!

Question:          When has the Lord given you a “new assignment,” and how did you see His hand in it? Share at the Comment link below.

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My Husband is an Iron Man!

David iron man bike

Swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles never made it onto my bucket list. Participants engage in all of these activities on the same day during a full Iron Man competition. Even though I have never taken part in an Iron Man event, I have watched three of them, scanning the crowd of athletes for a familiar face—my husband’s. David decided to do his first Iron Man three years ago, and he enjoyed the challenge so much that he has competed  in an Iron Man event every year since then. This past weekend, he completed his third Iron Man, in Panama City Beach, Florida.

From watching David’s involvement with the Iron Man competitions, I have realized the importance of several factors when it comes to “going the distance” with God:

Prayer

When David was about to begin his competition, which puts a tremendous strain on mind and body, I asked everyone I knew to pray for him. I sent emails asking our families, my Sunday School class, and my Ladies Bible Study group to pray. I put a status on Facebook. I asked friends to pray. I prayed throughout that day. I prayed the many months he trained as well.

When we face a long and difficult journey, power and peace are found in acknowledging who God is, inviting Him into that situation, and asking Him to help; that’s what we do when we pray. I was grateful the Lord had His hand on David, and I thanked Him for that. The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17, NASB) because the real place of victory involves staying connected to the Lord.

Preparation

I admire David for the discipline and determination he brings to training for this event every year.  He spends countless hours swimming, biking and running so that he is prepared for the day of the event.

Often, when the Lord calls us to do something “big,” or to embark on a long journey with Him, He gives us responsibilities we must meet, as well as activities and training to undertake, in order to be ready. Yes, the Lord provides power and resources, but we must be available to do our part as well. We must step up and do it. King David was anointed to be the future king of Israel, but he went back to being a shepherd, faithfully working, caring for and protecting the sheep, until the Lord called him to care for and protect His people Israel. We too must be faithful to do those things the Lord has given us to prepare us for the big events in life.

Perseverance

Pain, discomfort, maybe even fear can be part of the Iron Man experience. Athletes must push past these sensations to finish the race. Sometimes, the journey feels exhilarating and effortless; at other times, it becomes a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.

Life can be the same. Each of us has pleasant and unpleasant seasons, bright and dark days, light and burdensome times. Regardless of the circumstances, the goal remains to run the race with Jesus and to cross the finish line with Him. Paul talks about pressing on (Phil. 4:12) and running with endurance the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1, NASB).

That’s where loved ones and the crowd can help. I watched the live feed of the finish line at the Panama City Beach Iron Man, where spectators cheered the athletes on to their final destination. I saw runners encouraging other runners to the end of their race. I witnessed signs of support being raised so participants could see them. In this race called life, we need to love and encourage one another all the way to the finish line.

Possibilities

“For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37, NASB). While I was watching the Iron Man, I saw an 85-year-old man cross the finish line. David told me about two twin girls who competed and finished, the one sister leading the other, who was blind. People complete the Iron Man who are missing limbs and dealing with many different types of challenges. The Lord can help all of us triumph through His grace and power in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.

May you run and finish your race well!

Question:  I want to encourage other parents of special needs children. How about you? In the race of life, whom do you want to encourage with your cheers? Share at the Comment link below.

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