Friday, May 8, 2009

I Am Ready


Next weekend I’m going away for a few days with some sweet girlfriends…I can’t wait!

Each year, a handful of the ladies from our church go to a wonderful retreat in Ocean Shores, Washington. It is such a sweet time of worship, teaching, and just hanging out with the girls.

Each year that I’ve gone, God has met with me there…and I have been so blessed!

I know that God can meet with us anytime…anywhere. But I guess there’s just something about setting aside a couple days to focus completely on Him. Getting away from the daily routine, and just quieting myself before Him. Asking Him to speak to me...and actually taking the time to listen.
I have yet to be disappointed!

This time last year, I was at the peak of my career as a children’s photographer. I was busier than ever. I had lots & lots of amazing clients who trusted me year after year to come into their homes and document the lives of their children. I felt like I had
“made it” in the world of professional photography…and I was enjoying
every-single-thing associated with “making it”.

Little did I know what God had in store for me that weekend…

He spoke to me. He asked me to give it all up. To leave my photography career behind. He had something else for me.

And when I doubted that I was really hearing from Him correctly. He confirmed it.

He confirmed it through the words of the speaker that weekend…it was like she was speaking straight to my heart.
He confirmed it through a prophetic word spoken over me by a close, Godly friend.
He confirmed it over and over…and over again.

I remember sitting there just before the last session ended, with two of my closest friends on either side of me. They knew what the Lord was asking me to do, and He was using them to provide comfort and support in that moment.
The pastors’ wives had been called up to the front to be prayed over.
Times Two (an incredible & ANOINTED local band) was singing the most beautiful song over these precious pastors' wives. It was called “Blessings”.

“Blessings” by Times Two

“My blessings are on you
My blessings are on you
Receive My blessings dear one”

I just sat and soaked it in.

I cried.

And I prayed.

I asked the Lord to go before me. I knew He would have to because I had no idea what I was going to tell everybody.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I just “knew” people weren’t going to get it.
He was asking me to give up a successful career…for “no apparent reason”.
Because He had something “better”. But I didn’t know what. And that is really hard to explain to people…that’s really hard to explain to myself!

On my way out that day, I stopped by the back table to buy a copy of the CD with the “Blessings” song. {I had a feeling I would be desperate to have that song sung over me quite a bit in the coming months.}
I told the band member behind the table that I wanted their CD with the “Blessings” song on it. She pointed to the CD with the purple cover and said, “it also has the song ‘I Am Ready’ on it”.
I remember thinking, “I wonder why she would say that? I've never heard of that song.”

When I was finally alone in my car, I popped the CD in and went straight to the blessings song. After having that sung over me a few times, I thought I would listen to the “I Am Ready” song she mentioned.
I skipped to it and I was half-listening to the words as I was driving. Then, all of the sudden, the words caught my attention. I had to start the song over to make sure I was hearing right…

“...so take my strengths and talents, before I change my mind”

I bawled…again.

“I Am Ready” by Times Two

“Jesus, I am ready
I’m ready to surrender
All that I have worked for
And all that I’ve dreamed of”

“Cause I know I can trust you
I am confident, Your love
Is everything I’ll ever need
Your love will be enough
I am ready
I am ready”

“So take my strengths and talents
Before I change my mind
You can even take my weakness
Take anything you find
Lord I’m saying use me
Let Your Glory be defined
In my life”


As if I didn’t have enough confirmation already? Thank you, Jesus!

Needless to say, I listened to that song over & over as I went forward in the months to follow.

I’m not gonna lie.
It was hard.
It took six solid months of working my tail off to phase out my business…and not just “to finish”, but to finish well.
Not everybody understood, but every single one of my clients was gracious and wished me the best…even if they didn’t understand.

And guess what? I don’t have a neat and tidy way to wrap this up for you.

I can’t tell you exactly what it is that the Lord is calling me to do now, because I’m still waiting to find out.

I believe that not one moment has been wasted, but that He is slowly growing me and preparing me for “whatever it is”.

In the meantime, He has freed me up to enjoy more time with my children while they are still young.
He has provided me with a season in life where I can sit at His feet for hours at a time if I choose…just praying, worshiping Him, and studying my Bible.
He has freed me up from an incredibly busy lifestyle, so that when a loved one is suddenly walking in the midst of a very dark valley, I can be there for them…completely.

I BELIEVE that the Lord has an amazing plan for my life up His Holy Sleeve.

Amazing by the world's standards? Maybe not.

Amazing by His standards? Absolutely.

For now, I am standing upon this scripture…

Luke 1:45
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"


(By the way, if any of you local girls are interested in going to the “Girls’ Getaway” in Ocean Shores next weekend, May 15-17th , email me!
I’d love to get more information to you!! :)

4 comments:

  1. WOW! An amazing story of how God spoke to you!!! LOVE IT!!! Enjoy your time away, I just returned from a retreat, what a blessing to be able to get away and get a little closer to God!

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  2. Amanda, thank you for sharing your story. It felt very fresh still, like it just happened. I get the feeling that one year has only made a dent in the walk you are walking now. You are sensitive to the voice of God, what an exciting journey you are on now.

    I loved the "up His Holy Sleeve" analogy and I loved the songs. If I lived closer I would ask to go with you and your friends to the retreat.

    Blessings.

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  3. I hope that He gives you new insight at the upcoming retreat. I had never heard (or probably not focused on it) the term “He goes before us” until a friend prayed that each week over a small group bible study we were having in her home.
    Deut. 31:8 “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
    Those words are precious indeed and He does go before us to prepare us for what He’s going to do. Sometimes there’s no need for explaining, there’s just the need for trusting Him. His timing, His guidance and our obedience. Most people don’t get it when we’re living “radical” lives for our Savior! Sacrificing by the world’s standards, but fulfilled by God’s standards. And sometimes living our faith out that way can mean just the simple act of spending much needed time with our children while they’re young and not missing the moments He means for us to be a involved in.

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  4. Thank you Amanda for sharing this. I so get ya, girl! It's so hard to let go isn't it? Yet once we do, we find such blessing and freedom in knowing we are walking in obedience. I will pray for you this weekend...I wish I were in your area to attend!

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