Mud in My Eyes

“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” John 9:10-11 (NIV)

It wasn’t mud. It was a fancy 21st century laser but it’s essentially the same thing. I had Lasik surgery recently and to say it was awesome is an understatement. It may not have been an instantaneous healing but it was a miracle nonetheless.

Let me back up. I became near-sighted at eight years old. I had to get new glasses every year and at 14 I got contacts. I hoped I could get Lasik done soon after high school but of course my vision had to stop changing before I could go for a consultation. Year after year I went for my annual exam hoping they would tell me my eyes had leveled off and year after year I was told I needed a higher prescription. It became really stressful to go to the optometrist. I hated going for that exam more than any other, even the gynecologist. Finally, two years ago my prescription stayed the same and last year I was cleared for a Lasik consultation. My eyes had leveled off at a whopping -9.00. If you don’t know how bad that is, consider yourself blessed.

I couldn’t make time for it last year and I was scared to have the surgery. I was afraid that I would be the one in a million who loses her eyesight to a botched surgery. I still wanted it because even with contacts I wasn’t seeing 20/20 and my glasses were Coke bottles I had a really hard time seeing with. But I was scared. I thought I’d just make due. My eyes weren’t getting worse anymore. Then I went for my appointment and was told the strain of not having my vision fully corrected with contacts was causing the prescription to go up again.

We see many miraculous healings in my church and I’ve said that if I could choose what God healed for me it would be my eyesight. At the Supernatural Conference I had someone pray for my eyes. Nothing happened but she told me God wanted me to trust Him. I admit I was disappointed. That night I woke up, looked around at the blurry (and I mean blurry) room, and sighed. Then God said, “I’m not done yet.”

Two weeks later I went for a consultation. I was sure they wouldn’t be able to do Lasik but maybe they could do a different kind of surgery. It would cost as much as a car but my student loans are paid off so maybe I could swing it. They told me I was a good candidate for Lasik and they could do my surgery in two months. I was shocked and elated.

On September 26, 2015, God healed my eyes. At -9.00 I fell just inside the parameters of Lasik and was the highest prescription they did that day. I had always been afraid of the surgery and I thought I would be a nervous wreck that day but I could have done it without the Xanax. It just didn’t make sense to be scared anymore. I finally released the problem to Him and He has blessed me beyond what I expected.

Finally, after twenty years, I can sit up each morning and see clearly. Lasik is truly miraculous.

Recreation vs. Sleep: A Tax Season Dilemma

Okay, so you may have figured out that it’s tax season and that’s why I haven’t really written anything lately. Tax season means I’m spending long hours at that hellhole my office and my brain hasn’t been able to handle much outside of itemized deductions and balance sheets.

But I’ve made a discovery this week. I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been tired all day no matter how much caffeine I consume. I’ve been going to bed early to try to overcome it but to no avail. I still toss and turn and wake up cranky and blurry-eyed. So last night I tried something different. Instead of turning the TV off at 9 and heading to bed, I decided to stay up an extra hour and get caught up on “Agent Carter.” Amazingly, I stayed asleep for longer periods and woke up feeling less like the walking dead.

This experiment has led me to conclude that what I need is more recreation not more sleep. Sleep is good but it’s not the only thing that rests your brain. Doing an activity you enjoy and getting the focus off work can do even more to help. I believe I already knew this on some level but I put it into practice last night and had good results.

It’s my anxiety that brings me to the dilemma part. How am I supposed to add enough recreation time to my already overloaded schedule and still get the amount of sleep my body and mind require? My anxious, mushy brain says, “There aren’t enough hours in the day. There are too many tax returns piled on your desk, too many clients calling, too many demands and not enough Kim to go around.” All these things are true but isn’t it also true that God is the God of all things and that includes time?

It has become increasing clear to me that God has placed me in this job for His purpose and I know that every day He strengthens me for the tasks at hand. And this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been through five tax seasons and half of this one and I know the stress doesn’t do any good. My battle is the lie that I’m not good enough and I still need to prove myself.

This tax season, amid the extra crazy of a dysfunctional office, the task is not the returns or the planning or a sleep regimen. The task is trust. Trust in Him to make the time for it all and trust that now, finally, I am good enough.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Leave No Woman Behind

I didn’t really have grandparents growing up. I mean they existed but they lived far away and I didn’t establish close relationships with them. My grandfathers died when I was very young but both my grandmothers are still living. Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know my mom’s mother, Gramma. She lives in Florida with her husband and we’ve gone down there several times to visit with them and my mom’s other relatives.

Let me explain something about Gramma. She has not had an easy life. There are a lot of reasons my mom moved a very long way away from her family. She likes to keep at least two states between her and them. God has been doing great things for all of them in the last several years but still. And Gramma has made a lot of progress with the Lord and forgiveness. She has been attending a Lutheran church with some of her friends.

The last time she was at our house was in 2001 for my brother’s high school graduation. A lot of big moments happened between then and now. I graduated high school and college, my brother graduated college and got married. Those are things grandparents usually attend. But Gramma couldn’t come for various reasons, one of which being her nerves couldn’t handle traveling that far. It’s 10 hours by car on the interstate and navigating an airport at her age and her anxiety level would be a nightmare. So I just accepted that Gramma would never visit us, we’d just visit down there.

If you think God isn’t in the miracle business anymore, think again. Back in August, my 84-year-old grandmother and her 89-year-old husband did indeed navigate airport security and fly to my house. It may not seem like much but, y’all, that was a miracle.

And it doesn’t stop there. We got to take Gramma to our church, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. Now, the church I attend is not everyone’s cup of tea. We believe in miraculous healings and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some people would call us crazy. During the service they asked the twenty somethings to come down front and then they asked everyone over sixty if they’d come down and pray for us. When we were finished and I turned around to go back to my seat, Gramma had come down and she was praying for a girl. I admit, I never thought I would see that.

We had a great visit and I’m so thankful God made it happen. She got to see my brother for the first time in 13 years and meet his wife. I thought that was the extent of God’s miracle for us but as per usual, He gave more than was asked. My mom talked to Gramma a couple weeks ago and she mentioned that the little Lutheran church she attends just isn’t doing it for her anymore. She wants something more.

Y’all, let me tell you something about the Holy Spirit, He leaves no one behind.

“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:8 (NIV)

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Father God,

Thank You for Your provision this year.

Thank You for the frustration and stress.

Thank You for the paychecks.

Thank You for wisdom and discernment.

Thank You for coming change.

Thank You for emotional healing.

Thank You for putting me in the fray.

Thank You for enlightening books.

Thank You for job training, both physical and spiritual.

Thank You for sustaining me and teaching me.

Thank You for what You have done, are doing, and will do.

And most of all, thank You for Your son Jesus Christ and in His mighty name I pray,

Amen

When the Going Gets Tough…

The tough get going, right? But what does that actually mean? Does “get going” mean you suck it up and start handling the problem or does it mean you move on from the thing that has suddenly gotten tough?

I’m at a major crossroads, y’all. I mentioned in my last post that my job has some serious problems. And I explained how God put me in this job for His purpose and how He used me to help with one of the issues. The problem is there are so many more issues. And they’re not getting solved anytime soon. We still have to do more work with no tax season help, management is still making head-scratching decisions, and the two people who tried to get me fired for two years are still after me. (Don’t even get me started on that.)

So I’m trapped between “If your job makes you miserable, you should find another job” and “All jobs suck and if you leave this one, you could end up somewhere worse.” Am I being weak to want to move on or am I legitimately at the point where I need to move on for the sake of my sanity?

And really this goes beyond the job situation. I just turned 28, I’m single, childless, and living with my parents. I want to move to another city, where my church is. But I can’t commute all the way to my current job from there. And the even bigger issue is that this job is taking over my life. Not just during tax season anymore. I feel like it leaves no time for serving God and that’s a problem.

Here’s what God has had to say over the last 12 months:

1. Don’t buy a house. Don’t be tied down to any one place. (Check)
2. Get out of debt. (Check)
3. Learn as much as possible about relationship with God. (Check)
4. He will use me.
5. I won’t be on this job that much longer. (?)

It’s that last one that has me stumped. Is my work for Him at this job done? Am I free to pursue something else? Like I mentioned before, God doesn’t give you the whole picture. That’s why they call it faith. If I’m really serious about abandoning my life to Him, I guess this is a pretty good time to start. So I’ve started looking around for other jobs and I’m trusting Him with the outcome. He didn’t let me down before, why would He now?

Why Not?

As I sit in my office breathing in the scent of Sweet Pea from my Wallflower, exhausted from 7 weeks of workplace hell, I can’t help thinking about how all this happened.

It started in the spring. Our firm bought out a couple of smaller ones and we took on some major new additions. It’s put a strain on everyone. We’re small ourselves and we’re not equipped to handle this amount. Then we were told we’d have to change our entire way of doing things by converting to a new, harder-to-use, very un-user-friendly program. Add in some serious problems at the top level and you’ve got a recipe for rebellion.

One night, as I was stressing about the situation and thinking about how useless the whole thing was, a train of thought started running through my head. There could actually be a solution to this. I’ve always been a leader and I often get put in leadership positions. I’m also pretty good at mediation. Emotions were running high with everyone and there was so much whispering at the office. The things I was thinking about would open communication and help to reconcile the situation. It would also put me at the center of the fray. After I had hashed it all out in my mind, I thought, “I can’t do that.”

Then God said, “Why not?”

And I didn’t have an answer. At least not a good one. He gave me these leadership and people skills. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that He would want me to use them? Hadn’t He already given me many situations like this to practice on? Hadn’t He already revealed that He was using me at this job for His purpose?

So I stepped into the fray and no, it wasn’t easy. I got pummeled from all sides and it left me drained and wondering if I had done the right thing. But then others started to step up and we had the opportunity to make our concerns heard. They decided to the delay the conversion until we could all consider the consequences. That’s a huge relief going into the autumn. Did it fix everything? No. But it fixed the most immediate problem and brought the other issues to light.

Part of being all in for God is hearing His voice and being brave enough to act when you know it’s Him. He doesn’t give us the entire answer up front. He expects us to recognize the opportunity and step out in faith, trusting He will take care of the outcome.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Why not, indeed.

Why I’m an Accountant

Not because it’s fun. I’ll just put that right out there. I’ve already ranted at length about how the job can suck. So, why, you might ask, do I continue?

Because God told me to. Yep, I said it. That’s the real, truthful answer. I’m an accountant because God wanted me to be. Now, I had no idea about this until just a few months ago. For the last 27 years, God has been preparing me to do this job at this firm. And I had no freaking clue.

Let’s start with college. I worked hard and got the scholarships and got into the good school. I was a smart kid and I thought I had my pick of majors. The trick was finding out what I wanted to do because I could do anything. I was that awesome. That lasted about six weeks. C is for Chemistry in more ways than one, y’all. I didn’t know what to do next so I just kept going with the gen ed. When it came time to declare a major I decided on accounting because it just didn’t suck as much as everything else and I didn’t seem to suck at it.

So I took the courses and got the degree. I also did an internship for two summers. It was really temp work, but I was getting paid so I wasn’t about to complain. Then there was grad school. It was sooooo important that I go to grad school and get the CPA. I’ve explained this part of the story but I’ll reiterate that I was being told CPA or die. So I went. For two months. I came home and immediately got a job as an accountant (not a temp) at the exact firm I had “interned” with. If that’s not divine planning, I don’t know what is.

I realized pretty quickly that flunking out of grad school was not a failure. Far from it actually. It was a huge learning experience. And while I may have had an inkling that it wasn’t the right path for me, I believe God took me there to show me my path. I was having second thoughts just before I left but it was way too late to turn back. I had to go and see and fail. It wasn’t being disobedient to God. I needed that experience. And God’s timing is always perfect. If I had decided in August not to go and asked for a job at my firm, there wouldn’t have been one. They had just fired someone not long before I called to tell them I was leaving grad school and could I please have my temp job back while I look for a real job. That’s how I know I wasn’t disobeying. I was exactly where He wanted me. Sometimes God wants you to make the mistake.

I’ve been on this job for four years and it hasn’t been easy. There have been a lot of low points but God has kept me here because I’m doing something for Him. And if I might be so bold, I think God trusts me to do His work here. God has been leading me to this place for a lot longer than I knew.

When asked formally why I became an accountant, I’d give some BS answer about wanting to provide an important service to people. Little did I know I was actually doing service for something so much greater.