Monday, March 30, 2009

More Doctor's Appointments

This morning started off like any other Monday. It didn't quite progress like any other Monday, though. I was sitting at my desk when I started seeing know the kind when you look at a bright light and then look away and see all those spots? Those kind. Except I hadn't looked at a bright light (or any light for that matter). And the spots didn't go away. No matter how much I blinked, they persisted. And then I started seeing a white light over my right eye that was blocking my vision. Because it persisted for about 30 to 35 minutes, I started to panic a little. Surely losing vision in an eye is not normal. I called my opthamologist (with whom I already had a follow-up appontment scheduled for next week) and described my symptoms. They had me come in right away. They went through their round of visual field tests, dilated my eyes, etc. Turns out that the opthamologist thinks I might be suffering from migraines. Of all things! But because of the swelling on my optic nerves, he wants to send my back to the neuro-opthamologist to see what he thinks. I have that appointment tomorrow afternoon. I did learn that I am allergic to the numbing drops they put in your eyes before they put the dilation drops. I had another "episode" embarassing. At least now I know I am not crazy, just allergic.

This whole migraine idea is so random. I have had a lot of headaches in the last few weeks, but I had just attributed them to allergies, or the change in the weather. And while they haven't been fun headaches, I would hardly call them migraine-worthy. And I haven't had nausea. I learned today that there are different kinds of migraines, some of which don't even manifest themselves in a headache. So weird! Who knew? If it is migraines, they could be stress-induced or related to medication I am taking. So whatever is going on, I have more doctor's appointments ahead. Please pray for doctor's wisdom and accurate diagnosis. This is coming out of nowhere (as was the original finding of optic nerve swelling), and I just want to find out what the problem is. The fact that another symptom manifested itself just makes me nervous, you know? I know God is in control and is my ultimate Healer. He has shown His power in these health issues before...I am confident He can do it again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Coming Back Into Focus

The last few months have been a long and difficult road. After spending a year in a job that in many ways drained me mentally and emotionally, I began the long search for a replacement. Now as we turn the corner to enter April, I am still searching. The declining economy has been my enemy, and I have struggled with remaining positive throughout the ordeal. God has been faithful; He has provided for me every step of the way…a lot of times in ways that I never expected or would have, honestly, really wanted. But His ways are not our ways, and I have seen that over and over.

I have had ideas of what I thought God’s plan was for me. I got stuck with a one-track mind, and anything that didn’t fit in line with that track couldn’t possibly have been God’s plan (right?). And now I realize how out of focus I have really become. While I believe that God has given me certain gifts and abilities that would best be used in the meeting and event planning industry, I also now believe that God’s overall plan for my life is not for me to realize that dream. I have been battling that idea for some time now, and it still hurts to even write it down on paper for the world to see. Why would God do that? Why would He place in me this desire, only to take me in a different direction and ask me to give that up? I don’t know the entire answer to that question, but here are a few things I have learned:

It’s not about me and what I want. Novel concept, huh? But sadly, I have lost sight of that in recent months. I became so focused on achieving my own dreams, working toward my own goals, that I forgot to focus on what God wanted for me. Sure, I thought I was working toward God’s plan for me. But I forgot a few basic things along the way. I forgot that God has a bigger purpose for me than my career. My purpose in life is to honor and serve Him in whatever I do.

God’s plans for me have an eternal purpose. Thank goodness that His plan for me is not temporal. His plan for me is not to make me a successful meeting and event planner. And now that I actually say that out loud, I feel silly knowing that I actually believed that for a period of time. That’s not to say that God can’t use me in that industry; I still hold out hope that He will- if not now, maybe in the future. But in all reality, His overall plan for me is so much larger than that! His good plan is to draw me closer to His heart, to walk with me in intimate ways, to shape me into a godly woman, to mold me into a soldier for His kingdom. If I get to experience that intimacy and advance His kingdom through meeting and event planning, then praise God! But if I don’t…I praise God for that too.

It’s about loving God and loving people. I typically do ok loving God. People…not so much. Haha. I know that sounds bad, but it’s the truth. I happen to be an introverted person, which means I draw my energy from being by myself. Translation: people drain me. The up side to my personality is that I spend a lot of time alone…which allows for good times of reflection and quiet time before the Lord. The down side to my personality is that I spend a lot of time alone…and I forgot too often to go out and share the things that God teaches me with others. I forget to go out and just love people. I am working on that. I have started by having conversations with people in, of all places, the elevator. It’s the most awkward place to talk to people- think about it! People step on, press the button to their floor, then commence to stare at the floor or ceiling, avoiding any eye contact or conversation. But when I thought about it, I realized that Jesus wouldn’t stand in silence in an elevator avoiding talking with the people he rode with. So neither should I.

That’s a silly example, I know, but it is just one of the small ways that I am realizing how out of focus I had become. How self-absorbed I had become. I worry too much about my own schedule, my own plan, my own space…and before I know it, 4 months have passed and I haven’t shared my faith with anyone, I haven’t shown Christ’s love in a meaningful way to anyone. And now I realize that I am missing out on God’s plan. The plan that God has for me is far better than anything that I could ever conceive. My finite mind can’t even imagine what God could do in my life. I have to trust my loving Savior with that.

So now what? Now I have to learn to be content in any and all situations. I need to trust God despite my circumstances, trusting His overall plan is better for me than what I had thought. I have to be ok with serving Him anywhere…in a glam or a drab job. I have to learn to make the best of my circumstances, exhibiting genuine joy in everything I do. I have to remember that it’s not about me and my plans, it’s all about God’s plans to show His glory through my life. It’s time to come back into focus…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Welcome to My New Blog!

I have been a blogger for several years now, making my start with good old xanga. Anyone remember them? Haha. I had been a faithful xanga blogger, but decided I needed a change. (Thank you xanga; you served me well!) I have been contemplating making the switch to google for sometime now. I really had wanted to start a new blog with a new chapter in my life. But I decided there was no reason to wait for a new chapter to find its way to me...I would create my own! I can't promise this blog will be inspirational, insightful, or even funny. But I can promise that it will be the true account of the journey I am on toward intimacy with my Savior.

So here it is. My journey to the heart of God...

Dear Lord...

Please help me to trust You when things don't work out and I have to surrender my dreams. Help me to rest in the fact that You see things from a much bigger vantage point than I ever could. Help me to know that You always have my best interests in mind, even when You close doors I wanted open. And help me Lord to be ever mindful of Your power that is always at work—even when I can't see it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Such a Beat Down

I have always considered myself a fairly confident person. I have been blessed with a healthy self-esteem, growing up under a sweet mother who told me every day how beautiful and special I was. I have been taught to have a good work ethic, to set goals and work hard to achieve them. I have been taught to give my best in everything I do to the glory of God. My gracious Creator formed my type-A personality, instilling a sense of responsibility and consistency…and my flesh sometimes takes that to an over-achiever, perfectionist extreme. In short, I work hard to do well.
That attitude carried me through honors classes in high school, where I graduated 3rd in my class. And because 3rd wasn’t good enough for me- haha- it carried me through college where I graduated from a top tier school with a 4.0 with the honor of highest ranked woman in business. I set a goal, I worked hard, and God blessed the effort I put forth to give my best to Him. I worked my way through school, gaining valuable work experience along the way, continuing to enhance my skills. I took leadership roles, volunteered, and still maintained a healthy balance (haha- close friends and family might disagree). I did all that I could to enhance my resume. I say all of this not to brag on myself; please don’t misunderstand. I just want to give you a picture. Because this is where the beat down comes…
How is it that I can do all that, achieve all that, and still not be qualified? How is that I am never good enough? How is it that they always end up choosing someone else? I mean really…do the other candidates walk on water? Do they have some secret super power? Haha. Again, I am not trying to say I am better than other candidates…but I am really struggling to understand what it is that they have that I don’t. I just want to know. What else could I have done/could I do? Do you have any idea how discouraging that is? “I’m sorry, but perfect grades, graduating first in your class, working your way through school, having leadership roles…nope. Not good enough. Someone else is more qualified than you.” HOW?!?! How are they more qualified? I have never felt more inadequate, unqualified, inexperienced, incompetent. So much for confidence in my abilities. Sigh.
Now, I understand that with the current state of the economy, I am not alone. I know there are a TON of qualified people in this same boat. And I am not trying to say I am the only one getting the shaft. I understand there are a lot of people looking for work, making the job market so overly saturated, it really is a shot in the dark when you apply for a job. To even get an interview is a miracle. I get all of that. But it still doesn’t make it easier. It’s still overly discouraging. To hear over and over (and over and over) that your best is not good enough…complete beat down. My theology and my head tell me that God is in control. But as the days, weeks, and months pass…I grow weaker and more weary.
I am tired. Tired of wading through google searches, career websites, career centers, job postings. Tired of editing and re-working my resume. Tired of writing cover letters, submitting applications, providing references. I am tired of interviews. I’m tired of telling people how excited I am about the possibility of working for them, growing with their company, contributing my talents. I am tired of waiting on HR managers, just to hear “no” again. I am tired of sending thank you notes, follow up emails, and decision inquiries. I am tired of hearing “It will come soon. Surely you will get a job soon. It will be ok.”
I just have to say (and this is not meant to be a guilt trip, or an attempt at being a martyr): if you still have your job, be thankful for it. If you have survived the last round of layoffs at your company, be grateful you have a paycheck for that much longer. After my long post, I do have to say that I am VERY thankful for the temp work that God has provided in the interim. I don't want to be remiss in mentioning His provision as I continue my search. Last summer, when I was experiencing this same situation (yeah, this isn't new to me. sigh) I wrote about never complaining about Mondays again in my life. And since then, and in my work at Eagle U, I never complained about having to get up and go to work on Mondays. I looked forward to Mondays, because it meant I had a job to go to. This time around, I am resolving to remember to be grateful for my matter how bad things are. I am resolving to be grateful for even the menial tasks. Because usually the things we complain about are little and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things anyway.
I need relief. And I need it soon…

Monday, March 23, 2009

Girls Weekend!

This weekend, Nicki came into town to visit! This was definitely a long-missed and much-needed weekend with good friends. Friday we just hung out and talked, cathcing up on everything. Laura made us a yummy bar-b-q dinner, and it was so good to just sit and talk like we did in college days. It definitely made me miss our time at easy it was just to take a quick run down the beartrail to hang out with Nicki and Laura. How great it was to go to church each week with sweet friends. While things have changed since our days at Baylor, we have been incredibly blessed to remain close. While Laura is across the metroplex, and Nicki is in a different city, God has allowed us to maintain our friendship. And girls' weekends like this are such a sweet treat.

Saturday we met for lunch, then began our day of shopping! It was such a nice day (despite the clouds). We spent the day walking around the outlet mall and the new Watters Creek shopping center in Allen. We also spent some time in Sam Moon.

All that shopping made us hungry for...cupcakes! We headed over to Sprinkles to enjoy the best cupcakes on the planet (but not before catching the tail end of Sonic's Happy Hour). No joke. These cupcakes are amazing.

And what Girls' Weekend would be complete without a girly movie? We finished our day by heading to see Confessions of a Shopaholic (kind of ironic, considering how we spent our day!). All in all, it was a GREAT weekend. I have such amazing friends, and I definitely cherish times like this.

Watch battery (my purchase of the day- haha)...$10
Sprinkles cupcake...$4
Sonic happy hour drink...$0.75
Movie ticket...$9.25
Weekend with your best friends...priceless


Monday, March 16, 2009

Wedding Madness

This weekend I coordinated the wedding of my sweet friend Austen. When she came to me last fall, asking if I would help with her wedding planning, I readily agreed. Little did I know what I was really getting myself into... "Helping" turned into "full-out planning." LOL. Despite the initial shock of the reality of my role, I was eager to tackle the challenge. I just have to explain the broad scope of what I got myself into...

Back in the fall, I was asked to plan a May wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. That was a challenge, considering I live in Texas. But we were making headway, and things were starting to fall into place. Right before New Year's, the sweet bride came to me with an event revision: we were moving the wedding to Texas! Despite the fact the last few months of planning were gone, I was excited to ease the stress of a far away wedding. The catch was that she was moving the wedding up two months. That's right- a March wedding in Texas. I had just over 2 months to re-plan an entire wedding. Ha!

You have to understand: I absolutely LOVE event coordination. It's my chosen career choice, and never am I more in my element than when I am planning/coordinating an event. And I was more than happy to help a friend. But I quickly realized I was in over my head when the clock was ticking and I was a staff of one. I faced wall after wall, challenge after challenge. But in the end- it was a beautiful wedding, no major mishaps, and the bride was happy. What more could I ask for?

As I ran around all weekend trying to get this wedding to go off without a hitch, I had to pause (if only for a brief millisecond) and reflect on what I was actually doing. While it was crazy, and I nearly had a heart attack more than once over the course of the weekend- lol- I realized that I was doing what I loved. And I realized I couldn't give it up without a fight. Now understand, if God asked me to give it up because He had something else for me, I would. It would be extremely difficult to do, but I would do it. But throughout this job search process, I have wondered if I was in the wrong industry. Given the economy, there aren't a plethora of event jobs out there. But after this weekend, I felt as though God was confirming the gifts/talents He created in me. This is what I am supposed to do. It's not the overall calling on my life- planning events as a calling would be silly. But I do believe it is the job He created for me in this temporal world. The gifts and abilities He has developed in me...I was meant to plan events. My calling is how I plan those events and impact the people I come in contact with for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.

And so I continue searching and I continue waiting. As I unloaded my car from the wedding, I had a vision of the future. I looked at the mound of event materials that littered my backseat, and I thought: one day, I am going to look back on this day and smile. I am going to smile to see where I started...and how far God had brought me from 'those early days.' I am going to smile as I think how I got my start...and so I share with you a snapshot of my "before." This is where Erin, Certified Meeting and Event Planner, got her start: her apartment was her office, her living room was her warehouse, her personal vehicle was her first loading truck, her first clients were her friends...

On a random note...I just have to say that I am a HUGE fan of staying in a hotel. (Told you it was random). I think the thing I have realized is that it's not just about staying in a's about staying in a hotel by myself. I stayed in a hotel over the weekend for the wedding so that I could be close to the event venue...and I was happy as a clam. It was a basic hotel...a Holiday Inn Express, actually. But just having my own nice. I had a king-sized bed, a flat screen HDTV, an in-room coffee maker, and my choice of pillow firmness- lol. I am fairly easy to please.

My hotel room for the event weekend...

The choice of pillow firmness just made me laugh!

Ready to take on the day...ready to tackle this wedding...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dear Lord...

Thank You that in the midst of uncertain times, fearful times, and heart-aching times, You are the One I can be certain of. Thank You for being a Sure Thing, for now and always. Let my mind be filled with You, and then I will know Your peace which is supernatural. Lord, I pray that You will strengthen me in this trial, and during it, I ask that You will cause my heart and my mind to continue to turn to You. Lord, don't let this hard time cause me to be bitter or despairing. Instead, let me come out of it on the other side with a stronger trust in You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Don't Ask for the Rain Unless You are Prepared for It

So apparently my feelings of hope and the end of a chapter in my life was wrong. I did not get the job I had hoped for. They called to tell me how wonderful I was, how impressed they were with me...but at the end of the day, they chose the candidate with more experience. Sigh. Story of my life. It's that whole catch-22: you need more experience to get hired, but no one is willing to give it. It's so hard to hear "you're so great! you're so wonderful! but we don't want you!" grrrr
I wish I could say I praised God despite hearing "no" one more time...but I didn't. I am weak, and I had had a conversation with God stating that I just couldn't hear "no" again. So when I did...I was angry. I can't remember the last time I was really angry. I don't get angry. Sure, I get frustrated, upset, irritated...never angry. And yet, because I am so vulnerable and weak, I got angry. And in a way, I felt betrayed. I can't understand why a good God would provide all of these wonderful opportunities, open all of these doors, just to slam them all in my face. Because that's what it felt like. I had hot tears last night as I shouted at God. I told Him I couldn't hear "no" again. I told Him I was tired and weary and just needed some relief. I told Him how excited I was about this job and how much I wanted it. And after my shouting match, I felt empty and confused.
I don't recommend getting angry at God. That's not what I am advocating. But it's how I felt last night, and so I let Him have it. He wanted honest: I was HONEST. He wants me to go to Him and tell Him how I feel: I told Him what I really thought. I cried my eyes out until the tears literally just ran out...and I was left with a swollen face and a mess of snot. LOL. I'm sorry- that's gross. It's a good thing you weren't there. After my tantrum, I asked God to just let me fall asleep because I just couldn't talk to Him anymore and I didn't want to think about anything anymore...
I do have to make sure that you understand that my anger has subsided, and I am starting to think a little more rationally now. I spent the morning in quiet submission and repentance before my holy God. I'm lucky He didn't strike me where I was...part of me feels like the only reason why He didn't is because part of me just wished He would- LOL. I spent a good amount of time with my face on the floor, lying flat before the God of the universe. I had to ask for forgiveness and surrender everything. And I know that was only the beginning. I know I still have a long way to go, and I am not any less confused or hurt by the situation.
So what now? I honestly don't know. I have some very hard decisions to make in a short period of time, and I don't know where to begin. I feel as though my whole world has turned upside down- how that was possible from being more turned upside than it already was...I don't know, but I found out it was possible yesterday. And somehow I have to figure out how to pick up the pieces, still trust God in the process, and move forward. I don't know where to go next. None of my options look good or appealing at this point...and I need wisdom, discernment, and direction.
A sweet friend sent me a link to a sermon she heard this weekend that made her think of me. It was entitled "God Puts Us in the Right Place" and it was preached by a beloved pastor from home- Robert Emmitt. It was perfect, as though it were preached just for me. If you get a chance, you should listen to it. Especially if you are experiencing a situation where you are trying really hard for something, doing all the right things, asking, seeking, knocking...and all of the doors are closing. In case you need a little outline, here are the major points of his sermon:
If God's not in it, you won't be either. God wants us to knock on the door; He doesn't want us to kick it in. When we can't understand why the door isn't opening and wonder what the deal is, we have to remember that God is the deal. We cannot make God's will happen. God has no obligation to give us the things we want or ask for. He is the sovereign God of the universe; He's not going to put you someplace that He is not.
God knows where you are and can get you where He wants you to be. We shouldn't chase after God's will; it is not obscure, mystical, or mysterious. To be in God's will is to walk in the moment, saying "God, you know where I am; if you want me to move, you can make it happen." We need to just live our life and not try to make things happen. "Our job as followers of God and trusting in Jesus Christ is to live a quiet, faithful, daily life in the Lord; to walk in the Spirit, to pray, to say 'Lord, who do I see? who do I talk to? who do I help?' Then live in that moment. If He wants me someplace else, He can make it happen.
Ask, seek, and knock and leave the results to God. A closed door is not a test for us to see if we will kick it open. God puts us in the right place, at the right time, with the right people...we just have to trust Him.
It presented me just enough strength and hope for a little more endurance. I have a lot to think about, a lot to pray about. Please pray for wisdom and clear direction. And pray for renewal of faith and trust.

Monday, March 2, 2009

VIN- Very Important Neighbor

This morning on my way to work, I saw former President George W. Bush! I knew the former president was going to be a close neighbor of mine…I just didn’t realize how close. I was sitting at a light near the office building where my temp job is located, when I saw a police car turn onto the street in front of me. It was followed by 4 black SUVs and another police car. Former President Bush was headed to work in his new office building, which is located in the same center that my current office building is located. I had heard several people in the office talk about seeing the secret service men around the area, but this morning, I actually got to see the former president! I don’t know why, but there always seems to be a certain level of excitement when a VIP person is within close proximity- regardless of who they are. I just thought it was a fun way to start my day. Random, but nonetheless fun.
***Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for this photo...I wasn't able to snap my own picutre of the former president, but this is still the image I saw this morning, and the one I would have taken if I could have reacted faster.
I have been watching the news coverage of former President Bush and Laura Bush moving back to Dallas- it’s kind of a big deal around here. I knew he was moving into the neighborhood- and I have been getting the inside scoop from one of the girls in my Bible Study group- her parents live on Daria Place, the street where the Bush’s have taken up residence. She has been telling me about all the craziness that has descended on her parents’ street. Can you imagine?

I feel a special kinship with the former president and former governor of Texas. When I was in 7th grade, our class took a field trip to the State Capitol Building, where then-Governor Bush spoke to us about Texas politics. As he was leaving and my other classmates began to mill around, the governor stopped at the door, turned back toward the room, and winked at me before he headed out for a meeting. I know that sounds super cheesy, but it was a big deal to a 7th grader, and you know you’re jealous- lol.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Influx of Interviews

So many of you know that I am still on the job hunt, waiting to finally be able to count myself "employed" again. Despite the fact that I am starting month 4 of my search, I have to admit that I have had a ridiculous amount of interviews. Considering the state of the economy, with continued announcements of layoffs and cutbacks, and considering the niche industry that I have chosen for my career...I have had more interviews in the past 2 months than I had the entire 6 months after graduation! When I really sat down to think about it, I really couldn't believe it! At the very core, it really is a testament to God's sovereignty. My God is so much bigger than the economy and the supposed woes that our country faces. And the truth remains that anything and everything comes from Him. His timing is perfect, and when He wants me to have a job, He will provide it- regardless of what is going on around me.
At first glance, I would be apt to start wondering about my interview abilities- haha. So many offers. Hmmm...might make you question, right? Like, am I really that bad at interviews? Do I really say that many dumb things? I mean, sometimes I do, but I have seen God open and close doors for various reasons, and it has been (while hard) an exciting journey to watch His hand move in my life. I really believe that God has provided the mass quantity of interviews as a source of encouragement to me. He knew the darkness I walked through when I didn't receive any interviews after graduation, and I think this time around He is reminding me that He is working and that He has everything under control. He is reminding me that He directs the plans of my life, not the economy, not my resume or interview skills, not employers or the job process. God is in control. I feel so lucky to have been able to see some of the reasons that God has led me in the directions He has, lucky to see some of why He has closed certain doors. And it makes me all that more excited for what He will provide!
This could be wishful thinking, but I feel as though my time is close. I feel as though I might even know this week. I have a second interview with a company on Tuesday, and I have a good feeling about this one. Of course, I have had "good feelings" before, and I could just be willing the circumstances to work themselves's been a long process, don't judge me. I could be wrong. But as I have walked in this process, I am finally starting to learn to follow His leading and trust His plan. I wish I could say I have mastered this process, but I fear I have allowed my flesh to interfere too often. I fear I am a slow learner...sigh. But God is good, and thankfully does not give up on people like me. He still wants to continue the molding process.
Please continue praying for direction and discernment. I really hope to be celebrating God's amazing provision by the end of this week. How awesome would that be?!?! But if He chooses to close this door too, I am confident that He will continue leading me toward the job He has had waiting for me all along. And if He says "no" to this job too, I can rejoice in God's perfect plan and continued provision despite the lack of a stable job. He is good all the time!