Everyday Jesus: Unexpected

Welcome to the beginning of our guest blogging series called “Everyday Jesus.” (Are you excited?? I SURE AM!!) To kick things off, today we feature an inspiring and wise friend of mine, Susan. She has incredible insight when it comes to walking with Christ and always has her eyes open, looking for Jesus in everyday life. I pray that her sweet and genuine words touch your heart and inspire your life– she is quite a gal and I am blessed to introduce you to her today.

Looking for Him Daily, 
SGK 

PS: Be sure to show Susan the love by leaving a response/comment below! 

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I’ve worked since I was 16.  Always made good money, received excellent evaluations, consistent promotions, loved to offer solution and innovation . . . a “model employee” of sorts.  I was bulletproof.

Recently in my professional role of seven years, I started feeling itchy . . . not quite fulfilled in my work.  I played with thoughts of what I might do next . . . and wondered if God was calling me to something new.  Then the unexpected happened . . . half the staff was laid off…  including ME!  I was propelled from what I might do next and into what will I do now.

Sadly, the circumstance stole my confidence and what I know to be true about myself.  I forgot that I am loveable, capable, smart, an encourager, strategic, creative, a good problem solver, blah, blah, blah . . . yeah I got talents. The layoff translated into depression and isolation.  I’m upbeat, high energy, not someone trapped in despair.  During that time, I not only forgot who I am, but also Whose I am!

How is it that God can get through our muddiest pity-party sitting-in-the-dark eatin-worms times?!?

One Saturday morning I received an e-devotional that said,It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring a year ago;  but now you also must complete the doing of it. (II Corinthians 8:10-11)  God jolted my heart with this reminder that I had a desire to pursue something new in an area of my greatest passion, and now was the time.

Sunday in church the pastor said, “God told me to speak to some of you about ashes. What are the ashes in your life?  A lost job?   A lost love?  God wants you to finish your grieving and rise out of the ashes.  He wants to give you beauty for ashes.”

And there was a rose.

rose

The next day I met with a woman who asked if I would teach at a retreat for her leadership team.  Teaching topic:  How God speaks to us.  Ha!  Could this really be happening?

On the way to the retreat, the group stopped in a little mountain town for lunch.  I found myself in the same restaurant, sitting in the same room, in the same seat where only months prior I had been for my ex-employer’s planning retreat.  Coincidence?  In the middle of the table sat a huge gorgeous rose.  Again God jolted my heart and said almost audibly, “Nothing has been lost. This is my timing. I will give you beauty for ashes.”

At the retreat, I presented my teaching on how God speaks using my fresh examples.  What a blessing to see the Holy Spirit minister to those in attendance! Their positive feedback was good for my soul and a nice reminder of God’s gifting and call on my life.

Another presenter at the retreat handed me a little slip of paper as we were leaving.  She said “God prompted me to give this to you.”  She was a woman I had just met. She had no knowledge of my life or current circumstance.  That little slip of paper simply said Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees . . . you will be my people and I will be your God.”

JOLT!  This was the same scripture God placed on my heart 20+ years ago when I launched Insights, my first consulting firm.  It was the Biblical foundation of my business and life calling.  God assigned me to gently tap on the hard-hearted to bring them closer to God. The Lord reminded me in such a powerful way that His call on my life has never changed, and that we still had work to do!  Time to get going.

REFLECTION: When is the last time God got your attention in an UNEXPECTED way? How did you respond?

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Susan Headshot.jpgSusan Parks is a coach and consultant for Christ  as founder of her first consulting firm “Insights” that she launched 20+ years ago. She specializes in ministry and leader development, values-based strategic planning and hiring, ministry multiplication and marketing/community outreach. If you are interested in being coached by or experiencing Susan’s services firsthand, contact her via email at susanpark1214 {at} gmail {dot} com.

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “Everyday Jesus: Unexpected

  1. Hi Susan! I am so encouraged by your story and your perseverance. It was great to meet you last May and I have enjoyed continued updates through Sharita. I am excited for you and your new adventure and journey as you complete what He has called you to do. I pray God’s outpouring of love and revelation to you!

    • Susan

      Great to hear from you Kelli. Thanks for your encouragement. Our precious God apparently does have a plan 🙂 for each of us. Hope you’re speaking endeavors continue to blossom.

      • I agree, Kelli– Susan is super awesome and God is going to continue to do HUGE things with her… Can’t wait to watch (and help if I can!)

  2. Where do I begin? I am filled with JOY as I read this as I am very close to Susan’s situation and know her intimately….I’ve been praying for her with an expectation, and a knowing that it was only a matter of time that God pulled her back up, set her back on His course! Love you Susan, I can’t wait to see He in You as I have so many times before!!!!! Love you Ronna

    • Susan

      Thank you dear heart. I love you Ronna.

      • Thanks for stopping by, Ronna… As I worked with Susan (and Susan worked with me) during our coaching process, she brought such joy into my life too– so blessed to know her and I am excited for this new season 🙂

  3. Becky Moody

    Susan, my dear friend. I love you so much! I told you that God had much bigger plans for you. Sometimes we have stepping stones that we never thought we had to take. God knows your heart. He was waiting for His right time for you. That “time ” doesn’t always make sense to us, but he knows what is best for us. You have such a wonderful talent to talk to people, listen and guide them in what GOD places in your heart. You are where you are supposed to be. Keep listening to God…not others. That really doesn’t matter anymore. See you soon. I am so proud of you.

    • Susan

      Becky I’m sure God has placed you in my life at this time. Your wise counsel has been a blessing. Thank you.

      • Great words, Becky! You are so right– sometimes God’s timing seems a little off from our perspective… but it always turns out that He knows what He is doing, and just when He needs to bring those roses from the ashes– so often unexpectedly!

  4. Susan, what a great post, thank you for sharing with us all! The biggest time God ever spoke to my husband and I was when I found out we were expecting two years into our marriage – I had always planned we would be married much longer. The truth about God and his plans not matching with ours was a hard thing for me to accept because up until that point my life had been what I wanted and what I planned it to be (or so I thought I had planned it). I had always told people that God has his own plans but when it really differs from what yours are it is so hard to shift in to putting your life in his hands.

    • Susan

      I’m like you…a planner, so I know what you mean. Read Lonnie Riley’s book “By Faith”. Very enlightening. He says if you trust and follow God today, you’ll end up big picture right in the middle of God’s will … the best plan for us. You must be a remarkable woman or God wouldn’t have been so anxious to make you a mom!

      • Susan, I second your statement– Kayla IS an incredible friend, woman and Mama… Blessed to know her! Kayla, you are wonderful. Just thought you should know!

  5. That’s fantastic. I think God’s calling us out the rat race. My mom had a couple of heart attacks to get her out. Not one since she’s been home writing.

    • Susan

      God is faithful and can do whatever it takes to get our attention. I’m so thankful He makes sure I hear His call even when I’m off focus. I’m praying for your mom and family.

    • Amazing how God works like that, Jenn… I too will be lifting up your Mom today!

  6. One of the wonderful pictures the Lord has places on us is that our ashes will be turned beauty. That’s all I can count on!!

    • SPark

      All we need is faith. Jesus said “only believe!”

      • Amen Susan! And yes, Joanne– it’s so encouraging that God promises us beauty from the ashes… What an incredible hope!

  7. Thank you for sharing at “Tell Me a Story.” God was already preparing you to leave your company, even prior to the lay off. When the opportunity came for me to take retirement, I jumped at the chanch, and took the extra enticements they offered. No regrets, it just takes us by surprise at times, but then we see the rose, and know God is showing us the way.

    • SPark

      Hazel I know God will continue to use your gifts. I can tell you are a powerful encourager!

      • Thanks for the comment and hosting the link-up, Hazel… I’ve been in a similar situation to Susan (well, kind of) and it’s always wonderful when we see that rosebud poking up from the pile of ashes.

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