Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Journey Through Time: Finding Purpose In Him

So there's this thing called "Random Journal Day".  I was made aware of it a week ago by my friend Dawn at Beneath the Surface, and invited to participate.  I thought about it for days, knowing that many, many entries were of such an intensely personal nature on one particular subject, that it wouldn't be of much help or interest to anyone other than myself to see where the road has led. 

Tonight, I finally sat down and began leafing through page upon page of hand-written thoughts, prayers and emotions.  As I remembered, there was an inordinate amount of logging on a situation that will remain between me, God and those journal pages.  Perhaps if there's ever a day when it works itself out, I'll share the journey to the resolution, but not today.

Today, I share an entry from June 4, 2007.  I had been separated for 5 months, had gone from leading worship at a church of 2,000 to one with a congregation of 20, and had recently escaped a downsizing at work but was putting in 16 hour days. In the midst of all this change and upset, I was reading through Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life.  Each day had a Bible verse and a question posed.  This particular day the verse I read was Colossians 1:16b "Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him."

The question posed  was this:  "In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?"

Herein lies the irony...my profession is that of commercial writer for a radio station.  It is, in fact, my job to convince people that life is indeed all about them.  That they have a need for a service or product that must be met, and that they are worthy and deserving of satisfying that need. 

The response I logged was:  "An interesting question given the 'purpose' of my current profession.  And given all the 'me' questions swirling in my head lately - 'what should I do about my job, my marriage, my church?'  It seems it would all be so much easier to stop thinking about me and concentrate on God.  Not that the questions will disappear, but maybe the answers will come once things are in the proper perspective.  So how DO I remind myself that it's about living for God?  When I sing at Journey (my church at the time) I look out at just 20 people in the congregation, but I'm enjoying leading in worship - I know it's for God - there's no glory in singing in front of such a small group, yet I'm still content to do it.  It's from the heart and an act of worship, it's not about me - and that's a good thing...I believe I'm using the gifts He gave me, which is pleasing to Him, but I'm not sure whether they're being used for His purpose for my life.  

I know one answer to the question posed - and probably to several of my own - is that reading my Bible and meditating on what it says as well as daily prayer will help me to remember it's about God and what HE wants to do with me...and not about what I want.  I've gotten what I want before and it led to heartache.  I just need to be willing to put down those desires I think I want and need to be willing to wait and see if it's what He has for me...what will fulfill that purpose?  Will I reconcile?  Remain single?  Find new love?  Pressing questions for me, that when held up in the light of eternity, are so very unimportant.  What is important is how I react, act and handle those situations as they unfold.  The world is watching how Christians behave - they need to see Jesus in me and not me struggling for control over Jesus.  In the end, I want to be like Paul and count it all joy - the trials, the hardships and the good times because they all form who I am and how I interact with my Lord.

Lord, you have promised to take care of me, telling me to be anxious for nothing.  So once again, I make a conscious effort to lay down my fears, concerns, uncertainties and desires, knowing you are sufficient to supply all my needs and that you will never leave me or forsake me - and I in turn will strive to live for you."

Almost 5 years later I have some answers to those 'me' questions I grappled with as well as a new found purpose.  I've been divorced for about a year and a half.  While I know that God hates the dissolution of the marriage vow, there were reasons present which 'covered' the decision to end the union.  I am a healthier, happier, more effective person because of it.  I still don't know if God's will for me is to remain single or if He has a new relationship in my future, but I know that His timing is perfect.  The church I now call home is not the one I was in 5 years ago with just 20 members, however that tiny church plant was the place where I was introduced to my life's purpose.  Community outreach was a huge part of who they were as a congregation and I quickly realized that it was something that spoke to my heart in a powerful way.  I now head up a ministry at my new church called CommunityConnections.  I'm at the same job, but have the help I so desperately needed after the downsizing.  In fact, that job has provided contacts and blessings to help further the work of the outreach ministry.  I've walked through a lot of highs and lows in 5 years, but the Lord has been faithful to His promises to always care and provide for me and He has never left me...and I continue to strive to live for Him.


  1. Toni, Thank you so much for sharing! The pictures are so wonderful. I love seeing other piles of journals from the daughters of our God. He unites us in our journey notes, I think! It is amazing how many areas God seems to seed at one time, leaving us feeling unsure, undone and full of questions. But then when we look back, we see the growth of each seedling, although there may be some seeds we would not have chosen or suspected- yet, each beautifully grown for His glory in His time. That is what I see in your share. Thank you for sharing and baring your heart a bit for and with us! I know you a bit better. In His Grace, Dawn

  2. Thank you Dawn - for both the opportunity and the comments. I like the thought of the seeds...these past 5 years he's planted a veritable garden, with many things coming to bloom and I try to be patient over that which is still struggling to break through the earth into the warmth of the sun. This was a great exercise...a little difficult in some ways, but worth the effort and reminder!

  3. Hi Toni, thanks for linking up to our little Random Journal Day experiment! It is so beautiful how God speaks to us about our present lives by using our past lives in journal form isn't it? It is like a reminder that He was there even though it may not have felt like it.
    Great post, thanks!

    1. Yes Susie - they are a little like alters -set up as reminders of God's faithfulness in the past so that we can face the present fully assured of what He has done and can do.

  4. Toni,

    So glad you decided to dive in and take part in Random Journal Day. Kudos to you, for I'm well aware of how staunchly you guard those deep things that are only between you, God and your journal pages. Thanks for sharing with all of us; this was beautiful!!!

    Much love,

    1. I confess it was difficult to find entries, since it wouldn't be appropriate to share the 'deep things' as you put it :) They are for God, journal pages and PSFs. So PSF, thank you for being a prayer warrior and confidant. I do hope one day those entries can become wonderful posts as you and I share a knowing glance that it would all work out in the end.

  5. Toni:
    This shows how God has lead you through a few valleys and has given you strength. You might be interested in reading a book review on my blog. The book is called,"God, Am I Nobody?" by Sheryl Young.

    1. Thanks for stopping by - I'll check out your book review. God has actually led me through many valleys and has shown himself faithful over and over again. I'm working on a book that is basically about the last 5 years of my life and how he has miraculously answered prayers, working in and through me. It's been quite a ride and he's not finished with me yet :)

  6. Toni this was a beautiful entry Your wonderful> I love you sister your a huge inspiration to many