This morning in church we studied Psalm 126. We were looking at joy and how to have it. So often we feel down and discouraged and anything but joyful or happy. In this psalm, they are feeling down, and they look back to what God has done in the past (released them from their captivity) and know that God will do it again. However, we have a role in that--we are to be active participants.
Things we need to do include realizing that joy is not dependent upon circumstances (this is soo hard sometimes!), realizing that joy is something we work on and not something that just happens, going to the source of joy, God, being a person of praise and giving witness to God's work (which gets our eyes off ourselves and onto God) and never giving up.
This week God has done several specific things for me, things I call "God things."
1. Each quarter people from all the English deparments meet together for a system meeting on our main campus. It is always on a Friday, and since I had been teaching Thursday nights, the last thing I wanted to do was get up early on Friday, drive an hour, and go to meeting. However, like all other meetings at my school, they are paid.
This quarter I don't teach on Thursdays, so I signed up to go. However, when I got an e-mail about it from my dean I noticed that the pay was $10 less PER HOUR than it had been in the past. I was frustrated, but I still wanted to go to see what it was all about and to still make some money. When I was there, I asked my dean about time sheets, and she said to get them from our campus and to fill them out for X amout/hour. The amount she said was the previous pay, and when I asked her about it, she said that they changed it back!! I'm sure they got a lot of complaints. We finished an hour earlier than scheduled, but I still came out ahead with the better pay rate.
2. God has provided me with several really good friends who have been a huge source of encouragement in my life right now, and on Saturday I was able to reconnect with another old friend. God is using these friends in to help me through some very difficult times right now. I am so thankful for them!
3. Our cat likes to eat things--I don't know what her deal is, but she's ruined at least 3 pairs of shoes, scrapbooks, picture frames, and who knows what else. On Friday I discovered that she had chewed up our expensive (very expensive to us!) leather scrapbook that we are using for our adoption book that birthparents look at and decide if they want us to have their baby. Obviously, I couldn't use it like that. I felt sick to my stomach and was very discouraged.
I knew that I just had to go out an buy another one, but the only place to get one that met our standards/requirements was an independant scrapbooking store (aka expensive and no sales or coupons). I went to get it, and as I walked in, I saw that they were having a sale. Seriously, I can only think of two other sales that I have seen there, and they weren't all that great. This time you drew a discount coupon for either 20%, 30%, or 40% off. That was huge.
I then found the scrapbook, but in chocolate, not black. It was cheaper than I remembered, so I was further encouraged. They said that they would order me a black one whenever they put in their next order to that company, but I still wanted to get the chocolate one since I might need it before the other one comes in and so I could get the discount. As I checked out, the person said that you automatically get 40% off the first item you buy and then draw for the discount for the rest of the sale. (I hadn't read the whole sign.) This put it at a very affordable price! I called two people on the way home to tell them about this God thing.
It's amazing that He cares about something as small as a scrapbook.
4. I also decided to try getting the cat some toys so that she might stop eating my stuff. I went to PetCo to see what they had, but of course they don't really make chew toys for cats. (I was tempted to get her something from the hamster section!) However, they did have some interesting Halloween toys on clearance. I got her three different toys (and one for the pup so she didn't feel left out) for not too much money and brought them home. She actually plays with two of them! She had toys in the past, but she never played with them and eventually the dog ate them, so we never bothered with them too much after that. It is completely a God thing that she is now playing with the toys, and we are praying that it is the end of her chewing everything else.
5. We talked with another couple in our church this morning who adopted through Bethany last year to find out what to expect at our homestudy visit this week. They were so helpful, and it was especially encouraging to find out that they had the same social worker as we do. We had a very negative first impression of her, so it was really good to find out that they loved her. That makes me feel a lot better about the situation.
We also were able to talk with someone else whose father is a psychologist with a Ph.D. and might be able to do our psychological evaluations. He already talked to his father about us, and I am calling to find out more information tomorrow. Again, another huge relief!
It is so encouraging to look at what God has been doing. What are some things He's been doing in your lives?