Saturday, April 16, 2011

Do ya think God may be trying to build my character?!


How God Rocked My World in March!

On March 1st, I was preparing to leave California for the Simply Youth Ministry worldwide conference in Chicago to launch The Way I'm Wired series on the topic of life purpose. (That's a DVD curriculum for youth workers and Life Purpose Coach® professionals, a companion book for parents-teens, and a devotional for all ages.) All of a sudden, I got three phone calls back-to-back-to-back.

The first was from my 90-year-old father, a God-adoring man, asking me to rent out my place and to move in with him to care for him, because his kidneys are operating at only 14%. He said, "I need you, Kateness." He also wanted me to help him downsize his possessions in his 2,700 sq. ft. home and to fix up his house a little bit for his final years. (He had cared for my mom in their home during her eight-year illness before she died in 1996, and he had never regained his strength after several bouts with colon cancer himself a few years later.) Moving in with him was a huge decision for me that had lots of ramifications, so I began praying about it immediately, until the phone rang again and interrupted my thoughts.

The next call was from my literary agent, Nancy, telling me that Tyndale Publishers was offering me a firm, extremely handsome contract to write a 400-page book entitled The One Year Recovery Prayer Devotional--which was to be flavored with a life purpose theme for each of the 365 days. I would have sixteen months to get it turned in, unlike the three-product Wired series above for which I had only had nine months.

(You may recall that I had fled to Maui in 2010 to write that Wired series, while my newly married daughter and her husband rented my home before buying their own townhouse. Going Hawaiian and "silent" had removed so many distractions during that impossible assignment for Group Publishing. BTW, with the Holy Spirit fast at work in the Islands, I turned in the DVD one week early, was on time for the parent-teen book, and with my publisher's permission-was one week late for the devotional.)

Back to the main story: As I hung up the phone from Nancy's phone call, my dad called again to see if I had made my decision yet. Instantaneously and undeniably, I knew that God wanted my answer to be YES, of course, I'd be honored. So, on March 7th when I returned from my trip, I drove straight to my dad's house from the airport and moved into one the three vacant upstairs' rooms of his house with no television or landline Internet. (FYI: He lives downstairs. Now, I have a thumb drive for the Internet, but...alas, TV has gone by the wayside.)

So far, with the behemoth help of my seven awesome brothers and sisters serving at fun and exhausting "Work Parties," we've deep-cleaned nearly the entire house and garage, have sent seventy large boxes to Salvation Army, and have had numerous driveways full for Bulky Item Pickup, E-Waste and Hazardous Waste Disposal, and Recycling Trucks! We've met some nice painters, a plumber, an electrician, carpet and linoleum layers, vertical blind installers-and many employees at Home Depot and Lowes-not to mention my dad's doctors, nurses, lab techs, and pharmacists.

I just wanted to keep it real with you, since one of my main life messages is Do today what matters today, and God will take care of the bigger picture of your life and ministry. And, he certainly has done so for me once again. For example, he sent a renter for my home early last week--a Christian woman I've known for years who "just happened" to mention to my daughter that she was looking for a place to live. In addition, already my father has been a tremendous inspiration to me of holy living and God-stories that I predict will be the content for at least sixty-five of the daily devotionals I need to write. What a treat it has been to accept this seasonal assignment to serve my father, while beginning to write another book.

In the meantime, I ask for continual prayers for my father (Charles); for my physical strength (I've lost 19 lbs since the three phone calls); for my character formation during intense times; for my private students, clients, and our LPCCI Affiliates who've been patient with me during this wild, 30-day transition; for focus to begin writing the recovery devotional in earnest; for the Wired series to reach hungry readers worldwide; for clarity regarding all the details of my August trip to South Africa to meet with our five coaches and their churches; and for Pastor Jeff Jernigan (our Men's Division President) and I to develop a strong message about Christian Coaching for the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) global conference in September in TN.

My encouragement to you is that...if God drops something in your lap as an out-of-the-blue assignment--thank him for allowing you to serve in that unexpected way, and then grab all the joy moments that will come chasing after you! This truly has been one of the happiest, most tender, and most precious times of my life. My dad, siblings, and I are making memories that will last forever in my heart.