Thursday, June 26, 2014

Time to Change Your Mind

I love this bible verse: Romans 12:2. It speaks of change and transformation. God changed my mind and transformed my heart one early morning in the summer of 2011. I was experiencing a second job layoff a year after being laid off from a 3 yr grant contract. 

The first layoff was a shocker (since age 16 I had never been without a job; in college I had 3 jobs... so being unemployed was an overwhelming concept to me). Needless to say I went through a great depression during the first layoff experience. I did not have a strong relationship with God at the time. Oh yeah, I was a praying woman - I was raised Catholic and believed in the father, the son, and the holy spirit. So I prayed. But I was not a Christian; I had not yet handed over my life to Christ and so my mind still belonged to ME and the WORLD. 

The time I spent the summer of  2010 was pretty much sad and wasted. I did very little except trying to find a job that I thought I needed to be in. When you pilot your own plane without a parachute or a pilot's license the outcome is inevitable... you are going to crash and it will hurt! So that summer I trusted no one, not myself, not my former employer to get me a new contract and worst of all not God. 

It was by God's grace and mercy that in the month of September 2010 I received a phone call to ask if I was interested in applying for a new position with a new agency under a new government grant. I immediately said yes and I preceded to do what I needed to do to land the job. 

So I became "happy" again. I was employed and gave thanks to my professional skill abilities for landing a new contract. The job went well but it felt a bit hollow...what was missing? I began to ask some very strong personal questions of myself in my prayer time with God. Why was I still not authentically satisfied? I had a job, there was money to pay the mortgage. What had I missed in my planning? I seeked counsel from my church pastor, family and friends. All good resources but I'd yet to understand that I needed to submit and seek counsel from the one who created me. GOD!

In May of 2011 I was informed of the second layoff. I was told by my employer to be hopeful that a new grant would appear in the fall just as last year. By now I was praying more to God, I was speaking more with him and he had given me gifts of creating art with my hands. In my home attic art studio I surrendered myself to God. To tell  him of my fears, my needs, my anxieties and emotional strains of the uncontrollable situations the world presented me. Of course he knew all that my heart unveiled for he knew me before I was born and he created me. But my Father wanted me to speak the words to him; for me to confess my heart's weakness and to declare that I am not in control, I do not live my life for me, that I need Him to lead me so that I may live my authentic life - the life he created me to live. God was good. He was my autopilot. 

Nothing shall I fear when I have God on my side. When the holy spirit is housed in me.

This was the creation of ALCHEMY. A friend asked me what is alchemy? I said a gift from God; a metaphor for living my life in grace, in transformation, to do something (work) to glorify and honor God. 

July 1, 2011 I created this blog and Alchemy: discovering, exploring, enjoying is the gift God provided me to share with the world. Here is the first blog post. 

The summer of 2011 I spent it in my attic studio praying and talking to God; creating art and sharing it on this blog. I met a lot of wonderful women that summer; many who were suffering from health or unemployment concerns and we bonded through the process of creating art. Just as God had promised I discovered who was out there, like me who needed healing, how to share my Godly gifts with them and them with me. I explored the strengthens God provided me by reading bible verses and I enjoyed the summer sharing God's love and was once again blessed by God in September 2011 with a new grant contract. This time the contract was for three years. God had shown me his mercy and directed my pathways. 

Here I am today and I will experience my third job layoff on June 30th but I will be still and let God be in control. I am grateful for where he has lead me and my faith walk will continue with him as my leader. I had a very nice compliment the other day at a grant partner meeting. When I announced that my job would end next Monday; the reaction was commendable on my grace in character since layoffs are not desirable yet my actions were calm and of joy. I replied that God was leading me. 

This July 2014 God is leading me to host the first Alchemy (home studio) Christian Art Classes for children. 
Thank you Lord for your leadership. May I never conform to the wants of this world but be lead by your mercy and grace. Direct me for I seek you. 

~ Sandra

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