Friday, June 26, 2009

Good Friday

No...not THAT Good Friday, silly...

Today was a good day. Shall I regale you with my tale? Well, since you said please...

It started off (as most mornings do) with waking up; but the beauty of it was that I felt rested! I was in a wedding yesterday. (Groomsman for one of my accountability partners) and had a looong day - in the middle of a looong week - not getting home until about 11pm. I was a bit worried that I would be too tired for my interview, but was very grateful that God gave me the rest I needed.

Good Day Item #2: our company had the quarterly social/fun event: combat mini-golf. There were a few special rules for hitting opponents' balls, putting with your off-hand, etc. that helped your score - and I won! Admittedly, my competitive edge was simmering under the just-having-fun exterior. =) Couple with more golf experience than a majority of the others, I suppose I shouldn't brag too much about out-putting everyone else, but still, I had fun and won some cool foodstuffs from Alaska.

After the golf, I rushed back to work and quickly changed into my interview outfit. I realized that today is the first time I've worn a tie in a long time! I got to the address in plenty of time, to allow myself a few minutes to just sit in my car and get focused mentally, and pray, and psych myself up with positive/confident thoughts. I think while I was driving over I had a bit of nerves, but was pleasantly surprised that as I walked in, the nerves left and I felt very relaxed and at peace. I'm going to credit that to the prayers I know you guys sent up - Thanks!

By the way, the job is for an HR Generalist position at a national health care company. This would be a couple pay grades above what I'm at now - VERY good for us if I get it!

The interview lasted a little over an hour, and consisted mostly of her asking me a lot of questions about my HR experience and knowledge. There were a lot of the "what would you do in this scenario" type questions. As it went on, I found myself gaining even more confidence, and feeling more at ease. It was starting to feel like a good fit. She seemed pleased and - dare I say it - even impressed with my responses. There was even a "tricky" test when she had me read through a couple pages of a certain policy and then role-play with her as an employee needing to be counseled/disciplined for violating it. She said that I did better at that part than any of the other candidates.

After I asked her some questions I had, I ended by asking her if she would mind giving me some feedback as to what kind of feeling she had about me. She said that she really liked my communication skills and that what really "hit home" with her, was how I did on the role-playing test and the good questions I asked. I would be a good fit for this office.


She said she was a little hesitant because I didn't have much "hands-on" experience. Meaning that because the majority of certain HR functions (approving FMLA, having the 1-on-1 counseling conversation, recruiting, etc.) I've handled the back-end, paperwork processing, rather than being the initial POC. So that puts me at a slight disadvantage there.

She said she will be making a recommendation to her boss, who will then do a final, phone interview (because he's out of state) by July 6. I'm hoping that I can use that opportunity to try and explain how that "disadvantage" isn't so bad, because I'm very confident that I can handle it; maybe even making the connection that I spent 4 years counseling, mentoring, and disciplining (sometimes in very difficult, tense situations) as a high school teacher.

At any rate, I walked out of the office, head held high (despite the light rain), feeling very good and smiling. I felt fulfilled, in that I knew I had the best interview I could have had, and was proud of how I handled myself. I also had a real sense that God (and many family/friends) were thinking of me at the time and I can only assume He gave me the peace, confidence, and words to say.

To end the day, we got a yummy Costco pizza, my brother came over to hang out, and he and I went to the pool/jacuzzi with my boy. My biggest smile of the day came when I stepped into the pool and held my hands out to help Connor in, and he randomly says: "You're the greatest!"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thanks, Satan, for clues to knowing God!!

We all like to be on the winning team, right? I remember in grade school, when the lunch-time kickball game was getting started, I always hoped to get on David's team, cause he was really good and his team almost always won.

So when I'm reminded of the victory we get to share in with God, I feel strengthened and encouraged by that....and - I admit - I want to rub it in Ol' Scratch's face a bit. Today, Satan tried some of his old tricks to lead me away from God, that actually led to me gaining a deeper knowledge of Him, and connecting with my wife spiritually in a way I don't think I ever have before. (Oops! Not the plan, eh you old snake-in-the-grass?)

I woke up kind of early (about 2.5 hours before we had to leave for church) and puttered around on the computer, made breakfast, took care of the kids, etc. By the time Wendy was up and getting ready, I was starting to feel like not going to church. Back to bed? Do some reading? Play on computer? Etc....

But, Wendy and the kids were almost ready, so I got dressed and didn't feel rushed to get there on time. In fact, we were a bit late (walking in during first worship song), and I also decided to use the restroom, so I'm coming in toward the end of the 2nd song - not feeling like singing/worshipping one iota. Also leading into this time, there were a couple moments during the morning of tension/arguing between me and the wife, so I had a burr in my saddle as well.

Almost flippantly (but sincere enough) I told God in my heart, "I got nothin'. I don't feel like worshiping or praising you or talking to you or any of that kind of stuff. So if something's gonna happen this morning, I need you to do something to my heart. Soften it, break it, wake it up - something."

Well, I guess He did. Through focusing on a couple lines of lyrics, and through a very moving story told by the worship leader about some personal stuff with him, I started to "get there." And then the sermon about (surprise, surprise) fatherhood hit home too. And then the pastor encouraged/challenged us to take communion with our wife/family - especially if we've never done that before. (And I never had...)

Suffice it to say that it was a very emotional and intense experience for me. I prayed with Wendy as we knelt at the altar, racked with sobs, amazed by God's love, impassioned by His Spirit.

And my eyes were opened....I remembered several other moments like this. Spiritual milestones in which something significant happened in my walk with God; and they all shared one common denominator = I didn't want to go to church/chapel/devotions/mission trip that day.

Duh! Right? He may not be omniscient, but Satan is a cunning, smart, thinking-1,000's-of-moves-ahead opponent. He can see where it's leading when you are walking into an opportunity for something special to happen in your relationship with God. And he's going to try damn hard to make sure it doesn't happen!

So my conclusion is this: every time I have a plan or schedule to meet with God - be it church on Sunday, accountability group, Bible study, etc. - and I start feeling like I don't want to go, or external circumstances start making it difficult = that's as sure a sign as fireworks and sirens that the Enemy is trying to stop me from experiencing something miraculous with God.

Therefore, I look forward to the next time Mr. Mephisto tries to pummel me or block me or weigh my heart down. I can smile, rub my hands together, and say "Oh boy...I can't wait to see what God has in store today!" (Game, set, match - God wins)

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.