Boast In The Lord January 29th, 2023

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean into your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” – ESV, Crossways, 2016

God’s Provisions – Preparation for His Purpose 
Where to start? Rather than listen to my favorite music on a solo, long drive several years ago, the thought of listening instead to Proverbs, from start to finish, entered my mind.  This was a first for me. What I most remember is exclaiming in the car, “What a fool am I! Why didn’t I listen to this when I was a young adult?”
Although this is true, I believe it is never too late to grow in faith and spiritual relationship with the Lord, seek His provisions, and discern His purpose in life, and to fulfill it. 
I believe the Lord creates, guides, provides, prepares, blesses, and enables our change, growth, development, and transformation. He created each of us with unique talent. I believe He prepares us with these gifts to enable us to fulfill His purpose for His Kingdom.
The Lord helped me see the difference between a life centered on Him and one that is superficial. Regular worship attendance and works like serving on missions, fundraisers, church administration, fellowship, discipleship, education efforts have strengthened my faith, and I came to see my spiritual growth was stalled. Then, He really opened my eyes.
In 2018, I was asked to participate in a spiritual renewal and development workshop. Through this, it became clear how limited was my understanding and reliance and surrender to the Lord. I did not really know Him because I did not know the Holy Bible nor did I pray and seek His guidance, especially for the big decisions and matters of my life and heart. Although my religious priorities, values, purpose, and meaning were being formed for more than 10 years, I had my shortcomings. I wanted to know the Lord more. I began turning and relying on Him, in all things, more and more. 
I started to attend Bible studies and lectures led by our Pastor. That led me to deeper understanding for the last 6 years to Community Bible Study. This encouraged me to also solo study the Books of the Bible, start to finish. I am far from completing the whole Bible. I believe He is giving me new understanding and deepening my faith. I am more self-aware and aware of others. I feel my emotional intelligence and character are growing.
Some of you know I have been in a period of discernment. I enjoyed a career in human resources management and organizational development and took off 5+ years for the births of 3 sons and their enrollment in school. I worked for another 8 years, but I longed for time with my growing sons. I took a leap of faith and followed my interest in human development, resigned, and became a certified leadership development coach working with organizations. While I enjoyed the work, as my faith grew, I felt helping leaders in corporations be more effective did not fulfill me.
For a long time, I resisted telling anyone what I believed the Lord wanted me to do. I turned to prayer, pastoral conversations and spent time on retreats and at a convent. I rejected what I felt the Lord was calling me to do. In 2020, as strain, suffering and pain people experienced began to surface, I felt the Lord reassure me. My worries about my age, expense, and difficulty of a graduate degree began to ebb. He led me to a Christian graduate program in marriage and family counseling.
Reflecting now, I see with clarity how the Lord has guided me to grow in a personal relationship. Spiritual development is an intentional process. Bit by bit, my trust and surrender to Him for all things is occurring. There are no shortcuts.
Developing meaningful, truthful, and loyal relationships is the fruit of life. Healthy relationships require commitment, time, interaction, communication, and love.
The Lord has helped me see He never gives up on us, and our journey. He has designed each of us with unique talent to serve a specific purpose for Him and His Kingdom.

Lord, thank you for creating each of us with specific talent to fulfill your purpose. Help me always turn to you first, and strengthen my belief and will to know, trust and follow you to guide my purpose and decisions, thoughts, words, behaviors, and actions. Amen

Tiffany Elliott

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