Serving God in a Parking Garage





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October through November 2008

SERVING GOD WORKING IN A PARKING GARAGE

Because of miniscule opportunities and insurmountable financial difficulties I was forced to take a job a Night Security in a luxury apartment complex for a very low menial wage.

Worse than that I felt worthless sitting in a parking garage watching parked cars from 6 pm to 6 am – Boring! I asked God why He put me in such a place of low opportunity.

I felt worthless as a Christian because I felt that there was NO WAY I could contribute and serve God in such a dismal place.

· But God puts us in a parking garage for a reason.

· God put people in our lives for a reason.

· God puts people in our pathway for a reason.

I had been active in church. I had been active in many church activities. Now I was in a parking garage from 6:00 to 6:00. Everything I loved to do to serve God had come slowly and abruptly to an end (or so I had thought).

Life seemed useless, meaningless, worthless....

I DID NOT SEE OPROTUNITIES TO SERVE GOD;
BUT GOD DID!

I thought all of my dreams and plans were crushed and ruined.

I COULD NOT IMAGINE THE GOOD PLANS THAT GOD HAD INSTORED FOR ME!

Why can’t I have patience to do things in God’s time; not mine? How come I always want to get ahead of God instead of joyfully obediently following God?

TEMPTATION IN THE “WILDERNESS”

Now I am stretching here just a little bit, but for me sitting in parking garage was much like being sent out into the “Wilderness” to be tempted by Satan. And have NO doubt, I was tempted by Satan!

· Doubts! I had doubts that God loved me; sending me to a place like this; it was more like a banishment/punishment.

· I felt forgotten sitting alone in a parking garage – useless – worthless. I didn’t think God had a plan for me; much less a “Good Plan” for me.

· Satan tempted me with “ENVY” of all of the beautiful cars parked in the parking garage! Meanwhile my car is broken down and needs a new transmission. Expenses are great; resources are low. So what do I do? I spiral downward into depths over depression!

· Satan tempted me with self-centeredness and greed.

· Satan was winning. I was losing the battle. The main difference is Jesus won His battle with Satan and I was losing. And then one night....

NEWS FLASH

I am no longer a complete failure! No doubt I still make mistakes but I do have one stunning success; one victory that takes precedence over all of my failures.

I have been going to church since the year 2000, but Sunday October 19, 2008 I made up for all of my losses. I’m not taking credit; I give all of my praise and glory to Him. I became simply an instrument of His peace; just an obedient servant, delivering His message.

God did put someone on my path. Something I said, Something I did made them to go and visit my Northgate UMC church! This is the first time I have ever been instrumental in getting anyone into church! Just one person deciding to go to church; just one person makes up for all many, many of my failures. It may not seem like a big deal; but somehow it really is!

I have just had transmission trouble; closing in on $2,000 dollars, which crushed some of my hopes, plans, and dreams. But just one person deciding to go to church makes up for this disappointment and much, much more.

FAITH ROLLERCOASTER

I go from acute despair and depression but sooner or later (usually later) as I am falling into a deep dark abyss I catch myself; or probably more accurately God catches me firmly from a free fall of depression.

God catches me safely in His hands and puts me back together again. Again, God SAVES me from myself. Again, I am drawn toward Scripture, His Word begins to speak to me.

Scripture calms the storm. I am freed again from my burdens. I am comforted again. I repent of my sins, again. I am forgiven, again. I take solace, I begin to recover from my problems. I slowly begin again to take courage!

Then my hopes and dreams are crushed, again and the cycle begins, again!

The Highest Highs...
The Lowest Lows...
Is there any middle ground?
Or am I always on the Bi-Polar Express?


A NEW PERSPECTIVE

Truly all of my hopes and dreams, all of my aspirations, and plans made for a year were crushed by almost $2,000 dollars in transmission car repairs.

The windfall of making good money at the Red River Revel in Louisiana were crushed when over half of the money earned went on car repair!

(I completely ignored the fact that I was "blessed" to have had the money for the car repairs.)

None of my meticulous plans were coming true.

1. Honoring my stewardship Pledge.

2. Printing the 2nd church directory in honor of Patsy Moore 3. And getting Bible Basics finally on the internet (Hmmm if you’re reading this on the Internet clearly something must’ve happened!)

My failure, depression, and disappointment profoundly set off bouts of depression and renewed feelings of failure.

What made it all better? Well let me backup again:

I had given a Bible Basics book about St. Francis of Assisi, Celebrating God’s Creation; a book all about God’s love for animals and the blessing of the animals to a woman where I worked as Night Security in a parking garage.

I gave her the book when her dog "Zeke" died to help her feel better; to let her know that she is not alone in her suffering. Well after that I hadn’t given it much thought but much to my surprise she told me that Sunday October 19, 2008 she went to visit my Northgate UMC (The address was printed in the book.)

I was more than just joyful (and joyful is NOT a word I use to describe myself very often.) I was so very happy for her. And this is the first time since I started to go to church in the year 2000 that I ever influenced, that I have ever been an instrument of God’s peace.

Having one person go to church takes away years worth of failures and disappointments. I gave and never knew I was giving. I still have much disappointment in my life but I am no longer a complete failure and worthless! Because with God’s help, I have been His obedient servant, and with God I have contributed some good.

TBTG

Amen



As good and as important as some of my plans have been:
- Stewardship
- NUMC Directory printed
- Bible Basics on the Internet
- Paying off other outstanding debt

As important as all of these things are they pale to compare to “one” person possibly finding a new church home. “One” person coming to God’s house has eternal consequences.

- Stewardship
- NUMC Directory
- Bible Basics
- Debt

They are all important. And they will ALL get done… Obviously according to God’s plans and timing; not mine!!!

WHAT IS IT I HAVE LEARNED?

· That believe it or not God IS working in our lives. God is always calling; always near. That God puts people (strangers) in our pathways not just for small talk but to make a difference in people’s lives!

· I’ve learned that we need to take steps into deeper waters; to take courage – take a chance – reach out to people. I need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk – now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.

· To be a Witness for Christ. Never hesitate to Witness for God.

· And truly it is better to give than to receive! From the Prayer of St. Francis: It is in the giving that we receive. It is in the pardoning (forgiving) that we are pardoned (forgiven). And it is in the dying that we are born into eternal Life.





At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help. However, depression is largely preventable and treatable. Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.

In collaboration with WHO to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".

For more information on World Mental Health Day, please visit: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events...
- Published on Oct 2, 2012

I love dogs, even black dogs. For me it is a "shadow of depression" that follows me. -eoa



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