On Friday night I worked overnight, watching Charlee so that her parents could go to a concert and stay in a hotel. I ended up working later than I planned the next day. However, it worked out really well. Charlee went down early and when her parents arrived, I had her photo book, flowers, a bottle of wine, and a card for them on the kitchen counter as a housewarming gift. I couldn't wait to give them the photo book! It was such a special moment that God had given me with Charlee's parents. When you spend 10 1/2 hour days with someone, they feel like they are your own. I've worked for many different families before and cared for many different children, but Charlee is the first one who I have really felt like a mom for. It's not like I'm raising her, though. Her parents do spend just as much time with her when they aren't working. They just have difficult schedules with their jobs. Sometimes I spend time talking with her parents when they get home from work and so I have also grown to love them and feel like they are family as well. When I was leaving, reality set in that I only have so many weeks left working for them as her nanny and I got a little sad. I know God is going to provide them with another amazing nanny, though! He always takes care of the families that I leave behind when I follow His lead. But, that doesn't rid you of the attachment to the family. Saying goodbye to Charlee and her parents will probably be the hardest thing about moving to Redding. Thankfully there is facetime so we can stay in touch when I move. I am really believing we will and I hope to spend time with them when I come home for Christmas.
Saturday night I decided to head to the Movement church. Little did I know my friend Monette's husband was going to be giving the sermon. It was really awesome to hear him preach! Something caught my eye that night and it was a sign and table for Financial Peace University. I had been wanting to do a biblical financial class like this for quite some time now and it was starting up that week. I wasn't sure if it was the right time, so I prayed about it. I wanted to be sure it was a "God thing" and not just a "good thing". God gave me permission to take the course, as it was confirmed as I discovered it is a 9 week class, and you're allowed to miss one week. For me, that will be the very last week because I move to Redding after 8 weeks. Come to find out, my mom had all of the resources I needed, so I did not have to pay for the class at all. It all worked out in my favor! God always takes care of me.
Sunday morning I woke up and had some quiet time with God. The theme seemed to be "enough is enough" because I had enough of myself. I recall having a serious chat with God about the things I was sick of in my life that I had the ability to change. Something in my spirit really shifted that morning and I believe having that conversation with God was pivotal. Side note: Even though I still went to three church services that weekend, I still woke up and had some time with the Lord Sunday morning. I am acknowledging this because it is evident that my relationship with God is not dependent on going to church. I'm not saying that to make myself look good or better than anyone by any means, just recognizing that a revelation of God's goodness truly brings you to a place of wanting to spend time with Him. It's no longer a chore or item on your to-do list. It's something you enjoy doing. It's something you want to do. And your motivation to spend time with God flows from your love for Him. After that, I went to service at Vista Assembly of God. Following the service, I met with my friend Drea. I hadn't seen her in a while, and she was running late. I felt the Lord wanted me to sit and be still, enjoying the beautiful day. Too often I'm doing something or keeping myself busy. God wants me to slow down, stop doing, and just be. So, I practiced that. And it was glorious. When she arrived and was ordering her coffee, I asked God how I could encourage her and listened. I knew that I didn't want to focus on myself anymore like I had been so I ensured that the conversation was mostly directed towards her and how she's doing, to which I shared the encouragement God had given me. One of those things I thought about "enough is enough" is how I just "go through the motions" of life. I hate that! God has given me the gift of encouragement, so I shall be using it at every opportunity. I know that I hear from Him, so I ought to ask what He wants to say to those around me like I did with Drea more often. I'm tired of just showing up to coffee dates and / or being so focused on myself that I need to talk about my struggles the entire time and hope that my friend will encourage me. It's not about me!!!
After my coffee date, I went home and had a quick bite to eat. Then I headed to Life Mission Church in Escondido. I had been wanting to stop by for some time now, and really felt the Spirit leading me to go that night. The funny part about it was that none of my friends who normally attend this church were going, or they were serving. And, the title of the sermon was "Being Led by the Spirit". As I was driving there, I sensed God wanted me to take out my blank note card from inside the glove box and bring it in to write the pastor and his wife and encouraging card during the service. As I listened to the pastor preach, I also listened to what God wanted to say to encourage them. I also finished a few other cards for people who I knew would be there that the Lord had put on my heart. It was a great service and I felt I accomplished what the Lord wanted me to do. I was exhausted by Sunday night. Monday through Wednesday I worked full days, from 6am430, 6am-330, and 4am-4pm. Monday night was the first night of Financial Peace University and it went great! I was really excited about the class, but also a bit overwhelmed and not sure exactly where to start with my budget since I had been used to doing something with it already. It was also difficult because I get paid weekly, and my hours tend to shift each week even from when I'm scheduled. Tuesday night I spent time with my family and played cards. Wednesday after work I met up with my friend Kristina for coffee. She's the one who went to Bethel for two years, went to Ghana with me, and got me the job as Charlee's nanny because she was watching her last summer. It was very nice to catch up with her. Then I went to youth group at Vista Assmebly, to hear Morgan Reynolds teach. Morgan was on my Ghana team, also, and she is such an inspiration. I know that teaching and theatre is what she is made for, and I believe in her and what God has called her to do, so I wanted to go and support her. It was such a blessing and I felt very encouraged by her and proud of her! (Above is Morgan on the left and Kristina on the right)
On Thursday I intended to stay in my pajamas and rest all day, but God had a different plan. I spontaneously went on a bike ride with Crystal Rider to the beach. We met at her house and parked somewhere in Oceanside and rode our bikes to Oceanside Harbor. As we were almost there, I asked her about how far we were biking. Come to find out, it was 16 miles round-trip!!! That's crazy. I had no idea. Haha. I was just along for the ride, literally. When you're in good company, the distance doesn't matter because the time passes quickly. We just chatted and laughed away as we rode to and from the harbor, 8 miles each way. When we got there, we had lunch at Beach Break Café, where I had a delicious salad. Then we went to see her family, who was at the harbor for her nieces surf competition. We sat and talked for a bit, and then headed back. I love spending time with Crystal. She is a spiritual mama to me, a dear friend, and like family. She never ceases to encourage me, believe in me, compliment me, and bring out the best in me. She also brings out the child-like spirit in me, which is always followed by joy. We have fun together! I traveled to Tanzania in February with her and her husband and son. You really get to know people when you travel with them, and they are certainly some great people! Even though it took up my entire "restful" day off, I wouldn't have traded it. I always walk away from spending time with her feeling joyful and refreshed.
On Friday I had a busy day planned. I woke up bright and early to go walking with my friend Andria. She has been my mentor, and dear friend for quite some time now. I was really excited because we were walking to Better Buzz, a coffee place I had not been to yet that she raved about. I was saving the special occasion to go with just her. And it was so special. So lovely to spend time with her and hear how she's doing. In the past, it has always been about me. She'd always listen, encourage, and give wisdom. Often times about the same things. (That's a true friend!) She has contributed greatly to my spiritual growth and I am so thankful for her. I admire so many things about her and who she is, and I have learned so much simply by her example as I watch her do things with excellence and humility. And, she was right, the "Best Drink Ever" at Better Buzz was certainly exactly that. After my coffee date and walk with Andria, I headed to get a smog check for my car. I utilized the time in the waiting room to read the Word and finish my coffee, because I knew I had a busy day. Afterwards, I met Charlee and her mom at the Vista Library to hear this little band she likes. It was fun to spend time with her and her mom. Following that, I met my friend Erin for coffee. Erin is a missionary in YWAM that I have supported over the last year. I met her on a missions trip to Mexico when I was attending the Movement church and we have been friends ever since. She inspired and encouraged me to do YWAM. She was home for a few weeks and so I got to catch up with her in person before I head off to Redding. I ended my day by spending time with my friend Robyn and her twins. One of them is a "Mama's boy", so I always hang out with the other one the entire time. I could hold him for hours. He started smiling and it was super cute!!!
And that my friends, sums up week two.