Friday, March 28, 2014

Making Me Fireproof: Praising the Lord and Blessing Others in Extreme Conditions

Being on the front row of God's Transformation in the lives of our congregation is the biggest blessing of pastoral ministry. I welcome people who are learning how to Take It Easy in God's Blessing to be a guest on MY TIE. Lorraine is such a person who God is transforming everyday. I know you will be encouraged by the Lord through her story. - Pastor Tom Ford 
Introduction – Let the Transformation Begin

     The last time I gave a testimony on how God has worked in me and through me was in 2008 after I returned from a trip to Vancouver visiting a dying sister-in-Christ whom I was meeting for the first time.  It was an emotional experience that I had shared with the congregation, and it was also the first time I realized that God has given me a special gift in caring for the sick.

     Three years later in 2011, God had revealed another part of His plan for me. This was when He took away a job that I had loved and placed me in my current position in an extremely dark work environment that is filled with brokenness and sadness.  It has been over two and a half years since I had my first melt down at work, watching colleagues went on stress leave and returned still broken, many had left in bitterness, harassment claims filed against management; and the list of struggles continues to grow each day. Just not long before then, my mom was also diagnosed with a mixed type of dementia (one of which is Alzheimer disease) and my shoulders are getting heavier and heavier.

     I started looking for another job seven months into my current position and 80 job applications later as of March 2014; God has yet to open another door for me.  Looking back now it is becoming clear that God did not send me here to do what is on the job description from which I was hired.  He sent me here to increase my faith, and to prepare me to do His will. I said to myself a year ago: when I can finally come out of this, it will be time for me to give another testimony as to how God has helped me turn things around so that I can openly give thanks to Him and be an inspiration to those who are suffering. I waited and waited, and that day still has not come.

     Things have continued to go downhill at work day after day, more people are leaving and I am still feeling stuck, trying to figure out what more God wanted me to do here.  For those who know me, I have been keeping a spiritual journal since my trip to Vancouver in 2008. I write on a daily basis when I travel and have started to keep a weekly journal since May 2012 even when I am home.  This was when I had my very first counselling session with my pastor after I realized I can no longer handle the craziness at my current job.  This was also when God started to transform me.

     People say whatever did not kill you would make you stronger, and God does use challenges to stretch us and to strengthen us. After two and a half years, I did notice that I have become stronger and at times I do not even recognize myself.  I do however at times ask myself how much stronger can I really get with the situation deteriorating day after day (both at work and at home); but of course in God’s eyes, the answer is much more.

     Even though I know that this is a way God is testing my faith and that He wanted to turn this into a testimony for Him, my walk with God has been very emotional and painful.  I have since been praying, not for God to remove me from this fire, but for Him to make me fireproof.  Our God is an awesome and faithful God. He did not say “no” to my request for a new job, He is just saying “not yet.”  I know God does answer prayers; He just answers them in His way and in His time.

     The Bible says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” James 1:12 (NIV).  I look forward to sharing with you how God is using this journey of mine to bless others while trying to make me fireproof.

Lorraine Fung (March 23, 2014)

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