The assignment in my reading of "Perceiving God in Circumstances" in Connecting with God says to interview a couple of people with the following questions and then to answer them myself. I'm going to do it a bit differently. I will answer the questions here and then invite you to copy the questions, erase my answers and put in your own answers (they don't have to be as long as mine) in the comments or, if you want to put them on your own site, give a link in the comments and link back to here.
- How did you choose your vocation?
I suppose I've had a number of vocations in my life. My current one is writing. I started a diary shortly after my eighth birthday but it was Dwight Rose, my teacher for grades nine and ten, who aroused in me a love of writing by the way he taught the subject and corrected our work. A few years after I returned to God I picked up my writing again but only for the purpose of journalling, praying and studying my Bible. I had a sense then that God might want to use my writing but I didn't have a clue how that would come about.
Twenty years later, I joined an online Christian community. That was a gift from God to my desperate cry that I had no friends. As I shared my life and my experiences with my new friends, I began to get feedback about my ability to write. This affirmation had me put more effort into shaping what I wrote so that when someone started talking about the National Novelists Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I decided I would take a stab at writing something longer than a forum's post. I wasn't writing a novel, but the beginning of Searching for Love.
It was hard to find a publisher but I was willing to wait for God's timing. During that waiting period, Joe Dallas came to Winnipeg. During one of the breaks of the day-long seminar, I went to him and asked his advice about my book. He suggested making it available online and so I started a website (now closed) that included both my book, a short version of the story in the book and a blog. I also joined an online writers' group and was able to get useful feedback on the things I wrote.
God keeps opening doors for me in regards to writing and for that I am grateful. I have made a commitment to him that I will use my skill in writing for his glory and honour.
- What training did you get that prepared you for your job?
Just the training I described above. I had excellent teachers of English in grades ten and twelve. I also took a short community course on writing that opened my eyes to ideas and possibilities but that's about all. I think when we really enjoy doing something, get positive comments from what we do and do it often, we build our skills. Of course, nothing beats having God's hand on one's interests, abilities and occupations.
- How do you go about seeing the hand of God in your circumstances?
I don't know when, how or why I started doing this, but I see God in pretty much everything around me. Even in unpleasant things I see God's hand. In the past few years I've kept symbols and mementos of God's work in my life and I keep these symbols in my prayer room to remind me of all he has done. Some symbols, like the dragonfly and waterlily, have become incorporated into the decor of our home.
Leanne Payne talks about practicing the presence of God. I think that when we do this, we make an intentional effort to bring or see God in every part of our day. I've also had fun experimenting with listening to God. For instance, I will start driving (or walking) and ask God to show me where he wants me to go, who he wants me to encounter and/or what he wants me to do. When one begins doing this, she keeps alert to what God is doing and is watching for his presence. He rarely disappoints.
- Was there ever a time when you thought God was not involved in what you did?
I think so, when I was younger, though I really can't remember. Even in the years where I didn't follow God, I was aware of his presence. I am very grateful for the spiritual and Biblical training I was given as a child, beginning with my preschool years and continuing until the end of high school. God was an integral part of my life and I loved him dearly (though I haven't always liked the things he told me to do).