Week 3: SOAP Journaling Method

Welcome to week 3 of this lesson and our SOAP Method!  If you are new to the SOAP method, please refer to the "What is the SOAP Method?" under the General Information section of the Amazing Bible Study!!! to see what the SOAP method is :) I'm going to be really HONEST here: I'm new to studying the bible.  I've tried in the past but because I didn't have a lesson plan to follow, I didn't really know what exactly I was supposed to be gaining from reading it.  As I read this week's lesson, I tried to understand what was happening and how I could use the SOAP method.  My work & personal life had taken a bit of priority over really sitting down and listening to the word of God.  It's not something I'm proud to admit but at least you know where I'm coming from with this lesson.

While reading this week's lesson, I started to think about everything that has gone on in my life, and I've often wondered if I'm on the path God wants me to be on.  In the moment, when I was struggling financially, stressing about child care, wondering if I should move or stay in the Midwest, all I kept thinking was, "WHERE are you God?  Is this what You want for ME?"  Looking back, I see that God was THERE the WHOLE time leading me!!  I see now how things fell into place at JUST the RIGHT time.

A perfect example of this is when I made the decision to move to the Pacific NW.  I wanted a fresh start and to be closer to family.  I talked to my oldest daughter, Kate, and asked her if she wanted to move.  Her excited YES told me that this was a GOOD thing to do.  Naturally (to me, anyway), I started doing research and job searches.  I made the decision to move in November of 2013.  I kept it quiet with the exception of a few people.  I started applying for jobs, looking at different cities I wanted to live in (I didn't want to live in my hometown), looking at schools, neighborhoods, the cost of living, etc.

As the new year rolled around, I wasn't getting any calls from the jobs I was applying to.  I couldn't figure out why.  I prayed to God and kept asking Him if this was the right thing to do?  Was He seeing how stressed I was?  How doubtful I became of my decision to move?  Where was He and why didn't He give me SIGNS that it was going to be OK?

Still, I put my TRUST and FAITH in him even though I was seriously DOUBTING Him.  I was losing HOPE.  In March of 2014, I still hadn't found a job but I had given my notice at work that I would be leaving at the end of May.  I talked to my sister and my mom and we determined that the girls and I could stay with my mom for the summer while I found work.  My fall back plan was to go back to retail banking (which I didn't want to do).  Again, I was losing HOPE.

THEN something AMAZING happened! I had applied for a position with a state agency back in December and was told I had to apply EVERY 3 months.  Seriously?!  But I did, something reminded me to apply again in March before giving my notice.  I WANTED THIS JOB.  It was the perfect job for me and my situation with the girls.  It would give me more flexibility and benefits than I currently had.  I got a job interview with this agency in April.  I FLEW out here for it (yeah, I knew it was a long shot but something told me I HAD to do it) and within 2 days, I got offered the job!

Within that same week, I found the perfect townhome in a nice neighborhood and the school district was great.  EVERYTHING fell into place!  I couldn't believe it.  Before I knew it I was on the road with a U-Haul, my car, sister & her bf, and a friend.  It was a road trip I won't soon forget and I've been here for a year now, making amazing progress at work.  Best of all, my girls and I are HAPPY! :)

My story goes to show that we question God constantly.  It's something most of us do regularly.  To this day, I'm at fault for this.  I know what God is capable of but I still question Him and his plan when I start to lose HOPE.  I constantly wonder if I'm on the path He wants me to be on.  SO how can we see the signs of God's presence?  For some of us, simply TRUSTING and having FAITH in His lead just isn't enough.

With that said, let’s begin:

Step 1:  Scripture

This is the scripture that I SPOKE to ME:

“Exodus 13: 22 – He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people"

Step 2:  Observation

Like in my story, I wondered if God was leading me on the RIGHT path.  I didn't see the signs that He was leading the way, that He knew what PATH I was meant to be on.  SO how do we KNOW when He is leading us?  Are there clear signs?  When I think of signs, I like to think of those big flashing arrows pointing right to where I need to be, just like the ones you see in kid's cartoons LOL  How much easier would life be if THOSE signs were THERE for us to see?  Can you imagine how much LESS STRESSED we'd all be?!

The truth is that these signs aren't so easily spotted.  Isn't that what God is trying to TEACH us?  To just have FAITH and TRUST Him?  To KNOW that He will not abandon us?  He will LEAD us on the right path.  He will LEAD us on the path that He wants us to follow.  We simply must TRUST him.

screenshot-www.pinterest.com 2015-06-16 18-10-16

Image credit: http://www.graceuncommon.com/what-strong-people-do/

Step 3:  Application

Applying this to my life is HARD.  It's getting better but I still have my DOUBTS.  I still DOUBT God's plan for me.  So my application is a work in progress but I WILL continue to TRUST in Him.  I will take each day as it comes.  I will not STRESS about the things that I cannot CONTROL and will only FOCUS on the NOW.  FOCUS on what I can do about what is going on RIGHT NOW.  He is LEADING me.  I just have to keep telling myself that.

Step 4:  Prayer

Lord, I ask that you continue to LEAD me down this path that You want me to follow.  Instill the TRUST that I need to have in order to know that You are guiding me along this road.  I ask for your calming embrace to wash over me and not stress so much about the future.  Amen ~

I hope this week's SOAP helps you see that God is ALWAYS LEADING us.  Even if we don't always see it.  :)