10. Now I am giving an opinion on this because it is profitable for you, who a year ago began not only to do something but also to desire it. 11. But now finish the task as well, that just as there was eagerness to desire it, so there may also be a completion from what you have.
Believing God was asking me to "finish the task" I signed up for eteach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). It's an exam prep course online that helps you prepare for the real certification exam. Honestly, my main motive for taking the prep class was the money-back guarantee they offer. If you don't pass the certification exam you get your money for the class back. Of course there's a lot of stuff you have to do to keep the guarantee like turn in all assignments on time, pass all your weekly quizzes and discussion questions, etc. One week into it I realized this is no joke. This was going to be much harder than I expected - and it was. I had talked to several trainers before I started this and they all said NASM was one of the most respected certifications in the industry. One said it was like the Harvard of personal training certifications. Even four years of health education degree and a Master's in Public Health didn't fully prepare me for all that I'd learn through NASM. It was like drinking from a fire hydrant at times throughout the 8 week course.
I didn't tell many people I was taking the class because deep down I wasn't sure if I could do it and I didn't want to fail so publicly. I still had my normal wife, mom, housewife, Sunday school teacher, pastor's wife responsibilities. I never could have done this without my husband supporting me through it. Even in the middle of Upward season he would help fold laundry and put the boys to bed so I could study. He prayed constantly for me and encouraged me when I felt like quitting. His faith was steadfast when mine wavered. He reminded me to put my trust in God and not a money-back guarantee. It came down to was I going to obey or not.
Obedience brings blessing! There were definitely times when I thought it was going to be impossible for me to finish this. I felt like I just couldn't do it. I was under attack from the enemy on all fronts, spiritually, physically, emotionally. Then I was reminded that it was my own pride telling me to be self-confident rather than God-confident. I had to believe that if God brought me to it, He would bring me through it. I made it all the way through the course and then at the final exam although I passed, I lost the money-back guarantee by 3 points. I was devastated at first, and then I realized it was so like God to take away the idol that I had put before Him. I had put more trust in that guarantee than in His promises to me. I just had to remember that I had to be obedient to do my part by taking the class and test and doing my best to study and then trust God with the results. I wore this necklace, which my Dad wore in Vietnam with his dog-tags that has the serenity prayer on the back. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." It reminded me that God is ultimately the one in control. I took the exam yesterday and PASSED the first time! God did that for me! He is so faithful to keep His promises.
I don't know what's next. I don't have job lined up. I'm not going to jump into something and leave my family behind. God gave me my family first and they will always be my first priority. Now, its time to be faithful, pay it forward, wait and see what God's going to do next, and then have the courage to obey. God has certainly done a new thing in my life. Whatever lies ahead, I will not forget the power of the One who resides within.