About a month ago I was reflecting on how I got to where I am.
You know, trying to trace your steps to connect the dots.
How did I end up a:
Living with my parents*
Working 3 jobs AND a freelance gig*
*Each of these is a tremendous blessing and I’m so grateful, because I’ve been so so so blessed in the Valley. Just reading over that list makes my eyes water because I see God’s provision ALLLLLLL UP AND THROUGH IT. I just want to crystal clear.)
Well, if you know me personally or have read the previous posts you know that I danced in disobedience (I was doing more than walking in it) for nearly two decades.
I made MY list and checked off everything on it. I did everything right by MY standards. In hindsight, I was so self-righteous it was blinding!
I was driving home from the gym one day and it was clear as day to me that my disobedience stemmed from faithlessness and having a false view of God.
Have you ever felt like you’re so tainted, damaged, disobedient, unworthy, etc. that God wouldn’t possibly love you enough to keep blessing you?
Have you ever felt like you’d done something so horrible that God MUST be watching you and saying “Alright, I’m done! I’ve gone above and beyond for this child and I’m tapped out! No more mercy for this gal/guy. I’m moving on to bless someone else who will appreciate it!”
Or have you felt like God has blessed you so much that he can’t possibly have anything more for you in store? Like you’ve gotten the biggest blessing you could’ve imagined, and imagine God saying, “Alright, you’ve got my best, don’t ask me for another thing!”
You know, how we sometimes approach gift giving, you get someone a huge gift and say “Alright, that’s your Birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s all in one! Don’t be looking long in the face on ________ (insert holiday) because you ain’t getting another thing from me!”
To be honest, at some point or another I’ve thought all of those three about God and how He must’ve been reacting to me and my life.
Let’s start here.
I come from an AMAZING family! Both sides of my family are extremely close, both of my grandma’s are friends and the live about 3 blocks from each other.
My parents have been lovebirds forever. They still kiss and hug and snuggle and are so in sync with each other it’s like a movie sometimes!
I and my brothers were raised in a “middle class” two parent home in a small college town, all of us are college graduates, no run ins with the law, all raised “in the church”, with lots of love and a massive village of aunties and uncles both related by blood and those who some would call family friends but we call them our family!
We all went straight to college on scholarships, We were highly involved during our college years, had an amazing time, no drugs, next to no drinking. I would say we wanted for nothing.
I say all of this not to brag on my family, but to help you see where my thought process was. My brothers and I always participated in community service and evens and were certainly NOT blind to the fact that there are people in unthinkable situations in their homes, without supportive families or friends, people who battle hunger, dilapidated housing, and embrace a defeated outlook concerning their future and the ability to move beyond their current circumstances. I have always been so grateful for my family and my upbringing that I felt like I hit the “DNA lotto”!
For such a long time, I would feel guilty after praying to God to change my circumstances or to give me the strength to keep moving forward. Because I felt like, “who am I to ask God for anything else?”
Simply put, I believed that God wouldn’t (note: NOT that He couldn’t) keep pouring out blessings in my life. I believed there was a limit to God’s love, mercy, kindness, and grace and that even though I was a “good girl”, even God would get tired of me and move on to “greener pastures”.
Boy, was I WRONG.
I felt like I was on my own in the sense that I had (and do still have) so much to be grateful for and content in so, if I wanted anything else beyond what I already had, I’d have to make it happen on my own.
And that’s how I operated. I still prayed, still sat in the pews at church, participated in VBS, and college ministry, I stood up and clapped and sang during praise and worship, still read my bible on occasion, etc. but I was doing it out of routine rather than faith and pure love for Christ! Making my list and controlling my future (or so I thought I was controlling) was the only way I’d be truly happy.
Now here I sit, all of MY worst nightmares (being divorced, a “single” mother, working multiple jobs, living back home, etc.) in reality, are just some of the biggest blessings in my life. God is not done. He doesn’t run out, He hasn’t turned His back on me, I am the FARTHEST thing from perfect. (The TRUTH is that we all are! Duh! That’s why God sent Jesus!) I may be a broken crayon but I still color. God still uses me. He still loves me. I am not “damaged goods” in the sight of God. God has used circumstances and the recipe that I cooked up to control my future to show me that anything apart from Him is rubbish and to prepare me for His best.
When I reflect on how I got here, I can’t help but throw my hands up and shout glory, hallelujah!!! God is EVERYTHING! Seriously, I may sound preachy, but I’m only speaking the truth. God is EVERYTHING! He moves in ways that I could never have imagined or drafted on ANY one of my lists!! He operates in ways that we will never understand with our finite minds.
Three things I understand for sure:
I believe and trust in God through Christ Jesus!
Blessed through faith. Galatians 3:6-9
We are forgiven and I refuse to walk in faithlessness any longer.
God Forgives. 1 John 1-9
God doesn’t run out of blessings and He doesn’t run out on His children.
God will never leave you. Deuteronomy 31:6
“To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3 NASB
“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.”
Lamentations 3:19-25 NASB
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:8-14 NASB