“Instead of bronze, I will bring you GOLD” Isaiah 60:17
This blog post is the unfiltered, mostly unedited (because I’m tired) story of how God has repeatedly brought me Gold, Gold, and more Gold this summer.
In May, I had a lot of plans. I wouldn’t have admitted it, but I had my entire life booked and scheduled down to the last detail. I stacked expectation upon expectation, and I wasn’t going to budge.
But, as He usually does with what we white-knuckle-grip, Jesus came through with a sledge hammer. God literally cornered me into a U-turn. All of the sudden, I found myself boarding a last-minute flight from Medford, Oregon back home to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The flight was three months premature; it knocked all the wind out of me; it drained my pride, my energy, and my confidence to the last drop. As the plane drifted effortlessly over Tulsa’s tiny skyline and I cried for the literal thousandth time, I felt an unrelenting joy and assurance as Papa, grinning ear to ear, spoke to me, “I won.“
Sometimes what feels like utter failure is actually your biggest, best-yet, bravest victory.
In the weeks to come, Papa patiently, meticulously wove tiny joys into my day, teaching me and guiding my every step. He taught me that service doesn’t always look glorious (the best kind never does), and it sure as heck is never about me. He also gave me warrior friends to come home to, perfectly-timed books, the oh-so-sweet Gospel of Mark, and a mom and dad who listen better than anyone else on the planet. Gold. It truly is our Father’s good, better, greatest pleasure to give us the kingdom! (And sometimes the kingdom looks funnier and simpler and more joyful than we expected!)
But even though I was knee-deep in golden gifts, I have to be honest, I felt more submerged in doubt and fear than before. I couldn’t get my confidence back and I was scared, you guys. The reality is that I was job-less, back home three months too early, I felt like a failure, and I had no way of discerning if I had made the right decision or not.
Sometimes it takes time to get on God’s wavelength, and sometimes, it takes time to partner with what God’s already doing. But don’t worry, “God is so good at being God, you can fail your way to your destiny and still win.” Don’t forget to remember that God is the one in control.
Listen close. Any time you take the Big Risk and follow God’s voice, the devil is going to do all in his power to muffle that Voice and call you a bad listener. The devil’s job is to tell you lies about yourself. The Lies won’t ever stop. Just make sure you don’t partner with them.
So, after a string of gracious miracles, Papa God plopped me on another plane. I’m serious. After a few years of seriously following Jesus, I’m beginning to understand that if God will fly you across the country to get your attention, He’ll fly you across the world to reestablish your hope, too. God is good, He’s better than you think.
Following spontaneous plane ride #2, I got to spend almost two weeks in Estonia. If you know me, you know that’s funny. It’s God’s and my best inside joke. For two weeks, Papa bent down, got on my level, wrapped me in His arms, and restored my hope, my confidence, and my strength. Gold. I wouldn’t trade a whole summer for those gentle, joyful weeks, and I know Papa God wouldn’t either. I’ve never felt so reassured by God, but now I get it. God is confident in Himself to accomplish what He started. He trusts Himself, and He trusts me.
Since being home, God has blessed every single lesson onto Good Soil. I’m remembering it all and writing it on my fleshy, little heart. God’s love is psycho. It knows no bounds. He’ll ordain just about anything (like 33,000 frequent flyer miles that you didn’t actually earn) just to remind you of how good He is. God has carefully provided for me in every (seriously. every.) area of need. Most importantly, He’s let me know more of Himself. It’s true what Jesus said, “eternal life is to Know YOU, the one true God” (John 17:3). Knowing Jesus is the fast track to abundant life, and Truth is a person.
I used to be terrified of God having His way in my life, now I know it just leads to more friendship and intimacy with Him!
I’m living out the Romans 8:28 (all things work for good for those who love Him) life, but it’s not because of anything I’ve done. I had the brief gusto to listen and just barely enough in my bank account to buy a few tickets. That’s all it takes. A willing heart, a genuine hunger, and some grit. Abba will do the rest. He has pursued me relentlessly, blessed me abundantly, and taught me patiently. He’s rerouted me completely and I wouldn’t change a thing!
There’s a hundred more stories of God being wildly faithful in these past few months. He stops at nothing to get us woven into His love. The best, most joyful things He’s done, though, is turn my shame into dust and tell me how proud He is of me. I’m covered in the Blood of the Lamb and my DNA has Saint written all over it. I get to be new. I get to join in the Tremendous Love Story!
I hope you feel encouraged. I’m telling you this story for a couple reasons. First, you should know that it’s okay to crash and burn. I do that a lot. It’s okay to not be okay, too. In fact, God encourages honesty in brokenness. Second, God’s faithfulness isn’t isolated to me. He wants nothing more than for you to see His Hand on your life! Squint a little and be patient, you’ll see it, I promise! Last, we are so covered in Love that it’s silly. I think I know better now what Paul meant when he said nothing could separate us from the Tremendous Love. Neither height nor depth, nor failure, nor fear, nor lie, no, NOTHING, can separate us from this Love which is and always will be creating victory in us, Abba’s kiddos.