I think too many people see the beginning of something as the best part. A baby’s birth. A new job. A first kiss. God has been on a mission to show me that beginnings aren’t always the best. One of my favorite activities is walking my puppy, Charlie, after dinner. I like spending 45 minutes by myself, away from social media, away from people (is that too harsh?). Those walks are where I pray about things on my heart and decompress from the day.
In case you couldn’t tell from some of my last Faith Friday posts, I’ve been at a crossroads in my life. Everything I ever thought was certain became questionable. I’ve felt like I’m sinking in quicksand, trying every option to get out and nothing is working. I felt like every good thing was slipping out of my hands. That’s when I saw the sunset.
I was walking Charlie and saw the most fiery, vibrant, stunning sunset I’ve seen in a long time. You know, just God pointing out that there can be beauty in endings. Here I was, spending time with my pup while both of us were in our element. You know what I wasn’t doing? Worrying. God chose the end of the day – not just any day – a very disappointing day – to show off his sovereignty.
He holds the beginnings, the endings and everything in between. He chose to show His powerful artistry to prove to my heart that He is King of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
“When you go through a trial, the Sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” CH Spurgeon
There’s a world-wide debate on what to call those little bugs that have flashing lights on their rumps – I however, live in North Carolina – where everyone knows “exactly” how to pronounce and say EVERYTHING. The majority of people around here say lightning bugs. I deem them fireflies. I think fire is way more appealing than lightning. Anyway, on to the real point of this post – a story!
Fireflies are everywhere in North Carolina in the Summer and my backyard is full of them. There is nothing more relaxing at night than sitting on the porch watching these fairy-like creatures dance and put on a show. I decided I wanted to relive my childhood and catch some of them in a jar! Who doesn’t love that?! I spent a good hour trying to catch these things with NO luck!!! I was getting so frustrated. I managed to catch 2. Neither lit up once I caught them. It was all a big tease.
Here’s the really funny part, when I finally gave up and went inside, I saw one of those Facebook posts that warn people about super scary phenomenons that never really happen, and it was about these bugs called blister bugs. They look like fireflies, but will cause blisters on your skin. Now, I knew what I was trying to catch outside was a firefly, but I thought, “What if God didn’t want me to catch any fireflies tonight because he was protecting me from blister bugs?”
SIPS TEA Y’ALL.
If there is something that you want SO bad but you’re not coming across it as fast as you wish, or hope, or pray for, it might be a blister bug. There are plenty of things that are imposter fireflies. They feel and look as they would be a blessing but it’s a curse in disguise. I really believe that God will unfold opportunities and paths that are meant just for you and will guard you from those blister bug situations. The whole key is to let him. It will be frustrating and could even seem like a bad game, but I’m clinging to His promise that it will be worth it.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I’m super proud of all the girls celebrating the many sales department stores are currently holding – I’m not going to lie, I’ve done my fair share of looking as well as shopping, but I just wanted to share a little thought with y’all – your worth isn’t based on the clothes you have. It’s not based on the brands you work or don’t work with. Your worth isn’t measured in the number of Instagram followers you have, what your engagement for the week was, or how strong you SEO is – your worth is found in Christ. Clichè to say, I know, but it’s true. It’s found in Him because He declares your worth as priceless. You’re beautiful, smart, special, and incredibly unique. Don’t become so enveloped with “things” that you lose your purpose. In a world where how “liked” you are is measured quantitatively, it’s easy to compare yourself to everyone around you and visually see their strengths. I’ve dealt with insecurities and compared myself to girls only to realize they share similar insecurities. People only put their best self on the internet and deal with their struggles offline. You’re amazing girl! Now roll with it!
For, I’d say, the last 5 years, I’ve prayed for so many things to happen to my life. I prayed for jobs, relationships, health – a ton of things. I prayed that God would create situations that I wanted to be in – and surprise – my prayers weren’t answered. I had almost started looking at life’s curveballs as a joke, I mean, if there was something I even remotely wanted, I automatically knew I didn’t stand a chance getting it, because it felt like God always had other plans for me. I got REALLY angry with the Lord. I was so mad that I could never make those big plans for my life. Why is He tossing all these curveballs? I saw friends living their best life and I felt like I was having a rainy day ALL THE TIME. I prayed to desire what God wanted for my life, but many things I prayed for, that I thought would make me happy, weren’t placed in my life. I’m a happy person, so don’t think this post means that I don’t have joy in my heart. I think God was just holding out His cards for my latest prayer. While, I hope to share it with y’all very soon, it’s still very personal. I hope you understand – but, the most important thing is, my prayer was answered. I’m writing all this to say, when your prayers and petitions are FINALLY in line with God’s will the world feels like magic. I think the difference between my answered prayer and my “redirected” prayers were my belief in the outcome. I believe our minds create our own reality by believing our own personal truths. For instance, if everyday I look in the mirror and say “I’m fat”, guess what, I’m going to start identifying myself as fat. If I speak confidence over my life, I’ll be bold and outgoing. If I claim something into existence, it exists. Your mind is so powerful. That’s why it’s so important to speak your prayers into existence. Speak LIFE over them, nurture your desires and give them completely to God. His word says they will be given to you. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
By the time most people graduate college, they have some sort of an idea about what they want to do for the rest of their life – especially when it comes to their career, relationships, and even where they want to live. Then, there’s me. I’m very go-with-the-flow, here-and-now oriented. I am NOT a planner. I am 10,000% okay with that. Just because I don’t have my entire life planned out perfectly, doesn’t mean there isn’t some sort of a plan. I guess the main reason I don’t really have a plan for my future is that my plans ALWAYS seem to fail. It’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my 23 years on this planet. That may seem like a bad thing to you. It’s quite the opposite. I am so glad that many of my “big” plans never worked out.
I’ve always wanted to live at the beach. As a little girl, while my friends were playing house, I was playing “go to the beach”. It was my happy place, and still is. I went to college near the beach and eventually moved within 5 minutes of the ocean after graduation. You would guess my life was a dream. Wrong. More horrible things happened in my life that year and a half than I could count. Why were so many things going wrong when I was finally where I wanted to be? In case you haven’t guessed it, I was completely out of God’s will. I decided the best way to change that was to leave. To forfeit MY plan.
I am in no way saying giving up is the answer to any problem.
I am saying that what I wanted was not what I needed. I didn’t need to spend my entire paycheck on rent. I didn’t need to live hours away from friends and my job. I didn’t need to be out of church. I didn’t need to be in a toxic situation. I was developing tiny habits in that place that would eventually ruin me. God saw that when I couldn’t. I am thankful to have had people in my life to encourage me in my decision to move, even though they knew it was a special place to me.
God took my plans and trashed them. He is slowly showing me how mighty His plans are for me. He has given me new passions and resources – none of which would have happened unless I surrendered to His plans. I’m writing this to remind you that you’re not a loser. You’re not a failure. You’re not worthless. There isn’t a master clock or timeline that we’re supposed to follow. Plans change. Plans fail. Plans also develop. Be hopeful in those developing plans. It’s God’s plan for you to succeed in His will. Timing is everything. Things may seem hopeless, but I promise, there are “far greater things ahead than any you leave behind.”
I was leaving home one evening to go to a nearby town. Normally the drive is only 10 minutes, down one single road. I left my house with a plan. A 10 minute mission. 2 minutes into my “plan” I hit a road block. I just brushed it off and took a different route. It would be longer, but I still knew the way. You’ll never guess what happened next. The road I was planning to take instead was also closed. Instead of turning around and going back home, I stayed the course. I was nervous. The sun was setting and I was in unfamiliar territory. Thank goodness for road signs!
I finally made it to my destination. But not after thanking God for leading my through some beautiful farmland with a beautiful sunset. He knows my heart LOVES driving and finding new ways to get places, and he also knows how stressed I get when things don’t go as planned. He combined those two to teach me such a simple lesson – just follow Him. He knows where I will end up. He knows my future and He knows my past.
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:26