I’ve noticed that in these last few months my walk with God has really changed… a lot. I have experienced I closeness with God that feels more real than all the other times in the past. I was even sharing with my mom that I suddenly felt like I had this new boldness in my faith and strange and wonderful joy in the Lord.
I’ve been thinking about the last few months and all the times that God has brought me to surrender something to Him. I feel like after each act of surrender I made my relationship with God took on a new level. It’s as if taking the step of surrender is a key opening a door that leads to a deeper closeness to God. But just one time isn’t enough. Surrender is something we have to keep doing. Once we open one door, we will find another one behind that. Each door taking us closer to Jesus and his love for us.
I really like this idea of a key unlocking doors. As we live this life and choose to follow Jesus down the paths He has for us there will be doors we face. These doors are a vital step in our walk. They appear when we reach a point where we have to surrender something that we have been focusing too much on and choose to follow God. It’s not easy to to make these decisions of surrender and sometimes we see the door and we think it’s a dead end. But when we take the step, insert the key, and unlock the door by giving our desires to God, the most beautiful thing happens. The door opens up and we find ourselves on new ground with our Lord and Savior. He fills our heart with a new love and closeness to Him and gives us the strength we need to keep on following Him.
I pray that on my journey, each time I reach a new door I’ll be able to take the step of surrender and choose to follow Jesus through it because I know that there is deeper joy on the other side. And I hope that this idea can help you too as you keep on following Jesus through your doors and grow closer to him in your walk. Each door and act of surrender we walk through will bring us closer to our dear Savior and that is the most beautiful place to be.
Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it looks like when God leads His people. I used to really wonder sometimes if God truly does speak to his people even today and lead them down certain paths or does he just let us choose our own path? God has never audibly spoken to me so I found it hard to understand God’s leading in others people lives when I had no personal experience of my own. But I have now come to a place where I have strongly felt and seen God’s leading in my life. God has made it known to my heart in amazing ways the path I’m supposed to walk down. Also, God’s leading in my life has been very unique and different than what I always imagined it would be. So I wanted to just spend a little bit of time today talking about what this has looked like for me in my life.
First thing I want to say, though, is that God leads everyone differently. I remember at the beginning of this hard walk I’m on, I wanted God to verbally speak to me. I waited in the silent, dark, night, but God didn’t speak to me in the way I wanted Him to. God spoke to me in other ways that night. But even though God didn’t speak verbally to me, I do believe that God does still verbally speak to some of His children. That’s why as I share with you about the ways that God has been leading me, I want to also acknowledge that these are not the only ways that God can lead his children. The way God leads you will be unique to your personality and to your story.
One of the biggest things I’m noticing about God leading me is that it’s a day by day process. I will confess that at the beginning of this walk I wanted all the answers right away. I thought, if God is going to tell me to take this path, then I need to know where this path will end. But God didn’t tell me in advance what to do. This is what He did do – with each new turn in the path that I came to, God was faithful to tell me what to do. I’m just so amazed when I look back at how in each moment God made it clear to me what to do.
Back in January God led me to make the decision to move with my family. I didn’t know for how long God wanted me to be in this new place, just that it was what God wanted me to do. I remember just feeling a strong burning sense of knowing that I needed to move to this new place and I knew that was God speaking to me. At first, I ignored that feeling until I got a specific question from a dear friend that lead me to seriously seek God and trust that this move truly was God’s will for my life. Then, soon after I decided that God was leading me to move with my family, God brought me to make the decision to take two months of space (no contact or communication in any way) from the relationship I was in. For some reason I had the idea of two months in my head, then I had dinner with a dear family and the stories they shared with me about their relationship confirmed in my heart that God wanted me to set a time of space from each other before deciding on anything.
Now that I am on the other side of the two months, I truly believe God was the one who put that in my head. Because here’s the crazy thing. I spent basically all of that two months not knowing what I was going to do next, but I believed with all my heart God would reveal to me the answer at the end of the two months. The first month I focused on God and prayed a lot for change to happen in him so I could have the relationship back. I was full of hope that God was gonna restore it all back to me in the end. But in the middle of the two months I found myself so overwhelmed and full of fear because I just didn’t know what God was going to do and I was scared about things not going my way. I kept telling myself not to worry because at the end of the two months God would make the next step clear. I had no idea the great ways that God was working on my heart in those two months.
When I finally came to the end, and not before, God had changed my heart. He made it clear to me that His path for me was to leave the relationship. God honestly gets all the credit for what happened because only days before the two months ended, I was still wanting things to work out. My sister told me that God did a miracle on my heart and honestly, I couldn’t agree more. I keep telling people it was like night and day – I woke up one day, the week that the two months was going to come to an end and I felt like I had new eyes and I saw things differently. I knew what God was telling me to do and for the first time I felt like I could do it.
Guys, let me tell you, our God is amazing and He is faithful. I am just awestruck at how God’s leading and direction came through for me in these last few months. He has always been faithful to show me the next step to take, and I’m beginning to see now that God doesn’t usually reveal to me what that next step is until I get to it. So when it comes to God’s leading in my life, I’m realizing that it looks a lot like resting in the fact that the future is unknown and all can do is follow God each day, trusting that God will make the next step clear in His timing. As I seek God, I know when the time is right, God will put the right thought in my heart or use the right question or word from a friend at the time my heart needs to hear it.
I also gotta say that it takes a lot of faith to live each day not knowing where God will lead me next. I’m a planner and not a day goes by I don’t stress about or get anxious about the big unplanned future ahead of me. But I’m also learning that this is such a sweet and exciting place to be! I’m living my life ready to say yes to whatever the next step is that God has for my life.
This post is getting a bit long and when I started this post I didn’t intent for the content to basically be a little peek into on my life these past few months. I ended up sharing quite a bit of personal stuff in this post because I feel like leaving out certain parts doesn’t give justice to the story of how God has been faithful to lead me. If you ever ask me if God is visibly at work in my life and this world, I will give you the biggest smile and most resounding, “Yes!” God is so real and He is so present in the lives of his Children! He Has truly led me in great ways and that’s what I hope and pray you will see from my story.
So if you ever find yourself wondering how God leads His people, this is what I hope you can remember – God does it in His timing and in His way. There are many ways God may lead you as you seek Him, it might be through certain people in your life or through a burning feeling or desire. But always remember that true clarity about God’s leading may not come until the time is right. God wants us to be so in tune with trusting in Him that we are ready to follow Him in faith with the uncertainty in our life. As we trust God with the unknowns in our life He will reveal the next step to us in His timing.
This question has been on my mind a lot lately and God has been so gracious each time my heart has a question like this one to guide me to the right answer and example in scripture. In my Bible study, we are still working our way through Genesis. I’ve talked about Abraham, Job, Jacob, and even David on this blog. Are you ready for the next Bible character that I’m finding myself in. If you know your bible, you may be able to guess which one comes next. It’s Joseph! And oh boy, what an amazing story is Joseph’s story. It’s a story full of unfair and unjust suffering, but one that is overflowing with God’s goodness and good purposes!
I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve kinda created a new little saying that I keep telling myself each day. I’ve been saying “I am Joseph”. As I read the story of Joseph and look at my life, I keep finding myself saying “I am Joseph”. In my Bible study, we were discussing the life of Joseph and the sudden onset of suffering he faced. Joseph went from being the most favored/spoiled child to becoming a slave all in less than a day. I was thinking to myself, “wow, I wonder what it must have felt like to have everything and then lose everything”. Then I literally felt like I had my eyes opened up to the fact that, that is my story. I saw an almost identical pattern in a way my life has been these past few months. Only months ago I was so happy. I was finally on the verge of all my dreams coming true. I was engaged and in the process of starting a life with someone and oh it was bliss. But then it ended so fast. One thing after another came to light and before i knew it, it was all gone.
I AM JOSEPH. I can feel the same hurt and pain and disappointment that he must have felt. All his dreams, gone. All his family and friends gone. His life suddenly taking a completely different route and an unwanted move to a new location. (Okay, wow, there really are a lot of similarities here, granted I still have my family and friends, but I moved to a new area and have been struggling to get connected so I do relate in a way to the loneliness and I do in a way also feel like I lost a family because how close I became to his family).
There really is not a lot of good happening in Joseph’s story, but if you keep reading the story of Joseph there is something very encouraging. It is said at least three times in the book of Genesis that God was with Joseph. In each season of suffering Joseph faced, Joseph had every right to complain and despair. Maybe he did at times, but the Bible never mentions it. Instead Joseph rose to the top of every situation he found himself in. He was greatly blessed and God gave him success in all he did. Even as a slave Joseph rose to high favor. And let me tell you something, you cannot rise to favor if all you ever do is complain about how bad your luck has been.
I imagine Joseph must have known that God was with him. How else could he have had the faith to keep on going without despairing. His pain had to have been great. And I’m not saying he no longer felt the pain and hurt that his brothers inflicted on him. Later in Genesis Joseph says “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” So obviously, his pain during this time was constantly on his mind. But what Joseph shows us here is how to rightly respond when suffering happens and we have no control over it. We must get up and keep going. We have the choice to either wallow in our self pity and despair, or make the best out of whatever situation we find ourselves in. I’ve gotta believe that when we choose the latter, God truly blesses it, just like he blesses Joseph.
God blessed Joseph and gave him favor in each place he found himself in. In Potiphar’s house, he rose to leadership. In prison, he rose to leadership. Then, lastly, in Pharaoh’s kingdom, he rose to leadership. None of these places Joseph found himself in were places he wanted to be. In fact, if he had the choice to go back to his family, I’m sure he would take it without even looking back. I can tell you that there are definitely times in my life that I wish I could just go back to those happy days and forget about the pain. But I have no control over the place I’m in right now which is why Joseph’s story has been so encouraging to me. I’m learning from Joseph’s story that God’s will for me in this season is to keep on trusting Him and to find ways to keep on serving Him even while I’m hurting.
I also want to talk a bit about the end of Joseph’s story. As I’m sure you are familiar with how in the story of Joseph we get to see how all his suffering would one day make sense and play a role in God’s amazing plan. God used Joseph to be the means of saving many nations, including Israel, from a devastating famine. Joseph became a great leader in Egypt, a wise man who was full of integrity. But if he became a ruler in Egypt right away without first spending years as a slave and in prison, I don’t believe he’d be the same ruler. God was using the hard seasons of suffering in his life to teach him how to be humble and also how to lead and manage other people. When God’s time was right, Joseph was given one of the most coveted positions in all Egypt. Truly, Joseph was finally able to say that God had taken all his sorrow away.
I think that it’s so encouraging to see how God was using Joseph’s suffering to position him in the right place at the right time to bring provision to God’s people. God was preparing Joseph for something greater. And that is what God is doing when we suffer! God is preparing us for something bigger, better, and greater. God is using all the suffering in our life for his good purposes. Often times, like Joseph, we can’t see the whole picture of what God is doing while we are in the middle of it. Maybe all we see is the pain and unending waiting. But we can hold onto the truth that God is going to work all things out our for good and God will be with us, as He was with Joseph.
So yes, I am Joseph! And maybe as you look at your life, you are Joseph too. Maybe God has brought sudden or unjust suffering into your life. The big question to ask yourself then is “what is my response?” Remember, it’s okay to feel hurt and pain. In fact, if you don’t feel any pain as you suffer I’d be worried that something is wrong with you. What really matters the most is what you do with the hurt? Do you dwell on it and let it lead you to despair. Or do you get up and keep on chasing after God and serving him in the place your at, trusting that God is going to do something great through it.
Let us hold onto the truth that God is always with us through every trial we face. Every season of suffering has a purpose that we may not be able to see until the time is right. But we can know this, God is taking us down these hard paths because he wants to prepare us and make us into something greater! God’s purposes for your life are so much greater than whatever it is you have lost, so let’s be like Joseph and keep on suffering well in this life!
I was looking for an empty journal and came across some of my old journals. I can get lost whenever I find my journals. It’s such a weird feeling reading through my thoughts from years ago. As I was scanning through one of my very first journals I found a little poem that I wrote all the way back in 2015. Of course when I wrote that poem then, I had no idea that future me would still be in this season of waiting.
Stumbling upon this little poem has encouraged my heart greatly and reminded me so much of how God’s ways truly are best. Even though I’m still waiting for the things my heart desires most, I can rest in knowing that God is working for me and not against me. God’s timing will be better. This little poem from my past reminded me of that truth.
So here’s the little poem, I called it “Why, Why?”
I keep asking why, why?
Why does this keep happening to me
Why am I not where I want to be
I keep asking when, when?
When will I understand my life
When will it all make sense to me
I keep asking how, how?
How will it come together in the end
How can I make any sense out of this
I keep asking and asking
You keep listening and listening
All is silent
Then I hear you
You keep saying trust, trust
Trust in My plan for you
Trust that I know what I’m doing
You keep saying wait, wait
Wait and it will soon make sense
Wait and you will be rewarded
So I say yes, yes
Yes your plan is best for me
Yes I will trust you and wait patiently
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
You wanna know the honest truth about life in the hard seasons?
One day you may feel amazing and so happy. You reach these highs and have the fullest sense of peace and joy. And then the next day you are back in the valley. Feelings of hurt, sadness, disappointment, and grief are back. A few days ago I knew I was right in the will of God. I felt so much peace and joy in Christ. I knew exactly what God was leading me to do and I did it. Now as the gravity of what I did sinks in, I’m somewhat surprised to find myself feeling kinda sad again.
This idea has been in my head the past few days. Feelings Ebb and flow. They come and they go. We feel good and happy one day and then we feel sad again and that’s normal. The more I walk down this long path of uncertainty and surrendered desires, I’m realizing that I can’t always trust any of my feelings. My feelings would have lead me down a dark and hard road if I followed them.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to feel certain ways. I can’t always stop myself from feeling happy or sad. I can’t change my circumstances either. But I find this to be helpful. When I’m in the valley, there is one thing I can change. I can change my view. I choose to acknowledge my feelings and then I take them to God. I remind myself that God is with me and He is the one who lead me to this valley. When I look to God instead of my feelings I find peace in knowing that God has a purpose for each and every hard season I walk through. I find strength in the unchanging nature of God that gives me clarity over all of my changing feelings.
So all I’m trying to say in this post is that feelings ebb and they flow. If you felt so happy and content in God one day and then your down in the dumps again the next day, don’t stress yourself out. God is still with you even though your feelings may have changed. Choose to set your eye’s back on God when the days get hard again. Find comfort in God who is your Rock. Don’t forget all the ways he is leading you and caring for you and choose to trust that he will keep leading you and caring for you. The place your at and even the feelings you experience all have a good and perfect place in God’s plan for your life. Choose to walk with God through the good feelings and the bad ones, understanding that they will ebb and flow, and that’s okay.
Do you have any unfulfilled desires? What do you do with them?
These past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about unfulfilled desires. It seems we all have something in our life that we want but God has said no or not yet. The other day I was seeking counsel from a dear friend and she asked me a hard question. She asked me how much of my wanting this relationship to work has been me just simply wanting to have a relationship. Ever since I was a young girl I’ve had the desire to get married and start a family. It’s always been my biggest unfulfilled desire. It’s also been the hardest thing to surrender to God. The more time I spent thinking over this question the more I realized how much my desire really has played a role in my decision making.
Let me tell you all, I’ve been doing some deep heart searching this past week and it’s been hard. I’ve come to realize my desires aren’t wrong. Marriage and a family is a good thing to desire. Whatever it is your waiting for, if God says no, it doesn’t always mean it’s a bad thing to desire. We often forget that God has plans for us that we can’t see. God’s timing is always going to be best for us. But making these desires come about with our own method will not lead to the blessing God desires to give us.
I believe that I’ve been desiring certain good things of God so much that I’ve allowed it to cloud over my vision and cause me to make poor judgments. I feel almost a bit ashamed of all the years I’ve spent chasing after something I wanted so bad when I can see clearly now that God is saying not yet, wait longer. So I decided that I needed to come to terms with these unfulfilled desires that I have been letting rule my life. I talked to God about the desires of my heart. Instead of just surrendering to God my relationship I also gave to him my desires for marriage and a family. I told God that I desire this good thing, but I desire it to be from Him. I desire God to lead me to it in His timing and in His perfect way.
I didn’t feel better right away. My desire is still here and still very strong. But God did give me his peace and I can feel God slowly working on my heart and putting this desire back in it’s rightful place. I’ve also come to realize that I’m quite content right now being single and growing in my walk with God during this season. Honestly, those are words I never thought I’d hear myself saying.
As I continued to think about all these unfulfilled desires we have, this question crossed my mind; What are we supposed to do you with these unfulfilled desires? I didn’t have to think hard to find the answer. You do the only thing you really can do. You just keep following God with all your heart. You keep trusting that God truly does know what’s best for you and the path your on is His will for you. This really is the only way for God to bring us to a place where we can truly be ready to receive the good things that we desire. It allows us to rest knowing he will bring it to us in His timing and He is all we need in the seasons of waiting that we must walk through first.
Lastly, as I finish up my thoughts on unfulfilled desires, I find myself thinking of Paul in one of his letters. In Romans 1:10 Paul says – “and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.” Paul had unfulfilled desires. He had been desiring to go to Rome for some time, but the Lord was not opening the door for him to go. Even though Paul wanted to go to Rome, he never took action to make it happen. He stayed where he was called and served God with all his heart. Finally, when the timing was right, God took him to Rome in chains.
When the timing is right God will bring our desires to fulfilment, and hopefully for us it won’t also entail being in chains, as it did for Paul. But like Paul, while we are waiting for the God’s timing, we can keep on serving God and pursuing the calling that God us in the place we are in right now.
It’s been a little while since I’ve written a post. I found myself busy with life and believe it or not, actually thriving. I didn’t have any sudden urges to write on here like I usually do when I am hurting. Since writing for me is like a coping method, maybe this is a good thing. Maybe my broken heart is finally healing. Still, I figured It’s about time for another post. This post is a kinda different, it’s like a little update about something God is beginning to plant in my heart. Bear with me as I try to be a bit vulnerable and express it in writing.
Only a few weeks ago I was in despair. I had this overwhelmingly strong sense of not being able to wait any longer. It was also the same week that was supposed to be “our” wedding day. I realize that the significance of that day had a lot to do with why my heart was hurting so much. But I got through that weekend and I only cried a few times. I felt like getting through that weekend was yet another step in the process of letting go and moving forward. I came to a point in my hurting and grief where I took all my hurt and my desires and gave them to God.
And something happened after that weekend. It is as if I’m seeing things differently for the first time. I have been holding onto hope for so long to have this relationship restored. I have been ready to jump whenever I get the green light to go forward again. But suddenly I am feeling like I don’t want it back. I feel like I am seeing for the first time the major things that were missing in the relationship and I don’t want to be back in that place. This is such a hard thing for me to process. Somedays I feel so confident I want to completely walk away, and other days I find myself still grieving all the good things I came to love about him. But most days I feel so close and loved by God that I forget about all of it. My walk with God has never been sweeter and I don’t want to give up this new closeness to God to chase after the things my heart wants.
To be honest, I never ever thought I’d get to this place, actually starting to desire something different, something better. I’ve been stuck on him for so long, my mind is having trouble adapting to this new idea. I have been waking up each day asking myself why do I feel this way? Is God really changing my heart? My inside is in constant turmoil, but I feel confident that God is in this. God is doing something. God is becoming more to me and I’ve decided I am truly willing to follow Him down whatever path He has for me and I don’t want to settle.
Anyway, all these feelings are still pretty new to me so I’m still learning how to process them. But for now, I’m once again reminded that the best thing to do right now is to follow God each day, choose Him each day, and live for Him each day. As I do that, I won’t have to worry about the rest of my life falling into place because I’ll be right where God wants me to be.