This morning I sat in the company of thirty amazing women sharing their heart and how God has personally and intimately impacted their lives. For the last nine months, we’ve walked with the apostle Paul every week through every trial and suffering imaginable — only to be met with his unwavering example of obedience, faith and perseverance — ultimately to find a legacy entrusted to us.
Today in that upper room full of women, we found laughter, joy, fear, shame and tears. (Mostly mine). I’m a crier and I blame my dad for that.
It was beautiful.
It’s been an incredible year.
Now when I say it’s been an incredible year, please know that perspective comes from looking in the rear view mirror. In the present I saw the details: hard, messy, broken and sometimes threadbare. But I look back and see beauty. I see God’s faithfulness. His goodness. His desire to mold and shape and fashion each one of us out of whatever cloth we have been made. Every mistake. Every wrong turn and u-turn. Every experience, failure, success and story woven, lovingly, into His story.
Almost one year ago my dear friend and mentor Sandy asked me to teach these women. To stand in front of them every week and lead. I knew I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. Truthfully it scared me to death.
Have you ever gotten that nagging sort of feeling that you just can’t shake? I’ll give Him that, He is relentless. Far more often than I’d like to admit I’m rushing around too busy to notice. Too distracted by noise to hear. The world shouts. God whispers. Something kept rising up in my interrupted moments of silence that He wanted me to say yes.
Everything in me begged Him no.
Why this God? I pleaded with Him: You know this isn’t safe for me. You know this is my weakness. I’ll fail. I won’t measure up. I’m not qualified. I’ll be judged, criticized and ultimately rejected. That’s my story.
But He was writing something new. While I was so busy worrying about my story, He was writing His story.
His story is redemption. His story holds my story and your story inside it. Like threads in a tapestry weaving in and out and through and behind, He draws us to Him. To His love. To His provision, protection and peace. All He asks is that we obey.
The quiet nudging. The gentle prodding. The quickening of your heart. Today a sweet friend sat in that circle and said: So my heart feels like it’s literally beating out of my chest so I think I’m supposed to say something. That’s exactly it! That is God. That is the whisper. The nudge. The prompting. The very thing He asks us to heed.
Our body knows the way.
Her words were a gift. We are all made of fear and faith. Joy and sorrow. Dark and light.
In the moments its uncomfortable. In the situations we’re not sure. He merely asks us to trust. And wait.
I’m not often very good at waiting. Three years ago I wrote these words and they still resonate as true today:
In a life so full of instant gratification, we’re unaccustomed to waiting. Allowing God to tend to our hearts while truth slowly filters in. For time to show us the lesson deeply imbedded in the trial. We struggle to find an answer, any answer, so we can understand. But sometimes there is no understanding, there just is. So we must choose hope.
Because hope is a revolutionary patience. It begins in the darkest places. The times we feel utterly lost and alone. Where confusion reigns.
And instead of shrinking down in the spiral of self doubt and discouragement, we speak truth to the lies that come for our peace. We find the strength to stand, cradled in a stubborn hope that believes if we show up, if we do the right thing, the dawn will come. That light will break onto the horizon, and the warmth of it’s truth will penetrate our soul. Will fill us with peace. Will teach us to be patient. Will show us that we do not face this world alone and that we are better for the heartache.
We are comforted by the truth that this is not our home.
Hope is a revolutionary patience. And while we wait, we must speak truth to the lies that come for our peace.
He is our Peace. He asks us to simply listen to His word. Follow His leading. Obey His command. And to wait. Because His story is for our good.
The story we write will fail.
His will redeem.
Today I looked around that room full of women and with tears streaming down my face I said thank you. Thank you for being part of His story to heal my heart. Walking into the place of my deepest fear made me more aware of my need for Him. I had no alternative but to trust. He would provide. He would protect. And He would give me peace.
It’s a beautiful thing we get to see when we surrender our fears, our hopes, our sorrow and our joy to the One who made us. No matter how hard or seemingly impossible, every time I look back I see faithfulness.
What is God asking of you today? What thought, dream, hope, idea just welled up again from the deepest recess of your heart? What fear or insecurity keeps you from acting on it? How might you decide to trust Him today? I challenge you to take a risk. Trust Him to do what only He does, and let Him write over your old story with faithfulness.