The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. ~Psalm 32:8
When I was a new believer I really didn’t know very much about the Bible. I was twenty years of age- young and on fire for Jesus. I took drastic steps to change the life I once had been living before I knew Jesus. I was living in a condo with two other girls, and we loved to party. Moved out to live by myself. I stopped going to all of my usual nightclubs. I broke off a dating relationship with a young man that didn’t share my love for Jesus. I lost some friendships along the way. And probably to those that were in my inner circle- lost everything (only to gain everything). Luke 9:24 (NLT) If you try to hang on to your life, you will loose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. I never sat there thinking, “Wow, look at all I had to give up to follow Jesus”. No, He called, I answered. I went.
And then my dad suggested Bible College to grow in my walk with the Lord. Not to become some famous Bible preacher, or to have a worldwide ministry- but to simply grow in my relationship with the Lord as I learned more about His Word. Others who thought they knew me, could have easily thought I had fallen off on the deep end. First I loose all my friends, then I start hanging out in little circles of Bible believing born again Christians who speak in some unknown tongue, and leave a good stable job at the very well known Westin Missions Hills Resort in Palm Springs, California to some unknown Bible College in the worst part of Dallas, Texas- all to grow in my walk with the Lord.
If you have never seen the faith based movie How to Save a Life, I would encourage you to go rent the movie. I just watched it this year and I got very emotional as I realized the main character in the movie, Jake, was in so many ways me. I was just the out of high school version. Hands down, one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen, and not cheesy either. One of my favorite quotes from this movie was when Jake said, “What’s the point of all this if you’re not going to let it change you?”
And here I am before you, some sixteen years later. A lot has happened in my life. I didn’t go to Bible College for the Lord to call me into full time ministry, but He did. And I will be honest. Over the past five years I have struggled at different points to make sense of it all. Am I making a difference? Am I planting seeds? Am I bringing any one with me? Do I only hang out only with Christians, or have I allowed myself to really reach out to those who don’t know Jesus? Did my neighbors see a difference in our lives, or where we comfortable to drive in and out of our garage day after day, satisfied with a smile and a wave, while they were directly next door dying inside? If it be of any consolation, I am preaching to the choir here. The Lord has been revealing to me that the best is yet to come. And He has caused my heart to not be content with mediocre. To not settle for my little devotions in the morning and church on Sunday. There are days when I think, maybe this is it. Am I okay if this is it: My kids, my husband, and our church? And I am sure that the enemy would love it if I just settled. But I can’t. I believe we were all made for so much more. And I’m glad. I’m glad the Lord still speaks to me, and that I can hold on to that hope that He has so much more.
The words He has been speaking to me are this: Do not despise the preparation time. And as I look back on my life, I see not only His hand, but also the preparation. There are some of you out there that are discouraged. You think, “Lord, I should have been so much further in my walk with You by now”. I too went to Bible College and I thought I heard your voice on so many things, but now I’m stuck in a dead end job or I’m stuck at home wiping poop or runny noses all day. Can I just tell you right now- The Lord isn’t done with you. I don’t care how old you are. Do not ever despise the calling to these kids that He has entrusted to you to raise up and change a generation for Him. It’s all part of the plan. And this job that you’ve just been waiting to move on from- there are people there that desperately need your prayers and are so hungry to see true joy and someone actually living out their faith. It’s all part of the plan. If you’ve been letting jealousy of someone else’s ministry cause you to sit in self pity, I encourage you to spend a couple years humbling yourself and submitting under someone else’s leadership and just serving for a while- without any motives but to just serve and be a blessing. You will be amazed at the things the Lord can teach you.
Right now you are exactly where God knew you would be. I promise you God’s not sitting in Heaven saying, “Wow, Molly’s working a part time job! Shocker”. Or, “Wow, I didn’t know Karen was going to be so tired from having four boys.” We will never get to where we need to be if we are focused on where we thought we should have been by now. Let that one marinate for a while. There is a worldwide ministry right in your own town, right in your own home.
As for me, I’m in a little more solitude than I have been in the past without my closest friends to lean on. God has been telling me to stop looking back on what I had. He wants me to fully trust Him- He want to be my best friend first and foremost. I will never be able to fully embrace what He has for me if I am continually looking back at what I had or where I ‘think’ I should be. When I was a new believer, I never stopped even just once and said, “Wow God, look at all I gave up for you, or look at all the fun I use to have”. Whatever season you’re in, I challenge you to see it as a season of preparation. What is He preparing you for? And will you pass the test in front of you, or will you need to go around a few more blocks? The good news is- He will wait.
There are gifts and talents that He has given you, that only you can do. Do you write? Continue to write for His glory and see where He takes it. Do you sing? Continue to sing to and for Him and see where He takes you. Do you have gift of encouragement? My goodness how the world could use you right now! Are you a faithful friend? Then allow God to guide you to someone who could really use a friend. Right now, where you’re at, be faithful. And ask Him to give you pure motives out of a heart that wants to serve. He is preparing us for greater things to come. Oh, that we would be faithful exactly where we’re at. I like what Jen Hatmaker says in her book Tune In, “As God begins leading us in a certain direction, we must go along willingly. This is usually a series of baby steps, but you string enough of those together, and you’ve traveled miles down the road of spiritual growth, paving the way for the development of your gifts. “ There are things you’ve done in the past like singing, acting, writing, or dancing. You just never know how God will bring those things back to be used for His glory. And remember, it’s all just part of the plan!
Lord, remind us that You are preparing us. Help us to be faithful in the here and now. Help us to not live in ‘how good it use to be’ and help us not camp out at ‘In the future when…’ but help us to know we are exactly where You knew we would be. You’re not shocked by our progress (or lack of). You have given each of us gifts and talents- may we use them right now, exactly where we’re at! Amen
Psalm 25:4- Show me the path where I should walk, Oh Lord; Point out the right road for me to follow.