Isaiah 26:3 ESV
Romans 8:28 ESV
Isaiah 26:9 ESV
Isaiah 26:12 ESV
Isaiah 26:4 ESV
If you would have told me years ago how my life would be today, I would have categorically denied it was possible. Almost nothing turned out like I expected.
If you would have told me years ago that my lifetime journey of writing stories and taking everyday photographs would give me purpose and fulfillment I would have thought that insane.
If you would have told me years ago that I went to Seminary later in life, I would have laughed so hard my sides would have hurt.
THAT was the last thing I wanted and the last thing I ever thought I would do!
If you would have told me I would be single again when I was 51, I would have flatly denied that as a possibility.
If you would have told me years ago I would have EVER lived on a farm, I would have laughed out-loud. It’s not that living on a farm is a bad thing…it’s not. But I am a total city (or town) kid who doesn’t know anything about living in the great outdoors.
When I would come across a raccoon or a possum I totally freaked out. I mean…screaming. I’ve been told they are way more afraid of me than I am of them, but I’ve never believed that.
If you would have told me years ago that holy scripture would someday be ever so precious to me when I am old, I would have wondered how and why. I mean, when I was young I thought there were certain stories that were interesting, but not to the point of dissecting it word for word from the original text! When I was 20 years old I would have thought that was crazy…
If you would have told me years ago all of those experiences brought me to a place of perfect peace, I would have been shocked.
I would not have believed it.
But that’s exactly what God did.
In Isaiah 26:3 the prophet wrote, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Each step of the way, each unexpected turn became part of who I am.
As Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” From a young age, I knew God/Jesus were important to me. I didn’t know why God was important, I just knew it. I knew it when I watched my dad study his Bible and take communion. I knew it when I wanted to help people like my mom did. She has the gift of service and helps and she still loves using her gifts. It comes natural to her.
I had great Sunday School teachers at my church growing up in Kansas City, Missouri and year after year they taught me about God’s love.
Slowly, ever so slowly I learned from those great role models that God is more than capable of perfectly weaving together a tapestry of love and grace even during the most difficult of times.
Slowly, ever so slowly I heard people talk about the Spirit of God being alive and well today. God sent people to me who told me things about myself later in life. The first time that happened I was 20 years old. I actually wondered how they could KNOW things about me in the future? What ended up happening to me was that I found myself wanting the Spirit of God to talk to me. At first I wanted the Spirit in me. Then as more people came who told me things I did not know, I longed for the Spirit to speak to me.
Eventually I wanted it so bad that I turned off the “noise” from the world. At night after I put my kids to bed I would go outside and sit under the stars so I could hear God. At first I felt God, then I heard God tell me, “I love you” and then when God had something to tell me it seemed like something would gently pull at my right ear lobe. I would talk to God and I would wait... I learned what the voice of God sounds like.
It didn’t happen overnight but gradually it happened.
In Isaiah 26:9 the prophet wrote, “My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.”
When I first read that, I thought…I GET that and more and more I wanted to hear God.
More than that, I wanted God’s peace because there really isn’t anything like it on earth.
The prophet knew that when he wrote in Isaiah 26:12, “O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.”
God doesn’t want us to suffer alone. Over the years, year after year I learned that when times get really tough, God is right there with me.
Every unexpected thing that I never expected to happen was difficult, some devastatingly difficult, but God was right there with me every time. The Spirit held me in the night and encouraged me to open my eyes to another day. Through every difficult thing, God was right there carrying me…encouraging me. I thought some of those things would kill me, but they didn’t. I found out that I am stronger than I realized I learned how to rely on God.
I learned that trusting God is real. When I was 20/30 something I would tell God, “I trust you” but I was really saying, “I want to trust you.” The strange thing is that I did eventually start to trust God. I learned that I CAN trust God.
The year I lost my dad was so hard…because I counted on him. I depended on him. I didn’t want to grow up, but I did. Instead of relying on what my dad told me about God, I started relying on God myself.
God knew it was time for me to grow up. I didn’t want to…but I did.
As Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 26:4, I learned, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”
Inch by inch, step my step, the Spirit of God guided me on and I learned how to trust.
I’m ever so grateful…ever so grateful that God is always there holding onto me every step of the way. I absolutely can’t say I’ve arrived. I know I haven’t, but I also know that no matter what lies ahead, God will be there. God will hold onto me. God will NEVER ever fail me.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: YOU
Think or write about your journey with God. See how far you’ve come. Say you trust God. Say you rely on God. Saying that matters to you and it matters to God.
In God, Deborah