I love this time of year. So many people are on the verge of the rest of their lives. Whether finishing high school and leaping into college or graduating from college and starting their career, this season not only reminds me of new beginnings but also serves as a reminder that when you plant a seed, water and care for it, it will BLOOM!
Over a year ago, a friend of mine, who serves with me at my church, presented a prayer request during our prayer circle. She was going back to school to get her nursing degree. While explaining that this meant quitting her job, moving in with family and saying goodbye to her comfort, you could sense the fear. She had no idea how God would provide. That day will forever be engrained in my heart. Why? Because I can relate.
This past Friday, that friend graduated! Before the ceremony ended, the class president spoke with a special message that touched my heart. He mentioned the sacrifice, the hills and valleys and the frequent moments of wanting to give up. He went on to say that in those moments of weakness where quitting seemed like the obvious choice, he asked God, "Did I hear you, right? Is nursing what you really said?"
My eyes began to water.
Truth is, I've been feeling that same way.
When I first began to be obedient to following God's plan for my life, I noticed immediately that everything began to align so perfectly. I could visibly see how he was blessing my efforts in a tangible and monetary way. And then as quick as those blessings came, the rug was ripped under my feet and I began to slide full speed into the valley of disappointment. Initially, I held firm to God's promises, trusting that his promises would prevail, but each day that has passed has led me to doubt. Did he really tell me to quit my job? Did I hear him right? Am I really here to make t-shirts?
Sometimes people will ask me how the business is going and my immediate reply is to say "It's going good." Truth is, I'm struggling most days. I wonder how I'm going to manage expenses, creativity and opportunity with the little that I have. I look at how much goes into it all and I question if I'm really cut out for this.
And then......God throws me a bone. I mean, some days he gives us just enough to get by, sticking to his promise to supply all my needs. I look at all that has gone wrong and all the ways this dream requires sacrifice, but then he sends opportunity that could only be described as "only God". (I can't wait to share what God has been up to.) He is setting me up for something BIG and as hard as it is to walk by faith seeing that what is in front of me DOES NOT MAKE SENSE, he continues to make a way and meets me where I am. I heard him right when he asked me to leave my job. I heard him right when he told me to leave my comfort zone and step into the unknown. I just didn't realize it would be this hard.
God sends blessings into our lives, but it doesn't always look like a blessing. He sends some of the best moments in our life dressed up as the hardest times in our lives. We don't see it when we are in it, but if we're lucky, we realize it one day at a graduation ceremony.
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
As I watched my friend walk that stage and graduate, I remembered the beginning and how hard it was for her, but she kept on. She fought the good fight! Not only can she call herself a nurse now, but God blessed her with a job at a great hospital! ONLY GOD!
Every time I feel like giving up, I put on I WILL BE CONFIDENT by Steven Furtick and it always rejuvenates my confidence. I pray that if you are feeling like throwing in the towel, you take a listen and find strength in God's truth!