… the next thing

I’ve literally written through just about every difficult season and experience in my adult life. It’s been well documented here and I love that. I love that I have a space that allows me to share encouragement, hope, joy, and examples of endurance and faith with others. It’s been amazing.

But, I’m also very much over writing through… living through… the hard, the hurtful, and the struggle. It isn’t fun. I’ve operated on high levels in the most stressful times of my life and won. Achieved. Hit goals. Experienced amazing accomplishments only to hardly enjoy it because outside of those moments, hard is literally looking you in your face.

It’s exhausting. Mentally, physically, and emotionally to do very well in all areas when you’re also weighed down in so many ways. But, there’s a sweet opportunity to look above what’s in front of you and look ahead. Look ahead focusing what your end goal is and hope for that.

And, I know, right now, with COVID-19 completely flipping our worlds upside down, it’s hard for a lot of people to look ahead when the realities of joblessness loom over you.

So many people are out of work right now. Some still blessed, even in quarantine, to have checks still clearing the bank, others experiencing an unexpected stop to their income flow whether it be because they’re hourly or commission based employees, some salaried whose contracts were suddenly suspended. For many, it’s hard and scary.

What I believe deeply is that in every experience of uncertainty, our Heavenly Father and his abilities are really, actually very real. That this shift… that every flip of the script, every surprise, every rug pulled up from under you, every shoe that dropped was no surprise to him. and, I believe he has an answer for it, healing, hope hidden in every hurt and disappointment. I believe that He has a plan of prosperity and good, a plan the lacks nothing, one that glorifies him well, one that is full of his goodness being made evident to all people on this side of heaven, a plan that exceeds everything, all things we could ever imagine….. and it included this pandemic. I believe that all things work together for our good. Which is how I can enjoy this time, how I can sit still, and ask “What’s next?” with peace instead of anxiety and fear.

The “next” in God’s plan for our lives going to be good, but we know that nothing laid out will come to life unless we work. I know that right now we have to have a faith in the character and capabilities of our God. So, we need to dig into our Bibles and sit before the Lord. We have time to develop our faith. To read. To ask questions. To seek the Lord’s face and get to know him. Hello #quarantineandchill. lol.

He may lead us to do somethings outside of our comfort zone… that generally where the good stuff happens – in uncomfortable spaces. Every person that did something great when the Lord laid out his plans for them had a question. They weren’t always sure. The work was always outside of normal. Which means you [and I] should get comfortable with doing what “isn’t you” because “you” could be holding you back, ya know? We can start with what we know we ought to be doing…. not because we know how to do it, but it stays on our minds. [but, wait….] Also ask God to renew your mind and examine what you’re focusing on; what we’re allowing into our heads and hearts. If you know it’s not pleasing to the Lord… that’s not the kind of “out of your comfort zone” work I’m talking about. [wink]

Some really hard things are going to come from this. Families are going to be hit hard – mine included – but I am confident in that so many people are also going to experience the favor of God and my question is: Why not me?

I’ve literally been pleading to the Lord for life change over the past year or so. Just complete restoration and redemption. A full on crown of beauty instead of ashes…. it’s an incredible picture of a totally different life. In Biblical days when someone was in mourning, they’d cover their head with ashes. It was a sign of heartbreak, humiliation, bereavement, or death. But, now, a beautiful crown. With a crown comes privilege, protection, influence, power, access, and options.

A crown & ashes – they both cover our heads.
They are two ways of thinking.
Two ways of leading.
Two ways of that determine taking in life.

A crown makes such a vast difference in the way one carries themselves, how they’re perceived, treated, and go about living their life. It’s freedom. It’s victory. It’s life change. It’s the very thing I’ve been at the foot of the cross praying for: a crown for ashes, joy for mourning, praise instead of despair.

And, please don’t get me wrong….. Life is not awful. I have truly learned to trust God and live joyfully, enjoying every day and making the most of what is in front of me, but it is very hard ……… even still, I’m very clear on the fact that this ain’t it. Not for me. This isn’t what my God promises. There’s more to life and the Lord’s plan for me than this.

This year (all 3 months of it) has been hard. We want to give 2020 back to the streets. I get it. [Maybe this is like the first trimester of a pregnancy… not fun, we’re sick (literally), but everything is better afterwards? maybe?]

But, we also have to trust without doubting that there’s someone over all of this. Someone who reigns over the leaders of companies, corporations, the government, and the powers that be at the state level.

There is someone who controls the rising and setting of the sun – it doesn’t do it by itself. The world is not spinning on its own. Now….. yes, Science-y things are happening to make it appear as such but The One who actually controls all things – the winds, the waves, the tides, etc – is in full control.

Full control.

I’ve been Instagramming and Facebooking my thoughts and observations of the Israelites [which I will pull over here too…] and I’m reminded of something I mentioned: trust like children. My children aren’t usually hovering over me and micromanaging me as I drive or push the stroller. They sit in their seat and do kid stuff. Sing, argue, look out the window, talk about sprinklers, and ask for food. Anything other than that is above their pay grade, ya know? We always get to where we’re going and truth be told if we’re going to make it isn’t ever their concern. Even when they know the route we’re taking isn’t typical….. they still stay in their seats. In their lane doing kid stuff. They don’t hop out of their seat and try to push me out of the driver’s seat. And, we get to where we’re going every single time….without their input or interference.

This pandemic, the quarantining, cities across the nation basically shutting down isn’t exciting, but it’s also not our lane to control. Not our world to manage. We just have to remain faithful, cast our cares, trust, and my favorite “… do not be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today…” Exodus 14:13 [NLT]. I love that translation because it uses the word rescue, which happens to be my absolute favorite word that is repeated over and over and over again in Psalm.

Rescue. Rescue. Rescue.

He will do it. He takes care of the birds of the air and the lillies of the field…. He will most certainly take care of us.

Sidebar: One thing I committed to doing [out of mental health necessity] was spending more time with my friends this year. Looking back at all the photos I’ve taken in the last three months, I can tell that that decision was one of my best so far! I’ve literally never been so at peace and joyful even in the middle of heart hurts & disappointment. I look amazing …… and, I feel amazing and am definitely a kind of happy & hopeful that surpasses all the junk and funk . God is so good like that. I’m thankful and absolutely enjoying the ghetto we are calling 2020.

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Comments

  1. Johnnie Louise Johnson says

    I have so enjoyed reading all your posts. God bless you and your family.v you have really came through for me. Love you

    • Thaaaaank you so much!!!! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading, and thankful that it’s helpful for you! Means so much!

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