I’ve never really been big on puzzles, but the other day God reminded me that He uses all the pieces in our lives for His plan. The revelation brought me to tears, tears of joy. I began to think about pieces of my life that I deem mistakes or unusable that are all part of His plan. I can’t wait to look back and see how a painful stage in my life was laying the groundwork for how I could inspire or encourage someone else.
And that’s where the faith comes in. The faith to know your present pain serves future purpose.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:18-21)
My favorite chapter in my book No Shame in Sharing: Discovering Yourself in Life’s Un-Postable Moments is Chapter Twelve: Jewels in the Dark. This chapter resonates with me because it wasn’t the season where I got the job I had been waiting for, it was the season God poured into me future plans; He didn’t give me a present gift but a future revelation. He revealed why He planted a passion in me to volunteer in certain areas and how He would use that passion for His glory.
Excerpt from Chapter Twelve: Jewels in the Dark:
“I had been mulling for some time about an idea for a non-profit to help young women and the homeless, the two areas God led me to serve in months prior. Then in that same entry, God revealed an organization that would help both groups and utilize my MBA to grow the idea! I was blown away. God didn’t have to share all that, but He graciously did. God doesn’t stop pouring out blessings in barren seasons; if anything, the blessings are easier to see because we’re less distracted.”
I don’t know what season of your life you’re in. It could be a season of increase; it could be a season of drought. In either case, I encourage you to draw near to God.
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58: 11)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119: 105)
As impatient as I am, I can still say God’s timing is perfect. I love how He can communicate to us in so many ways; it could be through a scripture verse, a sermon, a social media post, or words of a person just to name a few.
This happened to me right when my spirit needed it the most. I was minding my business right when the word came to without me realizing I even needed it.
My family and I were watching an NBA game on Christmas when my sister-in-law said clear as day, “I just saw your baby.” I was confused because at the time I was leaning over and I thought she was referencing a food baby (we had just eaten not too long before) but no she was referencing an actual baby! She said she had a vision that a small boy (my brown skin, brown haired child as she described) was hanging near my feet as he learned to walk.
It’s crazy because it wasn’t a dramatic moment like you’d see in an episode of That’s So Raven when time froze or a movie scene where we heard God’s voice. But at that moment I felt such a peace that I knew the vision had to come from God. It was like a quiet whisper from Him that yes one day I would have a family and hey at least one boy (yay one less head of hair to worry about!)
So at this moment I’m nowhere near having a family or child but thanks to her vision I have a new promise to hold on to, just like Abraham.
“He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” (Genesis 15:5)
Commentary: Just when Abram was despairing of ever having an heir, God promised descendants too numerous to imagine. God’s blessings are beyond our imaginations!
To think in one moment Abram went from the prospect of having no children to being a part of the ancestry that birthed the Savior of the Universe! How incredible!
But I’ve found when God reveals a promise or vision it isn’t necessarily around the corner. When God spoke in Genesis 15 about Abram’s descendants it wasn’t until Genesis 21 when Isaac was born, about 15 years later. God’s time is not our time.
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
And if you’ve been promised something but haven’t seen it come to fruition yet remember…
“God is not man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)
To me, 2015 was a blur; the fastest year of my life. Yes, I started a new job but that’s really the only major milestone I can recall. A lot of times in life I find myself hoping to enter a new phase or try to get to some end destination I’ve dreamt up in my head without being present in the current state.
This year I want to make a change. I want to be present in 2016. Sure time will continue to pass but I don’t want to let it pass as I wait for things to happen but rather improve myself along the way.
Recently I heard a good Word at church about being hopeful getting to the dream. The message talked about Joseph and God allowing him to go through some things to make sure he was mature enough for his dream. The message picks up in Genesis 50 where Joseph’s dream is fulfilled; however, Joseph first realized his dream in Genesis 37. The message talked about how God will use isolation as preparation i.e. Joseph’s time in prison. The pastor also made a point to say we should maximize our moments of isolation so we don’t waste the preparation time before the manifestation of our dreams. An example he gave was we shouldn’t be asking God for a husband but just sitting around; maybe we should start to cook and clean in the isolation period. Just like an athlete trains in the off season ahead of the anticipated season. I can definitely relate to this last analogy since I ran track for 6 years, our coach would let us know the workout waiting for us once we returned from the holidays but it was up to us to prepare for it over the break.
Overall, I was encouraged by the message and reminded we have to be patient and hopeful as we wait for our dreams to be fulfilled. But as I wait for my dreams to be fulfilled I’m going to be present and utilize the isolation and preparation period. As I wait for Mr. Right to show up and as I wait to enter my dream profession I will maximize the isolation period. I will cultivate my hobbies i.e. try new recipes, expand my makeup skills, rise to the call to be a leader at work and not shrink from responsibilities. I can’t help but imagine the greater the isolation and preparation the greater the placement.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
Commentary: Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth. God will not leave you alone with your problems; He will stay close and help you grow.
Just as God was with Joseph in the pit before he was sold into slavery (Genesis 37: 24-36), God meets us in our pits. But, God doesn’t leave us there; He uses our pits as platforms. Just as Joseph was taken from the pit to Potiphar’s house, who knows where our pits will lead to?
“But he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9
Commentary: We must rely on God for our effectiveness rather than simply on our own energy, effort, or talent. Our weakness not only helps develop Christian character; it also deepens our worship, because in admitting our weakness, we affirm God’s strength.
It’s so easy to look ahead and not see how far we’ve come; think about the future and not appreciate the present. I’m a TV news producer in Mobile and I love my job but I’m already looking ahead like “hmmm I’d love to produce a major national show one day!” Ha, but if I don’t hone my craft now, I’ll never get there. I’m reminded of the scripture “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” (Matthew 25: 23)
And even taking a step back I can see God being faithful. In college, I managed a Facebook page for my sorority with over 400 likes. Now at my job I post to a Facebook page with over 20,000 likes. In college, I produced a 30-minute newscast; now I produce an hour-long show.
It’s in these few examples that I can see God’s scriptures at work. Moment by moment He’s giving me more to steward with and take care of.
So as impatient as I can be sometimes, I’m glad I didn't get a job at say, The Today Show, right out of school. I would have been fumbling around and looking crazy with no experience.
And God knew this. He doesn't set His kids up to fail. So, for now, I continue to labor in my current job, soak up everything I can learn, and thank God every day for this opportunity.
So when you have an extra second; commune with God. He has so much to say in our quiet moments. He will reveal His faithfulness to you and maybe even give you a sneak peek of your future!
God Bless ;)
Hi! I'm Marilyn!