Sometimes we know God is asking us to do something that feels big. Like a new job. A move. A new ministry.
And it’s so clear that He is leading! But then, after we take steps to follow Him, it doesn’t go exactly as we envisioned. So we begin to doubt. Maybe I’m in the wrong place. Maybe this job isn’t right. Maybe we weren’t supposed to adopt. Maybe I’m not cut out for ministry. Maybe I married the wrong person.
I recently encouraged a friend of mine to remember how God lead you here. She was feeling discouraged at her job. It wasn’t going how she thought it would. It was really, really difficult. I told her to look back and rely on the certainty she had when God lead her there, and to remember that He doesn’t make mistakes. I said this may be different than you expected, but it IS what God called you to do. And I told her to watch for little bits of encouragement from the Lord that she is exactly where He has placed her.
I experienced doubt shortly after I began teaching preschool six years ago. I had been a stay-at-home mom, and a job became available at our church preschool that was absolutely a perfect fit for me. Including working with one of my best friends. God could not have worked it out more beautifully. But….
Ivy began preschool when I did. And she had a hard time. She was only three and couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t hold her at preschool whenever she asked. Or why I wouldn’t get her a drink. Or why she had to stand in line. She had meltdowns every day where she was lying on the floor sobbing. Seth had to come down from his office to comfort her.
Just thinking about it makes me sick with guilt and brings tears to my eyes. She just wasn’t ready for preschool. She couldn’t understand that I had a job to do and couldn’t just be her Mommy while we were there. And I felt like it was all wrong. I was damaging her.
But I had to remind myself that I was certain God gave me that preschool job. So I had to trust that Ivy would be ok because God doesn’t make mistakes.
And Ivy was eventually ok, and my preschool job has brought me so much joy, and so many opportunities to tell my students (and their mothers!) about how wonderful Jesus is. God was right. He doesn’t make mistakes.
Which brings me to my blog. I knew for sure that God told me to start a blog. I remember where I was when I knew. I was at Kroc Center Pool, reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst while my kids swam, and I laid there crying in a lounge chair. I knew it was time to begin writing. God spoke to my heart and I knew.
But in the past few months I’ve been discouraged about my blog. Feeling doubtful. Wondering if I have the energy for this. Thinking I don’t have anything important to write. So lately I have tried to avoid the whole thing, thinking maybe it was a mistake and I’m just not cut out for this.
But God loves to encourage us when we are in our darkest hour of doubt.
And now I get to tell you a beautiful story of the friend God brought into my life because of my blog.
About five months ago, my mother-in-law shared one of my blog posts. A woman named Darlene commented that she liked what I wrote and that she also had a blog. We quickly became Facebook friends and sent a few short messages to get to know one another. And that’s how it began.
It was a “kindred spirits” kind of thing. We both love the author Jennie Allen. Wait a second, we both love JESUS, that’s the main thing! We wrote to one another about our dreams. We wrote about our prayer requests. We wrote about what God had been teaching us. She wrote, “Please pray for me. I have my first speaking engagement ever!” I wrote, “Please pray for me. I’m writing a blog post I’m nervous to share.” And so it went. And, after several months had passed, we wrote how grateful we are that God brought us together, and that we loved one another.
A couple months ago, my friend Darlene had beautiful news. She was engaged! To a man she had been friends with for years. And now they were planning to spend the rest of their lives together. Here they are, Lennox and Darlene.
Aren’t they darling? Are you melting?
Not long ago, Darlene sent me a message that said something to the effect of, “I know we haven’t actually met each other, but I want to invite you to my wedding and my bridal shower anyway. Lennox and I were talking about the kind of people we want to share life with, and you are that kind of person.”
Yeah, so imagine that I was just a wee bit honored by this invitation.
As the bridal shower approached, Darlene and I wrote, “I can’t wait to see you! I can’t wait to hug you!”
My co-workers asked me if I was nervous to go to a shower where I didn’t know anyone. I said no. Because God has changed me. He has given me confidence. And He’s helped me see that who cares if I have no one to talk to? I get to meet my sweet friend and bless her (and eat snacks!), so it doesn’t matter if I’m on my own. I told them I thought it was going to be just fine, but that we’d have to wait and see if I left the shower and cried afterwards. Many a time I’ve cried after a birthday party or shower that was exhausting because I had to pretend like I was having a good time when I actually felt really lonely and awkward.
Today was the day. I drove about an hour in the gorgeous sunlight, enjoying the green farmland, while listening to a Beth Moore sermon about Esther. Beth Moore said we must think of our greatest fears and learn to face them instead of cowering in their shadow. And I thought of my blog. And how lately I’ve avoided it due to fear. Because I fear I have nothing to write about. Because I fear God isn’t actually going to use my writing the way I thought He would. And as I listened I tried not to cry because I didn’t want to mess up my makeup before meeting Darlene!
The bridal shower was out in the country, in McMinnville, Oregon, at a lovely old farmhouse. The ladies were all gathered out on the lawn around tables. I approached and looked around for Darlene…I didn’t see her immediately, so I pretended to be busy reading the information about the shower game….
And then she saw me! She said, “Hiiii!!” and rushed over to hug me. I hugged her and said I might just start crying. It was the sweetest thing. I’m getting teary now.
We visited and it felt so surreal. She looked just like her pictures (go figure!), so it didn’t even seem like I hadn’t met her. It was like we were old friends. And we talked about God quickly and easily, (my favorite subject).
I got to know little basic facts about her from her friends, like most people call her Dar, and I learned how she and Lennox met. I asked her about her wedding dress, (my favorite part of any wedding). I got to know the sound of her voice as she opened gifts and laughed with her many friends. And I just sat in the sun enjoying the whole thing. It was kind of amazing. And very precious. And so right.
I felt a little sheepish explaining to some of the ladies how Dar and I met. Through Facebook! But I got to tell them that we had become close and that she wanted me to be part of this special time in her life. Not long ago Dar had written to me that she felt how Paul must have felt when he wrote to the churches he loved and longed to see them in person. I know, kind of the sweetest compliment ever. The ladies at my table thought it was really sweet how Dar and I got to know each other through Facebook and yet just met today.
And when I had to leave, Dar and I hugged again, and I had someone take our picture to remember the day we met. And we said it was God’s timing that we became friends at this point. And she told me I was so brave to come.
And when I drove away, I did cry. Not the miserable, lonely cry of baby/bridal showers past. But the grateful cry of that-was-so-wonderful-and-my-heart-feels-so-full. I just kept whispering, “Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord.”
And that’s when I realized that if not for my blog, I never would’ve met Dar. I never would’ve even KNOWN of her. And God spoke to me and reminded me He doesn’t make mistakes. He gave me this friendship as one of His many gifts, and also as a reminder that He knows what He’s doing. Today He gave me a little bit of encouragement that I am exactly where He has placed me.
And suddenly I couldn’t wait to write about my friend Darlene. And how God brought us together. I do have something to write about, whether it means anything to anyone else or not, because sometimes I just can’t keep God’s goodness to myself.