Yep, you read it right. I want to go ahead and let you know this will probably be one of the longer posts but it’s WELL WORTH THE READ! As the year ends, I want you to reflect over all of the things that you thought were going to cause you to give up. Think about where you are now and who you are now. What would’ve happened if you gave up? Those lives wouldn’t have been touched. Those goals wouldn’t have been attained. Worse, you would’ve given the enemy the victory but we won! By no means do I make light of the trials & struggles in life, particularly in 2015. March 4, 2015, my first day of grad school, I saw my life flash before my eyes and the course of my year was changed. I was changed and faced one of the toughest seasons of my life to date. You know we take things for granted, like breathing, sitting, walking, and so much more until it’s taken away or limited. So, 2 car accidents, 6 months of therapy, a once hardened heart, and 2 failed CPA Exams later, here I am.
See, I almost gave up because I felt like God had left me. I felt like He gave me TOO MUCH responsibility and REALLY didn’t know how much I could bare. I began reading the book of Job, which then made me feel like I was a joke. It was like He was allowing these things knowing what it was doing it to me. I was slowly drowning, feeling sorry for myself. It was dark and I just needed a peek of light. At prayer group one Monday, I expressed what I was feeling. Let me just tell you; those are some anointed folks! The touch and comfort I began to feel was what I had been missing. I was reminded of ISAIAH 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Wow! He did all of that for little ole’ me. See, it’s not always the ending of a story that makes it most beautiful but the process that develops you. So don’t run.
Everything we’ve faced was to build our character and prepare us for where we’re going. There are certain qualities that can only be built through some tests. Besides, what’s a testimony without tests?
We must endure this race with long-suffering, “forgetting those things which are behind and looking forward to those things ahead,” Phil. 3:13. Now, before you go hearing all of the “This is your year!” and “New year, New me!” messages, let me let you in on a secret. You’ll still have some troubles. You’ll still have to face some things because diamonds are made in fire. The beauty of it is obedience and allowing God to develop you. Then, He begins to do His own work and gives you desires you even forgot about praying for! We just have to trust Him and know His timing and plans are perfect. He hasn’t forgotten about us.
When I need to humble myself, I think of all the people that would love to have my bad days. Since starting Beyond the Tears Foundation and The Golden Rule Project, it has challenged me to think about others before myself. This year alone, we had a family with a house fire, a family who lost their husband/father who was the sole provider, a great-grandmother raising great-grandchildren and more. We have time to complain about where we’re living and what we’re driving when someone doesn’t have anywhere to lay their head, let alone think about owning a car. If constantly focusing on yourself is an issue, go to a shelter or nursing home, feed the homeless, or even just have a conversation with someone in the store. You never know what that means to others or what you may even receive from it to help you. When you help others in the midst of your need, God sees it and He will provide. Trust me, I KNOW!
I’ve been reading, “Things Not Seen,” by Jon Bloom and if you’re in need of encouragement, this is the book for you. It goes through different stories in the bible where God’s promises seemed impossible, yet He showed up right on time. You have to remember your life isn’t for you. It’s for someone else. Even as I sat writing this, I was dealing with rejection, feeling far from God, and fighting the spirit of defeat. Thankfully, we don’t serve a conditional God. What I was going through and facing didn’t change His feelings for me. He pulled me out, as He always does, reminding me of who I am and whose I am. So, next year and the years to come, I implore you not to give up. No matter what you face, He’s with you and building you. I leave you with James 1:4, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” So, stir up those gifts and passions, lose that weight (15 lbs. down woot woot!), get that degree, start that ministry, and whatever else God has led you to do. You don’t have to wait until the new year. Start now! I’m still pursuing my CPA license. I’ve allowed Him to open my heart again. I’m still declaring full healing over my back. I’m fighting with you. We’ll make it!