When the Right Thing Feels Like it Was the Wrong Thing

This last spring, I shared a post about Ben’s new job. We were excited and full of anticipation. We’d spent A LOT of time praying about our next step, and in many ways, it seemed clear that God was leading Ben to enter a partnership with a local company.

For six months, everything went really well. Ben loved the work, and it felt like a fantastic fit for him, as well as for our family. Every new opportunity was exciting, and we were full of hope for everything the future held.

But after six months, it became clear that things were moving in a different direction than expected. It was a confusing time – we’d felt peace about our decision in spring, and it had really felt right at the time. But now suddenly, everything changed. Had we made the wrong choice?

What do we do when we try to make the best choice we can, step out in faith, and then everything turns out completely differently than we thought it would? Does that mean it was a mistake?

The more we process the whole experience, the more I see how the outcome matters so much less than the fact that we were acting in faith and obedience to what we felt called to do at the time. God has taught me a lot about trust and faith in the last few months, and I’m slowly learning to have peace in the midst of great uncertainty.

And so we try again. This was all just one step, and there are many more steps to come. It wasn’t the wrong step – it just wasn’t the last one.

What’s next?

Through it all, Ben has finally gotten the courage to go after his true dream, and I’ve finally gotten the courage to support him in it. He’s always been better with taking risks than I am, but both of us are now ready to see what God is going to do. If the last six months had never happened, I don’t know if we’d have the courage to pursue this new dream. Maybe we needed to go through that season to prepare us for what’s next.Over the next couple of weeks, Ben will be getting ready to launch his new venture, and we’re very excited. I’ll share more details soon – including a fun giveaway for my blog readers to be part of, because so many of you have followed along on our journey for years, and have been lovely and supportive. (Thank you!!!)

But in the meantime, I just want to say that God is good, and He is faithful. He guides our steps, and holds our hands. What I want more than anything is to trust Him with my life, no matter what happens. Even when things turn out completely different than we thought they would, we can still trust Him.

He is not looking down from heaven, saying, “Shoot, I never saw that one coming!! How in the world am I going to provide for Ben and Kendra now???!!!”

He’s got it covered, and His ways are so much better than my own. He can redeem anything, and so we keep looking to Him for our next steps.

Choosing Peace During Uncertainty

Yesterday, I shared the exciting news that Ben has a new job, but if you’ve ever taken a huge leap of faith, then you’ll know there’s always a story lurking behind a neat and tidy announcement.

Today I want to share a bit more about what we’ve been going through the last few months, as we’ve waited, prayed, and tried not to agonize over the whole process.

Late last fall, Ben decided to resign from his position as Executive Director of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce. It was a hard decision, for many reasons, and it was a stressful time. He had some ideas about what could come next, but we didn’t know if anything would pan out. There was a lot of uncertainty and financial questions, and all the kind of stuff that makes me very anxious, because I do not have Ben’s gift of embracing the unknown as an adventure. He was excited, and I was a mess. I went through a bad stretch for a few weeks, and things felt very dark. My health took a big hit from the stress, and I was struggling badly to get my footing.

But one night when I was kneeling down to pray about our situation, it became extremely clear to me that something needed to change. I was so incredibly miserable and desperate, and I reached a point of just knowing I couldn’t go on dealing so poorly with the stress of it all – not now, not ever. I was suddenly overcome with an intense desire to be free from the thought patterns and worry habits that have controlled me for most of my life.

Suddenly, I got this very clear, kind of strange picture: I saw a bubble, like the kind our kids blow in the summer, that floats aimlessly on the breeze, gently bobbing around until it finally twirls over the neighbor’s fence and disappears. Our family was in that bubble, bobbing along, without a care in the world. I could see everything passing by us, but it felt a bit distant, because we were safe and sheltered and separated from it all by that bubble.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

And just like that, the fear and anxiety were gone. For weeks after, I bobbed along in that bubble. My thoughts and emotions were changed in an instant, and it took absolutely no effort for me to stay in that place of peace and calm trust.

I’ve never felt that way in my life, and it was heavenly. I never wanted it to change. I bobbed right through Christmas, amazed that life without a paycheck could be so relaxing!

Then January hit, and my bubble burst hard. It was a harsh return to handling things the old way, and it was terrible. For two weeks, I tried to get my bubble back, but it was just gone. It felt as though God had removed His protection from me, and I was disappointed and confused. But one day as I was praying about the whole thing, I realized that God had never removed it – silly me, in all my humanness, had somehow gotten the idea that I didn’t really need the bubble so much anymore. Surely once Christmas was over, Ben would quickly find a job, and this hard time would soon be over. I had climbed out all by myself.

When I realized this, I knew I didn’t want to handle stress the old way, on my own. I was ready to climb back into my bubble, and there I stayed. I’m still bobbing along. Sometimes the temptation to take things into my own hands and get lost in worry comes creeping back, but the more time passes in my bubble, the less appealing the old way feels to me. I can usually catch myself pretty quickly when I start down that path, because it feels so panicky and miserable. I try to spend time praying and getting my focus back on God’s protection and provision, and off we go again. There’s only room for one day at a time in the bubble!

That may sound ridiculous, but it’s what’s working for me right now. Or maybe it sounds too easy, and it is and it’s not, at the same time. I have to be hyper-vigilant about staying in a good place. If I let my guard down for a moment, I’m sucked into the old mess, but if I stay focused, I can stay in my beautiful, safe bubble. In the beginning, I think God was just gracious with me, and I could stay there without trying, but now it takes effort. Overall, I’m learning that it’s much easier to stay there than to try to get back there after the damage has begun.

It’s hard to explain it without it sounding too simplistic – although we’re called to faith like a child, so maybe it’s okay for it to sound very simple. And maybe it sounds like I’m trying to be oblivious to real life, but it’s not that, either. It’s more like a visual reminder for me, in my head, to protect myself from mentally running too far into the future. The bubble is about staying in the moment, and trusting that God will carry us where we need to go. I still have rough moments, but I’m learning to choose peace instead of worry.

Now, while all my lessons in bubble floating were going on, God was up to something else. On the morning of the very same day Ben resigned from his job, a man from our church was on vacation, taking a stroll with his wife. He had started a consulting company two years previously, and had been on his own journey of trusting God, as he developed a company focused on leadership training and team building.

As Darrell and Elaine walked along that morning, he said to her, “I think God is leading me to get a partner.” And that afternoon, Ben happened to email Darrell to say he had resigned from the Chamber.

They met for coffee numerous times those first weeks, but I was not excited. Out of all the employment options Ben was considering, this one scared me the most, because it didn’t involve a regular, dependable paycheck. It was by far the riskiest option, and it was the one Ben was most drawn to. He would come back from coffee with Darrell, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm, and I would pretend to be interested until I just couldn’t fake it anymore, and then there would be tears and panic. (Obviously, I was a very lovely, supportive person to live with during that stretch!?)

Part of the reason I was so nervous was because Ben was so excited about something that felt very unpredictable. He’s talked about this kind of opportunity ever since he got his Masters in Leadership years ago, and it’s what he’s wanted to do most. But we weren’t planning on it happening right now. It was always a dream for the future, when we would hopefully be more financially stable, and our kids would be older. Yet here it was, and I didn’t want him following a dream. I just wanted a regular paycheck, so we could feel safe and secure – not in a worldly way, of course, just a practical way, I’d tell myself.

But Ben’s enthusiasm did not disappear, so one day I prayed, “God, if you want this to happen, change my heart.”

And then I promptly forgot about praying it, because I knew it would never happen!

Fast forward a couple of months, along with all of my bubble dwelling, and one afternoon, Ben and I were driving around running errands, discussing his employment options. He had kept moving forward in discussions with Darrell, but after awhile, he began to get cold feet. “It’s the riskiest option,” he said. “Maybe it’s best just to forget it.”

And then I forgot about this being the moment I’d been waiting for, and instead of agreeing with him, I passionately responded with something like this: “Ben, it’s your DREAM!!! It’s what you’ve wanted to do for years, it’s exactly what you’re gifted at, and who cares if it’s risky!!! We’ll find a way to make it work in the beginning until things get easier. When you look back in 20 years, you’ll wish you would have done it. We should just trust God, and go for it!!!!!!”

And suddenly, after months of not thinking about it, that desperate little prayer popped into my head, and I thought, “Oh my goodness, who am I, and what am I saying???!!!” The miraculous had happened, and my heart had changed.

From that point on, I was in. As a friend said, “This whole thing smells like the Holy Spirit!” And that’s really how it felt.

It wasn’t an easy decision process, though, because it was a big decision to make, and Ben loves to take a looooooong time making up his mind, but none of that bothered me very much, in my bubble. I just had peace because I knew it would all work out somehow, and then finally it did.

Ben and Darrell officially became partners just over a month ago, and God is good, and I want to stay in my bubble forever! We feel really blessed and thankful to Darrell and Elaine for their part in this process. They opened up the business they started from scratch, and we’re excited to experience this adventure with them.

So that’s what we’ve been up to for the last six months – a lot of growing, transitioning, and learning to trust. It’s been hard, rich, and very good. There’s still a lot of work and trust that needs to happen, but right now, we celebrate the start of something new and exciting!

To see what Ben is up to, check out the SCOPE website.

Trusting God’s Process

Faith quoteOur pastor shared that thought on Sunday, and it hit me so hard, I didn’t hear anything else he said for the next few minutes. I was a few years away in my memories….

During the time when we were waiting for Kaylia to be born, we were often asked why we didn’t choose to adopt a baby. I thought about it a lot, but there was this one little thing holding me back – I felt like God had told me He was going to give us a baby girl.

I had just had a miscarriage, and as I lay there sobbing after it was all over, I felt like He said to me, “That was your baby boy, but I’m going to give you a girl.” In the moment, it felt incredibly real, but the next morning, I thought I was crazy for thinking God would speak like that to me.

And then four and a half years went by. It was really easy to doubt and lose hope during those years.

Sometimes, it seemed as though it would be so much easier to go get ourselves a baby some other way. We could adopt, or we could try all kinds of intense fertility treatments. But I never had any peace about doing anything – I felt like God was holding me back. Through it all, Ben was just super patient and understanding, willing to do whatever would be best for me in our difficult situation.

But one weekend, everything reached a climax for me. I felt as though I could not handle the waiting and the grief for one moment longer. I was so tired of it all, I just wanted to do SOMETHING. Anything.

We were living at Red Rock Bible Camp at the time, and it was Family Camp weekend, so Ben was really busy for a few days After I would put Anika to bed, I had many hours to think and pray, seeking direction from God. Did He want us to keep waiting, or could we take action?

Although I prayed a lot that weekend, I didn’t feel as though God was speaking to me, and I started to get even more discouraged. I remember going to chapel near the end of the weekend, and the speaker was talking about Abraham. I can’t remember exactly what he shared about Abraham that morning, but as I had my Bible open to the passage he was speaking on, I happened to keep reading further:

The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. (Genesis 21:8-14)

Do you ever moments when you read something from the Bible, and it hits you so hard, it feels like it was put there just for you, for that exact moment? I read those verses about the mess they had made – Sarah wouldn’t wait for the baby God had promised, so she took things into her own hands and made Abraham sleep with the maid. But when she got the baby she’d been scheming about, everything went wrong. When God finally gave them the baby He’d actually promised, she despised the other boy, and wanted him gone.

I read about them wandering around in the desert, begging God to save them, and all I could see was one big mess, because Sarah refused to wait.

And then I felt like God said to me, “I want you to wait.”

Adoption can be a really great option, and infertility treatments have done miraculous things for some people, but for me, in our situation, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was saying we were supposed to do nothing. I needed to stop the scheming and the desperate planning, and just trust…and wait.

It was hard to hear that, but at the same time, it also gave peace. I knew what I needed to do, even if it was hard. We waited another whole year after that before we finally found out that Kaylia was on the way.

Waiting is HARD. But it can also be beautiful, when we do it in the right way. I wish I could have done it better. I wish I could have trusted God’s process, and been more patient and at peace until the time came for Him to fulfill His promise.

I don’t think about that time very often anymore. While we were in it, it felt like it would never end. But now, we’re so happy and busy and life is so full, it’s easy to forget how long and hard we waited for the joy we have now.

But when hard stuff comes, and I find myself growing frustrated and impatient, I remember those dark years, and the peace I missed because I didn’t trust enough. God still blessed me with the answer to my prayers, but I hurt myself during that time. I suffered spiritually, emotionally, and even physically because I wouldn’t rest in His promises. I didn’t know how to trust His process. It took awhile, even after Kaylia was born, before I felt like I had healed from that difficult time. I wish I would have done things differently.

But I don’t want to waste time now regretting what happened in the past. I want to learn from it, and move on, trusting that God provides, even while I’m waiting for Him to provide! He gives me everything I need in the process and the promise.

 

Trusting God to Make a Way, When There Seems to Be No Way

I’ve always liked the Bible story about how God leads Samuel to Jesse’s house to find the next king for Israel. My favorite verse has been the one about how man looks at the outside appearance, but God looks at the heart.

As I was reading Everett’s “Jesus Storybook Bible” to him the other night, however, a completely different part of the story caught my attention. Isn’t it awesome when that happens?! Because it’s the living Word of God, there’s always something new, something to penetrate into our hearts. His Word is so powerful, even the children’s version can capture my attention in a whole new way!

Bible Story

This is the passage that got me:

Jesse showed Samuel his next oldest, tallest, strongest son. But God didn’t choose him either. In fact, God didn’t choose any of the seven sons.

Samuel said, “Is that all?”

Jesse laughed. “Oh, well, there’s the youngest one, but he’s just the weakling of the family, he’s only teeny — ”

“Bring him,” said Samuel.

Jesse’s youngest son came running up, and God spoke quietly to Samuel, “This is the one!”

My favorite part is when Samuel says, “Is that all?” What struck me about it was that God had led Samuel there, but then it looked as though there was some mistake. Samuel passed by all seven of the sons Jesse presented before him, and not one of them was the one God had chosen as king.

Samuel could have started questioning and doubting – was he at the right place? Had he heard God correctly? Was one of the seven sons really supposed to be the next king, but he had missed God’s voice, or misunderstood?

But he didn’t do that – instead, he asked Jesse if there were any more sons. He had faith that God had led him there, and one of Jesse’s sons was supposed to be king, so there must be another son somewhere.

I’ve thought about that a lot since reading it. Listening to God’s voice is such a tricky thing. There have been times when I felt as though He spoke to me, but it didn’t make sense, or it seemed impossible. I started to question what I heard, and tried to figure out, in my own small, very human way, how God was going to make the impossible work, and when I couldn’t see a solution, it was easy to feel doubt.

But the more God speaks, and the more He provides, the more my faith grows, so that even when things seem impossible, or don’t make sense, I’m starting to trust there will be a way. There’s another option not yet before me.

I want to be like Samuel, and have the assurance that something has yet to be revealed, rather than start to doubt, and think there’s been a mistake.

It reminds me of a great quote I once heard Andy Stanley share from his dad:

If I know God said it, I need to live like I believe it, and keep trusting that He’ll make a way. The hole will appear, another son will come forward, because somehow, the answer will become clear. God always provides.

It can be very unexpected, and look a lot different than what I might imagine, but He will be there, showing me a way through.

All Things Working Together For Good

I had a conversation with a friend a few years ago about worry, fear, and trusting God. She said something that’s stuck with me ever since:

“If we truly believe that ‘all things work together for the good of those who love Him’, then we have no need to fear.”

As I’ve thought back to this over and over, it became clear to me that I didn’t believe it with my whole heart. I wanted to believe it, and I knew I should believe it…but I couldn’t. I’ve prayed about it a lot since then – I love the story about the man in the New Testament who said, “Lord, help my unbelief!” I asked Jesus to make me believe it, right to the very core of my being.

A few weeks ago, while our family was getting sick with influenza on vacation, I started seeing strange flashes in my eye. The first day I noticed them, it happened about six times, always in the same spot of my eye. Since this has never happened before, and struck me as odd, I decided to give my eye doctor a quick call. I was hoping for reassurance that everything was fine, and I had nothing to worry about, but I got the exact opposite – she said I needed to get to an eye doctor immediately, because the flashes could mean my retina was tearing and pulling away from the back of my eye, which can result in blindness if it’s not treated right away.

Fortunately, I was able to see an eye doctor in Florida that afternoon, who checked my eyes carefully, and said everything looked perfect. But she told me to follow up with my eye doctor at home, and to call if the flashes got worse.

Over the next week, as we dealt with lots of sickness and a stressful journey home, the flashes in my eye continued, and my fear and worry grew. I’ve never had trouble with my eyes, but suddenly, my vision was all I could think about.

When we got home, I booked an appointment with my eye doctor, who also examined everything very carefully. I was really hoping she would also say everything looked fine, but when she got very quiet, and kept going back to the same spot on my eye again and again, I started to get scared. Then she said, “I’m just going to make some notes, and then we’ll talk.” For someone who struggles with worry and fear, that’s enough to completely freak out. I started praying like crazy, and immediately, that verse came back to me: “For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him.” All things. Could I really believe that, even in such a scary moment?

My eye doctor explained there was a spot in my retina that was very thin, but she couldn’t tell if it was tearing, so she wanted me to see a specialist right away. It was a Friday, so as I waited for them to make an appointment and give me the information, I was mentally going over my schedule for the next few weeks, hoping the appointment would be at a convenient time.

When they came back to me and said, “Be at the hospital at 9am tomorrow”, I felt another lurch of fear – on a Saturday?! What specialist makes appointments on a Saturday, unless it’s a really big deal? Fortunately, this gave me limited time to worry about it, but that night, I was not doing too well with the whole thing. Ben and I talked about it a lot, and I read a bit online about what to expect for laser eye surgeries, because I don’t like the unexpected. I wanted to have an idea what I might be getting into.

The whole time, that verse stayed with me. All things work together for good. I wanted to believe it, but I could see no good in the possibility of losing my vision.

The next morning, I met the best doctor ever, who unfortunately discovered a hole in my retina. He was so calm and reassuring, though, that he was able to make it sound like it was no big deal, and easily fixed!

But here’s the really interesting thing – he said the flashes I’d been seeing probably had nothing to do with the hole in my eye. Most likely, I’ve been walking around with this for a long time, and the flashes started because of the intense sinus pressure I had from being sick. He said lots of people actually have holes in their eyes and don’t know it. The problem is that at any time, liquid in the eye can start leaking through the hole, causing the retina to pull away, potentially leading to blindness. He said it needed to get fixed, probably not immediately, but he was willing to do it right then, to save us another trip in. I jumped at the opportunity, because it meant I had no time to get scared about it, so he led Ben and me through a maze of hallways. Everything was closed and locked up at the hospital, because they don’t normally do procedures on Saturdays, but he got my eye all fixed up and it only took about five minutes. Isn’t that crazy?! Five minutes was all it took to keep me from losing my vision.

I kept thinking about how all things work together for good. In this situation, it was true – I didn’t even know my eye needed fixing, and if I hadn’t gotten such a horrible cold, I wouldn’t have had flashes in my eye, the doctor wouldn’t have found the hole, and sometime in the future, I could have had worse problems with it. I can see the good.

But what about all the other things which cause me to worry and fear? We live in a world with pain and suffering and death. Can I truly believe all things will work together for good?

I chewed on this for a long time. I wanted to believe it so badly, but I kept running into the fact that I don’t want the bad things to happen at all. God might make it good in the end, but what do I do in the middle? When the bad stuff is happening, how do I trust it will all work out in the end?

I kept telling myself, “He’ll fix it in the end. It doesn’t matter what bad stuff happens, He will make it good.”

And suddenly it struck me – it’s like the story of Sleeping Beauty. I’ve never thought about the story of Sleeping Beauty as a spiritual allegory, but it made everything become clear! (I blame it on the fact that I’ve got two girls who have always loved Disney princesses!)

The king and queen are celebrating the birth of their daughter with a huge party, and all the fairies of the land come with gifts for the baby princess. But suddenly, just before the last fairy bestows her gift upon the princess, an evil fairy appears and gives a curse instead of a gift. Everyone is shocked and horrified, but the last good fairy brings hope. She says that although she cannot undo the curse, she can ensure that everything will turn out okay in the end.

The princess still has to fall into a deep sleep, the curse cannot be changed, but everyone sleeps with her, until her true love wakes her up with a kiss.

Sleeping Beauty

We live in a broken, fallen world where pain and suffering are going to happen – it cannot be avoided. But God promises to fix it. We are saved by true love in the end.

I remember watching Sleeping Beauty as a kid, and at that moment when she reaches out her hand to touch the spinning wheel, I remember cringing, and thinking, “Don’t do it! Don’t touch it!” I wished the moment could be avoided, but of course, deep down I knew it had to happen. Even so, I wasn’t afraid, because I knew everything would turn out okay in the end.

And really, if Sleeping Beauty had never slept, there wouldn’t have been much of a story. She would probably have ended up with her prince, but she wouldn’t have needed saving, and he wouldn’t have been much of a hero.

I never want to go through difficulties for the sake of a good story, but the Bible does promise hard times can produce blessing, growth, and perseverance. We fight the good fight, hang on to the end, and we are all saved.

I’m still finding it hard at times to rest in that truth, but I once read negative thought patterns are like well-worn paths in our brain. If we want to replace them with truth, it takes time to wear down a new path. So I will press on, and keep replacing those old fearful thought habits with faith, hope, and the trust that Jesus makes all things good!

Say “Yes” Quickly!

Last spring, a pastor from our church called one day to ask if I would be willing to make a meal once a week for a lady in town who was dying of cancer.

The first thought that popped into my head was this:

“Feed the orphans and widows.”

The next thoughts went along these lines:

How could I get the girls and a hot meal loaded up in the car, get over to the lady’s house, while getting our own supper ready and on the table by the time Ben got home from work at six?

Would she be okay with eating a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet like the rest of us, or would I need to make two different meals on those days?

Had I already booked appointments for those days, and wouldn’t be around for bringing her a meal?

The list of details to figure out went on and on in my head, so finally, I told the lady on the phone that I would think about it, and call back once I figured out if this was something I could fit into our already busy schedule.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I called Ben to talk things out with him. I gave him all my reasons for why I didn’t think it was a great idea, but then I told him, “I still think I’m supposed to do it. God told me to feed the orphans and widows.”

And Ben, in all his wisdom, said to me, “You would have many reasons not to do it, but if God told you to, then you should. I don’t know how you’re going to make it work, but you should do it.”

I hung up the phone, and started praying. I really couldn’t see a way to make it fit into our schedule, but I prayed anyway.

And suddenly, the solution popped into my head. It would take a bit of planning, but it was completely possible. I knew it was what I was supposed to do.

I quickly called our pastor back to give her my answer, but she was out of the office, so I left a message.

The more I thought about the opportunity, the more excited I became. It was as though God was filling my heart with joy for this small way in which I could bless this woman during the short time she had left on earth.

When our pastor returned my call the next day, I was eager to tell her I was ready to commit to helping out, but she surprised me by saying, “Don’t worry about it! I found someone else to do it! I understand that you’re busy, so thanks for being willing to consider it!”

I hung up the phone, and I felt awful. There was a very keen awareness that I had missed out on an opportunity God had plunked down right in front of me.

The woman would still have food to eat.

I could continue on with my busy life.

But I would miss out on the chance to live in obedience to what God had asked me to do.

That made me sad. I missed the blessing.

The lady died two weeks later. It would only have taken two meals for me to care for her in this way.

lunch

I had thought I needed to know exactly how I was going to obey God before I said “yes”, but really, all I needed to know was that He was asking me to do it.

I decided that the next chance I got, I would say yes even before I knew how to make it all work.

Well, wouldn’t you know, I got my chance….

Ben is in charge of finding Sunday School teachers for the adult classes at our church, and one day a few weeks ago, I happened to notice an email he’d received about needing a leader for the prayer class our church is offering this year. As soon as I saw the email, something inside me said, “Lead it!”

And I thought, “No way!”

A few days later, I was sitting in the prophecy class I’m attending with a friend this fall, and suddenly the thought popped into my head: “Lead the prayer class at church!”

And I thought, “Oh boy, I guess this is my chance to obey.” But I conveniently forgot about it.

A few more days passed, and one evening Ben and I were at home. I was checking email, and there was another message about that prayer class. Before I had much of a chance to think about it, I quickly asked Ben, “What are the qualifications for leading that prayer class?”

He said, “Yes. You have them. Do it.”

So I am. And guess what? I’m scared, and I don’t have all the details figured out, and whenever I sit down to try to make a plan so that I’ll feel better, I feel as though the Holy Spirit is saying to me, “Trust me.”

I have no plan.

But I said yes. We start this coming Sunday. Oh, mercy.

The strange thing is that while I occasionally feel like vomiting out of sheer nervousness, I also feel very exhilarated at the same time. I have no idea what will happen. Scary! I have no idea what will happen. Awesome! There will be tons of room for the Holy Spirit to move in and teach me a thing or two.

Should be interesting.

I’ve learned one thing already, so I’m ahead – I said “yes” this time.

What do you need to say “yes” to, before you think yourself out of obeying God?!

Say Yes.

Well, today is the big day.

I’m packing my bags, and heading off to Camp Cedarwood to spend the weekend with the ladies of Ridgewood EMC.

tree branch

Many months ago, a lady from their retreat committee sent me an email, asking if I was “available, and capable of deep spiritual teaching”.

My word. It was the “capable” part which undid me. My stomach did some kind of weird lurching thing as I read that email, and my immediate reaction was something along the lines of, “Capable??! Nope!!!”

I fully intended to turn down the opportunity. I’ve spoken publicly many times before, but the words “deep spiritual teaching” were a bit too intimidating, and I could immediately think of a number of other women who could do a much better job.

I sent a polite email back, suggesting we talk on the phone the next day, but I intended to say no.

The next morning, I was reading my Bible, and stumbled across a verse which said,

“Do not fear disgrace…”

And I thought, “That’s EXACTLY what I fear!”

A few verses down, it said,

“You will not be disgraced.”

It was for me. I own it now. You know how that is? When the Holy Spirit just jumps off the page at you, and you know those words are meant for you?

And I wondered if it could really be true….No disgrace?

My phone call came, and I think I still kinda wanted to say no, but the Holy Spirit must have been speaking on the other end too, because this lady I had never met said everything I needed to hear, and I knew this was a God-thing.

I still don’t feel deep. Or capable.

But I feel like God is leading, and for some reason, He wants me to do this, so I will go with a “yes” in my heart.

Yet again, Bob Goff sums it up for me:

Am I the right guy? I don’t know, but I’m the guy being asked, and the last thing I want to do is miss an opportunity or make God mad, so I just keep saying yes. Maybe God is doing some inexplicable things in your life. Each of us gets to decide every time whether to lean in or step back – to say yes, ignore it, or tell God why He has the wrong person….We were all meant to save many lives. God is always trying to save lives, and it seems like He usually uses the least likely people to do it.

Have you ever felt unqualified? Afraid? Incapable?

Say yes! You don’t want to miss anything!!

(Ben and I talked about whether I should wait to post this after the weekend – first find out if I’ll be disgraced or not!! Then we decided that honesty and transparency is a good and beautiful thing, so I’m laying it all out there! I’ll let you know how it went on Monday!)