Beginnings: Every ending is a new beginning

There was once a girl who left all behind in pursuit of something different than she had known.  She was looking for a way out, an escape, a new identity in a new place where she was known by none, but what she found was herself deeper in the same old mess as a result of her same bad choices. And this time, she was on abortion number three, heading down a path that resembled the life of an alcoholic.  She stood in front of her mirror in her one bedroom apartment as she drank the pill of death.  Staring at herself in the mirror she knew something needed to change.  What she saw was how powerless she was to create the change she needed.

For the longest time, she thought her problems stemmed from where she lived, in a place that offered no adventure. It was in the midst of this latest bad choice she realized the problem wasn’t a lack of adventure, or the place she lived.  She realized her real problem was staring back at her in the mirror.  She was the source of all her problems.  This new place was supposed to be the key to her new life, but she had failed to realize the place didn’t need to change.  Something in her needed to change.  Unaware this place of despair, hopelessness and brokenness would be her end and her new beginning, she realized something happened to her that weekend on the inside, changing the course of her life for the rest of her life.

As this girl started walking in the new thing that was happening it became clear her life and all her circumstances were the same, but her desires were different.  She found herself praying and seeking God in ways that were foreign to her.  She enjoyed the change and vowed to never go back to the person she had been.  For the first time in her adult life she liked herself and she wanted more of this change.

But as the year passed a career advancement presented, so she packed up and moved to a new city to make yet another new start. In this new place she lived with the fear of making choices, because it seemed the choices that mattered most were the choices she couldn’t seem to get right. And the memories of her past haunted her, but through it all she clung to the only thing that gave her comfort; something she could not see…God living on the inside of her. The tighter she held fast to Him the more she saw everything around her was a classroom being used to teach her, change her and develop her into someone new.  She could see the adventure she hoped for was always available no matter where she lived, but the key to unlocking the adventure was God at work inside her.

Still, she lacked confidence that she could make good choices, always needing the assurance and confirmation of others.  So she vowed to choose what God would want her to choose, even when it was hard.  But for her it was a pretty sweet deal, because no matter what He asked it always proved to be good in the end. With this she prayerfully asked God for His very best as she considered an opportunity to receive a scholarship to Bible College in a foreign country.

As adventurous as studying abroad would be it would require leaving everything behind.  It would require leaving her family and friends, her career, her lifestyle, her financial security and comfort, but she figured it was worth it, if it meant God’s best.  So she did all she needed to do to get to where He was leading.  And in the process she asked Him to prepare her for what was to come.  This time she found herself in a long season of weeping, discomfort, chaos, pain, growth and joy.  It was a season of building endurance.  As her planned departure date approached, she lacked the visa she needed to obtain entry into this foreign land, but she walked by faith trusting God could do the impossible. Besides, why wouldn’t He? This was His very best for her, after all.

So she carried on… all packed up, goodbyes said and on the road heading off to her next adventure when she heard God ask, “What if your visa doesn’t get approved in time for school, then what?”   This was clearly not something she had entertained over the past year of planning and preparing.  So, she spent the next days fasting, praying and searching scripture. She found God doing the impossible is contingent upon His purpose (Num. 14:44-45).  God redirects His people (Matt. 2:19-23).  God will take His people around the longest path to get to the desired location (Exodus 13:17-18). God’s delays are intentional (John 11:1-16).  God fights for His people (Exodus 14:14). God blesses those who wait upon Him (Lam. 3:25).  And God tests our faith (Jas 1:2-4, Gen. 22:1-2).  After considering all these things she concluded He was asking her if she were willing to set aside her plan and not go abroad to school in this season.  It’s funny how this worked out. She was believing Him for the impossible, but He was asking her to do what would have seemed impossible weeks earlier.  And she determined she would do as He asked.

Then she remembered when she had prayed asking God for His very best.  She realized she had considered the school to be His very best, but it was the process that was in fact the very best He had for her.  When she made the decision to submit to her circumstance out of obedience to what He was asking, it unleashed something she didn’t have before.  She was still standing in the midst of her circumstance, but she had the assurance of knowing He hears her and she hears Him. She learned how to wait out of the determination of her will, because it pleases her God and builds character.  She had the assurance of knowing she could make a good choice, because He teaches her and instructs her in the ways she should go and He counsels her with His loving eye upon her (Ps. 32:8).  She no longer needed the re-assurance and confirmation from others to make a choice. She was free and embracing a deeper intimacy with the Lover of her soul, her God.  With Jesus.

Well, the visa didn’t come through and the scholarship offer expired, but in the last hour Jesus fought for her, just as His word says, and the school extended the scholarship offer to July 2014.  The ending still remains to be told, but for now she waits upon Him for what’s next, because what matters most is Him.

As you prayerfully observe the details of your life and circumstance, what question could God be asking you to consider? 

 Dear Heavenly Father,

Today we thank you that nothing is lost in your Kingdom and in your infinite wisdom you will use all things to bring about your purpose, which is good and perfect. We thank you that every ending is a new beginning waiting to be told.  And You are the light to our path and lamp to our feet, with every step You expose what we can’t see directing us in the way we should go.  For You are with us always. We thank You that You have made everything beautiful in its time.  We thank You that You have given us time to learn what You teach, to put into practice what You have prepared for us, there is no rush, there is no hurry and when we are on Your time we will always be on time.  For You are the Author of time and blessed is the man that waits upon the Lord.  We ask that You would give us the grace to wait upon You and see how great Your mercy is towards us as we walk by faith trusting in your unfailing word.  Change us, challenge us and show us what You will.  We love You and praise You.  In Jesus name, Amen!

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