“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who imparts all blessing and favor, Who has called you to His own eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.” 1 peter 5:10 (Amplified Bible –> awesome, get it.)
So many thoughts rolling around in my brain tonight. So much love, so much blessing, so much everything. God is good.
The past year has been really trying for me. Friendships changes, family changes, community changes. I have struggled so much with trusting God with His plans. I cannot count how many times I’ve begged Him to show me His plans, which would explain why I was going through all of this junk. It was hard. One day I would be on the top of the world thinking, “I can do this. I’m going to make it through this time. No big deal.” Then the next day, “Holy macaroon. I cannot do this. I would rather sleep through it all than experience all of this.” Talk about emotional rollercoaster. Not pretty.
Then about 5 months ago I finally really started praying for things to change. I started praying for a different mentality towards situations and for God to help me see how He was working in my life. I did not want to miss seeing what He was doing. I was basically asking for God to show up in my life. I needed Him to make Himself known, even if it was through other people or situations. I just felt so spiritually dry.
And finally, over the past few weeks, God has popped up everywhere. In the past week, God has been so present in my everyday life. From belly laughs and conversations with friends, to heart-to-heart talks with family, to walking my nieces and nephew through God’s creation.
Tonight, my brother and brother-in-law and I decided to take a few of my nieces and nephews on a walk in the woods in our backyard down to a creek bed. I was hesitant at first because it had been a long day, the kids had been crabby and I did not know if this would end well. I kind of had a negative mentality to start with, but I felt something telling me to go or I would miss out on something. So we threw on suits and headed out back. Now, one of my nieces is rather fearful. While we walked down the hill through the brush, she clung to my hand and nearly pulled me down a few times. Once we got to the creek, she was super nervous and kept asking if we were going to get lost and kept saying the water was too deep. I felt annoyance creeping into my attitude. Come on kid, just walk through the ankle deep water. It will be fine. How will we get lost??
Then all of a sudden I felt God tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hold that thought and just watch.” So I began listening and watching. About five minutes into our walk, my niece began to venture out on her own. She let go of my hand a few times and eventually was wading through water up to her waist by herself. By the end of the walk, she was asking to go into the deep parts – she wanted to be brave, she wanted to feel adventure. But she did this only because she knew that I was watching over her the whole time. She knew I was right there in case she slipped. There were times when she came back and asked to hold my hand and wanted me to test the waters to see how deep it was, but as long as I assured her that she was okay with me, she believed me.
And I could not believe what I was seeing – I was watching the last year of my life play out in front of my eyes. I had been second-guessing God, asking if this was okay that we were doing this, asking if we were going to get lost and saying, “This is too deep for me. I can’t do this.” Then suddenly a rush of images flooded my brain. Images of ways that God had been holding my hand, providing for me, and watching over me the past year. Ways that God had been patient with me and said, “Caitlyn. It’s going to be okay, trust me. I’ve tested the waters and I know what the path is like ahead. I have experienced it. You will make it through this.” I was floored.
As I watched my niece, it suddenly became so clear to me that God was working in my life! I knew this in my head already, but now I knew it in my heart. The past few weeks, He has told me, “I love you” in ways I have never experienced. He placed people in my life that have been such a blessing. He has been giving me precious time with family. He has placed me in situations where I can say, “I’ve been there before.” He is starting to show me why I went through this past year!
Today, I, once again, felt so loved by my Father. In church this morning, our pastor read those verses from 1 peter 5, then we ended the service by singing, “I’d Rather Have Jesus”. The closing verse expresses exactly how I have been feeling lately:
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom,
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs –
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.