I don’t like to look back.
Because if you're anything like me, looking back and rehashing everything gets you all sweaty and worked up.
All the shoulda-coulda-woulda's leave me feeling a bit stressed out and overwhelmed.
What could I have done better? If I only did this. Would this have changed anything?
And so I look forward. I move forward. I press on.
And yet lately, I have felt God tugging at my heart to look back… but not to point out all the things I could have done better, or the things I wish I would have known, but to see how far He has brought me. To reflect on His might and His power and all the ways He has carried me and walked me through the dark seasons of my life.
And so it is only fitting that our sweet friend Baylee would ask me to guest post on this very thing.
That I would get to share with you, just as God has been revealing it to me, all the ways in which He has used my trials, failures, and mistakes. All the ways he has pieced together my brokenness. How He has used every single thing to shape me and make me, and to know that He has used it all, in ways I never could have imagined beyond the pain.
This past week I spoke at my local church, at one of the ministries for new mothers. And as I was preparing my message and asking God to help me share His word, He reminded me of the girl I was when I first walked into that same ministry almost six years ago.
I was newly married, as well a new mom to top it off. I was scared, insecure and I didn't know if I could hear God's voice or even how to pray. What was I doing in life? How could I serve God? I was searching for something “more.”
And so with the encouragement of a friend, I decided to join a ministry at church for new mothers. I was hopeful and expectant and excited for what God would do in this new season.
I remember the nervous and exciting anticipation in arriving to the church, and walking into the room. And yet instead of feeling all those God-inspired emotions that I had been craving, I felt nothing but rejection. All the things I had imagined ministry and following God to be, crumbled around me.
I felt awkward, unnoticed and exposed, all at the same time.
I had nowhere to sit, no friend in the room and the sting of rejection made me promise that I would never go back.
Had I heard God wrong? Why on earth would He call me here, only to leave me feeling so alone? To leave me in the wake of my own personal insecurities and rejection?
And it is only by God's supernatural grace and power that I gained the courage to walk back in. It is only by His deep belief in me, and in using the most unlikely of people and circumstances, that allowed me to step back into that room and stay.
I didn’t run. I didn't fight, but I planted myself right where God had asked me to go.
And now here I sit, six years later, preparing to speak and to bring life to the very place that the enemy intended to kill, steal and destroy me in.
Friends, I wish I could have taken that insecure girl who sat crying in the parking lot, and share with her how God would use this rejection, this pain, and this insecurity.
How the simple act of being obedient and staying put would cause a ripple effect to more obedient yeses and to growth and learning and to one day coming back and speaking in the very room I had run away from.
Friends, there is purpose in your pain and there is divine placement for where you stand today.
You were created on purpose and for a purpose and no one can do what God has called you to do.
Every trial, every tear, every moment you stand in, has been seen and visited by God and if you let Him, He will use it for His glory and your good.
The world wants us to run away from the things that make us uncomfortable and from the things that feel awkward.
The world screams, “GET OUT OF HERE” the second things get a little scary or when we feel unsure.
And yet God is softly saying… stay.
Stay and keep your eyes on Me.
Stay with Me and allow Me to do what I have set out to do in you and through you.
Stay and trust me that even in this pain, even in the sting of rejection and even in this valley, I am here and I will see you through.
I know it's dark and you feel like you can't see… but if You would let me illuminate each step, each hard step forward… you will see that I can make a path in the wilderness and make a way where you see no way.
I am the One who brings all things together and I will use your pain to bring healing. And not just to you, but to others too! Let me double in blessings, what the enemy set out to destroy.
Sweet child, I will not waste one thing and if you just trust me, you will one day look back and see that “your greatest pain, may also be the very thing that produces the most power in your life! “ (Pastor Steven Furtick, Elevation Church)
And so if that is you, sitting here today - a bit broken, rejected, lonely, desperate, searching… let me gently hold your face and look you in the eyes and tell you what I wish I would have known and what I would have told myself.
He’s got you.
He’s got you and He’s got this. And this very thing that you are struggling to carry, He is going to use for something good! This very hard thing that you cannot see beyond your tears, is going to be the very necessary thing that will produce the power, endurance, faith, hope and strength in your life today. The very thing that may be breaking you, may just be the making of you. And the very marker in your life where God changed it all!
He has got this, friends.
Eyes on Him, and moving forward.. one brave, hard step at a time.
May I pray for you?
Jesus, I pray for the friends who are reading this today and who could use a little bit of hope beyond their pain. Lord, I ask that you would lift their hearts and their eyes to see You. That even in this very hard thing, they would be sure that you do not waste anything. I pray that they would know that you are the master of working impossible things for incredible, fulfilled promises. Would you help them to take that next very hard but obedient step to trust You and to stay put, even when they want to run away? Help them to stay steadfast and endure the race, knowing that with You, there is always victory!
In His victorious name,
In courage dear friends,
About my friend, Tina...
Tina lives in sunny, southern California with her sweet husband and three girls! She loves the rain, iced soy caramel macchiatos and country concerts with her hubby. But more than anything, she loves Jesus and she is passionate about encouraging others and reminding everyone, that no matter who they are or what they've done, they are worthy of God’s grace and His love.
You can follow Tina over on Facebook and Instagram as she shares more about her daily life as a mother, wife, friend and daughter of the One True King. She is also the writer over at The Juniper Blog.
Do you ever feel less than, left out, and lonely? Even in your hard thing, Tina and I want you to LIVE LOVED! Together, we are giving away Lysa TerKeurst's Uninvited Book Bundle that includes a book and study book. Comment below to enter.