I recently read a short devotional that caused me pause at the end.
The kind of pause that forces you to stop and truly absorb what you’ve read. The kind that makes you realize you’re not even breathing as you read, because you’re that deep in thought. That quickly. This did that.
Imagine getting to heaven and God saying: Before I laid the foundations of the Earth, I planned out the people and the places I would give you. I laid out your neighbors and your workplace, the places you would attend school, and your family; I laid out enough days to do all the good works that I purposed for you, and I equipped you with all you would need to accomplish those purposes here. I filled you with my Spirit to encourage and remind you and lead you. I gave you my Word so you would know me and know what to do. I gave you people to run with and people who needed me.
Let’s talk about how all that went.
It forced me to think of all God has provided – the people, places, the paths, the entire journey – and even the one still set before me – and how I have embraced it.
I thought of the 40-year friendship with my longest and dearest friend I met when I was 10 years old – when I just happened to be living in California for a year, and just happened to join a swim team, that just happened to have the sweetest 9-year-old girl in my swim lane who would become my very best friend.
And through the years, the women who have strengthened me through their years of wisdom before me, those who have walked by my side, the friendships that have been filled with laughter, tears, prayer, honesty. Hard truths. The kind that make you grow and become better for it.
I planned out the people and the places I would give you.
I thought of my college choices, of my father preparing for another military assignment to Korea after my senior year in high school, and the advice he gave me to choose a college near family friends or relatives. That narrowed my choices to Kansas, Iowa, or Texas. Texas won. So did I, because I landed at a university I feel was meant for me. Designed for me, with opportunities for continual growth personally and professionally.
… the places you would attend school.
I’ve thought of the valuable lessons friends have provided me, and who are no longer even in my life. I thought of relationships that have ended. Harsh realities have been part of my growth. Mistakes, unset boundaries that we feel are tests, but that are truly, simply, awakenings. And often, blessings.
I filled you with my Spirit to encourage and remind you and lead you.
I read this devotional and thought of my newspaper career, and how it provided me opportunities of outreach and vision. As a reporter, I was able to reach out, and in, to communities… and create relationships, trust, and watch change take place through the most selfless people whose only goal was to make a difference. I was given a front-row seat to that by telling their stories.
… and your workplace.
I thought of the mental health advocacy work I do alongside like-minded people who only want what is best for others in care, therapy, funding, and conversation. I thought of the loss of my sister by suicide, and my mother from breast cancer, and how I’ve been able to use my grief, and platforms, in ways that speak to others. To let them know they are not alone in their struggle of grief and loss, their fight, their new life. To let them know they matter, that they are heard, and that what they feel in their core is not only essential to their well-being, but that often, it needs to be shared to teach and help validate others in how they feel.
I laid out enough days to do all the good works that I purposed for you, and I equipped you with all you would need to accomplish those purposes here.
I thought of my daughter and my father, and the impact they’ve had on me personally and spiritually, and how we have faced the harshest of days together and survived. How we have renewed our faith over and over, and how our relationship with Jesus has only grown as a result.
… and your family.
And I thought I’ve truly only lived half of my life. I have so much more to learn, to embrace, hold on to. New people to meet. New experiences to live through, new challenges to conquer, memories to make. And I have the knowledge that I have a Jesus to walk with through all of this.
Let’s talk about how all that went.