Once Upon A Time

by - September 03, 2013

I sat down to write about what is going on and it fell out like this. The numbers are links for you to click on...

Once upon a time there was a little girl who never dreamed of going anywhere. She liked where she was. She didn’t like everything about where she was, but she certainly didn’t want to be anywhere else. She had grown up believing in the King who had come to save her1, and she tried her best to honor him, as little she knew of him. But then one day, as he was alluring her, she met him for who he really was, right in the middle of denying him 2, 3. She had believed in him, but this time she fell in love with him, and when he asked her to come away with him, she went 4. While there, he showed her that he was the King of Everywhere 5. She thought she had known that all along, but she realized she wasn’t really going the way she should go, if that was what she truly believed 6. He showed her that there was nowhere she could ever go where he wasn’t there, waiting on her 7. And that he had loved her and had taken care of her all along, because He had plans for her 8.  He became her shelter and protector 9.  Sometimes he led her through a wilderness to humble and test her, and provided her manna when there was nothing else 10. He would send her rain when she prayed for it 11. He would make his face to shine upon her 12. He counted her tears and comforted her when news of loved ones from home made her cry 13. He strengthened her, dealt bountifully with her and gave her rest 14, 15. When she lifted her eyes to the hills she could always see him there 16. In the morning he reminded her that he loved her, and told her the way she should go because she trusted him 17. Where he went, she went. His people were her people 18. If she had been longing to return to the land from which she had come, she could have gone. But, she stayed with him in the new land and he was proud of her 19. When she told him her foot was slipping he supported her; and when her anxiety was great, he consoled her and gave her joy 20. When she put her hope in him, he taught her the paths she should take and her heart was not sick 21, 22. When there were giants he gave her stones to sling 23. When there were words to be said he placed them on her tongue 24. When there were journeys to take he lit her path by day and by night 25. He did all of this because she was weak, but he was strong 26. He saved her, quieted her and sang over her 27. He gave her a new heart and courage 28, 29. Then he led her on a new path, lighting the way as he smoothed the road ahead of her 30.

That is who Jesus is.

Through God’s word we come to know his character. Each of the verses used through this story are written on little cards on my desk. I’ve leaned on them to remind me of who God is, when all I can feel is who I am not. The Bible tells the literal stories of Israel and Jesus Christ, to teach us who God is, and who we are.  He wants us to know Him.  He wants us to trust Him when He tells us He has a plan for us, and to go where He sends us. 

Which next week, will be back to Sri Lanka. Last month I accepted a new position at Hope For The Heart in our International Department. Guess what that means. A big part will be travel. Which if you read this blog, you know is not my strong suit.  My literal job now is to daily accept that His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. To daily call out to him, and have to trust him beyond my own perceived strengths.  What an uncomfortable and perfect gift.  “What are you the worst at Haley?” “Fear.” “Well, let’s do that then. My love will cast it out. And I’m going to prove myself to you and through you. You can say no.  You can always say no and run your own show, you did it that way for a long time. I'll bless you.  You'll have some of what you want, and some of what I'll allow to shape you into who I created you to be...but, as Creator of all heavens and earth...my plans for you will be better. And, you can start today.  I heard you cry out for me.  I'm here.  I've always been here.  I know it doesn't look like you thought.  I know your concerns, Haley.  So, is it a yes, or a no?"  "It's a yes."  "Ok, then.  I will equip you. I am making you new.  You are not who you were, so quit telling yourself you are."  (this is a condensed representation, not recreation, of an ongoing conversation in my faith walk with God.)  P.S. It's never too late to start today.

Since the beginning of the year I have felt confident that things were changing. I have believed and shared with friends that I felt by this Fall I would have some clarity on a new direction. I’ve had a few thoughts on what those changes might be (I always do, and thanks to those who listened to me dream and pursue and wonder). I’ve taken some steps, done what I believe God has shown me to do in regards to those things and trust him with all outcomes. Love unconditionally. Reach out when He shows me. Say yes when he prompts me. Go where He sends me. Stay loose, hopeful and sure in Him only. Months ago I noticed I was consistently catching the time "8:16" either AM or PM on my phone, microwave clock, clocks at work, clocks on computers. At first I thought I was just realizing that I noticed it more because it is mom and dad’s address is 816 and they had just put their house on the market. So it was just registering to me. But, it kept going, to the point that it was getting comical. Like on Evan Almighty and Gen 6:14, I was seeing 8:16 constantly. So, I looked up all the books in the Bible that have a chapter 8, verse 16 and one pierced my heart. Deuteronomy 8:16, “He who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.” I can’t really explain all the ways that verse is a direct hit for me. Manna has been a big part of my life, taking on many forms, since going back to school. Humbling and testing…let me count the ways (even today.) But, the line ”to do you good in the end." That was a promise God gave me before I left Tulsa, one particularly difficult day as I was grappling with the plans He was showing me to leave there and go to Seminary. He does me good daily, but I knew when I left Tulsa and when I read this verse again for the first time earlier this summer, that God was up to something specific. I shared this 8:16 business with a few friends and a few of my family members earlier this summer and we have laughed about what it might mean beyond knowing God was encouraging me with Deuteronomy 8:16.

When I was first approached about this new job, I was so surprised at the option of it, and honestly I wasn’t really sure. My heart was still in a couple of directions that I had been feeling God opening me to. But, as July drew to a close, I began to know God wasn’t tricking me, or just opening an opportunity up for me to choose…He was calling me to this plan in particular through others, through His word and through the Holy Spirit. The time frame was unknown. I went from hearing, “Maybe, January,” to “Things seem to be moving fast.” On a Thursday I got a meeting request e-mail asking if I could meet with my new boss and our HR director the next day. On Friday, 8-16-13, I was offered this new position. They had no idea the significance of the numbers. But, I did. I hadn’t specifically asked for a fleece moment, but God is so gracious and responds to our needs so personally. I’m thankful he had been preparing me to be confident in this direction for months. This is His plan. And as I’m learning…His plans are better than mine. His timing is better than mine. He will do what He says He will do. And all we have to do is say “yes.”

He is faithful and trustworthy, and fun. Have you truly sought him for His plans for you?  His plans for you in the next conversation you will have, decision you will make, prayer you will utter?  He loves you.  He's been there all along, and when you call on Him, he will come running.  It may not look like you ask, or it may look exactly like you ask.  His plans for all of us are tailored to us.  My story won't be yours. But, God's character and faithfulness to you will be the same for all of us who come to Him through following the King.  King Jesus.  Always.  

Today, as I completely packed for my trip next week, (because this weekend I have plans to be in Guthrie with Mumford and Sons, typing that doesn't do my excitement justice), I listened to this song on repeat.  Then I would listen to Babel.  Then this song a few times again.  Let's just say I don't hit the high notes every time, but I try to. I hope you enjoy the song and the reminder.  When you call on Jesus, all things are possible:

Click here to listen:  When I Call On Jesus - Nicole C. Mullen

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