I just read a letter I wrote to Andy, my husband over at TheSometimesPreacher.com (ha!) written while we were dating. I read it with a smile but I thought about that young girl and I just wanted to take her to coffee. To a shop that stayed open late and wasn’t too popular because I would know, of course, there would be tears, there would be laughter, there would be joy and there would be hope.
As I asked her for coffee she would oblige happily, with a giggle because she was like that with people. And she would, of course, be thrilled to add another friend into her life. She loved people. And she loved when they loved her back, for her inward beauty that she didn’t know much about back then.
As I sit her down, she’s happy to talk of her young love, the church she would plant with her future husband and friends that would reach many broken people. She would mention the 4 kids she would have and how she was always going to be a stay-at-home momma. She would say that she would always have the same friends and maybe add a few more. Toledo was her forever home and that she was blessed.
After she was done sharing her future, I’d look at her and my eyes would get filled with tears, but I wouldn’t blink. It wasn’t quite time to let her in on the sorrow to come. She would get a little uncomfortable and wonder why I wasn’t agreeing with her clearly written future. How it was all going to be so smooth sailing. How it was all going to be so good. How, planting a church was difficult, but is was definitely not the hardest thing she’d face. My silence would unsettle her.
I would then take her hand and look her square in the eyes and ask if she believed God was good all the time. And she would quickly reply, “Of course!”
I would ask her that if her plans were not the same God had for her, would she be okay with that? She would start to get a little anxious wondering how life would be that much different than what she had planned. She would then very naively say, “Whatever God gives me, it’s what I can handle with HIM!”
I would then say, “Sweet Breena. You are so loved. God is for you. Always know this. Always hold on to truth no matter what comes. When life doesn’t look as you thought it would, know God’s doing big things and wants to use you to share more of Him. Ya see, He knows what is best for all of us. He isn’t out to get glory. No. He is concerned for our hearts, our souls. He knows He is best for us and He will want to use you to show that to others.
And the younger Breena would say, “Oh yes! I want God to use me! I want others to know Him more!”
And I would reply, “Good. He knows that, too. But it’s not always easy to share the most powerful story in time. It’s messy and challenging. It’s brutal and unfair. You’ll get hurt and so will those whom you love and will learn to love. People you do not even know now. They will suffer, too but God is so good at taking the brokenness of the world and using it to get the attention of those who aren’t listening for Him. Those who have walked their own path, not the path of the righteous. He wants to bring others to Him and He wants to use you. Will you stand firm in your faith? Will you let God use your hardships to bring others to Him? Will you love Him through it all? Will you believe in the unbelievable?
At this point, Breena is crying. She’s scared and confused. Through her sobs she says, “What do you mean?! What’s going to happen?! Who is going to die?!”
That was her biggest fear in life. Losing a loved one. She’s sure that is what is in her future.
I say, “Oh dear, Breena. You’ll learn to find the joy in the trials. You’ll learn to love more like Jesus. You’ll learn what it means to be a sister in The Body of Christ more than your blood relatives. You’ll learn that this world isn’t your home and you’ll want to share all of these things with everyone you come in contact with, because, you’ll learn the importance of following Jesus through it all.”
And she’ll say, “Who is it?! Who is going to die?! Please tell me so I can prepare myself! So I can tell them I love them!”
And I will hug her and say, “Everything will be okay. God is with you always. He is stronger than your fears and stronger than sickness and death. Your tears will be used to clear the dust off the eyes of many, so they may see the truth. The only truth that matters in this lifetime. You just have to say yes, through your tears. Over and over again. Keep saying yes to Him. He’ll do the rest.”
And she’ll look down at her very wet tissue, through her tears and say, “Okay. I will. I’m so scared.”
And I’ll say, “I know. You’ll learn to overcome fears by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives inside you. And you will learn many other things. You’ll learn to do things you didn’t think you could do. You’ll see God has gifted you in ways you would have never uncovered without going through some stuff. You see, God is making you new. You can either let Him and through the pain hold on to that truth, or you can continue to get consumed with the world and recover what God’s trying to uncover. We all have this choice. Stand firm not in your own strength that is bound to fail you, but in the strength of your Heavenly Father who loves you with an unshakable love.”
And she’ll look up and I’ll be gone, and she’ll find herself in her bedroom not really remembering what it was that she dreamt but she’ll have a sense of peace.
The same things God says to Breena, He wants to say to you. Are you listening? Will you follow Him?