Remember Abby, my roommate who is getting married this Friday? I was thinking about our dinner date last week and something that she said really resonated with me. Something she said truly woke me up, got my attention, and made me think. And by now, if you have read any other post, you know that I think best when I write. I have to tell you a little bit about her story in order to ger to mine. So sit tight. Please.
Abby was engaged once before, a little over a year ago. She had the dress. Invitations. Flowers. Church. Date was set, arrangements were made, and she called it off.
She moved to Colorado, met some friends at work (enter your’s truly) and began a year long process of healing. It was one of the most beautiful and painful things I have witnessed. And I don’t know that anyone could have handled it with a firmer faith or a more gentle spirit. In the 8 months that I lived with Abby, her heart was more brutally raw, vulnerable, and open to the Lord than I thought possible.
I remember her telling me, distinctly “I don’t want to get married. I don’t need it the way I thought I did. It’s not who I am. I am a nomad, my heart is with the poor, the widows, the orphans… I want to be the hands, feet, and heart of Christ to the nations. I don’t want to get married.”
She had given up hope. I didn’t know that at the time and I don’t think that she did either, but when we were eating sushi the other night, she told “I had given up hope and decided to be ok with it.”
Hmmm, that sounds oddly familiar. Why? Where have I heard that before?
Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a piece of glass. Oh yeah. There’s the girl that said that.
But the thing is, Abby is getting married this week. And she only got engaged two weeks ago. And before that she had only reconnected with this family friend 4 weeks prior.
As she recounted the most insane, God-ordained and orchestrated love story I have ever heard, she looked at me with her perfect smile, signature giggle, and said “Mere, I had given up hope and God still granted me the desires of my heart. In fact, turns out, I didn’t even know what my desires were. I walked away from who I really was because it was easier and He found me anyways. Mere, you have to hope. Please hope.”
The girl who’s faith had helped to shape mine over the course of a monumental 8 month period of my life just openly admitted to me that she had given up hope on her God. My God. I nearly choked on my Unagi.
Let me unpack why that statement simultaneously humbled and encouraged me.
It humbled me because I realized how small I had made my God. I had put the Creator of the universe in a very compact box. Who am I to say to Yahweh, “You know what, your timing seems to be off, so rather than wait on you, pray, “keep the faith” and persevere, I’ve decided to just let go of that little dream. No worries, I’ll let it fade and fizzle, along with a large portion of my heart. I’ll just get some cats and we’ll call it even.”
As if the desires of my heart are my own anyway! Abby made a point (somewhat sternly, halfway leaned across the table) to remind me that the desires of my heart, those things I long for, wait on, and hope for are not things I came up with on my own. Those things that I subconsciously think about and feel stirring in my soul were strategically and specifically placed there, like notes to be played. And the Meistro that has written the symphony of my days will, like any great composer, orchestrate each instrument, person, circumstance, and season, to create a melody that brings glory, praise and honor to Himself. And, I hope, that He includes a harmony. An accompaniment that enhances my song.
Ok, that metaphor totally took over and I nearly lost my original train of thought… CHOO CHOO!
Bottom line: to give up hope, is to give up faith.
The next day, I was sitting at my desk where I have posted numerous note cards with bible verses on them. I have posted them there in case of a mental breakdown, emotional meltdown, or quarter-life crisis attack while I’m at work. Otherwise, I don’t really glance up to read them. But today, I did and this is what I read:
Now faith is what we hope for, the evidence of things unseen.
It was like God said, “Hey idiot, whom I love, you can not have one without the other. They are spiritual Siamese twins. To hope in me is to have faith in who I am and what I am doing. To have faith in Me is to trust me. Do you hope for something from someone you do not trust?.”
So, I’m hoping. Not just for marriage, but for life in general. I know I talk about marriage and relationships a lot. I’m not obsessed, I promise. It’s just what seems to be surrounding me right now. But really, I could apply it to any other area of my life: Where I am in my career, where I am in my relationship with Christ, my health and maturity holistically. I want to hope for God’s best in every area of my life because I’m starting to get the feeling that He is waiting to rain down blessing, I need only believe enough to ask with faith, in hope.