God opens doors and He closes them. Some slam shut so quickly that we question our gifting and character instead of trusting the Creator of our story. The One who knows every day of our life written well within the beautiful book He keeps close to Him, the one called life. We don’t know what each day will bring to us (or what will be taken away for our well being) but God knows because He ordained it. There are times where doors won’t open to us and we feel like we did something wrong, “Were qualified, I’ve worked for it, I REALLY WANT it.” But alas that knob will not turn, no matter how hard we twist. There are other times the door opens and right when we start take a step through it, it slams shut and we are left broken hearted, kicking ourselves and others around us wondering HOW we didn’t measure up… Instead of looking upward, we look outward or inward and lash out. We trade truths for misconceptions and lies that have infiltrated our hearts and motives. We become ensnared.
There are times when heavens gentle, “No.” feels like a slap, like a rebuke. We question Gods care and concern for us, when the truth is He is preserving us, keeping our feet on the God given destiny for our lives. It is at this point where we have two choices, we either rebel and lash out, or we quietly and (truthfully sorrowfully ) submit to His will. We learn to trust what we cannot yet see and walk in blind faith where there is need for understanding. We learn to trust the author of our lives and He leads us on…
So many times in my life I wanted things, I worked for them but I was still denied them. I failed to see how those things led me AWAY from my God given destiny. I was SO ready to settle for the comfortable and the mundane than to grab hold of my truest form of me. A good example of this was my position as a lead in preschool ministry. I was home there, to a degree, I felt accepted there, to a degree I thrived… to a degree… but you see that is wrong. God didn’t want me to settle for ” to a degree”, truthfully- I was falling short of my potential. These are the times where we don’t hear or heed God’s “it’s time to let go and move from here.” That we start to fall into the snare of complacency and mediocrity. Satan’s perfect trap is for you to serve but miss your mark. I once heard a dear friend say, “Real hell is meeting the truest form of who you were meant to be, and seeing those you could have impacted.” I don’t want that as my end game, I don’t want my life to fall short of the Glory of God and ALL He has for it.
So I have learned to embrace EVERY closing door, I have learned to know that every door closed brings me closer to my calling and to my truest destiny. And as you can see, it has not failed me- not one bit.
When the church I belonged to since I was 4 moved into conflict with my identity, truthfully I spiraled. I could not see that God was releasing me INTO something, and NOT taking it away. It felt like a divorce, it felt like I was suddenly unwanted, rejected, and pushed aside- which was NOT the case. Truthfully though, God led me away… What was once a safe place for me to grow, had become toxic to my future identity. I had tethered myself willing to mans words, instead of Gods. I was willing to perform for a sense of identity, instead of learning who I truly was IN Him. I wanted to belong to a crowd, a sea of people who felt like home. instead of standing out and shining for the Glory of God. How many of us know that when we “Kick against the goads” God never takes them off. Instead He leads us on until we submit. Me leaving the church of my youth was a submissive acceptance of the goads. God cut my tethered chains and opened new doors to me. I tasted freedom for the very first time.
Three years, that’s how long it took to adjust… Three years is how long I needed to figure out who I was again. To dare to chase down my truest calling, the me, God intended me to be. In solitude I found my Him. And it was there I learned what I already knew (catch that, don’t miss it). I learned to trust IN Him. That when my eyes fail me, to trust in blind faith the character of God. Things are not always going to make sense, we will go through painful things in this life, we will be rejected and dismayed by people who are leaders of the church, of a movement, of our home groups, even our closest friends… that doesn’t mean God fell off of His throne, rather it means that we are human, THEY are human. We all make human mistakes and God will one day hold each one accountable for them like a good Papa does. And when those mistakes happen and when you cannot see the will of God default to the Word of God. It will NEVER fail you, rather it will SUSTAIN you in the hard times.
There is something about the Struggle, nobody likes it. We all buck against it, but yet it brings such beautiful results… There is a verse in Job, near the very end of the book, after all was done and said, Job as an old man… says the MOST profound thing. He says, “My ears heard OF You, but NOW my eyes, they SEE You. Job 42:5. The struggle, Jobs struggle produced this in his life… Job knew of God, of His character before all of the trials in life, but after? After Job saw God, he understood on such a level that brought him face to face with the very essence of God, all derived understanding went by the wayside as he stood face to face with the very being of God. It was upon reading this passage that I learned to embrace all of my trials and tribulations, for I knew what I thought I knew and heard about the character of God was going to be removed, my former identity shaken. A new understanding of who I was and what I was made to do would come forth as I saw God for the very first time. God doesn’t carry a big stick, He carries Calvary. And with that comes healing, freedom and restoration, and identity.
When I was a little girl I remember telling God, “I’m nobody to no one, and no one really loves me. But to YOU I’m somebody. God remember me when I am older, let my life count.” And it has, and He did. God didn’t forget the frizzy haired little girl in all of her loneliness, so why would He forget you? Why would He slam those doors shut on her to keep her from harm and failure and not you? He won’t, He loves all His children. He will preserve you for your destiny just as He has preserved mine, He’s a really good Papa like that.
The frizzy haired little girl grew to trust God at His word, every pained rejection wasn’t really rejection at all but rather an end of a season in her life, an ending of an old thing and a beginning of a new one. And every time I begin to question things God is always faithful to bring clarity, and correction if I am willing to receive and hear it. Fast forward to the night of my birthday in 2016, my friend had a word for me. A REALLY strange one, he said he saw a vision of my guardian angel who was dressed as an Elvis Presley impersonator, donning his famous jump suit pointing at me with both hands and nodding with the famous lip curl saying “uh-huh” in the way Elvis did. He said that the guardian angel was really excited that I was in his charge and care. He asked me if Bubby meant anything to me, nope… later I looked it up and Bubby is a famous Elvis impersonator. Weird right? Or does God SO care about my heart that He uses a love Language that only I can understand? So days later when I went for the job interview with the fashion designer and landed it was it coincidence that simultaneously across the street was an Elvis impersonator? No it was God winking at me, reminding me in His playfulness that HE lights the path under my feet, and I just walk it out.
Fast forward to my starting the Old Globe, 2 weeks in and I was having cold feet… Steven was slammed at work, I was his help, and I was gone. He was playing perpetual catch up, our invoices got behind because I was working too… I weekend worked with Steven, I was missing my kids and reeling from the lack of support I had been to Steven as of late. I questioned my job at the Old Globe, I was sure in my mind I had rushed ahead of God and made a mess of our lives and my family and company was bearing the brunt of my selfishness. It was a Sunday, and my boss gave me tickets to the Old Globe that night. I went with Steven to run copper on a burn Job. We stopped to get Panda for dinner for everyone. I sat down with my tea and a fortune cookie and thought, “Lord I’m certain I’ve made a mess of things, I rushed ahead of You and walked through an open door thinking it was You, but now I am not so certain. Please speak to me.” I cracked open the fortune cookie and read it, a single tear fell from my eye and I suddenly felt His mighty hand upon my shoulder. It said ” You are right where you are supposed to be.” (Let me be clear, I do not think every fortune cookie carries the absolute voice of God [if so I would have played those numbers and won every time, joke] but I do believe if God can use a donkey to correct a king He can speak directly to my need through a piece of paper tucked into crappy tasting cookie.) I knew it was God responding to my unbelief. I was suddenly reassured and ready for tonight’s date. Excited to see my first play as an employee at the Globe we sat down and took it all in…. I had NO idea that God wasn’t done laying to rest every care and concern I had for the things that weighed heavily upon my heart. Steven reached my for arm, the lights went dark and we began to laugh….
The play was about Picasso and Albert Einstein having drinks in a bar at the turn of the 20th century. And art dealer walks in and says, “Picasso I hope you keep drawing women, and not men. Works of art that are of men NEVER sale, except for the ones that are messengers. For some strange reason those sale, I just hope if a messenger ever shows up at my door I’ll recognize them. I mean if heaven sends me a message, I would at least hope that the messenger would be distinct in someway so I know he is a messenger like a satchel. That way when an angel knocks on my front door I know it’s him because low and behold he has a heavenly satchel.” The art collector takes a long drinks, lets out a long satisfied breathe and slams his cup back down on the table. Picasso picks a fight with Albert, ” I do great things with my art. What do you do? You scribble numbers on a paper and call it work.” Albert fires back, ” My work is better than yours, you… you draw in 3 D, but I equate in 4 D. My math is art too!” The Bartender says, “you both are doing incredible things in the 20th century, they both are important and have value, they are just different looking.” Then the art dealer says, things happen in threes, if there are two amazing men who are going to change the 20th century here then who is the third?” I had no idea that God was about to blow my doors down and off their hinges. God was about to blow the doors so far open I couldn’t doubt His hand upon my life right now…. Picasso argue with Albert… The lights go out, pitch black in the house and a disco light starts to spins and strobes appear. Then pitch black again, a single spot light forces the audiences focus onto a table top. I grab Stevens arm…. Hot streams of tears pour out of my eyes… Every doubt was about to become unhinged. For standing upon the table was Elvis Presley. He looked at Picasso and Albert and he said, “I am a messenger sent from above, I’m here to let you know that you both will do great things that will have impact.” God had just showed up at the Old Globe and I was undone, I spent the rest of the night sobbing in comfort at the majesty of God and Steven just kissed my hand, my forehead, my cheek. He knew it was another God moment left for the books of my life. I knew in that moment and in this season of my life and our lives, Steven and I, and even the children were right where we are supposed to be. We are not early, we are not late. Nothing’s rushed, it’s all as planned. He is holding us in His grip of grace and with His funny sense of humor, God is unfolding the details of my and your life one door at a time. So when we arrive at the end of our journey we can, like Job say, “I heard of you, but now I behold you.”
Now Dear Reader this is where I leave you, not in the middle of the struggle of your life, but with a sharpened weapon that was forged through my experience and journey. For the truth is in this life doors are going to slam, and doors will be held wide open. And when they do, remember the frizzy haired little girl whom God loved so much He handed her her dreams, remember her story of letting God guide her. And remember Job, and trust the author of your life. Remember to trust IN Him when you cannot see Him. Do that and the day will come where you too can say. “Behold, I now SEE Him face to face.”