I winced every single time I saw the folder in my hard drive named “The Best Summer Yet-2019.” Starting summer and full of hope, I put that name on the folder thinking it would contain some pretty amazing pictures.
After my plans for the summer did not all come through, I looked at the folder name in disgust. I wanted to change the name to “Summer 2019” or something less bold.
I ended up keeping the name, and God started revealing to me how this summer has been the best summer yet.
I have felt the Lord urge me to do huge (and scary) things this summer. As I was on vacation at Emerald Isle, I was sitting on the balcony looking down at all of the people bustling around the rectangular pool. How would I share Jesus with them if I knew He was coming back that day? I felt the Lord give me the idea to go down there and ask the people if they knew Jesus. I was wondering how others would perceive this, didn’t want to be viewed as insane, and lacked the courage I needed to go walk in obedience with that urging.
I got to the beach on a Sunday. I was vulnerably desperate for God to move in my life. I asked Him to show Himself to me in new ways. Whenever I could, I would go on little walks with Him on the beach or pray while sitting down on a towel. I didn’t even realize it, but while I was seeking God’s Presence, His healing hand full of salt and sun was healing and restoring my broken spirit.
My mom, Darby, and I walked all the way down to the pier during sunset. We took silly pictures in the water. I got soaked trying to get all of the good angles of my modeling sister. We saw a group of turtle advocates who dug a path for the turtles who would soon hatch. On the way walking back to our rented condo, my mom, sister, and I found ourselves in the dark! Thank the Lord I did bring my pepper spray along for the stroll. 😉 Anyway, one of the most special moments of my life happened whenever I stopped rushing. I was power walking trying to get out of the dark, only looking ahead, hoping no predators would come at us, and rushing my mom along. Darby was walking ahead of us going up and down the sand hills and wet grains. I stopped. Mom had slowed me down. That’s when I looked up and realized that stars in the dark really do twinkle.
I’ve never remembered seeing stars so beautiful before in my entire life. They were illuminating the night sky, dancing away at the beat of the composer Savior. The black backdrop really made the stars pop.
Maybe this moment was so significant for me because God has gently yet forwardly telling me to “Be still and know He is God.”
Something I thought was going to happen this summer didn’t. God met me in that disappointment, confusion, and hurt.
After coming downstairs in the mornings, I would gather laundry, wipe down the counters, feed and water Lacy (my little dog who isn’t so little haha), light a candle, and open up God’s Word. I was reminded that just as David was faithful to God in the daily chores, the Lord delighted in my daily obedience to Him.
Another memory that made this summer “the best one yet” was made on my knees in the Infinite Energy Arena located in Duluth, Georgia. I was praying, “Lord, how can I lead this girl’s Bible study You have called me to lead? I have no strength left in me. I have lost my words in praying. I literally stood in our woods just declaring and shouting your Name. I need You, Jesus. I can’t make it without You. I’m going to need your help and provision.”
I know I am jumping into some really deep things. Let me take a moment to catch you up on what has been going on.
I graduated from high school on June 1, 2019. My commitment to not date in high school obviously ended on that day as well.
I had high expectations for God to work out an amazing earthly love story for me soon. I assumed it wouldn’t take much more time from all of the sweat, prayers, walks, and tears I had just reminisced on.
My timing isn’t the Lord’s timing. My thoughts aren’t His thoughts.
My heart has let go of things it was clinging onto. I’m able to tell God, “I just want You.” He really is my greatest desire. Yeah, I’ll be excited whenever my future husband walks into the picture, but my purpose is in the Lord. He alone is enough for me.
Jesus blessed me with the sweetest friend group on August 25th last year. After that day, our families kept getting connected. Our friend group grew. I didn’t know how to handle feeling distant from the people I loved and cared for with my whole heart. I craved for us to be close. I became so attached to my best friends. Seeing us all go in different directions where the Lord was calling us into new places was hard.
I’m still in awe of how God prophetically spoke a word over my life on my senior trip. Walking and driving around Yellowstone National Park, I kept hearing the following words pounded upon my spirit: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
It was a different message from Jesus, and has kept occurring. It is now symbolic for this season of my life.
This summer has looked like messy moments with the Lord, my friend. I have stood in my woods and just said His Name. That’s all I could muster up.
I have sat and stood in an arena with thousands of other world changers. I’ve been drenched in the Holy Spirit. I’ve received clarity on things I have been wondering and praying about for years.
Jesus answered my prayers in what to do about Renew Bible study at the school I graduated from. He gave me a new ministry for this new season.
I’ve chosen to walk forward. While at the beach, my family “stumbled” into an antique shop. I use the quotation marks because Jesus already had a divine appointment planned for me. Whoops. I didn’t know. What a Father!
I walked in, didn’t see anything I necessarily wanted to buy, and handed the lady working one of my blog cards. Minutes later, she asked me to share more about the ministry of Undeniably His. Guess what this encounter led to, my precious friends? The lady, who was the owner of the shop, was my sister in Christ. She was a complete stranger to me, but we are living for the same King. Her testimony that I briefly heard is outstanding. I ended up receiving a financial blessing to my ministry from this lady. She asked me for my PayPal information. Not only did this happen, but God Almighty used this woman to speak His words into my life. It was confirmation for the healing Jesus had taking place in me.
The following week, I encountered God as Provision. While preparing for the six-day girls Bible study, I honestly experienced Abba in His Word. I can’t even barely type this. It was crazy, my friend. I sat in my dad’s old game room. It’s basically the old man cave that is being transformed into a music, family, and ministry room. The floors are bare, but I added some homey quilts. We had little signs, snacks from Sams Club, and flowers in there. Jesus met me each night preparing those messages. He gave me strength. He spoke. I experienced the provision of God’s vision for Cultivate’s humble beginning.
Another fun summer memory was eating at Waffle House (which I’m not even a fan of) with friends. We celebrated an older man’s birthday from one of our churches. He was a hoot to celebrate with! We filled up the local Waffle House with our support and love. It was a representation of God’s heart for people in action.
I’ve been pushed in my family’s plastic tire swing by Rem (my brother). He spun me around in circles as I was screaming. He and I also went swimming at our special spot.
I celebrated birthdays and graduations.
My passion for photography was put to use in a beautiful maternity session.
I’ve messed up and gotten upset about things in extra ways. I’ve done the things I wasn’t thrilled to do and found God’s joy in the midst of them.
I’ve babysat, had serious conversations with little ones, cleaned, done daily chores, worn pajamas while saying hey to my mom’s customers (we have a beauty salon at my house), basked in God’s Presence, and stood in the woods looking straight at deer.
It’s been a full summer. It may not have played out the way I had envisioned it would, but I’m learning that raw and messy moments don’t scare our God.
You may find yourself in a “pair of shoes” like the ones I have mentioned. Don’t shy away from hard times, pain, or heart break. Let the Healer hold you. Confess the things you don’t get or understand. Let the Soother comfort you. Know for a fact that Jesus Christ Himself is interceding on your behalf. Embrace this new season God has in store for you.
I am now being reminded that to embrace the new things God has for me, I’m leaving the past behind.
Isaiah 43:18 (NIV) declares, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”
Look forward, dear one. You are treasured and adored. How has God met with you this summer? What are you trusting in Him to do this new school year?
Let go of being in control. Know Who goes before you.