The year 2015 has been filled with great challenges, BUT with those challenges has come even greater victory. I just have to share my heart some more because I want to encourage others to never quit. I am so glad I did not quit.
Last Fall (2014), I was at the beginning of a medical issue that knocked me back a bit. I was very discouraged because it was not how I thought my year would end and it was definitely not how I thought 2015 would start. My challenges were starting right as I was trying to take a huge leap of faith to start up with college again after quitting over 20 years ago. I was about to become a 49 year old freshman at community college. I was not sure if I was being brave or just plain CRAZY. Someone even suggested that I wait until my medical issues were addressed before taking on the challenge of school. But instead of listening to them, I decided to listen to God. He gave me a great dream and a desire with amazing strength to just do it. So, I did. Here I am a year later and when I look back, all I can say is WOW. And, thank You, Lord!
I cannot help but think…if I had not stepped out in faith a year ago, I would never have known that I am a very good student – a straight “A” student thus far with one year and five classes behind me already. If I had not stepped out in faith to get offline and get back on campus, I never would have had the chance to sow some seeds for Jesus into those young hearts starting out in life that I spent four hours with each week for four months. If I had not stepped out in faith, I never would have experienced God’s amazing power in me to keep up with a full-time job that drains me in addition to what seemed like a ton of challenging writing assignments. It seemed impossible, but it is so true that nothing is impossible with God.
If I had not taken God for His Word, stayed in His Word, and claimed His Word every single day over my life, I would not have been able to silence the accuser (the devil) who was really good at convincing me that I was too old and not very smart. That I was still worthless and that I will never change. That I deserved the hard things that I was going through with doctors. And because I was not contributing enough, I was just a burden that everyone would be better off without. These thoughts were real and were very difficult to fight off. But my perseverance paid off and I have great victory over the enemy like never before.
If I had walked away from my brothers and sisters in Christ who hold me up and help me get up every time I get knocked down, I cannot imagine where I would be today. I know I would not be here writing this. I am grateful to know first hand that God gives us the strength to keep on keeping on, IF we let Him! I am grateful for my teachable spirit that keeps me pressing on.
If I had given up and quit like I had been tempted to do so many times, perhaps God would not have given me a wonderful opportunity to reach the two hearts who gave their hearts to Jesus for the first time this year! (I can still hear the angels rejoicing!!!)
If I had not proclaimed that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (even though it was hard to believe at times), if I did not get back up after every fall, if I did not learn to trust and lean on God for EVERYTHING, if I had allowed myself to go completely backward and lose all hope again and give in like I did in the past, I sure would not be here trying to encourage others not to quit.
So no matter what you are going through, no matter how hard or how impossible it seems, no matter how many people tell you “No” or “You can’t do it”, no matter how bad of a person you think you are because of past mistakes, I hope you will listen to someone who has overcome these very types of challenges. NOTHING is ever too hard for God. Nothing surprises God. No one can ever stop God from His great plan for our lives. He has a plan for every single one of us. If you make your plans His plans and keep Him first, I do not know how you cannot succeed.
Now I do not want you to think any of it will be easy, if it were easy, you would not need God. And if you do not need God, then you cannot be sure of any kind of real success. I know that I do not want to live that way. I am tired of living that way. I lived that way for too long and life was harder than it should have been. So now that I have learned many things the incredibly hard and painful way, I live to encourage others to seek God wholeheartedly and ask Him for the desires of HIS heart. He will give them to you. Trust me, they are much better than our own desires. And when He does give them to you, be ready to start the best days of your life.
So be encouraged! Dare to dream dreams big enough for God to fit in. Make every effort to stay out of His way (you can avoid that if you stop trying to do His job – stop trying to be in control) and fasten your seatbelt. Just sayin’!!
God loves you and He’s waiting to hear from you. He wants to do great things in your life, but you have to get out of His way so He can do an amazing work in you. Are you ready? Just do it!
The below photo is of me a couple of months ago. I am sure I was the oldest freshman in the college library at the time (and probably most of the time). I am smiling because I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me — I ended the class with an A+ — First time ever in my entire life as a student! So see what I mean? Dare to dream with God and never give up!