A small (cyber) celebration is in order because … It’s my blog-iversary! If we were together, I’d throw some confetti and pop some bubbly.
Cheers to one year!
I managed to write 12 posts in 12 months. Admittedly, I started off strong and then lost some steam as my life began to lose its order last fall. (I’m still adjusting to the abnormal non-rhythms of working in church ministry and earning another master’s degree. Any advice for me? I’ll take it!)
Honestly, I didn’t initially lay out any large goals for this site. I simply wanted to share stories and share Jesus with you. I wanted to remind you that is God real and he is for you.
I wanted to invite you along on the journey of moving beyond casual faith and running toward our callings. Because it’s my dream to see lives lit on fire, changed from passive to passionate.
I still want these things. So what I’m saying is that the Heartbeat Blog still has a pulse. I won’t be a one-year wonder.
I’ll tell you what, though. As I look back, I realize it’s been a wonder-filled one year. Wonder in the sense of being filled with awe and, at times, full of doubt, wondering what in the world I’m doing. Mostly I’m awe-struck by how much has happened, how much I’ve grown, and all that God has done.
One year ago, it would have been a stretch for me to fathom leaving my higher ed career to work at a church, starting a second master’s degree, raising support, speaking and praying on a stage, and so much more.
I’ve been living outside my comfort zone. All the while, it’s been easy for me to doubt — doubt that I’m doing the right thing, that it will be worth it, that I’m even qualified.
As hard as it’s been to be a graduate student again, I’m learning a few things. I just finished a biblical theology class, and one thing that stood out to me is how the Lord speaks about things that seem contrary to our circumstances.
Let’s look at Abraham. God promises the patriarch offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and sand by the sea. One problem, though: He and his wife are really, ridiculously old. Oh, and childless. Yet God tells Abraham that Sarah will bear a son.
At what sounds like fake news, the senior-citizen couple reacts in laughter. Read: doubt and disbelief. And here’s how God responds to Abraham:
Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.Genesis 18:13-14
At this time next year? Wow, that’s rather specific.
A lot can change in one year. If God told me in advance all he would bring about in my life this past year, I likely would have laughed, too. (In the photo above, I’m laughing, and I vividly remember feeling so unsure of my future during this shoot.)
As with Abraham, sometimes God gives details and a timestamp. But the bigger point is that whatever God speaks, whatever he promises, will come to pass at the appointed time.
If the circumstances look impossible, even better. That way, the outcome can only be attributed to God. It’s his power that prevails, and no human effort or intellect can derail his plans.
God alone is the one who calls and qualifies. He works mightily through imperfect, doubting people — all for his glory.
And sure enough in God’s perfect timing, 90-year-old Sarah gave birth to a baby boy named Isaac, whose name means “he laughs.” Laughter that once signaled doubt and disbelief switched to surprise and joy.
My study Bible makes an interesting observation about the source of Sarah’s laughter: It was “not so much from a lack of faith in what God could do, but from doubt about what he could do through her.”
Man, this hits me hard. Because I believe that God is mighty and powerful and fully capable, yet I sometimes wonder if he will come through for me personally … especially when my circumstances scream otherwise.
Can you relate?
Yet I look back on this last year and am filled with sheer surprise and wonder at what God has done.
Has it been hard? Yes.
Have I doubted? Yes.
Has my faith grown? Without a doubt.
Despite her laughter and doubt, Sarah is commended in Hebrews 11, nicknamed the Hall of Faith:
And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.Hebrews 11:11
So let me say it again: The Lord speaks things that seem contrary to our circumstances. At times his words don’t align with our feelings. What makes the difference is whether we fixate on our feelings and circumstances or choose to believe he’s faithful and take him at his word.
When I’m tempted to worry and ask all the questions — Did God really call me here? Did I just ruin my career? — I can look back on this last year and marvel at how far he’s taken me. And I can look forward in faith, confident in his plan, even when I can’t see what’s around the corner.
And you, my friend, can do the same. Don’t doubt what God wants to do in you and through you. Much can happen in one year. A miracle, even. God is always working, yet I don’t want us to miss the wonder of what he’s doing right now.
I want to make the most of my current season, to embrace the place he has planted me. With this thought in mind, I jotted these questions in my journal recently:
- What should I be doing now to position myself well for what’s next?
- What’s holding me back?
- What am I afraid of?
- What do I have to lose?
Perhaps you could pose these questions in prayer, too. I’m expecting that one year from now, we’ll be filled with more knowledge of who God is, greater wonder about how he’s at work, and fuller faith that his timing is perfect.
Reading Hebrews 11 reminds me that Abraham, Sarah, and other “heroes of the faith” are really just ordinary people who chose to believe God and then actually live like it.
If they can do it, we surely can, too.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3
Whether you’ve been here from the beginning or this is your first time visiting my site, thanks for reading! I want to write words that God puts on my heart and also words that you want to read. Did this post stir up anything? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below, connect on Instagram, or shoot me an email.
Photo by Marie Dufour Creative