Saturday, March 28, 2009

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Ever since I set foot on the campus of Asbury College in the spring preview session for High School seniors in 2000, God has given me a passion and a desire to be in the little town of Wilmore. Throughout the past eight years, I have strayed and struggled, but God’s faithfulness has remained. Going into Asbury as a freshman, I had HUGE dreams. I wanted to go on the mission field, serve as a counselor, be in the student government, and soak up the wealth of wisdom at Asbury like a sponge. I was a lover the Lord and a lover of wisdom. I was ready to worship and study my way to the fullness of God’s calling for my life….8 years ago….
Fast forward four years. I made it almost through college. I made it to the end of the semester when my physical symptoms of the eating disorder were dangerous enough to get kicked off campus. This happened several times over the course of the years at Asbury. My dreams of serving the Lord through campus ministry, student leadership, and Bible study took the back burner, or were possibly just taken off of the stove entirely to make room for the overriding and overwhelming goal of thinness. I forgot the God-given goals for leadership, ministry, loving others, and evangelism. I laid them down on the altar that I had erected for the idol that tried to take over my life. I lived my days in survival mode, just trying to stay alive to graduate. I lived in a fog of depression, starvation, self-hatred, and lies. I walked around as if in a daydream. Others were not important to me. Classes became secondary. My goals were so disoriented and confused. I forgot the high calling. I forgot God’s promises. He mercifully reminded me of them during various chapels. Sometimes, I would cry for the loss of those promises. I have never lost them. Not really. I just couldn’t see them. How could I when I was allowing the eating disorder to consume my whole vision? “Be Thou my vision” reminded me where my vision was not. “Great is thy faithfulness” was our Vessel class hymn. While I knew that God was faithful, I felt so discouraged by my lack of faithfulness. I sang in chapel through tears of longing for the hope that I once held. I limped or crutched or wheeled around campus, injured by my own foolishness.
God in His faithfulness allowed me to cross the stage for graduation. It took almost six years, but He was able to finish what He had started at Asbury, or so I thought. Little did I know that my hardest days were yet to come. I thought that brushing shoulders with death through heart problems, and then breaking my hip were the bottom of the pit. I was wrong. It would get worse. MUCH worse. God never stepped back from His promise, though my wayward heart was “prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love.” The Lord was still tuning my heart. And He was planning His second chance for me in this little town of Wilmore. It is by no means about Wilmore for the sake of Wilmore, or about Asbury for the sake of Asbury. It is about God showing His power and glory by not only finishing what He started but redeeming what the enemy tried to destroy.
Fast forward four more years to the present. He is taking me back to Wilmore to take back the territory that Satan tried to take from me. He is not only going to take back the territory but open new boundaries that have once confined me. He is going to pave new highways. He says, “Do not earnestly remember former things, neither dwell on the things of the past. See? I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am even making streams in the desert and a way in the wasteland.” His streams are flooding into the once deserted areas of my life. My once-dry academic life is coming alive with wisdom from on high. My wasteland of anorexia is blossoming with new life and abundance that is going reap a harvest of righteousness and blessing for others. I had given up on myself. Others had given up on me. But my Lord knows that He is greater, and He did not give up.
My return to Wilmore will not be an attempt to “prove “anything, nor is it an attempt to go back to the time that I felt was lost at Asbury. It was not lost. It was part of the process. I squandered and wasted time, but God is the God who can cause ALL things to work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. God’s faithfulness is great. Morning after morning, I experienced His new mercies, whether I perceived it then or not. I see now. All I needed at that time, His hand indeed provided.
Grace for today and bright hope for tomorrow….Oh, the hope of His calling! He has called me to Seminary at Asbury. He is doing a new thing. I missed things in college because I lost sight of the truth. I will make mistakes for sure over the next couple years, but I will not be moved because my foundation is not my own willpower or determination. I stand on the truth of His word through the power of His Spirit. There is no other solid foundation.
I set out to apply for Seminary at Asbury with hope that it was the place which God called me too, but I was not certain. I trusted that He would close and open the right doors. I have been stepping out in faith since then. I have questioned my motives, my discernment, and my goals. But I have continued to move forward toward this goal, trusting that God would in time make it clearer. This week, He did just that. I got quiet before Him, asking Him to make it evident that He is leading me to Asbury. He took me to the daily devotional in “Streams in the Desert.” I was shocked at the relevance of His word. The verse said, “lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you.” (Gen 13:14). The devotional goes on to say, “No desire will ever be placed in your life by the Holy Spirit unless He intends to fulfill it.” God is so faithful. He confirmed it beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have so longed for His clear direction, but He wanted to get me to the place that I trusted and sought HIM before I sought His will. I have found Him, and it is in HIM that I find His will.
I did not ruin God’s plan for my life. I may have postponed it and complicated the path to get back to it, but He has brought me to a new place of grace, revelation, and bright hope. Habakkuk says, “Though the promise tarries, wait for it. It will certainly not fail.” His promise has not failed. His faithfulness is greater than I can possibly imagine, and I am ready to join Him in His work.

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