As I sit digesting the mass of food in my bloated belly after our Thanksgiving Day feast/extravaganza, I feel a mixture of gratefulness, satisfaction, pride, disgust, and guilt. I am grateful for all my blessings this year; and I don’t say that superficially – God has blessed me immensely this year. I believe that He blessed me not only because He is good and wants to bless His children, but because I asked. That is a lot of what I have been learning this year: to ASK for and expect good things from God, and to TRUST Him, that He has heard my request, that He knows my need, and He knows what is best and will provide. God has never disappointed me. I maybe ask with wrong motives sometimes, but He has a way of showing me that what I asked for is not what I need, OR He gives me above and beyond what I need. god is so good. I can’t even begin to tell you. He has answered my pleas so many times and provided in ways I thought were not possible, yet I still struggle to give things up to Him and trust that He will take care of it. I have learned time and time again that I cannot handle everything on my own, that I continually fail, and am not as self-sufficient as I would like to be. He has been teaching me that I need to ask for help, from Him, from other people. God often works through and answers our prayers through other people. Let me give an example from this year:
This summer upon my return from abroad I was totally broke and was worried about paying my tuition for this semester. I exhausted all my resources trying to find funding. I emailed he deans of the English department and College of Arts and Sciences asking about any scholarships I could apply for, if I could get anything for my grades or from the Honors College, I called the director of the dance department and reminded her that she had promised me a scholarship if I returned to dancing, but she denied having any funds left to give me. I had maxed out my loans and couldn’t take any more out. I searched for grants, but I was eligible for none except the Teach Grant. I started filling out the paperwork although I knew I didn’t want to commit to 5 years of teaching in low-income public schools upon graduating; it seemed like my only option. I began praying about it, really asking the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do, and trying to come to terms with changing my major over to education as the grant required if I had to, and teaching if that was what God wanted me to do, although I knew my heart was not in it. My heart still wanted to be dancing, and was ready to do anything I could to dance again. I missed it so much. It seemed silly and trivial, not to mention impossible getting into performing shape again after 9 months away from ballet. But in God all things are possible, and I committed myself to Him. Deep down I really hoped that God would be pleased to give my dancing back to me. It would take a miracle for me to return at this point, not only financially, but that was where it had to start. I was letting money control me, which is something I recognized as I laid it before the Lord. I struggled to put aside my doubting, although I know God had provided for me before in incredible ways. Why was it so hard this time?
One evening I spent walking and praying to silence my mind and listen. I had decided I would keep walking until I heard from God. I struggle to hear from God the way other people do, but I decided to keep my spiritual antennas alert for any little thing. God always speaks to us very clearly and in detail, as He did this time. It was as simple as bringing to mind the name of a lady who had been a frequent customer at Starbucks and an admirer of me as a dancer. I saw her in my mind as I was praying, and it was like a light bulb went off in my head: ask her. It didn’t seem like an answer to prayer at the time, but it was a clear direction to go next. And I did. I wrote her a lengthy email explaining my situation and hoped for the best. I knew she gave a lot of money to the arts in Columbia. I had tried everything else in my power; I had nothing else to lose.
She didn’t respond for weeks, and I began to give up hope that she would. I had no other clear answers, except I felt a calm and peace about the situation as a I prayed about it. I decided to trust the Lord to come through, even up to the last minute, as I knew He often answers us. Long story short, it was 3 days before I had to pay my tuition and I still had no idea how I was going to pay it. She contacted me and in short, gave me the exact amount I needed to pay the rest of my tuition. My part of the agreement was I had to be dancing again and helping out the director in her office. God knew the desires of my heart and answered my prayers better than I could have imagined. My primary desire is that I always trust Him wholeheartedly. When we submit our desires to Him, He grows in us and molds those desires so that He is the priority in our list of desires.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
Looks like I’ll have to explain the other feelings later…