When God provides, He does it through cups of coffee. He does it through phone calls. He does it through university Facebook groups.
The year 2019 was full of change for me. During the late winter and early spring, I was a sophomore at Corban University. I studied Communications, procrastinated on every assignment, and always found myself surrounded by friends. At the beginning of that semester, I felt a small nudge in my heart that I should begin looking for a different university. The degree I had chosen at Corban University wasn’t developed as much as I hoped and the university only served 1,000 students. So, following the small nudge that would soon turn into a loud calling, I began to look into new opportunities.
The next few months were littered with hardship and tension. I found the new opportunity, but it was across the country, in Virginia. Liberty University had everything I wanted and seemed like the place where God was calling me. I applied, got accepted, and mapped everything out. The only problem? I hadn’t told anyone. When I mustered up the courage, my parents met me with a hard no and my best friends met me with disappointment. Even though God had pulled me in this direction, the reaction from my loved ones told me the opposite. Eventually, after arguments, pleading, and so many tears, I had to give up on what my heart desired and what I thought God had asked of me.
Flash forward and I find myself at Camp Tadmor, co-leading a talented group of program staff. My heart was wounded and spirit crushed, but I knew I belonged at camp that summer, and I was determined to put my best foot forward. During the middle of the summer, Camp Tadmor hosts a camp specifically for women. As a female lead, I was required to attend. That weekend, I spoke to my mother on the phone and couldn’t hold back my melancholy any longer. I poured out my heart to her, about the hardship of this past season, my dreams being denied, and my worries of disobeying my Lord. She took it all in and simply said,
“Have you thought about online university?”
As a high school student, I did my last three years through an online program. It wasn’t the best experience, but I had a life outside of my academic responsibilities. This question set me on a new trajectory. Not one of ease and simplicity, but one of immense change and growth.
The last half of my summer consisted of online university applications, many phone calls to make arrangements, and countless unanswered questions. What online university has a good enough Communications program? Where would I live? How would I support myself financially? What is God’s will in this?
Slowly, but surely, God opened doors and provided clarity. Although I couldn’t pick up my life and move it to Virginia, I was accepted to Liberty University’s online program.
After scouring the Internet for housing, my best friend shared a post from my prior university’s Facebook page. Someone needed a roommate. The apartment was nice, rent was a bit pricey, but God’s doing was written all over it.
Lastly, I needed to find a job. I was still working at Camp Tadmor as “after-summer crew,” so my time searching for a job and going to interviews was limited to the weekend. I applied to coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, department stores… Business after business either didn’t respond to me or was not hiring. Just two weeks before I moved into my new apartment, I printed out applications and my resume to hand out to a local, drive-thru coffee chain. I went to every stand in my city and followed up the next day with each one of them. By the grace of God, two of them asked me to come in for a working interview and the rest was history. The photo featured for this blog post is from the day I was hired as a barista there. After sitting with the regional manager of my new workplace, she bought me a drink, and the girl who made it wrote on the lid: “Welcome to the family.” I asked so many questions and God provided every answer. My heart was mended and my hope restored.
I have always been a worrier. Before this experience, my fear would often hinder God’s ministry. It would smother me in what-ifs and worst-case scenarios. But God radically changed my heart during this season. He told me my new name. Not “fearful” but free. I have walked in that new name every day since this life-changing experience. My fear does hold me back – it opens up my heart to push harder and to be brave, all for the glory of God.
God perfectly answered my prayers during this time. One after the other, He responded, showed up, and opened every door for me to walk through. This new path I have been walking in has been anything but easy. Most times, I wonder if I made a mistake or heard God wrong. But God has provided me with the most beautiful opportunities during this season. The moments when I shared my story or God’s with a stranger. The moments I have served at my church’s middle school youth group. The moments I’m able to walk alongside my people in joys and trials. The moments God blesses me with His presence and refuels my tired heart for more Kingdom work.
God shows up for His beloved. There is not one moment we go without God walking right beside us. He made that clear when Jesus was offered as an atonement for our sins. We might be met with silence in some seasons, or mind-blowing provision in others. But God is at the center of every joy we experience and every hardship we endure. I’m thankful that, even in the midst of suffering, I have a Rock to turn to. The following verse is one that I cling to during every challenging season, and I hope it brings you the peace you need today.
Lamentations 3:19-24 (ESV)
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”