When I sit in silence and think about what my life is right now, a good word to describe it would definitely be “unexpected”. I ponder what things were like as I headed into one of my very own life storms. It was ugly. People were ugly. I was ugly. The people squatting in my life five years ago have mostly dispersed, by their choice or mine. It doesn’t matter anymore. All those relationships have been redeemed. I’ll never express my gratitude enough for those that remain and all the new arrivals.
Through the process of those breaking relationships God was working. I see it now when I talk about any part of these five years. It’s impossible not to see God’s hand working and fixing and pruning and softening and strengthening and loving. I see how he took a hardened and thoroughly beaten heart and softened and loved it into repair.
When I think about the times I surrendered fully to ugly truths about the person I had become, it amazes me how softly and gently God turned those ugly things into something to be used to His glory. He showed me things that I needed to change, tweak or eradicate and helped me change in the oddest of ways.
I’ve realized who I am through making caramel apples. Seriously, caramel apples. My little caramel apple business thing has stretched me in more ways than anyone will ever know. But God knows. He has had this planned all along and I know that’s true because when I think through all the amazing things that have happened because of these silly apples, I’m overwhelmed at his goodness to me.
I’m overcome with joy when I think about the friendships and opportunities that have happened because of apples. Most nights now, when I’m falling asleep and thinking about God and how things have turned out, I chuckle because I could have never made this happen on my own. I know myself and I’m so afraid of my own success that I have run from it my entire adult life. But God was not having it this time. And I can’t deny this is his plan and purpose for my life because it’s just so silly to me otherwise.
A little like Paul
Makes me think of Saul who God knew was actually Paul. Imagine him the day that Jesus himself appeared to Saul:
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything”. ~Acts 9:1-9
That was certainly unexpected
I’m sure there were people in Saul’s life that were not very happy at this transformation. But I’m quite certain that once Paul realized what a positive transformation it had the opportunity to be, it erased any want he may have had to return to his former self.
I can relate to that. I wouldn’t go back to be a judgmental gossip or a non-sugar coating, hypocritical mean girl for anything. Even without the apples, I love who God has grown me to be. I’m so proud of the woman he has loved me into becoming.
I’m so proud to be his daughter. And I hope that I do Him justice to everyone I come across from now, forward.
If you’re going through a storm of your own, please lean on his goodness and grace. It will take time but he will be with you every step of the way and will create something you could never imagine.
He will create the unexpected. Trust me.