For I am with You
Yesterday marked a significant milestone in my life. I was ordained at my home church, Dwelling Place Northeast, as a pastor. Since I was 13 years old, I have felt the call of God to do ministry full-time. Since then, I have sought out opportunity, after opportunity to engage in ministry and to learn the ropes from other men and women of God that God has placed in my life. Yesterday, after the ordination service and a full day of celebrating with friends and family, I finally climbed into my bed and tears of joy came trickling down my face. I so was overwhelmed by the faithfulness of God. The way that God loves me and fathers me became so real to me in that moment. The God that is aware of all of my flaws and imperfections saw it fit to bring to fruition the dream of a 13 year old girl. He has spent the last 15 years refining me and preparing me for this moment. At times I thought the process might kill me, because sometimes preparation involves embracing pain and moving forward. God has used this season to stretch, grow and mature me. But I never thought this would be my year to see this particular dream fulfilled. Looking at my circumstances and my feelings, it just never occured to me that God was setting me up for this huge blessing.
As my pastors prayed over me, my pastor said, "God has known all along that August 27th, 2017 would be the day that he would fulfill this dream." With that one line, the tears began to flow. This year started off rough. It was a defining season, but at times it felt like the weight of it would crush me. Even then God knew all that He was preparing me for, all that He intended to bless me with. And I remember a simple sentence He spoke to my heart, as I wondered and prayed about the pain I was going through. He whispered to my heart, "It's not permanent." Another night, as I cryed myself to sleep, He repeated over and over in my spirit, "From the breaking point to the breakthrough...from the breaking point to the breakthrough." Yesterday, as I stood before friends and family to celebrate God's faithfulness, I recognized that right in this moment, I am breaking through.
The thing that God marked my heart with more than anything else yesterday was that He is with me. The night before Sunday service, I was feeling all sorts of emotions. I wanted the moment to be perfect, special because it meant so much to me. It dawned on me that although many friends and family would be there to celebrate this moment, there would be someone present who has been there through every moment, both good and bad, and that someone is Jesus Himself. It occured to me that whoever else showed up, whoever else would be in the crowd or part of the festivities afterwards, my constant partner and supporter, the one who has been my cheerleader through all the ups and downs would be standing right by my side. This was our moment. A special moment between a girl and her heavenly daddy. I pictured it as though I was standing at the microphone and He was right at my side, holding my hand and whispering in my ear, "You did it baby girl." And this is what I prayed. I prayed that He would take that position right next to me, even though I knew in my heart that I didn't even need to ask. He would already be there.
When the service ended, my Father, who has shared this dream with me all these years and who had no idea of the prayers of His neverous daughter the night before, told me, "When you were up there, I knew that Jesus was standing right beside you, holding your hand." I simply smiled and told my dad, "Yes. I asked him to be there."
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa. 41:10).