I have been getting a lot of cinnamon dolce lattes (hereafter known as CDLs) from Starbucks lately. I know what you’re thinking — what on earth does this girl do for a living that she can afford to have a CDL every day, sometimes twice a day?
Well don’t you worry, I haven’t taken a second job with … ahem … night hours, or any such nonsense. Rather I attribute this influx of heavenly nectar (still talking about CDLs) to promises from God.
I know it seems a little odd for me to say that, but allow me to explain. In the past week and a half, I have had about seven CDLs. If you’ve ever driven on a street adjacent to a Starbucks then you know that their beverages aren’t exactly cost-conscious. And of those seven CDLs, I’ve only bought one.
No, I’ve also not taken up thieving. Simmer down, y’all.
In order to explain how a beverage can equal a heavenly promise, I’m going to have to get a little personal. You see, my August has been wretched.
The month started out beautifully. My best friend since high school got married Aug. 8 and it was the sweetest, most beautiful display of love. The rehearsal dinner and wedding day were relaxed and so fun. Although it was hotter than a 300-pound man during an extra long session of hot yoga, I wouldn’t trade or take back a second of that occasion. That day was both the sweatiest I’ve been in many moons and the happiest.
The following Sunday, however, I got hit between the eyes by a sermon. It’s neither comfortable nor easy when it feels like every word out of the pastor’s mouth was spoken about you, but it’s so necessary sometimes. That day was one of those times.
On the drive home, I began to pray. I told the Lord that I wanted His will for my life. That what I was doing left me feeling discontented. That although it looked like I was taking all the right steps, I sometimes felt like a stranger in my own life despite knowing that I was where He wanted me.
So I prayed for His will. I told Him that He could take the reigns. And I continued my drive.
The thing about telling God that He can have the reigns and meaning it is that He takes you seriously. I’ve told God so many times before now that I wanted Him to have control of my life, that I wanted to be on His trajectory. And each time I really thought I meant it. But there have only been a handful of times where I honestly said those words and meant them enough to be obedient to what His will actually was.
Sometimes being obedient means moving schools your senior year, despite being so painfully introverted that you don’t make very many friends until a few weeks before graduation.
Sometimes being obedient means taking a job that sounds incredible, but takes you away from everyone you love and that comfort zone you could never have left without a miracle from Him.
And sometimes, like on that Sunday, being obedient means ending a relationship with the man you thought you would marry without fully understanding why He asked you to do it.
With each of these decisions, there was (and still is) incredible pain and a river of tears. I’ve only truly, fully surrendered to God’s will three times in my life. Each time, obedience came at a progressively higher price.
When we moved, I lost what I thought was my identity and all the friends I’d ever made.
When I took the job, I had to make myself walk away from three people whom I love dearly in the airport and try to stop crying long enough to get through security.
When I ended the relationship, I was pulled over on the side of I-65, sobbing too hard to see the road in broad daylight, begging God to will anything else.
Obedience is hard. With these three instances, I wrestled with God about following where I knew He was leading. I didn’t want to move, didn’t want to leave my people, didn’t want to end my relationship. Even now, I have no idea what good will come out of that Sunday’s revelation.
But I know that obedience also yields great rewards.
Through what feels like a tsunami of emotion, tears and pain that crashes over me at all hours of the day, I’ve found peace that can only be from God. And I’ve also found several CDLs on my desk at work from people who love me enough to fuel me with my favorite form of caffeine. God shows His love for me through these people every day, and I don’t want to imagine how much harder this process would be without them.
My heart is in pieces. I’ve lost one of my best friends and all the plans I had for my future. But I’ve got a God who loves me more than anyone on earth ever could, who wants to be first in my heart.
So through this new season of my life — in spite of the fact that my feelings haven’t changed, that I don’t understand His plans, that I never thought I’d be single again — I’m learning how to fall in love with my Creator. I feel like I’m floundering, but as long as I’m chasing after Him I know that He won’t leave me.
Although the pain remains, it is well with my soul.
Editor’s Note: Margaret is a contributor to this blog, but she’s not the only writer whose words you may see here. To read more posts by Margaret or to read other writers’ thoughts, click through each person’s category along the right hand side of the home page.