The storm always comes to an end. I know it doesn't seem that way when you're getting battered by the turbulence of testing times...however IN Jesus - we can be SO CONFIDENT that, although sorrow may last through the night joy ALWAYS comes in the morning. And though storms are part and parcel of being on earth, for Jesus made that kind of crystal clear in the gospels - that we would have troubles earth - BUT that we were to fear not because He had stripped the world of the power to harm us. Wow right? YET kinda hard to walk out in reality. It certainly was hard for me recently as I faced a bit of a glitch in the matrix.
I'm not gonna lie - there were moments when I did fear. Days when I did lose my peace...times when I got pretty close to sinking...wondering if the choppy seas would become a permanent fixture in my life. And of course for most of the trial I knew this simply wasn't true...because I could feel God's presence so strong...so intoxicatingly beautiful as it enveloped me...I knew He had hemmed me into His goodness...so even in the midst of it He was my joy...yet every now and again I would find myself momentarily slipping into fear...doubt...confusion...and even disappointment.
It totally took me by complete surprise...this stormy experience. Crept up on me after such an incredible high! October and November had been so dynamite! I am sure we all agree that thriving in every area of your gifting and anointing is a complete and utter joy...it totally sets your heart on fire right? That's certainly how is was for me...Business was doing fab and finally I had enough money where I could actually bless others...I had got back into acting which has always been a passion...I had started attending writing workshops and I was going for it full throttle with my first novel...I was bearing fruit with my teaching gift...My image consultancy was also bearing lots of fruit. I was having these creative coaching sessions with RNDR (highly recommend) which were totes mind blowing...actually overcoming lifelong barriers to creativity, and the fruit of these sessions was quite ridiculous - writing unprecedented amounts of fresh material for my book within record time...even producing my entire new women's collection in just 15 days! I was also learning loads in my role at church. AND God had totally delivered me from watching all secular TV which was SUCH A THRILL and so I was experiencing even more intimacy with God than ever before...Not only that, I was praying with a higher level of authority...incredible incredible times of prayer...and after years and years of dreaming for others I was finally dreaming for myself. Happy days right?
Errrr NO...because then everything totally stopped. All of a sudden the brook ran dry. Dry dry dry. Dry dry dry dry dry!!! And although by God's grace there still remained one small source of income in my life, I experienced such lack - in fact ever since starting my whole living by faith lifestyle four years ago never had I experienced such a financial drought. On the contrary despite living by faith I hadn't got in any debt over the last four years which was miraculous in itself - God had always without fail bought work to me...always bought business sales and opportunities...even when I had gone without in the past never had it been this long without a financial breakthrough.
But here I was staying at home for eleven weeks and I didn't get work once. My new collection just sat there. Christmas came and went. I rarely went out for meals nor was I extravagant in any gift giving, hand making most of my presents. I couldn't fix the heating in my car...I couldn't even wash my car. I put everything on my credit card...including bread...milk...and yep even chewing gum. And so much of the time it was fine. Because through it all I just worshipped, I increased in faith...I found myself strengthened beyond my capacity...but sometimes I wept. Sometimes I wept for days.
I knew God hadn't abandoned me of course because I could feel him so close. And honestly, without His tangible presence I just don't know how confidently I would have been able to lean into His Word, because sometimes your circumstances can seem far louder than the Word. And don't get me wrong I did absolutely, ultimately trust in God's Word throughout. And as I stayed at home week after week my days consisted of getting on my face daily...crying out to my best friend...my Papa Almighty...seeking the beautiful face of the Lover of my soul...until everything else faded away in light of Him...searching His Word for His promises over my life...listening over and over again to prophetic words I had received...worshipping in complete abandonment...yet sometimes the despair would creep in...and I would wonder if this would ever pass...would it always be like this Father?...Unfulfilled dreams...shattered hopes...lack...poverty?
Yet as I leaned into Him with my entire personality...as I daily clung to Him for dear life...even in my moments of deepest despair my heart would always be compelled to return to the same resounding conviction...that God's plans for me were to give me a hope and a future...plans to prosper me and not to harm me...plans of extreme goodness...beyond anything I could ever ask or imagine...That He loved me unconditionally.
Yet I would quieten like a weaning child as I would be reminded that YES YES YES God's plans for me are exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I could ever ask or imagine but how He ordains or allows these plans to be worked out in my life are in His sovereign hands. HE is the potter and I am the clay...how He chooses to mould me into His image is entirely His choice...it is His prerogative...and whether I understood it or not...whether it was comfortable or not...whether it fitted into my idea of how and when I'd like things to happen...my hearts cry would ultimately always be the same...Your will be done God...to all that You have ordained for me...Yes and Amen. Yet at times if truth be told it was definitely a struggle to remain in this posture. I can definitely recall two or three occasion during those two months when I simply didn't feel that way. And in those moments I would again ask Father God..."Will this ever pass?"
I guess you could ask why I didn't fight more? Why didn't I just put on the armour of God and get on the offensive against the enemy. Why didn't I take authority over all that the enemy had stolen from me? Why didn't I rise up and push against the attack. And I did. I did fight. I did bind and loose. I did go before the courts of heaven and present my case. I did all that I knew to do...and then it took everything within me to just keep on standing. And when I had done all that I knew to do...when I simply had no fight left in me I asked The Lord of Hosts to fight on my behalf...And of course for the moments when I had lost my peace and joy I asked for Him to restore it back to me.
And I guess I could have just got a job like other normal people. Yet for me "normality" is to wait on The Lord...to live by faith...and to be faithful with what's in my hand. For someone else faith may look like stepping out and actually doing something...applying for something...talking to someone. Yet in my personal walk with Jesus, faith most often than not looks like waiting - in a posture of worship and not relying on my own capabilities or connections - but just trusting Him to open the doors in my life. Yes occasionally He has led me to step out and change direction or take action but He'd made it clear that He just wanted me to wait. And so as hard as that was...and often quite confusing...still I just waited.
I think, the lowest time for me was just after New Years. I'd had a spectacular New Years celebration - pure lavishing by Papa God...I got scandalously blessed...in fact even at Christmas I was soooo blessed...financial gifts that made me want to weep...it was a reminder that God was still very much providing for me...and although I had to use the money to pay for bills...and though my credit card bill was continuously rising still I was comforted. In fact during the whole season of wilderness I was comforted to know that somehow God always made a way for enough cash to come in so that all my outgoings were covered...as usual I simply don't know how He did it...but He remained SO faithful...even in the not knowing...even in the seeming lack...even in the assault upon my finances I always had enough. I always had all that I truly needed. Yet I needed more than just having enough. I desperately needed breakthrough. I needed this cloud to shift. I needed a turning in the tide. I needed fresh assurance that this was not my portion and the promises of God over my life were YES and Amen. And I needed a fresh reminder that this storm...this would pass...
And I found it. I found it as I read the Word with fresh pursuit. I found it as I listened to seasoned men and women of God who tell it exactly how it is...and remind you of the unshakeable, unmovable goodness of God. I found it in the prophetic words being declared over this new year...This was the year of breakthroughs...suddenlies...promises fulfilled...etc etc etc. All music to my spiritual ears...yet coupled with all this faith...was doubt...And so repeatedly despite the reminders of His faithfulness, I still had to cry out to God...I believe Father...but please help my unbelief.
As we entered the new year my Pastor encouraged us to fast and honestly, on a level I was kind of dreading it. Normally I want to fast - I'm engaged, I'm excited. But this time I didn't know if I could. I studied the Word to stir my heart, I listened to teachings to fuel my soul, yet I remained lost. The day before my fast started I bought my very last twenty pounds that I was saving to pay off a bill, as an offering before The Lord at church. I remember whispering to Him as I dropped my envelope in the basket..."this is it Lord...this is everything I have...please come through for me."
During my fast I battled like crazy...the oppression...the warfare...the fight was so intense...a thousand times I wanted to give up the fast...I didn't see the point...I battled desperately with the mindset that this storm wouldn't pass...nothing would change...it is what it is...this is my lot...haha...yet for every doubt I experienced God would release a heavyweight arrow of faith where I would once again know within my heart that if I could just hang on it there...God would fight for me...when I couldn't pray Jesus mediated for me...when I wondered what the point of fasting was if I wasn't going to be able to pray He kept me steadfast...He compelled to persevere...Though I sought God for a fasted heart my heart seemed to be filled with darkness...again I could do nothing but ask The Lord of Hosts to fight on my behalf. And that's exactly what He did.
Because three days later as I finished my fast so convinced that my pants sacrificial offering before The Lord had been a complete shambles, I experienced the most incredible breakthrough, beyond my wildest dreams. It was actually quite nuts - because from the very moment that I broke my fast I literally felt the divine breakthrough...the oppression fleeing...the chains breaking...my joy returning...my hope arising...my faith increasing. I literally rose up in strength and Crazy mad energy and prayed with such strength and authority...it's like all God needed me to do was my bit...in order to be able to slay the dragons on my behalf...and even though my bit may have been really quite pathetic...He just needed my willingness to stand my ground...whatever that might look like...woweeee...at that moment I knew the season has shifted. The storm had passed.
And then the next day He totally smashed it. The twenty pounds that I'd brought as my offering last Sunday came back to me tenfold. The day after my fast finished I got blessed with £200 - it was £100 each - by both my natural mother and my spiritual mum - both within an hour of each other on the very same afternoon...and though both these gorgeous women are located four thousand miles apart at different ends of the globe...they both heard from God simultaneaously to bless me. Come on now...How faithful is He?
Not only that but within a week of the fast, God swings wide open the doors to such a divine set up with me still working for myself, completely on my terms with more than enough funds coming in to get me back in the black, to get the new collection completed and launched and for me to be reminded yet again that no matter how intense the storm...how dark the valley God will ALWAYS come through...And though you may not have a clue about why...how...when...though you may not understand the bigger picture at the time...when the tide turns you will be better off than you were before...you'll be stronger...you'll be even more confident in His love and faithfulness...and you will be even closer to Him. And get this you will be compensated for the tears...the loss...the pain. You see NONE of the storm is ever in vain. God always uses it for His glory...He always works all things together for our good. We never ever have any reason to be anxious for anything. He's got us locked into the palm of His hand...and even when it totally feels like the poo has hit the fan once and for all be encouraged...He's totally, sovereignly...lovingly in charge...and in due time...this storm too, will surely pass. x