It was the spring of 2000. I was a full time student at Valencia Community College, and it was Spring break. For about a week and a half prior I had been trying to get a hold of dear friend who had tentatively planned on me staying with her for the break. She lived near the beach and I was thrilled to have the time with her soaking up the sun, sand, and waves.
The only problem was, the break had begun and I still was not able to get a hold of my friend. (This was pre-cell phone era and getting a hold of someone meant calling their house-line and hoping they noticed that their was a red blinking light on the answering machine that was tucked on the small table in the back of their living room). I had no back up plans for my spring break. None. I was getting disappointed! But with it being the first Monday of the break, all my other friends were now scattered about already beginning their excursions. What other options did I have but to wait and try to make the best of my Monday?
It had been a while since I had been to the beach. (Well … for a Florida girl, not seeing the beach in one year’s time, is considered “a while”!) And my heart was dead-set on seeing it during my break-time. For crying out loud, I lived 45 minutes away from some of the beaches!!! But, I had no one to go along with me, even for a day trip. Besides, I did not have the money, at 18 years old, to get a hotel for the night and I felt that was too unsafe for me to brave alone.
That long and lonely Monday turned into a Tuesday. I was getting angry. Angry at my friend. Angry at God. Angry that my break time was slipping away from me. Angry at myself for being so stubborn about needing to go to the beach for my spring break and probably blinding myself from seeing any other opportunities to do other things to occupy my time (let me catch my breath now!). Do you ever get like this?!
I turned to God, and knew I needed to hear from Him. So what did I do? I randomly opened up my Bible and pointed my finger to whatever verse was in front of me. (super spiritual, i know.) This is what I read:
Isaiah 41: 14-15 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the Lord, your Redeemer. I am the Holy One of Israel.’ You will be a new threshing instrument with many sharp teeth. You will tear your enemies apart, making chaff of mountains.
So, what, you may ask, does this verse of scripture have anything to do with my situation?
Do you every feel like a worm? Low, slimy, in the dirt. Easily devoured. No backbone, no strength to hold you up? Weak. Defeated. The only time you come out of your hiding place is in times when the brightness of the sun is covered by clouds and rain? Depressed
Situations and circumstances can get us down. But we can choose to let them keep us there. Waiting for the situation to change, for someone to call us. Or, we can believe in the transforming power of a God who calls us out and makes us new.
I felt like a threshing tool in that moment, while reading the scripture. I was mad. I was upset and had anger in my heart. And, the scripture I was reading was putting some definition to those hostile feelings. He was transforming my defeat into some doable actions. And in that moment, He reminded me of my family that lived on the beach. He encouraged me to boldly ask them if I could stay with them, who I by the way stayed with and enjoyed the rest of my vacation time with. It was stirring up a tenacity, a persistence, and boldness that won’t quit.
I find myself a LOT in my life with these uncomfortable feelings, and the subsequent call from God to be stirred to action. Lately, it has been me proving who I am to some of my managers at work who view me as someone I am not and with the very best intentions are trying to groom me for what they see fit for my “career path” or the with the worst of intentions are maliciously using trickery and slander to thwart my movement into the Labor & Delivery position that I feel that the Lord is calling me to pursue. Either way it is discouraging and extremely frustrating to my soul.
Even still, the Lord keeps saying every step of the way, “Look here, this door is cracked open for you. Push through. Train at this; gain more skills here. Don’t get discouraged by what mere man is saying about you. I am the one who promotes you. Show yourself approved to me.”
Sometimes, I think it is ridiculous how much tenacity the Lord wants to build in me, but then I smile and am reminded He is preparing me for greater things. Tenacity calls you to go against your worm like feelings, into becoming someone who is strong and devours mountains of obstacles and defeat.