…The First Step

...The First Step

I might be down, but I am not out. I might have fallen, but I will rise again. I might be discouraged, but I know where my HOPE comes from. I may not know the future, but I know who HOLDS it. I may not be where I want to be, but I’m not who I once was. I might not be there yet, but I’m closer to there than I ever have been. I might not know where to go, but I know who is leading me. I may not feel like I have much to give, but I have THE POWER OF THE LIVING GOD in me. I may not feel like smiling, but I have the strength needed to smile. I may not feel like encouraging, but I AM an encourager.

Sometimes in life, you feel like you have the World at your disposal. Everything is going right. Everything is going great. You feel like you are living in a dream, one that is truly too good to be true. Doors seem to swing wide open, petals fall at your feet, the red carpet is being rolled out and the lights, camera, action are all directed your way. The World is your oyster. You are like a kid in the candy store, with a bottomless pit for a stomach and an unlimited budget. Good news is around every corner. Everyone is smiling, loving you, encouraging you. YOU have arrived!

And then….

Something happens. The goodness momentum starts to wane, as it comes to a slow, slow, slow screeching halt, as if a cog has been stuck in the gears of LIFE. It’s that moment of shock as you watch the expensive vase, in seemingly slow motion, fall to the ground. As it falls, you experience sensations of loss of control, vulnerability, fear. And then comes the crashing sound, as shards of glass fall in pieces like a pile of mosaic chips. Except these pieces don’t seem to find their counterpart and certainly can not be combined together to make beautiful art. But that is only how it feels in that moment.

That metaphor leads me to where I am about to bring you to. The moment where you feel like your world has stopped turning. You get the call. The pink slip. The bad news. The bad report. The hopeless diagnosis. The divorce papers. The unaffordable ticket. You get the warrant out for your proverbial arrest. You hear and see the door slamming shut in your face. You brace yourself as that sinking feeling in your stomach settles into your heart. If not carefully dealt with, it can come seeping into your soul.

Let me tell you, as honestly and transparently as I possibly can… I am well acquainted with that all to familiar feeling. I have lived days, weeks, months, & years in this pool of struggle. Like tar sticking to your feet, it feels like every step forward is an uphill battle. Believe it or not— I know this feeling well.

If anyone knows what it means to overcome, It’s me. My whole life has been an uphill battle. I have faced loss of every imaginable kind. Even at my birth, I started out with overwhelming challenges ahead of me, from learning disabilities to an absent father. Through every stage of life, I have been faced with daunting mountains of tribulations which I have had to learn to skillfully climb and scale. I believe these moments have shaped me intricately and have allowed me to experience many things for the benefit of all who I come in contact with. This is the beauty of my story. It has become my testimony.

Sometimes in life, we face those moments where the tides begin to turn. The churning leaves us feeling very uncertain of what may lie ahead. It’s not so much what is going on around us that matters most, but in how we handle those interruptions. I firmly believe everything, every season, every trial, every mistake, every bump of turbulence in life has a purpose and occurs for a reason.

For me, I count myself fortunate to say that I have an unshakable belief in God. During these times, I have nowhere to turn but to look up. In this picture this girl is looking down. She is withdrawn into herself and holding onto herself. It’s not a coincidence, no. It is not uncommon to withdraw when the storms of life come billowing in. It’s not uncommon to self-protect and focus on yourself. But the challenge is to position yourself to looking up, looking unto God. No matter what you are facing or where you may find yourself on this spectrum, you can be sure that with great persistence and endurance during trying times that something good will come of every situation & circumstance. Remember, ALWAYS, this too shall pass.

It’s interesting how we are always asked to Trust God over and over in the Bible. It’s not mentioned repetitively to ensure we don’t forget. In fact, how can we forget this mandate? Yet, time and time again, we often do. I think God knew we needed that constant reminder and reassurance.

Yet, What happens when everything starts to fail us? Imagine you are on a plane, and the pilot comes on to tell everyone to assume position, that the plane is going down. What is the first thought that would come to mind? For most it would be to call out to God. Yet what about when something less traumatic happens, yet we still need help and immediate direction? Yet again, some of us turn to God. It’s easy to do that when we are in duress, but what I am learning is in ALL things, I need to RELY on God. It’s easy to sing when the sun is out, but learning to dance in the rain is the tricky part. Learning to have faith in trying times is the true test. Trusting God comes easily when everything is going well, but what happens when everything comes crashing down? You know, that moment in life where those tides change and the floor underneath you is being threatened to come out from under you are the moments when I throw myself at God’s feet. THOSE are the moments in life where you have nothing else to rely on but the belief that everything will somehow be okay. It’s those true to life moments that are true tests of the grit of our faith. Like the moment when your paycheck is jeopardized. The moment when you might not have a roof over your head. The moment where you have no idea where that next meal is going to come from. The moment where your health and very life are hanging in the balance. These are all very real scenarios that too often present themselves at one time or another through out our lifetime. What are you going to do? Who can you run to? What can you fall back onto?

What happens when you are standing at the cliff of who you once were, while being able to see the other side of who you know you are meant to become? Looking down over the gaping chasm of space between and wondering if the risk is worth the reward. You can peer down into the abyss and stand wondering, waiting, paralyzed in fear. Trust me, I’ve been standing there for a very long time. In many ways that is what my relationship with God has looked like. He has stood just a few centimeters off the edge where I have been standing. His hands are outstretched, an open invitation to trust Him. His eyes full of love and grace, looking intently into me, seeing through the deepest parts of me. There is a fire and a peace in His eyes and his sturdy hand has no fear of failure of this invitation. His hand has endured many things for many people, yet it stays steady, outwards stretched to me. He wants me to join him and hold his hand so that he can lead me to the other side. Fear grips me tighter than a boa constrictor devouring his lunch. So much is at stake, though. What about the fall? What about the ground I will walk on? I don’t see it yet, can’t see it clearly. The jump looks like an imminent death. Yet He is calling me. Will you just launch out into the deep with me? Will you trust me just for the centimeter you can’t see? Will you trust me with the first step? Years I have stood, looking past him, looking past his invitation. I’ve played charades with him there watching me, waiting patiently for me. I’ve thought I’ve reached out to grab for him, but again it’s been a mime act. It’s almost like I’m in prison looking to him, talking to him on the telephone, separated by the thick glass of my enslavement. My many walls of fear are ever keeping a great distance between us. Again, I have stood here, waiting, watching, wondering. But at this very moment in my life, I am watching the floor fall out from underneath me as I hear Him calling me. Will you trust me, Alicia. Will you believe that I really do have the best plan for your life? When I tell you that I will lead you through the best pathways of your life, do you really take me at my word? And suddenly, rather than looking past him, giving him lip service, or playing the part… I look into His piercing eyes. And He sees me. And I see Him.

And with great fear and trembling, with uncertainty and adrenaline rushing through my veins, I reach out and touch Him. And I take the very first step…….

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