…Get ready to cross the Jordan….I shall be with you; I shall not fail you or forsake you. Be strong, be resolute….be very strong and resolute….This is my command: be strong, be resolute; do not be fearful or discouraged, for wherever you go the Lord your God is with you.” Joshua 1:2-9.
God is great. God is love. God made you (and me) for a reason. God’s timing is always perfect, even when we can’t see the plan or the path….
I was at one of the lowest points of my life when I decided to participate in 21 days of prayer for the first time. I was very discouraged. I mean VERY discouraged.
I was discouraged to a degree that I’d never experienced before, even though I’d faced some pretty big challenges. Those other big challenges, though, were usually temporary situations and I could see a way out, a way forward.
In late 2015, I couldn’t see an end or a way forward. I was on the verge of losing hope and giving up.
I felt a lot like George Bailey on Christmas Eve, before Clarence earned his wings.
I set out to pursue what I thought was a God-inspired dream and it hadn’t turned out as expected. My financial resources were beyond depleted. In early November (2015), I set aside the dream venture to relentlessly apply for jobs (to no avail). Overqualified. Unable to break through computer algorithms. Also, possibly, probably: The unwritten, unacknowledged “age” thing.
I didn’t understand why I’d “failed.” I thought I’d been doing everything “right.”
Learning to Lean
2015 faded into 2016. I embarked on 21 Days of Prayer [and fasting]. I learned some new approaches to praying, including praying Scripture. I carefully identified and wrote out six Bible verses on index cards and took them with me each morning to the 6 a.m. prayer time.
One of those verses was Joshua 1:9:
have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be fearful or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Up until that point in my life, I’d always felt strong, courageous, resolute, and almost never fearful. I’d never felt discouraged. In fact, I’d always seen courage, strength, perseverance and resourcefulness as my greatest assets. I’d sensed that God had allowed me to face certain trials specifically to give me greater courage, strength and perseverance. Before then, I’d always felt like I could overcome any obstacle through Christ and the gifts God had given me.
Trust in God was all that was left.
I think He likes it when we realize He’s all we need.
At the end of my first 21 Days, I still didn’t have a clear answer of what I should be doing, but there were a few whispers and hints. When those came, I would step out in faith. Each example could be a separate blog post, so I have to skip over those for now.
It took another year before I really started to understand a bit, and it’s taken another eight months to begin to see how the fragments are coming together: My dream, my gifts, the glimmers of insight through prayer, the whispers from God. Nothing has been easy during this time, but God has continued to provide, even when I get in the way.
The loudest “whisper” from God these past few weeks has been that it’s now time to move forward again, to take specific actions. Seemingly every Bible passage I’ve encountered the past few weeks has been a variation on the same message.
I’ve continued to pray the verses on those six green index cards every day for the past 20 months.
Yesterday, the “Verse of the Day” on my Bible app was Deuteronomy 31:8-9:
Then Moses summoned Joshua. He said to him with all Israel watching, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
So that’s what I’m going to do:
Trust God. Act boldly with courage. Stay strong. Move forward on the vision. Shine.
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Sheree Martin is a lawyer, entrepreneur and digital media consultant. She’s on a mission to help others Discover, Grow and Shine. Sheree is mom to multiple furry creatures and aunt to three awesome young adults. She loves spending time outdoors, especially at Shine Springs Farm, doing anything fitness related, and cooking real food for friends and family.