Less than a week ago our team packed all the belongings we would need for the next six months and embarked on a journey sure to change our lives and the lives of many women around us.
It began with over 40 hours of travel with layovers in Toronto, Istanbul and Johannesburg (kind of, we just sat in the plane for an hour). Of which I was most excited for Istanbul.
I knew that Istanbul was a taste of history with the Hagia Sophia and a bunch of other really old stuff (I slept through most of my art history classes in college.) So I planned and researched just how much of Istanbul we could see during our 9-hour layover. I researched trains and taxis and where to exchange lira as I studied maps.
Getting there I realized that for all of my studying I still was unsure of where to keep our bags or what times the trains came, or where to even get on the train. That’s when we ran into Ruth’s friends, as if God had placed them in our path.
Her friends happened to be staying right next to the Hagia Sophia and offered to take us back to their hotel to keep our bags there while we toured the city. O yeah, and one of her friends just happened to be fluent in Turkish and gave us a tour of Istanbul and its markets and where to eat.
We spent the night running around the city, tasting various spices and posing for pictures in front of thousands year old landmarks.
That night went so smoothly that it almost felt staged. And as I dwelled on that thought I realize that it was.
I can only describe it as divine favor. As it God was up in heaven, planning out things that would our hearts leap with joy.
It doesn’t stop there, this whole trip thus far has been perfectly planned as if God wanted to wow us with his goodness. This year it is pretty clear that we are highly favored.
But it extends far beyond us and to the whole church. 2014 is a year of favor for everyone. And I feel like a lot of us have kind of stopped believing in things that we have been praying for years.
Each passing year coming up somewhat short of what we had imagined. Almost like God forgot that we were praying for healing, or community, or a husband or for that loved one to finally come to know Christ. It’s not that we thought God was mad at us, we just thought that maybe those things weren’t important to him as they were to you.
But I am telling you that 2014 is different, it’s a year of things long awaited and hoped for. It’s a year of redemption and hope. We just have to believe it.
We have to be expecting God’s goodness, otherwise we might not have the eyes to perceive it.
Because I am learning that favor isn’t just divine set-ups in Istanbul that having me leaping for joy. Favor also looks like tears and mistakes and growing pains.
You see I have been praying for years for certain things I’ve struggled with to be out of my life, feelings of inadequacy and the need to put on a show. And while I have growth in those areas I still struggle deeply with them, it’s frustrating to me that God won’t just put his finger on it and heal those areas in an instant.
But the older I get the more I realize that Jesus is more interested in the process than he is in the final product. He is more pleased with growth than he is with perfection.
To overcome is far more beautiful than to have never struggled.
There’s something beautiful in the story, in the struggle and the redemption.
So cheers to year 2014, a year of tears, mistakes and failures. But also a year of favor, of extreme joy and of overcoming mountains we never thought we could climb.
Keep believing in His favor, and I promise, you’ll see it everywhere.