As I sit here on my bed with dozens of my handwritten journals sprawled before me, tears of joy and feelings of complete awe overwhelm my thoughts. In these journals, I have attempted to capture my feelings and the events of the past year. I am filled with a sense of wonder at God’s faithfulness throughout my personal journey. What a year it has been! Never in my life have I felt closer to God as He has revealed His purpose for my life. There are no words to adequately express how God has worked in my life and how He has been teaching me to trust in Him and to wait on Him for direction.
Throughout my life, I have always “trusted” God. I grew up in church and have always been taught that He would guide me and that He loved me beyond what I could even comprehend. But this year, for the first time, I had to put that knowledge into practice. It was the first time I really, truly had to trust God by fully surrendering and allowing Him to lead me where He wanted me to go.
So let’s back up. This past year, I was one of the contestants on the dating reality TV show, The Bachelor. I know… not exactly the place you would expect to find a passionate, committed Christian. However, as strange as it seems, I knew wholeheartedly that that’s where God was calling me. Through a series of amazing and clear signs from the Lord (story for another time), I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that God had me there for a reason. I was MEANT to be there, and I knew it with my whole being. However, as exciting as that thought was, I was also terrified. I knew this setting would be completely different than my close-knit Christian community at home. I also knew that my story (having never been kissed… something the show has never seen before) would be something that was emphasized and, frankly, made to be a spectacle of disbelief in a world that is so drawn to sexuality. So… all of this swirling through my head, I said yes to an offer to be on the Bachelor and a week and a half later I was thrown into the fire. My prayer going into this adventure and throughout the journey was, “God this is for you. Lead me in any way you want. I am fully yours and trust you 100%.” Then off I went into the unknown trusting that God would lead me along the way.
Throughout the entire process, I grew closer and closer to God every day. I was praying more than I ever had and was seeking guidance from the word of God on a daily basis. In a time when I should have been the most unsure and anxious, God gave me a peace that He was in control and that He was guiding me. Week after week went on, and I had the time of my life because I was so reliant on the Lord and knew that, whatever the outcome, my future was fully in His hands. He instilled a supernatural peace in me that I experienced more powerfully than ever before. It was a peace that didn’t make sense. It was a peace that didn’t align with my situation but aligned with my complete trust in the Lord. I was able to release all my worries and anxieties onto Him because of my confident trust that He was going to work out my situation according to His will. It was Him who had me there, so I knew that He was going to lead me through. Because I knew my purpose so deeply and had experienced the power of my God at work, my fears went away. I was able to trust that, even if I was made to be an absolute fool (at some points this did happen, lol), God was in it and this situation WAS going to be used for His glory, even if I wasn’t aware of what that would look like at the time.
So each passing week, I waited and waited on God to guide me. I told Him to guide my conversations with everyone I encountered, from the girls on the show to the production team. I wanted to show His light to everyone I met and be like Christ to others. My plan was not to be pushy but to let God open doors when He wanted to, because that’s how I got here in the first place. Let me tell you, God had more in store than I expected. I was able to have countless intentional conversations about Jesus, and they weren’t me preaching or planning or being nervous about how I was going to present the gospel. They were raw, vulnerable conversations about life that naturally led to our core belief systems. These conversations were so eye opening because, for the first time, I wasn’t nervous about how or what I was going to say to people and how I was going to convince them to follow Jesus. It was purely a heart to heart conversation with another human being, created in the image of God, and I was fully depending on Him to guide the conversation. The crazy thing was, it took me being in a place where I was fully uncomfortable and out of control to feel free and confident. It seems so counter-intuitive but, for the first time, I felt bold. For the first time, I fully surrendered to God (without a backup plan) and I experienced true freedom.
Today, I am in a season of my life that is so incredible but comes with its own challenges. I feel like God wants to continue to use my situation but, to be honest, I don’t know what that looks like. Yet again I have been in a season of waiting, and I’ve heard God speak that more clearly than ever before. I have been praying and seeking for God to direct and show me exactly what He wants me to do next, but sometimes that answer is just, WAIT. In the waiting, I have caught myself wanting to take back control of my life and do things in my own way and time. I have allowed doubt to creep in, and it started making me question if I was actually hearing God correctly or if I was just making it all up in my head. I had gotten to the point where I was so confused about what I was supposed to do that I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore. I did the only thing I could think of and got in the car (with no music on, quite a rare thing for me) and started crying out to God, “GOD, SPEAK. Just please speak. Say something.” I turned into the gas station and got out to get a Gatorade (which I never do but felt like I needed to make some purpose out of the drive) and, as I was getting out of the car, I prayed, “Just give me a way to serve you right now in this gas station. That is what I want for my life so please just show me that you’re here with me.” I walked in and picked up trash on my way inside (thinking that could be the way I was serving, lol), got my Gatorade and got in line still thinking something was going to happen. As I stepped in line, I heard a beeeep from the cash register like the credit card wasn’t working for the guy in front of me. In my head I was like “no way this is happening God.” Again he tried and the same beep and then one more time. Literally, I am like “c’mon God this can’t be real! I mean, how often does this happen? He must have cash on him or another card.” Then the cashier says, “Sorry I don’t know what else to do,” and the guy starts to walk out. I knew that God had heard me and He had given me that moment to serve him by serving others. So, I said, “well, okay, thank you God! Here I go,” and offered to pay for the man’s items. When I left that gas station, as simple as this was, I knew I had just had an encounter with God and he so specifically showed me that not only was he listening to me but that I was hearing him and walking the path he had for me. I knew that, even though I was confused about God’s plan, He is still guiding me and leading me even now.
The crazy thing is, now when God says, “wait,” it doesn’t scare me as much. After going through such a crazy experience and seeing how God was so faithful through everything, I have grown in my confidence in Him. I realized that it’s easy to say the almost cliché line, “God has a plan.” but not truly believe it in your heart or not allow God to have so much control of your life that you have to trust Him completely. No no no! God allowed me to go through an experience that caused my whole mindset to shift. I now believe with my full heart that God is in control and, no, that does not mean that everything is going to go my way and if I trust him he is going to lead me into wealth and riches. What it means is that God has a plan for my life that may not look like my own plan, but it is so much better! It may not look better from a worldly standpoint but God knows what we need more than we do, and I fully trust now that if God says wait or no, that He has a plan that is so much better for me and better for His kingdom. I’ve learned to believe that God can do wonderful things with our lives if we just take a risk and give up control to Him. It is not until we fully surrender and trust Him that we will see what is possible only through Him. So right now, God has me in a time of waiting but, you know what? That’s okay. It actually makes me excited! Do I still get frustrated and think my plan is right and wish God would follow my plan? Of course! But, I always go back to God’s faithfulness and know that I want to be a part of His story, not for Him to be a part of mine.
Even still, I trust you, Lord.
My Prayer for you is this… that you step out of your comfort zone in whatever way God is calling you to in your life and you take that leap of faith to trust God with your whole life. It’s not easy by any means, but I promise when you surrender to God and listen for his guidance, He will lead you into a deeper relationship and reliance on him that brings more joy and peace than you ever thought possible. So live your life for Jesus and wherever he has you, use that place to show His love to the world.
Heather Martin was a contestant on Colton Underwood’s season of the Bachelor. She lives in San Diego, California and in her free time you can catch her at the beach with her friends and her two sisters (who also double as her best friends.) Her main passion in life is to spread the love of Jesus to everyone she meets and to make sure everyone has a friend.
Follow Heather on Instagram @heatherm22