“God, what am I supposed to do?” I prayed through tears as I rocked my newborn. Fresh off the heels of a divorce, I was devastated and desperate to understand what good could come from my worst nightmare. I had so many dreams and goals for my life, and being a single mom was not one of them. As I continued to beg Him to show me what’s next, I heard Him say “share your story”… “Wait, what?” I thought, “ummm God, my story is a hot mess. My circumstances aren’t going to encourage anyone…. Why would you want me to share it?”
The truth is, I was riddled with shame. Being a pregnant woman in the Bible belt meant I was constantly asked about “my husband”, only to be reminded and have to inform well meaning strangers (many, many times) that I didn’t have one. Why would God want me to share this on my platform? I vividly remember Him saying “your story isn’t about you… but what you allow Me to do through you.”
So, I did. Even though my current circumstance didn’t look promising to the world, I shared the hope that God had given me through Ephesians 3:20… that even in your toughest seasons, even when life wasn’t going according to your plans, you could trust that He would do “abundantly more” than you could ask, think, or imagine. As I walked in obedience with sharing my story and the truth about who God is despite what our circumstances look like, He continued to open doors to opportunities I could have never thought to ask for, and put me in rooms I couldn’t have dreamed of.
What He has continued to teach me and convict me in is this – your circumstances don’t dictate your future. If anything, it’s His kindness to bring us low, teaching us how to steward what He’s given us, and how to depend on Him when we have a little, before raising us up to walk in the abundance He has for us.
Still, I found myself often asking for more. I had big dreams, big plans, and more belief than ever that He could bring them to fruition. Now, it’s one thing to make your requests known to God, and it’s another to fixate on them, ignoring what He’s given you for the things you want Him to. As I prayed for the abundance I knew He had in store, He whispered… “if I answered your prayers tomorrow… would you be ready?”.
Friend, have you ever found yourself wanting what God has for you so badly, that you view your current circumstance as something that’s preventing you from it rather than preparing you for it? Yeah, same. What encourages me in these moments is the story of Joseph and how overnight, God took him from prison, to a position of power.
Joseph had a pretty “unfair” life, yet continued to faithfully serve his fellow prisoners with his gift of dream interpretation – even after being forgotten about by the cup bearer. Two years later the cup bearer remembered, and Joseph was summoned by Pharaoh to interpret his dream, which resulted in him being put in a position of power over Egypt.
Did you read that? Overnight, Joseph went from being in prison, which I could imagine felt like rock bottom, to being recognized for his God-given gifts and set in a place of power by the Pharaoh. The difficult seasons he endured was not a punishment – it was preparation – and the same is true for you. Even at your lowest, the Lord is preparing you for something better than you could ask, think, or imagine. Trust me, I know when things don’t go according to plan, it’s easiest to focus on our disappointment, which is where the enemy sneaks in and plants seeds of fear, self-doubt, regret, bitterness, resentment, or whatever else you’re wrestling with right now. I’m begging you – do not let them take root. This very season has a supernatural purpose, to prepare you for something better.
I want to challenge you today to consider – if, like Joseph, your situation were to change to best case scenario tomorrow, what would you do differently today? How would you carry yourself, what would you prioritize, and where would you spend your time? I know it can be tempting to make a plan to get out of your current situation… but I need you to believe with me that God’s going to do something even better. He’s going to elevate your faith, and your future through it.
Two years after sharing my story online, God has not only completely changed my circumstances and allowed me to use the gifts He’s given me for a living, He reconciled the marriage of my ex-husband and I, and we live as a family with our almost 3 year old in Nashville, Tennessee. He has truly done abundantly more than my wildest imagination – and it’s His kindness to do it in a way I could never take credit for myself.
I would have laughed (and cried) if you had told me years ago that now, I’m grateful that I experienced the pain, struggle and heartbreak that I did. I can see how it was perfect preparation for empathizing with and encouraging women going through a struggle I never would have otherwise understood. I’m able to fight for my marriage and the marriages of others with a passion I never would have had. I can be a cheerful, generous giver – with gratitude I wouldn’t have if my card had never gotten declined at the grocery store while holding my newborn.
I promise you, friend. He has a bright, abundant future planned for you, and each day you feel far from it is an opportunity to ask Him “what do you have for me today?”. It will stretch you beyond your comfort zone and force you to go deeper in your faith than you ever would have if life had gone according to your plan but I promise you… His plans are so much better than you could imagine.
Share your story. Trust His plan. Take the leap of faith. And if you need a friend along the way… you know where to find me.
Sarah Hallas Lima is an author, speaker and founder of Abundantly More Community, a space for women to connect, be poured into and empowered to walk in the fullness God has for you. After seeing the power of social media radically change her life and impact millions of others, she now helps multi-passionate entrepreneurs steward their social media platforms and use their God-given gifts to increase their impact and their income online. Her story has been featured in Yahoo News, RightNow media, and Woman’s Day magazine.
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