Who would have thought that nearly a decade ago, these lovely ladies and about 15 or so others would show up at my house for a bible study and that bible study would morph into what is now Collide! If you don’t know our once upon story, read it here…
We used to meet every other week all together and look at a passage of scripture where Jesus collided with a wounded person and what happened as a result of that collision. As we did that, our own lives ran into Jesus. Each of these women begin to see God differently, themselves differently, and certainly wounded and wounding people differently. Jesus met us in our pain, our insecurities, our wounds, our anger, and our shame and forever changed us. Our “wounded collision” bible study, as we called it, became a very special place for all of us.
This past Sunday these women that I got the privilege to journey alongside while they were college students showed up again at my house for a reunion. What blew my mind is the story that God was writing all along both in these young women’s individual lives and in Collide that were beyond what we could imagine at the time. At the time, we didn’t even imagine a ministry called “Collide.” At the time we didn’t imagine a reach to broken and hurting women all over Whatcom County and beyond. At the time we didn’t imagine a counseling program and a mentoring program and a staff and….
At the time we didn’t imagine marriage and husbands and babies and careers and world travel and adventures and healing and character lessons and God’s faithfulness like these women have now experienced! We didn’t imagine their babies’ faces and coos. We didn’t imagine some of them moving into the middle of nowhere. We didn’t imagine we some would end up in New York City. We didn’t imagine engagements. We didn’t imagine finding true love and grace-filled husbands. We didn’t imagine anxiety, and God taking that anxiety and completely using it to change life directions. We didn’t imagine being nurses and teachers and mamas. We didn’t imagine moving around the world ministering with Hillsong. We didn’t imagine working in politics in Washington DC trying to make this world a better place. We didn’t imagine filming videos for missions in third world countries. We didn’t imagine liking doing 60 mile bike rides. We didn’t imagine care-taking sick parents in our twenties. We didn’t imagine taking in kids in need before we had kids of our own. We didn’t imagine God taking our great pain from a wounded collision and using that to bring about healing for so many others.
See, sometimes we would meet for bible study and request prayer for tests and declaring majors and graduating and trying to figure out what they were doing with their lives. They often felt lost or unsure. Sometimes we would talk about deep things like past abuse and how it was being lived out in the present. We often felt overwhelmed and defeated by pain. Sometimes we would wrestle through boyfriend relationships and the unhealthy patterns that arise in those. They often wondered if they would ever find the “one.” Sometimes we would dream together about what we hoped for in the future. We often had big dreams and wondered if those could come true.
Sitting in my living room at this reunion and looking back over the years, I recall that we had no sense, no clarity, no imagination big enough for the story that God would write in each of our lives. These young women at that time often wondered, begged, pleaded, hoped, grasped, struggled, and wrestled not knowing what would come. Sometimes the unknown came with fear, anxiety, a reliance on past outcomes to be future outcomes, doubt rather than faith. But over and over again these girls chose to run into God and allow Him to meet them, shape them, and guide them. And here they sit ten years later and I am blown away by what God has done in their lives!
The story God is writing for your future is often beyond what you can even imagine. So when you find yourself wondering how God could use your pain for good, remember, that is what He is in the business of doing. When you can’t find your way and you have no idea where you are going, remember God is your guide and He knows what’s on the horizon. When you don’t see how a really broken relationship can be redeemed remind yourself of the Redeemer. When the world and everything around you is changing and it brings about great anxiety, remember God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s character will not change and He promises to walk alongside you writing a story that brings about changing circumstances, relationship, dreams, directions, character and faith.
The story God is writing in your life is beyond what you can imagine today. So don’t let today call you names. Don’t let today get you down. Don’t let today inform your dreams. Don’t let today have the last word. Don’t let today scare you into paralytic fear. Don’t let today keep you discouraged. God’s tomorrow is beyond what you can imagine for yourself. Hold on to the great story He can and will write in your life. As God continues to write a story beyond what I can imagine in the life of Collide, I trust He will do the same for you and I! – Willow