Letting Go and Listening

I have known Trina for so many years. We first met in a bible study we were in with 7 other couples that lasted for 5 years. What a sweet time of sharing life together! She is now on the Collide team and leads our worship team, planning and dreaming….I love Trina’s authenticity and her laugh has me giggling for hours. She radiates joy and strength and you will see that here as you read her story. – Willow

There I was, sitting at my kitchen table staring at a bowl full of apples. I had just finished reading a letter from my former fiancé urging me to forgive him for things in the past and give him yet another chance. Really, the nerve of him! I had a wedding dress in my closet that would never be worn, I had to face all those people in humiliation to tell them the wedding was off, and he had the audacity to ask me for a second chance. It had taken me months to not feel physically ill every time I thought of my situation and to stop replaying events in my head over and over again. You know us women, we don’t forget anything! How could I have been so naïve and how could he have stooped so low to have treated me this way? Then again, he must be feeling really bad about the way things ended and he did mention in his letter that he was a changed man. He had gotten counseling and he truly wanted a new start. Hmmm, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to write him back and just start a conversation. After all, perhaps it was in God’s will that we came back together again…what a testimony we would be able to share together.

That is when I heard it, loud and clear. As I was staring at that bowl of apples, I heard God say, “It only took one bite of an apple to change the plans that I had for my people.” What? Did I really just hear that? It wasn’t an audible voice but I knew deep in my spirit that God had just given me a talking to and I was going to listen. You see, I had heard this voice before and I had chosen not to listen and the consequence was very painful. I had wanted to take control because things were not happening on my time frame and I thought I knew better than God. Let’s rewind to a time 2 years earlier in order for you to better understand why I chose right then and there that this time I was going to listen.

I had just come back from a weekend of being in my 7th wedding as a bridesmaid, yes, you read that right. I had every bridesmaid dress imaginable from robin’s egg blue to sea foam green and despite what they had all said, I hadn’t worn any of them again. This was the last wedding of all my closest girlfriends and my dearest childhood friend was trying to be funny but didn’t realize that she would be sending me into a downward spiral when she exclaimed, “and then there was one” while looking right at me. Upon my return home, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and I cried out to God about how miserable I was in my single life. Didn’t he know that my desire was to be married and have a family? During that vulnerable moment, I felt that God was telling me not to rush things but to be patient. I read Jeremiah 29:11 over and over again knowing that God did have a purpose and plan for my life but it was just taking too long. I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to have a ring on my finger before I started attending baby showers that I was bound to get invitations to in the very near future. This was the perfect opportunity for my on-again-off-again boyfriend of 10 years to enter the picture.

Fast forward through a whirlwind reconnection that resulted in an engagement 4 months later. Never mind that I had felt God telling me the last time my ex and I had parted ways that this was not in His plan for my life. With every ounce of my being, I knew that I was making a big mistake but I pushed through that gut check and decided that I was taking control of my life and ending this singlehood season. In a few short months, I had managed to become someone that my friends couldn’t recognize. I was compromising on things that I swore I never would and I alienated family and friends who tried to give me wise counsel. The desire to have a lifelong companionship outweighed the red flags that were waving like crazy and on a cold December day, my world imploded and it was a long, hard, and ungraceful fall down. I never knew that someone could cry as much as I did those next few months that followed. Friends and family rallied to my side to help distract me from my pain but I fell into a deep depression that took me several months to escape. I will forever be thankful for those who loved me at my most vulnerable moment and prayed me out of that darkness and back into a place of joy, peace, and most of all, forgiveness.

Now, back to the apples at my kitchen table 2 years later. After hearing God’s strong rebuke, I decided it was best to not take that bite and I chose not to reply back to my ex-fiancé’s letter. I realized that when I ignored God’s prompting to be patient with His plan for my life years earlier, I was in a sense questioning God’s character and doubting who He said He was. I was reminded of the promises in the Bible that told me how much He loved me and how He had great things in store for me. If God created me in my mother’s womb, how could He not know me and the desires of my heart? I was finally ready to wait on His direction for my life. It wasn’t easy to do and almost daily I had to surrender my own plans before His feet. I still cried out in frustration A LOT and I knew it would be a difficult road, but I had a peace that in the end it would be worth it. I even decided right then and there to enjoy what He had for my life that day. I didn’t have to be married or have kids to be used by Him and I certainly was tired of being the “Debbie Downer” at my own life party. I was filled with encouragement, excitement, and hope for what was in my future.

It has been 17 years since I had that bowl full of apples experience and I am so thankful that I listened to God’s prompting that day and released the control of my life to Him. In doing so, I was able to do things in my life that I normally would have never had the courage to do without the strength and peace I felt from following God’s lead instead of trying to run ahead of Him. I traveled, lived in three different states, and eventually did marry in my thirties. My husband, Kevin, was so worth the wait and he is a true example of unconditional love and someone that I trust with my whole heart. How we met is an amazing example of God’s faithfulness but I will leave that story for another day. ☺ We became parents much later than most of my friends and I find it comical that most of my classmates have college age children and I have 8 and 10 year old boys. Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way and am thankful for God’s perfect timing. I still have my moments when I become impatient and have taken control of situations and messed things up in my life. In those moments, I am reminded of that bowl and I decide to put the apple that is in my hand back in the bowl. Remember, God is for you and He has mighty things in store for your life. His plan is different for you then it is for someone else. Be patient, put the apple back in the bowl, and get ready for an amazing, one of a kind adventure.

-Trina

 

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