During this past year, I relied greatly on StoryHeights and its community, and I cannot help but think to myself, “What if I had not shown up to my first service last September?” “What if I had never joined Sisterhood?” “What if I had never found this community that bolsters my faith on a daily basis?” I know for certain that my story would look a lot different than it does now, and for that, I am truly grateful.
Over the course of this past year, I’ve often found myself surmising that the trials and challenges I have faced are not that unique, that many others too faced unemployment, illness, and grief as a result of the pandemic. There is certainly a tendency for me to think that I am another face in the crowd, just another sheep in the flock, trying to weather these challenges like everyone else. While my experiences of suffering may look similar to many others during this time, I have come to realize that my relationship with Jesus is still unique and personalized to me. God did not look at my story, at my life over the past 12 months and say, “She’s just like all those other 25-year-old girls, I’ll speak to her exactly as I spoke to the others.” I’ve seen and learned, God still comforted me, still befriended me, still loved me in a very personal, individualized, and knowing way. Understanding that the Father’s love for me is not a reaction to my circumstances but rather a celebration of who He has made me into has elevated my faith journey and ultimately my life in such a profound way over this year.
I have come to understand in this past year, that sometimes the best way for me to be in relationship with God is to simply show up. As the pandemic hit and I felt very isolated and lost in my life, all I could do was show up and sit in the presence of the Lord. I did not have the right words, the perfect understanding, or really any vision of how God was using this time to shape my story. Often, I even doubted that He still had His hand on my life. And yet, I trusted that simply showing up in prayer and in faith would be enough. This surrendering of control has shown me over the past year that my story is not about perfectly responding to God’s call on my life. Rather, it is about showing up in complete surrender and trusting that God’s plan for my life will unfold as it is meant to.