Now I Know
The early morning sunbeams streamed across the blank page of my prayer journal.
I journal my prayers with God. I vent concerns and process clouded thoughts. I spew lament and reeling emotions. I document God’s steadfast faithfulness, abundant favor and overflowing blessings. Inked words offer up praise, adoration and reverence. I journal my prayers so I will remember my struggles in the hard places and the sweetness of victory.
Each entry is my story, written for no one but me to my Heavenly Father. Sometimes in these intimate moments with the Lord, in mid pen-stroke, He chooses to give profound clarity, unquestionable knowing, and keen perspective.
This particular morning, my words were slow in coming. I was distracted by the awakening day. A house wren sang loudly from its place deep within the branches of the magnolia tree. A male cardinal peeped as he hopped beneath the bird feeder while his mate darted between low-lying crepe myrtle branches. A box turtle slowly made its away across the yard. Squirrels scurried around the trunk of the old live oak tree, causing a ruckus as they bickered and barked. A tantalizing scent of lavender and damp earth drifted on the morning breeze.
The soft sunbeams on my page caught my attention. As I picked up my pen, a dove cooed; I paused. The low cadence of the gentle call stirred an acute awareness: I am at peace. Gratefulness radiated from depths of my soul. Excitement stirred; I was ready to discover where the morning’s ponderings will take me.
I write the first words that come to mind: I am grateful for the times the Lord answered no to my prayers. Indeed, time and trust have changed my perspective. While there have been countless yeses and abundant blessings, it has been the nos that have brought radical changes to my life’s direction. God said no to children. More than anything, I wanted to be a mother. For seven years, my husband and I tried to conceive. There were monthly doctor’s visits, detailed charting of my irregular cycle, dozens of tests, outpatient procedures and expensive fertility medications. Twice, I conceived; one ended with emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy; the other in a miscarriage in my eleventh week. In my last doctor’s visit, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m not sure why you aren’t getting pregnant.”
I now know: the Lord closed my womb to protect me. Shortly after that last doctor’s visit, my husband walked out. Since there were no children, I didn’t have to deal with custody visits or co-parenting issues. The emotional ties to my ex were quickly and cleanly severed…and were final.
God said no to restoring my marriage. My early prayer journals are filled with desperate pleas for the Lord to restore my marriage.
I now know: the Lord loved me enough to break my heart. He removed me from what I thought was a loving marriage so that He could lavish me with His perfect love. His love is unfailing, unending and relentless.
God said no to a federal job. When my workplace on the local military base closed in 2010, I retired under discontinued service. Even though the Lord provided an amazing job opportunity with a federal contractor, I was desperate to get rehired as a federal employee. I applied for any job that was posted, but nothing ever panned out.
I now know: the Lord was working out His perfect plan for my future. As a contractor, my salary increased rapidly, greatly surpassing a government wage. In addition, my annuity was a bonus check each month. The increased income allowed me to build my savings, take care of major home improvements, and pay off my mortgage early. The Lord positioned me financially to retire, without anxiousness, when my contract position unexpectedly ended in 2021.
God said no to remarriage. For decades after my divorce, I desperately desired to meet a godly man and get married.
I now know: the Lord was teaching me to depend on Him alone. While I longed for companionship, I also longed for someone to take care of me financially, physically and spiritually. Experience has proven God is faithful to meet, and surpass, every single one of my needs. And He wants to be my First Love.
Sometimes I will read my old journals. As I read the pages filled with lament, longings, and desperate pleas, I find myself saying “yes, but that was when God...!”
God is faithful in the small details and the big things; the adventures and the mundane; the yeses, nos, and even in the seasons of wait.
My story is filled with God’s greater story. As long as I live I will have the pen of a ready writer. I will testify of His faithfulness to redeem, restore, renew and revive. Because now I know.
My heart is moved with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
~ Psalm 45:1