Receiving My Tomorrows
I was on an out-of-town business trip when my boss called.
“I want you to attend the working group conference with the team lead.”
“You mean the conference that’s only weeks away? In Hawaii?”
“Yes. I’ll approve your travel orders when you return on Monday.”
I hung up the phone and let out an excited whoop. Only a few days earlier in our division staff meeting, when my team lead mentioned the working group meeting, several co-workers jokingly volunteered to go. However, the boss nipped the banter in the bud when he stated he was the only one who would be attending with the team lead.
I pushed aside my suitcase and sat on the bed. What made my boss change his mind? And why was I, the newest team member, chosen to go?
“Lord, this opportunity is unexpected! The last time I was in Hawaii, for my class reunion, You prompted me to cast my yesterdays into the deep, to let go of the painful adolescent memories that consumed my thoughts and influenced every area of my life. I did let go of those memories…well, for the most part. I sense that You are up to something…”
The Lord didn’t answer me then, but I knew He would in His timing.
When I got back to the office, I chatted with my team lead about travel arrangements. I hoped to sync my travel arrangements with hers; however, she was willing to change hotels. At this late stage in the game, I knew options were limited. I called a dozen of the large hotel chains, but they were booked. On a whim, I decided to call the hotel where I had always dreamed of staying: a luxurious grand old Victorian on Waikiki Beach. When I asked the reservations agent if they offered government rates, I fully expected him to laugh loudly and hang up. My jaw dropped when he said they had two rooms available that fell within our lodging allowance.
“Lord, You are up to something big! I have been enchanted with the Moana Surfrider since I first walked through its lobby when I was a teen! There is absolutely no way I could ever afford to stay there! Now, not only do I get to stay there, I don’t even have to pay for it!”
As the departure date approached, my excitement increased. Each morning, as I journaled my prayers, I asked the Lord to reveal what His purpose was for me traveling back to the island; each morning, there was silence.
One morning, I asked again, “Lord, why are you taking me back to Hawaii? I cast my yesterdays in the deep years ago!” And the thought clearly came to mind: I was going back to “receive my tomorrows.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I knew it was going to be good — real good!
We arrived on a picture-perfect afternoon. The skies were baby blue, with white fluffy clouds. A gentle trade wind offered relief from the heat. As I walked up the steps to the hotel, I had to pinch myself. White rocking chairs lined the deep front porch. A grand staircase with dark hardwood floors flowed into the lobby. Pristine whitewashed beadboard covered the walls and ceiling. The scent of salt air drifted in the large arched glass doors. I was captivated. As I walked to my room in the historical wing, I felt as if I was stepping back in time. My room did not disappoint. It was decorated in vintage style, with colorful Hawaiian-inspired quilted throw pillows. I folded back the plantation shutters and opened the window; my room overlooked the giant banyan tree and offered a snippet view of the Pacific Ocean. I unpacked and settled in with great anticipation.
While my coworker chose to use her free time doing touristy things, I opted to spend my time enjoying my surroundings. I sat in one of the front porch rockers and people-watched. I explored the hotel’s nooks and crannies. I found a sitting area on the top floor, perfect for reading, with a row of open windows overlooking the ocean. However, I spent most of my time lounging on the hotel’s private beach, soaking up the sun, and catching up on my Bible study homework.
As I enjoyed another refreshing and complimentary non-alcoholic fruity drink, I thought about my lesson: believing I am who God says I am. It was easy to scribble down the appropriate answers in the workbook, but applying it — putting feet to the truth and walking it out — was going to be a work-in-progress. I closed my workbook and walked down to the water.
Lord, I’m still waiting. What are You going to do? You know my heart’s desire is to be married again. Am I going to meet my future husband here? Are You going to confirm a career decision I have been praying about? Or something different altogether?
Several days went by and nothing happened; time was running out. I journaled my discouragement in my morning quiet time. I wiped away a tear and turned on the shower to get ready for work.
As I stood beneath the spray, I suddenly became acutely aware of my surroundings. Everything about the bathroom – the color of the tile, the lighting, even the fragrance of the shampoo — was just like the bathroom of our home when I was a teen. Adolescent securities consumed me with a vengeance. Desperate to escape the torment, I turned off the water and yanked back the shower curtain. At that moment, the Lord spoke to my heart, stopping me in mid-step.
“Sharon, you have a choice to make. Are you going to continue to listen to the not-enough tapes you play in your mind, or are you going to believe you are who I say you are?”
I swallowed hard. My critical self-talk began when I was a teen; I was never pleased with the image that peered back at me from the bathroom mirror. My negative self-perception was a stumbling block and prevented me from receiving what the Lord had for me, from being who I was created to be.
Tears flowed down my face. I wiped the fog off the mirror and stared at my image.
“I am who You say that I am, Lord. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am chosen and beloved. I am forgiven and redeemed. I am Yours, created for Your good pleasure and for Your purpose. And I am ready to receive my tomorrows.”
I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
~ Psalm 139:14