“If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?. . . Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.” —Luke 12:28-32
If you haven’t grabbed coffee with me while I shared a blueberry scone and my life story with you, consider these next paragraphs that latte date, because I have some life-story business to talk with you. If you aren’t quite sure God is, you know, there, or maybe you think He’s there, but are certain He doesn’t really have much stake in you, consider this blog post a specific letter to you from Him. (I skipped my class this afternoon so I could complete this assignment from the Holy Spirit, see.) If that previous parenthetical note freaked you out, fasten your seat belt because we’re going to talk supernatural providence, people. It’s good.
Before we get started, though, I need to give you some background information. Prologue, if you will. Let me paint a picture for you; if you can, imagine me at age 12. (Some of you can just shuffle back a decade until you hit braces + frizz and stop there.) Anyway, year 12 was a rough one for me, kind of like year 11 and year 13. See, my mother—my biological mother, that is—died when I was 11 after some three years battling a prescription drug addiction. My father, who struggled with alcoholism, was in prison, and my at-the-time stepmother had just moved out because she couldn’t cope with my father’s absence and two random kids (my little sister Emilee was seven years old.) I was 12, and I lived with a nanny named Robin whom I couldn’t begin to accept and a seven-year-old little sister whom I mothered because I had to. I was 12, and I spent my nights sitting alone in my room, feeling certain that there was nobody in the world who was ever going to love me. I’m telling you all of this not because I want you to feel sorry for me (in fact, please don’t! this is just the beginning of the story!), but because you have to see the hopelessness to see the hope. I need you to understand the depths of the odds to grasp the magnitude of the favor. Imagine the incredible unloveability of a little girl who truly believed she was unloved, and walk with me down the path of loveliness.
I could color you 100 million illustrations—in my life— of the Lord’s protection, guidance, favor, blessing, forgiveness, and on and on. There are little things that I pass by because I’m simply moving too fast to notice, coincidences that are simply not coincidences at all. Then there are the grand gestures of a God who is in love with me and bent on capturing my heart, the times when He asks me to marry Him across the sky. And His banner over me is victory, so much so that I had to run here and share it with you. Okay, back to 12-year-old me. Sidestep the other things, including the braces, and let’s look at her future, or lack thereof. See, I am lucky #5 of six children born to my biological parents (actually, some of them are half-siblings, so consider this the cliff notes version of our family tree and stay with me.) They are all eight+ years older than me, and when I was 12, they’d all already decided college wasn’t for them; I was sure I was going to follow in their footsteps. Addiction, pain, anger, dishonesty: These are the things that Satan told me I had to be subject to because I was number five, because I was a part of this family, and because I was alone. I had no other options; I had no hope, people. But there was something inside of me that told me something different. Boy, that sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? But even when I was 12—even before then, really—I knew I was different, that I could be different. (By the way, here is where I must jump on the tangent wagon and express my utter adoration for my siblings, for watching and being loved by them has absolutely given me the ability to discern wisdom and step right into the hope for my life.) Right around this time, my brother Chris and his wife, Lori, asked me if I wanted to move in with them. They were 26, and they had two little kids, but they felt like they could give me a family. I so desperately longed for a family; a family I got.
Whoops. That was a lot of prologue. But do you get it? Do you see that the Lord was handing me hope—hope of a future of prosperity and goodness? Of course, I’ll have to skip over the next six years, but I spent the second half of my childhood learning how to be a child, how to be a part of a family, and how to be loved. And I was so loved.
But this brings me to the real story, and I promise I will try to start cramming more story into less words. My parents (well, this is confusing, isn’t is? What parents? Generally, when I refer to “my parents,” I mean Chris and Lori, and call my mother and father “my biological parents,” not because I don’t love them, but just because Chris and Lori did my parenting. Drats. Another tangent.) had saved a small amount of money for me after I moved in, and were absolutely 147% confident I’d be going to college somehow. None of us, though, were quite sure how I’d get there, how I’d pay for it, or whether I’d get out alive. We’d never done this, but we were ready. I’ll never forget what my mom told me as I tried to grasp the gigantic-ness of the situation. “We’ll give it to Jesus semester by semester,” she said. “He’ll take care of it as it comes.” That is what we did, and that is how He did it, people. I went to college.
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this.” —Psalm 37:5
I could write a book about the Lord’s providence on me in college ( I decided to write a blog instead.) But I’m showing you this snippet of the story because I got an email the other day that went something like this: “Congratulations, Lindsey! You’ve won the Susan Corvin prize. . . We’ll be depositing more than enough money in your student account for you to graduate college debt-free with money in your savings account. Praise the Lamb!” I’m paraphrasing, but people, that’s what it said to me.
See, there was never a windfall. There was never a moment when I thought, “Oh, well with that scholarship, I’ll be able to pay everything.” But there was never any doubt, because every single semester there was some sort of scholarship that fell into my lap from the heavens; every semester, there would be just enough to cover rent or books or meal plans or whatever it was that seemed outrageously uncoverable. Every semester, we would hand it back over, and every semester, the Lord was faithful. That email meant the very last of it for my senior year was covered, so covered that I had to say, “It’s too much. You can stop blessing me now. It’s just too much more than I deserve.” And He whispers to me, “This is only the beginning, my love.”
“Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].” —Ephesians 3:20
I cannot write how far He’s brought me; the words just do not exist. I cannot communicate the level of the love I’ve been wrapped in, how fiercely I’ve been protected and favored and blessed, how faithful the Lord has been to keep me in Him. To get it across to you, I had to go back, to show you a heart that was in a place so far from such grace that it could only be supernaturally that I’ve been called back. I needed you to see that I had no hope, and I sit here, so completely provided for, in ways that I count on my student account, and ways that I can see when I get to go home to my mom and dad, and it ways I can feel when my precious friends wrap their arms around me, and in ways I can’t describe because it’s simply the pure satisfaction of the presence of God. And it is here, yesterday and today and tomorrow, that I see these things raining down on that little girl: hope and providence, a future that is good, a lovely will, and perfect love. My friends, I have to sing it from the rooftops: God is so good. So, so good.
“When the angel came to her, he said, ‘Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!'” —Luke 1:28