Weekday Devotionals

This Sunday, Pastor Pete emphasized the importance of sharing our personal testimony, so I will share one of mine with you…

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. It’s called life.

Take a trip with me for a few moments- to 2017. A time when God called me to surrender. Like a for real, real surrender. Not a “surrender your daily habit of Hagen Dasz Caramel cone ice cream” type of surrender. But, a risky one. One that could cost everything. A complete career change.

Picture a fork in the road with two paths ahead of me: to the left, I stay the current course on a smooth and straight, clear path filled with dollar bills dangling from the trees. To the right, I embark on a new journey that looks rocky and foggy with uncertainty looming in the air. One is safe. One is risky. One leads to money. One leads to God. Can you guess which one I chose?

The one with the money, of course! I’m kidding. Like a good daughter should, I listened to my Father. I switched to a career where I would be making a third the money I was currently making. Why? Well, because when God says go, you go. I didn’t want to miss the journey He had ahead for me. I’d love to tell you that it was all butterflies and daisies when I followed God’s leading, but that wouldn’t be true. I have learned something of God’s character these last 7 years. God is not safe. Yes, he protects. But He does not play it safe. He enjoys risk. Not necessarily a reckless risk, but an adventurous risk.

So I did it. I decided to become a teacher. It was extremely difficult. Mostly because of all the “undoing” God was doing within my mind and soul. Everything I thought I knew about success and purpose was being turned upside down on its head. It was also extremely beautiful. Like a puzzle, piece by piece, God was slowly revealing to me who He created me to be. Teaching me about what actually matters in life. Everything was going great… until it wasn’t.

In 2021, I was unexpectedly let go from my job as a teacher two days before the Christmas break. Have you ever been hit by a 4x4 piece of wood in the stomach? Me neither. But what I felt in that moment was pretty close to that.

I was devastated. Up to that point, I had never been in a situation where I wondered if God had got it wrong. I felt angry, abandoned, and discouraged. Why would a loving God take me here if it was all going to fall apart? Why would he allow me to struggle and hurt like this?

On Sunday, we learned that a significant part of our spiritual development focuses on learning how to deal with discouragement. Do we shove it down and not talk about it to save face? Do we hide from the world until we no longer feel? No… but I do think the healing process can look different for each of us. It’s vital we allow God to be the one who helps us heal from the sting that life can bring. Through His spirit, He will help us with those feelings of discouragement, abandonment, and pain if we allow Him to.

In Exodus we hear Moses say, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

My life wasn’t in danger like the Israelites, but I was at a crossroads like them. The Lord fought for them, and He fights for us today. He redeemed me from the betrayal and bitterness I was experiencing from my sudden job loss. He even turned it into something I thought only existed in a dream. I’m on the other side of it now, and looking back I would not change a single thing. All of it led me to where I am today. Every morning before I get out of my car to walk in to work, I pray “Thank you Lord for this place. It is a gift.” Life is not a destination, but a journey. We just have to trust Him and trust His process. Remember Romans 8:28, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Raquel Simmons




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