Birthdays, Lebron James and God’s Voice

imageThe moment I’m sharing with you today is one that has been in progress for a while. I delayed in sharing it because I didn’t feel like I had quite the right words … even now I’m stumbling through. It’s the classic writer’s dilemma. It’s the line we all walk between sharing our personal revelations as we walk a journey out and just sounding plain crazy! “Type, type, type, words, words, words, ugh (puts face in hand), backspace, backspace, backspace” …
A few days ago I had a friend over. We were talking about being in the midst of a walk of trust and surrender with the Lord. I shared with her that the constant challenge I face is staying engaged in the process. It’s very easy to believe you are walking out trust and faith when really you have your head buried in the sand with your eyes closed tight waiting for the storm to pass. Sometimes its hard to tell the difference in which path you’re on. I’ve found that the true indicator of where I am is in what I express out loud I believe my outcome will be. It’s a whole lot easier to adopt the “we’ll just wait and see” mentality. It gives your expectations a scapegoat. What I’ve found true about this process is the same thing I find that’s true about relationships. If you never place any expectation or trust in a relationship, then it’s ok if it doesn’t pan out. It alleviates the opportunity to be disappointed. But when you place expectation on something or someone you not only give opportunity to be let down, but you get the opportunity to be wrong. You get the opportunity to see the beauty in trusting in something other than yourself. It’s scary and rewarding all at the same time. What I have found is that as I allow this process to happen and I look for things to happen that I give place for God to speak and grow not only who I am but who I believe He is.
For months I feel like I have been seeing the number 23 everywhere. It’s my birthday number (6/23), so I just assume it’s a number that naturally pops out to me. But recently I’ve felt like I can’t get away from it. At work, on tv, on my phone, 23 is everywhere. We were at church a few weeks ago where our pastor was talking about the different ways God speaks. It’s something I know but it was so good to be reminded again of the different avenues of His voice. He shared several stories, one being of a certain number he couldn’t get away from. Immediately 23 popped in my head. I knew God was up to something but I just couldn’t pin down what. Fast-forward to Father’s Day. Jonah and I were out to breakfast with the two girls. As we sat talking I was noticing the abundance of Cavs gear everyone was wearing. “Is game seven tonight?” I asked, “Yes.” Jonah said signaling the NBA coverage on every TV around us. Well that made a lot more sense, I thought. As we continued talking I was staring off out the front doors to all the people waiting to be seated. I noticed a tall man who was head and shoulders above everyone else. He had his back to us displaying his James jersey. Of course Lebron James is number 23. Hmm, there it is again, I thought. I then thought back to Jim’s message the week before about God speaking through numbers. 23 … James 23. Well there is a James in the Bible, but not a chapter 23. What about James 2:3? I thought maybe I was on to something so I pulled up my Bible app on my phone and scrolled to the verse. I read it and laughed out loud. Jonah asked what I was doing. I told him and showed him my phone. James 2:3 is basically correcting people for preferring those who they perceive to be important over people that appear worthless. Jonah laughed,”Ha, it’s a rubuke.” I laughed, it was worth a shot. We carried on with the rest of our day enjoying time doing things Iyla, I mean Jonah, wanted to do for Father’s Day. Later in the afternoon we met up with some family at Jonah’s parents house. We had a great time hanging out and I had a good laugh with my sister-in-law over my earlier encounter. Later on as we were leaving we were pulling out of the drive way, and this large pick up truck was sitting on at the curb. We backed out to pull around it and as we do Jonah says, “babe, not James 2:3, James1 2:3”, signaling a sticker on the cab of the truck. I quickly pulled out my phone with a hunch at what it said. I found the verse. and shouted, “Jonah! This is it!” James1 2:3 ” Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be found complete, lacking nothing.” There it was! A set of verses I have been quoting over and over again over the past months as I walk this thing out. You may think I’ve gone looney tunes on you, but it gave me the next deep breath of air I needed to continue down this path. You could say it’s just coincidence, the jersey, my birthday. Sure, it could be, but I also believe that God knows my end from my beginning. Couldn’t God have called me forward to be born on June 23rd knowing that 32 years later, in the month of June, I would need to hear the words, “keep faith, this thing is coming”. I guess I’m just crazy enough to think so. It’s like my pastor said, “not everything means something, but somethings mean more than others”. In this case I’m choosing to believe that this something means a little more. That next week as Jonah and I sat at dinner reflecting on the things of the previous week, he said, “you know you’re turning 32 …” , “yes …” , I said curiously. “Well you know that 32 backwards is 23.” Lol … Even crazier sounding, but it makes it all that much better. We had a good laugh about it and settled on the fact that we’re so grateful for God’s gentle guiding voice through this journey. He’s not forcing me to be a part of it. I don’t have to be. But as I accept His invitation I am learning more and more about the nature of the Father and how trust is not one loud statement, but a whisper that lingers through everyday.

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