Where Trust is Without Borders

{Editor's Note: this post is quite long, but this is a testimony that's been on my heart the last few weeks and the Lord has been prompting me to share with y'all. I hope you'll find the time to read it in full and that it may encourage you to wait on the Lord's promises, because He will provide!} Oceans

It all started with the song Oceans by Hillsong United. I first heard it the summer before I started law school. Orientation was just days away, my belongings were packed in neat little boxes, and my heart was a mess.

I was terrified. I prayed, and even attempted to negotiate with God - maybe I had misunderstood - maybe law school wasn't right for me. Maybe I was doing it out of selfish reasons. Maybe I would fail. Maybe I would be miserable. The "maybe's" and "what if's" kept me up late into the night, worrying and praying.

You call me out upon the waters The great unknown where feet may fail And there I find You in the mystery In oceans deep My faith will stand

These words have been etched on my heart since the first time I heard the song. I've listened to it on repeat, so many times, I've lost count. Because when I hear these words, something in me stirs - a calling of sorts that this whole law school experience is my walking on water experience. That this isn't about me, but God's name being glorified.

So I went to orientation - a nervous wreck, but nonetheless present. And I felt the fingertips of God in my life - more clearly than ever before.

I thought those first few weeks were the test of my faith. Or perhaps it was the first round of finals. Or the financial aid. Because in HIS time, God came through and He provided. It was a learning experience and I felt my faith strengthened, thinking that if this was it - I could do it. I got comfortable and basked in the glow of the blessings bestowed on me.

Little did I know, all of that was just the beginning. It was like standing on the shore, knee deep, with great waves splashing your face - an illusion that you're wet, but still sinking your toes into the sand for stability.

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. -Matthew 14:29

I think this is one of the greatest moments in the entire Bible, I mean... walking on water?! But, it's not just the defying gravity part that's astounding, it's the trust. Can you imagine how much trust you'd have to have to WALK ON WATER just because someone claiming to be the Son of God told you so?

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger

Interviewing season starts early in law schools - as soon as the Christmas holidays wrap up, law students begin sending out resumes to everyone and anyone hiring summer interns. It's intense. So, I started applying over winter break and got my first interview mid-February.

I went to the first interview. Then the follow-up interview, which turned into a job offer. I was over the moon excited - I had prayed and prayed and here the Lord provided me with an awesome opportunity weeks before any of my classmates even started interviewing. A local job with a small firm, good pay and an opportunity to get a lot of hands-on experience.

Yet, I hesitated accepting. I had also applied for a prestigious fellowship and they were expected to post their results two weeks after I got the job offer. It was an opportunity with a Christian organization and I thought for sure God would want me to have, so I asked for two weeks to think about the job offer.

But, I didn't get the fellowship. Instead of feeling excited about accepting the other job offer, I felt unsettled. So, I took another day to pray about it and seek the counsel of my parents, advisors, friends, and professors.

"Take it!" they all said, noting that it's so rare to have such a great opportunity that's paid and so early in the semester. But, it didn't feel right. So I prayed with a prophet in our church, who saw a vision of me trying to find water in the midst of rocks - God said that I could keep searching for water here, but I would find very little water and just hurt my hands in the process. But, if I walk up just a little further up the shore, I would find an entire lake.

[pullquote width="300" float="left"]The depth and width of your faith experiences are directly proportional to your calling.[/pullquote]

That was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. In the days prior, the same message kept reappearing in my life: sermons, daily devotions, conversations with friends, bible study - all somehow hit on the walking on water passage and the message that in order for God to be able to do great things in our lives, we have to step out in faith and give Him room to do something extraordinary.

So, I went against the advice of my advisers and all common sense and turned down the job. At that point, I had no other opportunities or job offers. I'd sent out my application to dozens of firms and organizations and just finished a round of on-campus interviews (8 interviews in one week!). But, none of the firms had followed up with me. I was frustrated and worried - what if I was wrong? What if there isn't something better out there?

The very next day, a prestigious firm called me back for a call-back interview. The following day, another firm called for a follow-up interview. Then an organization followed up from an interview a month prior to that asking for a phone interview. Four days in a row - four follow-up interview offers.

I was humbled and so excited.

So, I went down to interview for the first two follow-up interviews: fancy firms and attorneys. Nervous and intimidated, I prayed for strength and guidance. I had one interview scheduled for Monday and another for Tuesday.

That Sunday, as I was reading my Bible, I finished the book of Jonah. In the last chapter, Jonah gets frustrated with God that He showed mercy on Nineveh, even after after all of Jonah's work. So, Jonah heads to the desert to sulk. God, seeing Jonah in the hot sun, provides him shelter from the heat with a large plant. Comforted, Jonah goes to sleep, but in the morning he wakes up to see the plant quickly wilting. In response, God pretty much tells him that sulking time was over and Jonah needs to move on to do God's work.

In the margins of my Bible, I scribbled that this would make a great blog post about how sometimes the Lord gives us blessings temporarily when we really need them, but when it's time to move in faith, God takes those blessings away.

Monday, as I drove to my interview, I get a phone call: "Sorry," the attorney said, "We don't need you to come in tomorrow, we've already hired someone else." I nearly cried right there before my interview - how could God give me this opportunity and then just take it away? And then I remembered Jonah and that flower. Clear as day, I understood - I need to keep walking in faith.

[pullquote width="300" float="right"]Whenever Jesus calls someone to get out of the boat, he gives the power to walk on the water.[/pullquote]

So, I kept interviewing. After another half a dozen interviews, I got anther job offer and this one took my breath away. I danced around my living room when I got the call. It was the perfect job - unpaid, but the organization was all sorts of fancy and in an area of law I wanted to work in.

And I thanked God, because this job offer was totally worth stepping out on faith and declining the earlier offer. I could get on board with this, I thought, but just in case, I asked for 24 hours to pray about the offer before accepting.

I considered it a formality though, because I couldn't think of a single reason why I should turn this job down. It was that good. Because hey, it's not every day a girl gets an offer to work for the Department of Homeland Security, right?

Where Trust is Without Borders

But, God wasn't quite done teaching me yet. As I prayed, the excitement wore off and God's voice grew more clear. This is not it, I have something even better for you, my daughter, He prompted as I sobbed and begged Him not to force me to decline this job. I couldn't do it.

Once again though, the Lord spoke clearly to me through His word, preparing me for what's ahead as I prayed and opened my Bible, seeking guidance.

“For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” -Romans 9:17

There was that verse. And then this one:

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” -Isaiah 41:13

They might look like ordinary verses to you, but to me, it was divine intervention. Each place I opened (completely randomly, eyes closed and no bookmarks!) were the same passages and verses that had opened to me over and over when I was praying about law school. The same exact verses. Out of the entire Bible, it was these words that humbled my little heart to its very core.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” -Luke 4:18-19

And as I bawled ugly tears of submission and acceptance, there was a new verse added to the mix:

“God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God. Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; for You render to each one according to his work.” -Psalm 62:11-12

As if someone was standing in the room with me, the words, "The third time is from me," echoed in the silence of my apartment.

So, I called and declined the job offer, explaining what God had showed me and apologizing profusely. The employer was confused but graciously listened, asking bewildered questions about my reasoning for declining the job. It was an awkward conversation, to say the least.

The high I felt afterward can't be explained in words. For a second I imagined I felt a smidgen of what Peter must have felt when his toes first touched the water - the possibilities of what God could do overwhelmed the fear and waves around me as I waited in anticipation for His next move.

Job offer

Two days later, I received a job offer from the Missouri Attorney General's office. The one job I wanted the most, yet had talked myself into believing I would never be hired for as a first year. So, I had worked it into my two-year plan, anticipating that maybe by my second summer of law school, I would be good enough for the job. But, God had something else in mind.

This whole job search experience has shown me how intimately involved God gets in our lives - all the little details that we think are too small for a great God, yet He cares about even more than we do!

Never before had I been so clearly guided by the Lord through each day of my life - His words  telling me what to expect next and how to make decisions before they were even offered to me.

After my first semester of law school, my pride began to peek out and I grew comfortable with my abilities, but with this experience, God showed me that I am here today not for my own ambitions or to prove my abilities. I am here to glorify God's name - that with each of these experiences, He is preparing me for a greater calling, some kind of ministry that requires these specific skills and experiences. Something bigger than me and my dreams.

"He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." -Luke 16:10

Whatever you're going through today - the struggles and triumphs - they are part of a greater picture. We are in training to fulfill our callings, and God is right there with us - putting the right opportunities, Scriptures and people in our lives.

Yes, sometimes, that requires stepping out on faith and leaving the securities that society holds dear. That's where God works best: outside of our comfort zone. And, for the first time, I actually understand what that means and I'm ready to swim out a big deeper, keeping my eyes focused on my God, even as waves threaten to drown me in worry and fear.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters Your sovereign hand Will be my guide Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me You've never failed and You won't start now.


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