Hi there! My name is Melissa and I’m 26 this year. I was born a Catholic, raised as one, but only really had my first encounter with God a few years ago. That encounter left an appetite of curiosity and thirst to know more about God and my journey towards discipleship gradually began from there. I’m a full-time freelancer and for many in my social circles, that’s a path less travelled. It has inevitably made me compare my successes and financial stability to my friends who have permanent jobs and who seem to be climbing their own corporate ladders. I have often asked myself, “What ladder am I climbing? Am I really getting anywhere?”
I frequently feel left behind, watching my friends settle down and getting the keys to their new homes. But I’m quick to rationalise why I’ve chosen this path: I want to be independent. I’ve been hurt by my previous employers who had time and again taken advantage of me, used me and even lied to me. I don’t ever want to be hurt like that again. To cope, I passed the blame to Jesus. “Jesus, I thought I’d prayed about these jobs? You said you’d be with me no matter what. How did I find myself in these situations? I trusted you.”
I started to put a gap between the Lord and I, afraid to cooperate with His grace or seek His counsel for my career choices. But it seemed that no matter how wide or far I felt from Him, I always desired Him. In the moments I believed He wouldn’t show up, He always proved me wrong. Jesus is relentless in His love. I was previously asked to pray for a stranger but having not exercised prophetic prayer in so long and given my “dry spiritual state”, I doubted if the Lord would even use me as His vessel of truth for this stranger. As I closed my eyes and invited the Holy Spirit, a very vivid and moving image played in my mind. I shared it with him and to my surprise, it was a perfect reflection of how he’d been feeling and struggling for many months. I thought to myself, “The Lord still speaks through me. He still desires to use me!”
More recently, my community participated in a creative activity (learning a choreography) together and after having practiced it several times, we were invited to let Jesus speak and minister to us through our movements. As I worked through the slow dance, I was given an outlet to acknowledge and express my disappointments, my failings and my stumbling – over and over again. I heard the Lord say, “I see you.” Jesus is the good shepherd who tears through sharp and thorny bushes to find me – His sheep who often finds herself in troublesome situations.
Through the months of trying to stamp out whispered lies in my head, harboured doubts and unending fear, the Lord has repeatedly convicted me of the truth that I am beloved by Him and that He will finish whatever good work He has begun in my life, uncommon path or not. Slowly, He is teaching me again, how to cooperate with His grace more and to seek His counsel in areas I struggle to let go of. Our Lord is a promise keeper and way maker. Romans 8:28 reads: “God works with those who love Him, those who have been called in accordance with His purpose, and turns everything to their good.”
Is there an area in your life that you’ve made decisions in to protect yourself from experiencing hurt again? Do you believe that Jesus’ love for you is relentless? And like the good shepherd, He will tear through sharp and thorny bushes to find you too? I invite you to offer up your struggles to the Lord again today, to hold nothing back from He who is eternally trustworthy, safe, and constant. In doing so, I pray that you will find the peace, consolation and hope you are searching for.
God bless you.