Not ‘Disjecta Membra’!

I can explain...
I can explain…

You have my word I will explain the meaning of that Latin phrase in the title, but first, I have to tell you the story of how Os Guinness came to preach at my church on Palm Sunday in 2012, and managed to knock over the first domino in a series of events that would alter the course of my life!

Os is a noted author and social critic with a doctorate in Philosophy.  His book, A Free People’s Suicide, Sustainable Freedom And The American Future is next on my list of books to read.  Despite his sheer brilliance and scholarship, the adorable Irish accent, his humility, and the ability to effectively communicate and translate the world of scholarship to ordinary life all combine to make Os really easy to listen to, and not have his words fly over your head like a supersonic jet.

Ostensibly, (see what I did there?), the subject of his sermon on that fateful Palm Sunday was the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, but somewhere in the middle of his talk he quickly quoted a verse from the Bible and suddenly, in my head, there was the sound of screeching tires and squealing brakes!  Wait!  Whaaaaaa……t did he just say?  Os moved on with his talk and it took everything in me not to jump out of my seat, waving my arms wildly to get his attention.  “Hold on there! Did you just read that out of the Bible?  Because I’ve read the book of Acts umpteen times and I do not remember seeing that in there!”

“For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.”  Acts 13:36 New International Version

 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, …” Acts 13:36 New Revised Standard Version

 “For David, after he had served God’s will and purpose and counsel in his own generation…” Acts 13:36 Amplified Bible

 Tell me one thing, …any thing at all, that you could achieve, accomplish, or acquire in the entire span of your life on this planet that could possibly be worth more, be more significant, more important, or matter at all more than this accolade which David received at the end of his earthly life, and the beginning of his eternal life in the presence of God!

To this day I have no idea what the rest of the sermon was about.  I have loved God and wanted to do His will since I was a little girl, aware of what our ‘Christianese’ language describes as His ‘general will’.  I was living a good life; working, going to and serving at church, reading the Bible, praying volunteering, spending time with friends…all the things that I knew were right to do, and are right to do.    However, until that fateful Sunday, I could not remember ever having consciously framed my every choice or decision in the context of ‘serving the purpose of God in my generation’.

Of course, this is not about stopping to pray and ask God if I should go to the bathroom now, or put the garbage out tomorrow.  Instead, it is about living each day deeply aware that,

“Our life occurrences are not disjecta membra – scattered, disconnected and accidental fragments.  In God’s book all these events were written beforehand, when as yet there was nothing in existence but the plan in God’s mind – to be fashioned in continuance in actual history…”  from George Muëller of Bristol And His Witness To A Prayer-hearing God  by Arthur T. Pierson

 “…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

 Ann Marie……..32,850 days

I am willing to bet good money, that is not how ‘the days ordained for me’ are written in His book!  (Lord knows I am praying that number is wrong too because I long for Jesus to return waaaaay before I have seen that many days!)  David continues:

 “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand…”  Psalm 139:17-18

 I believe God wrote down all the details of my life, and yours …every single one, …all of it, … the good, the bad, and the ugly, ‘before one of them came to be’.

 Consider the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), …except… Mary lived in Nazareth (Luke 1:26), but ‘somehow’ she ends up engaged to a man who was from the lineage of David (Luke 1:27).  So when Caesar Augustus, who did not know God, the prophecy, Joseph, or Mary from Adam, ‘decides’ to impose yet another tax, Joseph is required to report to the city of David (Luke 2:1-6).  Mary is about nine months pregnant, is now forced to travel away from home, and gives birth to her baby where?  In Bethlehem!  Not disjecta membra!

 And, consider one of those shepherds out in the field that night Jesus was born, commiserating and complaining about what a failure he had become in life.  He was at the very bottom of every socio-economic ladder and going nowhere.  If only…  Then suddenly, the light, …and the angel, …and the other angels, …and the singing, …and he goes with the others and sees the baby, …the Messiah, …and he was one of the first people to know He had come!

“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Luke 2:17-18

 Not disjecta membra!  In the middle of a life society would label a complete failure; an ‘insignificant’ shepherd, turned eye-witness preacher could ‘serve the purpose of God in his generation’.

And finally, consider the man forced to go fetch the water from the well for the evening meal, when everyone knows that is supposed to be women’s work.  Listen to him swearing under his breath, completely irritated, especially because, of course, he would be the only man at the well that evening, among all those women fetching water.  He could not have known that not long before he set out with the jar Jesus had told Peter and John,

“…As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.  Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks:  Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  He will show you a large upper room, all furnished.  Make preparations there.” Luke 22:10-12

 A man, carrying a jar of water… serving the purpose of God in his generation.  Not disjecta membra!

 So here’s the thing, nothing that occurs in my life or yours is disjecta membra: scattered, disconnected or an accidental fragment.  It was written down in God’s book before time began.  We get to choose how to respond to that truth.  We can pretend the plan does not exist at all: just go with the flow, roll with the punches, believe in karma, and never know the satisfaction or fulfillment of a deep sincere relationship with the living God.  Or, we can go about our own business every day: making independent choices and decisions, only consulting Him about the ‘big’ things…as if anything is ‘big’ for Him!  We can live as if we already know the overall purpose of God for our life, so we are just going to get on with fulfilling it as best we see fit.

Or, like David, Joseph and Mary, Jim Elliot, George Muëller of Bristol, Mother Teresa, and hundreds of thousands of others who have gone before us, whose names may be known only by God Himself, we can choose to live always conscious, and deeply aware that the Creator and ,Maker of the plan and purpose desires such an intimate relationship with us that, like people who have been married to each other forever, we will know what He wants us to do, every minute, of every day, as easily and effortlessly as we breath in and out.

 As for me, Os Guinness, who doesn’t know me from Adam, showed up to preach at our church and with one verse out of an entire sermon, was used by God to change the trajectory of my life, to follow the leading of the Lord to…  I have no idea where or what. My only remaining resolve, ambition, and life-long goal is ‘to serve the purpose of God’ in my generation.  Not disjecta membra   just living the thing!

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Lessons About Love And Composition 4

c-4People are often surprised when I tell them I cannot recall my mother ever saying the words “I love you” to me, but in her generation, with a reserved disposition, and having been raised in a former British “stiff upper lip” colony like Jamaica, it was not unusual. I came to believe I was loved because of all the things she did, and the sacrifices she made for me.  My mom had a hard life, and was deeply hurt by too many people who should have loved her well, so she was determined to make sure I had a better life, and kept my guard up to prevent other people from betraying my trust.

Even though we lived in poor neighborhoods for most of my life, our house was always spotless and my clothes were immaculately washed and ironed.   She scrimped and saved to buy me an encyclopedia to ‘further my education’, and perhaps too because my voracious reading was the only thing that kept me from talking incessantly!  She is an amazing cook and my friends never left our house hungry or disappointed.  If you could remain in her good graces, she was kind and generous, but do not ever fall from grace, because if there is a road back into her favor, nobody knows about it, and she is not telling.

Many of my earliest memories are of my mom telling me that she was ‘investing’ in me, so that I would be able to take care of her when she was old.  My mom wasn’t very big on praise, unless it was tempered with a generous amount of but-you-could-have, you-should-have, or don’t-think-you’ve-done-enough-yet comments.  She did not want me to become proud or arrogant, to believe I was better than other people, or to forget where I came from.

So, from my mother I learned that love works hard, sacrifices a lot and wants the best for me, because that serves love’s long-term purpose.  It is fiercely protective and hospitable so it cooks superb food, but it is also conditional, depending on how well I performed; it always carries a measuring stick, and I have to keep hustling to be worthy of it, or it will be gone, in an instant.  None of that makes me bitter or resentful in any way, it is what it is, and inevitably that view of love got mixed into the ‘concrete foundation’ on which I built my life, my belief systems and my relationships.

My dad was a stud!  Ask the five…yes I said five (that we know of)…women who bore him children.  He actually married only one of them.  My brother and I often joke that we could be walking by other half-siblings on any given day and not even know it.  He was 6’2”, handsome, a prolific story-teller (not sure how many were actually true), with a friendly, outgoing personality that my brother and I both inherited.  No matter what my mom would tell me about him, I loved my daddy because he would take me on outings, read to me, or have me read to him; he danced with me standing on his feet, let me style his hair, and made me laugh…a lot.

Truth be told, he was also the most irresponsible social butterfly (monarch, I think), who would rather hang out with his buddies, swapping stories and drinking, than work to run his rather profitable business; leaving my poor mother to do most of the work till he showed up to collect the profits.  He regularly broke promises to take me on outings or to show up for my school events (I think both he and my mom were more embarrassed than negligent), and in the hospital, not long before he died, he assured me that I would be amply provided for, which turned out not to be true at all.

So from my dad, I learned that love is lots of fun and side-splitting laughter!  It is outgoing, never meets a stranger and invests in time spent together with loved ones, making memories to last a lifetime.  But love doesn’t always keep its promises and should not be depended on to provide for my needs, so I must depend only on me, to provide for me.

My first recollection of becoming aware of the amazing love of God was at Good Friday services at Torrington United Baptist Church in Kingston, Jamaica, which I attended regularly with my godmother (my parents never went), from the time I was three years-old till I was thirteen.  Everybody in Jamaica went to a church on Good Friday, unless you were bed-ridden or determined to go to hell.  Our service lasted from 9:00 am till 3 pm with a lunch break at noon…no kidding!  And you packed a lunch because everywhere was closed on Good Friday…except some bars that opened for business after 3:00 pm, the time when the Bible says Jesus died on the cross.

The entire service was a virtual reenactment, beginning with the Last Supper, Jesus weeping blood in the garden at Gethsemane, through the humiliations, the terrible beatings, spitting, the crown of thorns, the crucifixion, the prolonged suffering on the cross and finally His death…all of which Jesus endured because He loved me, and everyone else born on planet earth, and wanted to reconcile us to a right relationship with God so we would not spend eternity in hell!  Every Good Friday I was horrified, traumatized, and extremely repentant of every known and imagined sin, and for the life of me I could not fathom how anyone could respond to that kind of sacrificial love with anything but reciprocation?

As for me, I was determined to love God back, and equally determined to make Him glad He chose to love me, and had sacrificed so much for me.  I prayed to accept Jesus as my Savior every Good Friday for ten years until I started going to Swallowfield Chapel, where learned from my Sunday School teacher there  that I only needed to make that decision once, mean it, and live it.  She taught me about the grace of God too; that I did not have to earn or be worthy of God’s love, mercy or kindness, but somehow that truth did not penetrate the  fundamental belief that even though God loved me, He also carried a measuring stick to ensure I lived up to His expectations, and that He could withdraw that love in a heartbeat if I disappointed Him, and would provide for my needs only if I continued to please Him.

Like my friend Job, I lived a good life, for good reasons, for a good many years but remained tormented by the fear that one day I may not be good enough and the wrath of God was going to fall on me with vengeance.  I look back now and can easily identify the numerous ways, and many people who God used throughout my life to try to uproot my false view of Him and His love for me, but it was deeply-rooted and stubborn.  Interestingly, I can also see the schemes and the other people who the enemy used to reinforce my bondage to that fear.

Finally, the day came, when because He truly loved me, and could no longer stand to see me tortured and tormented by the fear of losing His love and favor, my Heavenly Father ‘busted out’ the spiritual version of a whole lot of C-4 explosives, and allowed my life to blow up in a spectacular display of failure and defeat;  I could have sworn He was trying to kill me!  As I lay devastated among the debris that remained, I was startled by persistent, still ever-present love of God.  He had successfully annihilated the warped foundation of a false belief system, destroying every bit of self-righteousness, insecurity, fear, and torment, and replacing it with a new foundation of truth on which He continues to build a new life for me.

“‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the LORD who has compassion on you.”  Isaiah 54:10

 “…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”  Jeremiah 31:3

 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities not powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

 “…that Christ may dwell in you hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19

 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” I John 4:8

 So, here’s the thing, we all grow up in this world forging an image of love that at best is well-intentioned but slightly distorted, and at its worst, a completely twisted and perverse version of love.  But true love can be known because God has made Himself known.  God is love…the real thing, and on that ‘rock’ I will build my whole life till I see Jesus face to face.  From God my Father I have learned the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…

“…love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.  Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].  Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to and end]…”  I Corinthians 13:4-8 The Amplified Bible

 Yes, I think I will relax, revel, and rejoice in His amazing, ridiculous love for me, thank you very much.  Free from the fear that He will ever stop loving me, I remain secure, confident, and… just living the thing.

God! Seriously! What Are You Doing?!

Whaaaaaaa....t??!!
Whaaaaaaa….t??!!

“Sometimes you ask God to send you some money or maybe a new car and all you hear is silence, followed by the distinctive chirping of that one, lone cricket.  But, ask Him to make you more patient or more loving, or to make you behave more like Jesus, and it seems like there is a stampede out of heaven to answer that prayer!”

That opinion came from one of my friends telling me what she believes happens sometimes when we pray.  Seriously, there are moments when it feels so inconvenient to be in relationship with an absolutely perfect God, …cue my very best whiny voice.  He has His own priorities and values, and insists on doing what He knows is actually the best thing for us;  not what we think is best.  So, let me be the first to confess…

Sometimes…wait… most times when I pray, somewhere, waaaaaaaay in the back of my mind or maybe even on the very tip of my tongue, I already have a few ideas about exactly how God should go about answering my prayers. Subsequently, when it appears He has no intention of listening to my ‘suggestions’, or doing what I ‘suggest’ ought to be done, how it should be done, and when it should be done, I am tempted to get an ‘attitude’ and pout. It is almost as if I forget who is God, and who is NOT God in this relationship. I have decided to go with the ‘temporary insanity’ defense.

Things get even more complicated when He seems to sit back and allow things to get a lot worse.   For example, recently I prayed,

“God, please work a miracle and let my car pass this smog test.”

Well, the car did not pass smog, and I the next day I got a citation for non-registration, when, wouldn’t you know,  I am away from the car and cannot show the officer proof that the registration had been paid, and the car was being repaired.  Not long after the repairs that allowed the car to pass smog, the water pump and timing belt both needed to be replaced at the same time, and the girl at the citation processing center chooses to be particularly rude on a day when I was already finding it hard to behave like Jesus!

“God! Seriously? What are you doing?  I ask you to help me with one thing…”

Then there was the time a friend of mine asked for prayer for her husband who had become a Christian, but seemed not to want to pursue an authentic, growing relationship with the living God. Now doesn’t that sound like a perfectly good prayer request?  So perfectly aligned with the revealed will of God, you should almost hear the stampede out of heaven with the answer.  But, after many sincere and earnest prayers for her husband, he started losing a ton of money from investments, her father ended up in the hospital, they both struggled with serious illness, and on, and on, until I was soooooo embarrassed for God I wanted to avoid my friend, and hide under a rock.

But a funny thing happened on my way to Deeply Disappointed In God Hill, in the town of Sulksville, just north of Pout City.  I realized that I  had unknowingly just driven my car four hours to San Francisco and back with the faulty water pump; which lasted till I was safely home, five minutes from the repair shop. Oh the mercy of God!  And, despite the cost, the repairs on my paid-off car gave me another three to five years without a monthly car payment, to save towards eventually getting a newer car.  Oh the grace of God!  As for my friend, both she and her husband grew closer to God and to each other as they struggled to deal with the troubles and trials. Now I’m embarrassed for me!  Oh the wisdom of God!

Writing to the church in Rome Paul says,

“…He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… Romans 8:27-29 italics mine

“He makes intercession for the saints…”  It never ceases to amaze me that the Holy Spirit talks to God the Father on our behalf!  As if He doesn’t have enough to do!  But here’s the rub; He only asks for that which is according to, that is, in keeping with, or lines up the will of God.   No matter how hard I try to twist, stretch, or bend the promises in the Bible; no matter how much I “name it and claim it”, or ‘explain’ to God why I must have what I ask for, He knows and understands perfectly that some things He sends  that appear so horrible, will actually help me, heal me, refine me, and some things I pray for which appear perfect to my eyes, could end up destroying me.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”  Jeremiah 11:29-30

“…and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…”  Is Paul really saying that in every single circumstance, God is working for our good?   There is absolutely no situation that lies outside the realm of ‘all things, but I distinctly remember vehemently disagreeing with God about that many years ago, as I was on my way to the hospital to see my son after I had received a devastating call from the county sheriff.

“You cannot fix this!”  I screamed at Him, “How can You fix this?!”  After which God promptly began to work things together for good in supernatural ways, and He is still doing it today, in ways I sometimes see only in hindsight.  This is me, shutting up!

So here’s the thing, who has the character, the power, the absolute control, or the limitless resources, to help you along the path your life will take from beginning to end? OUR GOD DOES!  Believe that when you ask Him for help, the answer He sends is the answer you need, no matter what it looks like.

“He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave Him up for all of us, will He not give us everything else?”  Romans 8:32

So,  go ahead, ask God for anything you want, and He will answer, guaranteed.  If the answer is not what you expected, it is also guaranteed to be exactly the right one, so have faith in His perfect love, be flexible, adjust your perspective, and keep on… just living the thing.

He Said, “Yes”!

Bon Voyage to me!
Bon Voyage to me!

The next thing I put in that suitcase can only weigh 0.2lbs or it is going over the 50lb weight limit for international travel.   I am almost finished packing for a quick trip home to Jamaica, and then to join a friend for the tenth anniversary of the KLOVE Friends and Family cruise.

Mixed in with my excitement is a little anxiety about some challenging situations I am currently facing, but overarching those emotions is a sense of awe and renewed confidence in the faithfulness of God who hears our prayers, always has the right answer, and no matter how long the delay, He never forgets.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.  See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”  Isaiah 49:15-16

As a single mother of three, vacations allowed by our extremely tight budget consisted mainly of visiting with friends in different parts of California.  But all year I would pinch pennies and save for the one vacation where the kids and I would actually stay at a motel; the four-day summer music festival in Monterey, California known as Spirit West Coast.  There I would watch the promos for the KLOVE Friends and Family cruise and resolve that “next year” I was going to be on that cruise.

I prayed and prayed, and saved and saved but each year the kids got older and necessities and unexpected expenses kept eating away at every attempt to save enough money to go, so eventually I stopped praying about it, and without any bitterness at all took it off my ‘bucket list’.

Meanwhile, someone I did not even know during those summers of going to Spirit West Coast began making plans to go on the same cruise and was all set to be on board in 2012.  However, a happy family event conflicted with the date of the cruise so she had to change her booking to the 2013 cruise.  In the interim her youngest daughter met and became best friends with my youngest daughter when they played on the volleyball for their high school team.  Inevitably, their moms became friends too.

One day, ‘out of the blue’, my new friend shared her plans and said she had been praying for over a year about whom she should ask to go on the cruise with her to share the cabin.  Maybe I should have at least stopped to pray when she asked me, but remembering all those years praying for a chance to go, I barely paused before saying a resounding, “Yes!”  And so it is that nine-plus years after I stopped praying because I believed God said “No” to that desire, my bags are packed, and I’m ready to go.

Hearing “No”, when God actually says “Wait”, brings to mind two women who could empathize with me.  The first is one of my favorite women in the Bible, Hannah, who was a dearly loved wife of a godly and affluent man, but in a culture that stigmatized women unable to bear children; she suffered the social disgrace of being childless, and had to endure the mocking of her rival.

“And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.  So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.”  I Samuel 1:6-7

 Year after year, Hannah continued to pray and grieve until one fateful day in the temple when the priest gave her a promise from God,

“The Eli answered and said, ‘Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.’  And she said, ‘Let you maidservant find favor in your sight.’  So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”  I Samuel 1:17-18

 God had heard and answered Hannah’s prayers, “Yes, just wait” .  Eventually she became pregnant and gave birth to Samuel and after he was weaned she fulfilled a vow she had made and gave him back to the Lord to serve in the temple.  Samuel grew up to do monumental things as a prophet of the God of Israel, and when all was said and done, his mother Hannah had the last word:

“And Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord.  I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.  No one is holy like the Lord, for there is no rock like our God.”  I Samuel 2:1-2

 Abraham’s wife Sarah also struggled with being childless and one can only imagine how often they both prayed to God that she would become pregnant.  In fact the issue was on Abraham’s front burner when in one encounter with God:

“…the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, ‘Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’  But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless…”  Genesis 15:1-2

 The God of the universe promises to be his shield and ‘great reward’, and foremost on Abraham’s mind is the fact that he and Sarah did not have any children!  God led Abraham outside his tent and directed his gaze to the night sky, with this promise,

“…count the stars if you are able to number them…so shall your descendants be.  And he (Abraham) believed in the Lord, and He accounted to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6

We can only imagine Sarah’s relief and joy when Abraham shared the news!  However, fifteen years went by without her getting pregnant and unlike Hannah, Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands and convinced her husband to have a baby with her maid.  Did Sarah think God had forgotten His promise?  Did she think Abraham had misheard or misunderstood?  Did she choose to believe her biological clock instead of God?  Regardless, the Arab-Israeli conflict that still threatens our world today is one frightening consequence of Sarah’s failure to trust that God had not forgotten their prayers or His promise.

“But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  II Peter 3:8-9

 So, here’s the thing, whatever that thing, or whoever that person is for which you have been praying for years and years with no obvious results, please do not lose heart!  You may be tempted to believe that your prayers have gone no higher than the ceiling, but God has heard every prayer you have prayed and according to His plan and purpose He will come through for you.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to Him, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass…Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…”  Psalm 37:4-5, 7

There is something about “delighting in the Lord” that reshapes your desires to conform with His best for you.  Encourage your own heart with the irrefutable evidence of His faithfulness found in the Bible, in the lives of those around you and in your own life in the past.  As for me, I’m going to try to fit a pair of jeans into that suitcase, and then keep on… just living the thing.