Today is a milestone
On this day exactly five years ago, I moved to Florida. It was the biggest faith decision of my life...at the time. I was simultaneously exhilarated and terrified. These past five years have been the best years of my life, and I can say I am not at all the person I was when I moved here.
The old Priska is dead. The old trainwreck life...dead. Thinking I'm all that...dead. Drinking my way through the days...dead.
The only thing that's remained of old Priska is my faith in God. He has transformed my life!! These past five years, God has brought to me an amazing husband, better relationships with my best friends and family, new lifelong friendships, a Church community, and such deep, deep joy.
But here's my angle. As much as I'd love to brag about how God is unfathomably great and has blessed me so much, what I'd like to do more is to encourage you in whatever faith step God has put in front of you.
Five years ago, I left my old life where:
I was surrounded by friends and family
I had a steady job where I felt valued
I could see my life playing out
So why did I leave? I wanted:
A life of faith actions
A bigger pond
I knew God had bigger dreams for me! He spoke to me often. He told me I would change the world. He told me I would have a global ministry. He told me I would reach millions of souls for Him.
And as comfortable as my old life was, it would never amount to that glorious dream. See, there's nothing wrong with where I was, except that I wasn't stimulated to live a life of faith. Life was too easy. I needed challenges that I couldn't possibly overcome without the hand of God making miracles. The last five years, I've seen miracles. Oh boy, have I!
When I moved to Florida, I didn't know anyone. I had no job. I had no way of paying for the college I was accepted to attend. I didn't even have a place to live. There was a time when I didn't have food, but I got through it. All I had was God, and He proved to be more than enough.
When I left Louisiana (#oldPriska) for Florida (#newPriska), I had no way of paying for the college I was accepted to. School started the next day, and I just packed up my car and left my driveway in faith that God would fulfill His promise of me graduating from Eckerd College. Before I even drove away from my street in Louisiana, I received a phonecall from admissions that I was awarded a scholarship that would cover tuition for my first class (not first semester, but first class). It was a miracle! I started school the next day! And two years ago, I graduated from Eckerd College.
When I got to Florida (read: the Promise Land!), I had no place to live. I stayed at a hotel for a week, generously provided by a family friend who believed in me. I ended up at a rent-a-room with a crazy cat lady for a couple of months before landing at a nice condo on the water, where I only paid the association fee, not rent. It was a miracle! It was peaceful, affordable and safe. God is so good!
Miracle after miracle because of His grace.
The greatest miracle is how much God has transformed me. I was a wreck of a person when I moved to Florida. It's like I put my life through the garbage disposal and said, "Here I am, God! Good luck doing whatever it is that You do." But God still chose me. Nothing about my life has been fair. I didn't deserve some of the things I've gone through, but I also don't deserve the grace that God has so freely given me.
I don't deserve this life...in the best way possible.
I don't deserve to have a rich marriage, especially since I didn't learn healthy relationships growing up. I didn't see that modeled in my home. I saw and learned volatility, distrust and discord. But grace!
I don't deserve to have rich friendships with some of the decisions I've made. The way I've acted out, looking out for #1...me. I don't deserve the kind, loving, faithful people God has surrounded me with. But grace!
I don't deserve to be fulfilling my calling by writing full-time now. I made decisions to cement myself in a life of a steady paycheck, keeping my head down, just working for the man. But grace!
I don't deserve to have vision for my life, to know where I'm headed and to see a clear path for how to get there. Not a lot of people I know can say, "I know my purpose in life, and I know to fulfill it". I don't deserve the richness of waking up with purpose, knowing that I serve a faithful God, and that He will fulfill all of His promises to me. I rallied against God's hand in my life. I ran from Him. I tried to dictate my own destiny. I don't deserve God. But grace!
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
It's truly A-M-A-Z-I-N-G what God can do through His grace for us. But He asks for us to have faith in Him. He asks for our obedience. See, saying faith and doing faith are two entirely different things. I used to have a kitchen floormat with FAITH printed in big, bold letters. One time, my friend came over and said, "What exactly does that mean?" He went on to say that faith is just a word. The word faith doesn't mean anything unless you have faith in something/someone. I wholeheartedly agree. That was a stupid floormat. It should have said "faith in GOD".
Faith means believing God is who He said He is in the Bible. Faith means you believe, so you take actions that show you believe. If I were to boil faith down to one simple analogy, it would be that of a chair.
You can say you believe a chair can support your weight, but if you never sit in it, do you really believe that? What if the chair is at your dining table. You have friends come over for dinner, and they all sit in their chairs. You, however, stand beside your chair, eating your dinner standing up. Your legs tire as you go through each course, followed by dessert, and then the post-dinner conversations. You're really fatigued from standing, but you just will not sit in the chair. It's because you're not sure if the chair can support you. Sure, you say you believe the chair can support you, but the way you prove it is by sitting in the chair.
Faith is the chair. And God is the manufacturer. Take a seat and rest in full faith that God is a reliable craftsman. His work is good. He never makes an error.
What act of faith is God calling you to do?
Maybe it's having a conversation with someone you'd otherwise avoid. Maybe He's asking you to move 1,000 miles away to a place where you know nobody, with nowhere to live, and no way to pay for your life. Maybe He's asking you to show faith in that dream of becoming a writer by starting a blog. Maybe He's asking you to quit your totally okay job in order to focus on reaching people with His love.
Whatever it is, however crazy it sounds, no matter how impossible it may seem... sit in the chair. Rely on the craftsman. Rest in His grace.
It's been five years since I've made the biggest faith decision of my life, and I've never been more grateful that I did. Living as the old Priska was fine and okay. But this new life is so rich beyond what I could have imagined. God has big plans for you, my friend. Run toward Him in faith!
P.S. If you want to read more about my difficult journey in that initial move to Florida, read this next: