God fully revealed my true purpose to me last week. I am meant to write the stories of family and friends who have already passed so they can be remembered by future generations. This isn’t anything I’ve ever thought of doing before, and quite frankly, I’m a bit intimidated and nervous. But, I know better than to argue with God.
The signs have been there for years. Not many of them, and sometimes months (or even years) between them. It was so gradual that I didn’t even realize what was happening. They were in the background of my life as I got married, had a family, and worked full time.
They were small enough that I only saw them as standalone pieces and not the bigger plan that God had for me. He kept placing things in front of me and I would set them to the side, busy with the daily tasks of family and work. You’ve been there, too, probably.
There Are No Coincidences
We all know that nothing is random or a coincidence, but sometimes the way He orchestrates events leaves me in awe. There have been too many things to list here in the last four months that guided me in this direction.
However, two larger things happened to make my purpose more real to me. I didn’t initially connect them, but looking back, these were the major turning points for me.
The first one started this past Fall. I had posted a picture to Ancestry.com of my husband’s grandmother, Elsie, way back in October 2009. In October 2018, exactly 9 years later, I get an email from John, the grandson of another person in the photograph, Lily. He tells me that Lily and Elsie are cousins and he remembers Elsie well from when he was a boy.
Within a week of that email, my husband and I find old movie reels from the 1950s and John’s last name is printed on the outside packaging, “Gardellas and Elsie at the Beach”. Are you getting goose bumps? I sure did!
I emailed John back and told him what we found and that as soon as it’s digitized we’ll send him a link. We didn’t get around to it until the week before Easter, when all of the sudden I felt this urgency to get it done.
I sent it to John the day before we left to spend Easter week with my in laws. He was thrilled and showed it to his mother who was still alive at 94 years old! He said that this is the only film of him, his sister, mother and father and he was grateful for this family treasure.
The second major hint of my purpose happened in February when I was going through a bunch of the family documents and letters that have been given to me over the years. I saw a worn envelope with a scrawled “Leonard’s things” on the front.
Opening it, I found a high school graduation picture of my mom’s uncle Leonard, a California Highway Patrol motorcycle cop who had died in the line of duty in 1959. Also in the envelope was a lock of his hair and some negatives of pictures from when he was young.
I searched for a child or grandchild of Leonards and found Eleanor! I sent her the envelope and she was so grateful to have these things of her father’s because she was only a few weeks old when he died. She was able to share these with her own daughters and keep Leonard’s memory alive.
Cutting Through the Noise
By this time, God was probably wondering what it will take for me to stop ignoring, and start embracing, His will. I actually was starting to come around in early April, but there was too much internal noise that kept interfering with the message.
And a little voice in the back of my head (my doubting Thomas) kept saying, “You’re not creative. You’re not a writer. Who are you to write these stories about people long gone and give them the justice they deserve?”
Not surprisingly, God didn’t care what I thought. He had chosen me to keep the memories alive and I had to accept it whether I felt I was worthy or not.
I decided to use the time in MA for reflection and prayer and not do any work, leaving room to truly hear what God was telling me. And then the other noises stopped and I gave into it completely.
While at Easter brunch with the family, my mother in law asked me how things were going. I didn’t intend to, but I opened up about what I was going to be doing. That I was the teller of stories for those who had gone before us. I hadn’t even told my husband yet!
This weight lifted from my shoulders and I felt the light shine through me.
Not Quite There
I had accepted what God had laid on my heart as my purpose, and I thought that I had fully embraced it, but He always knows the truth! I woke up suddenly at 4:30am on Thursday, April 25th with fully formed stories in my head. This has never happened to me before. I scrambled to find a pen and paper before the ideas vanished. Within minutes I had 5 pages of notes and ideas for four stories. I couldn’t believe it!
I should’ve understood what was happening, but life got in the way and clouded the message. Our 14 year old dog had been sick the night before so I had to clean that up; I was still dealing with the contractors who were putting our fence in; and I had to leave by 11:15am to make sure I was on time for the Soul Sister Lunch Connection at 12:30pm (depending on traffic it takes me between 45 and 90 minutes).
It was the conversation at the Lunch Connection that pulled me back in the right direction. On the drive over I had been thinking and praying on what had been happening the last week. The thought that jumped into my mind was “God has been laying these breadcrumbs for me to follow.” So when one of our other co-founders, Sherry Gilley, mentioned God’s breadcrumbs without me saying anything about my own thoughts, I knew this lunch was part of the plan, too.
The six of us at the lunch talked about how sometimes we’re not ready for what’s next, but someone else is, and we need to be part of theirs before we can do ours. That’s when it hit me! God wasn’t just stringing me along this whole time :), he needed me to have the capacity to be part of someone else’s purpose before he could fully reveal mine.
Although I’m still processing the enormity of the tasks ahead of me, I feel newly energized and excited now that I’ve fully accepted and embraced what I am meant to do,
Are you ignoring God’s breadcrumbs?
Could you relate to what I went through? Are you letting the noise of day to day life prevent you from seeing the path you need to follow? Stop, breath, and take some time to reflect on those not-so-coincidental “coincidences” and seemingly random experiences.
Pay attention to the themes and people that keep popping up in your life and follow God’s breadcrumbs.