The gift of ‘No’

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CARLA BIANCA RAVANES-HIGHAM

CARLA BIANCA RAVANES-HIGHAM

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55: 8 – 9

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The year 2016 was a year of rejection.

It started with a promotion that never was, a relationship that ended with a five-minute Skype call, and dear friendships that were no more.

In the past 12 months, I have faced more highs and lows than a ride on Magic Mountain, so you can just imagine my current state as I type out the words you are about to read.

The many twists and turns of my life this year often led to many sleepless nights wondering where I went wrong, questioning where the bright and optimistic girl went and how did I get to where I was. From Little Miss Sunshine, I saw myself transform into this sullen girl who always had her earphones on, constantly mad at the world.

Life did everything it can to knock me down this year and in one way or another, I let life win. With a series of more misses than hits, I found myself despondent. What was causing the unhappiness?

For the first time in forever, I found myself in a messy state of life. And for someone who has carefully planned out and calculated everything in her life, this was unchartered territory.

It was as if I was juggling all the balls of my life rather beautifully, making sure everyone in the hemisphere was happy as I juggled along but suddenly the balls started dropping one by one and I felt hopeless for the first time in forever.

I badly wanted to know why life was suddenly not as picture perfect as I had hoped it would be and in the darkest hour of my faith, I began to question God and asked why, why was it beginning more and more difficult to follow Him. The answer didn’t arrive immediately. They came like rays of sunshine, one by one, beam by beam, slowly until I could see the path again.

One of the answers came in the form of a sermon by Pastor Judah Smith in where he spoke about the essence of movement in trusting God. That it is during places and periods of discomfort, pain, and no direction that God scoops in and reminds us that He is in control and His plans are far greater than ours.

God didn’t give me the mess so I could get lost in it without a way back home. Instead, God allowed the mess because in the hours, days, and nights of weeping, I’d find home again.

In losing the things that I allowed to define myself did I find the true essence of God’s love: an anchor that remains steadfast even when our faith isn’t as steady as we have hoped.

I may still not know what’s next but today, I choose to give myself the gift of hope. That no matter how many rejections you and I may have faced this year, if we keep going despite the uncertainty, we will finally receive the yes that we have long waited for.

May this Christmas bring you joy in a way that it’s been eluding you all year. May you not be reminded of what you’ve lost but may your heart be filled with hope knowing that you are never truly alone. Jesus came just for you and in His arms, all is well.

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This article is especially dedicated to my younger brother, Carl. It wasn’t an easy year for you but thank God the year is almost over and your yes is about to come.

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www.carlabiancaravanes.com

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