Approximately four years ago, on the last election day, my life looked very different and I came to the election a very different person. At the time that things were happening, I didn’t know how much of a testimony it would be for me to be able to look back and see how far God would bring me in one presidential term. At the time, I thought my life was falling apart, but on election day, I was hopeful that things were going to change. I wasn’t hopeful because we would definitely have a new president who would hopefully put our economy back on track for recent college grads like me, but I was hopeful because I had the strongest faith I had my entire adult life up to that point that God was in control. Let me tell you about four years ago.
Four years ago in October, I lost my job at the bank. A week later, I found out my apartment complex had been sold and I would need to be out by December 28th of that year. Just a couple of months before, I had graduated from school with a job already lined up, my boyfriend had recently moved to the area, I was blessed to receive enough money to move and pay my first month’s rent and utilities; now I didn’t have a job or savings to pay rent for November, let alone pay a deposit, moving costs, and November’s rent somewhere else. I found a place I could move to and ask my dad for help with the deposit. He agreed to send me money for the deposit. At the same time, he sent a note that completely bewildered and hurt me (at the time), stating that I only contacted him when I needed something and he felt used. My relationship wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped. My shiny new boyfriend had wanted me to live in the “real world” for a while and “experience life” before moving our relationship “to the next level.” He wanted a woman with her own job and a place to stay. If I couldn’t find a job, I would have to move back with my aunt and work at her group home approximately two hours away, sure to put an additional strain on the relationship.
Looking back to that time, I marvel at myself and how I handled all of that at once. I know it was God that brought me through that. I couldn’t imagine then, nor can I now, how God worked that situation out for my good. At the time, even without a job, I still had gas to go to church. I still put an offering in church every week. I kept a positive attitude as I searched for a job and a new home. I determined that I would vote in the election, even though I had a lot more pressing concerns than who would lead this country. I stood in the cold outside and cast my first vote in a presidential election (although I could have voted in the one before, I didn’t), then cooked steaks to eat with Mr. Perfect while we watched the states turn red or blue (also known as “Steaks and States”). Less than two weeks later, I came to my first day of work at my current job.
Fast forward four years and God has changed my circumstances. From a one bedroom in a converted motel near campus to a real apartment a few blocks away from a lake and river walk and some $11,000.00 more in annual salary, God has brought me a long way. My relationships with Mr. Perfect and my father are a lot stronger than they were before. Even though I still fall into the bad habit of worry from time to time, I have a deeper trust in God than I ever have because I’ve seen that He can and will work even the worst situation out in my favor. Not only did this bless me, but it was a testimony to those around me who knew what was going on in my life and still saw that I was trusting and believing God. Mr. Perfect got to see something in me he might have otherwise never seen: my faithfulness, optimism, and surrender to God in the midst of a fierce trial.
When I was young, it bothered me that I hadn’t gone through anything. How was I ever going to go to Heaven if I didn’t have any trials? How would I know that my faith was sure and steadfast if nothing ever challenged it? After having gone through setbacks in my finishing college, losing a job, losing a home, losing a car, losing loved ones, my mother’s health issues, and my little brother’s college struggle, I have some tests under my belt. There are areas that I’m still weak in, that are still being tested, but I am pressing toward the mark.
I’ll never forget how hopeful I was four years ago. While everyone was excited about an election and setting records for voter turnout, there was this spirit of hope, a belief in our power as individuals to affect change in the world around us. I cast a vote for a candidate for the presidency, but I also cast a vote for Christ. I put my faith in His leadership. I trust His plan to improve my life and help me to improve the lives of those around me. I am assured that He will fulfill his promises.