It started with a sermon.
I sat near the back row of my church on a late Wednesday night, the year had just rolled over less than two weeks ago, and sermons were still peppered with hopeful resolutions, and yearnings that THIS year would be the game-changer.
Not my thing.
I clutched my son close, falling asleep at my side, and my daughter on the other, resting her head. I don't even make resolutions, so it's not often you'll catch stars in my eyes because we'd moved from December to January.
Still, I listened. My pastor, Tye Tribbett, spoke passionately, and then dropped his theme for the year:
"This year, God says, EVERYTHING in your life is coming up."
And then something happened I didn't fully expect, I wholeheartedly believed him.
I started writing notes furiously, for some reason this sermon struck a chord in my typical New Year cynicism. They read:
"This is the year of the come up. The weight will be loosened and burdens lifted. This is the year of results and fulfilled faith. This is the last year you're going to be believing God for certain things. Get ready to shift your faith. You're about to live what you've been seeing."
I believed him.
Full stop. Before you get excited, I want you to understand that there was opposition at every turn, a testing of sorts that I truly believed what I was hearing and feeling. I was first tested, during my divorce.
Long story short, there were arguments of custody, and child support, and the typical thing that crushes your already shattered heart when you've watched your "forever" unravel. We sat across from the negotiation table and I was offered a child support number from the state that I thought was laughable, and my ex wouldn't budge on visitation days. We left with it all unresolved.
"This is the year of the come up. The weight will be loosened and burdens lifted."
Meanwhile, those words, now a mantra. I prayed and let it go. If God says it's coming up, I have nothing to worry about, right? I slept.
The next morning, I talked to my ex. Get this...he agreed to double the requested child support voluntarily and dropped all other points of contention. I cried. The months prior to that, I was sick to my stomach at the thought of how things were going, and just like that it was over. We were fine. The come up was just beginning.
Financially, I lost it all. The majority of our marital debt was in my name, and attorneys suggested I file bankruptcy or risk running into more trouble. File bankruptcy? That's my name, I had 100% on time payments on my credit and now everything would be ruined. I spent more than a year weighing my options before filing, by that point I could no longer pay the bills anyway or I literally would not have had a place for my kids to live. Picture that, a news anchor in sunny Orlando, homeless. For the time being, I'd moved out of the house I loved and downsized to a smaller place with the kids. I was embarrassed and sad, and honestly angry, this wasn't my fault, God!
Of course there was a snag, my income was too high and it was possible I'd be denied the help. And also, they told me I'd have to surrender my car, that I'd just paid off months before. I really couldn't understand how this would be a "come up" but I was trusting God.
"This is the year of results and fulfilled faith."
The bankruptcy ended up being the best thing to happen. Not only was I approved and my debts forgiven, my credit score went up higher than when I was paying my bills on time. I was denied for a car, only to get a call back saying they were wrong and to come get any car off the lot. I got a 2018 and a lower interest rate and payment than when I had gone to one of the cheap places with older cars. Most importantly, I was relieved, no worries of a subpar car, no debt collectors on my back, and I'd dropped the shame of bankruptcy. This turned out to be an answered prayer.
"This is the last year you're going to be believing God for certain things."
To end my year in a fashion only God could, you may have read my testimony about my new job. For years I'd been denied, but I never stopped believing. That was the ultimate come up. I got the exact job I wanted, and my new income smashed my previous income. I can't even begin to explain how much I'd prayed for that moment.
And home...three weeks ago I moved into a place nearly twice the size of my last. Space where my kids could grow and even my sister and my new baby niece have their own area, so that we could all help each other traverse this thing called life.
"You're about to live what you've been seeing."
This, however, was never about the things I would get, or the financial burdens and how God would fix them. This was about a complete shift in faith. The come up has turned out to be less about stuff and more about a full transformation of my heart and faith.
Matthew 6:25-26 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will you eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap, or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than them?
I believed him.
I encourage you to believe God too.