Face to face with the magnitude of His grace, my eyes scan the room. There’s James, Blow Pop in hand, eyes wide like a deer in the headlights, hands swiping his hair and face as if to say, “Is this for real?” Without a word, his expression speaks: “What have I gotten myself into?!?!” I love him so much. Absent all traces of fellow testosterone, he presses onward into the great unknown: a house full of squealing, giggling, non-stop chattering teenage girls for our church’s in-town weekend retreat. It’s only orientation. Thursday night. The college leader poses the icebreaker: “What is something awkward about yourself?” Answering is awkward in and of itself. Confessions spill forth. Friends cleverly answer for one another. Giggles. Laughter. How much longer will the Blow Pop last? How much longer will James last? Stories circulate. What does my expression say? Can they see the wonder? Can they see the overwhelming awe of a God who has answered the deepest desire of my heart? 


The epiphany stuns. It’s almost an out-of-body experience. Not really, but sort of, because it’s so real. So yesterday. I sat where they did, excited and anxious about a weekend event to come. Church camp. Disciple Now. Retreats. I went. I left stirred. I longed to be the godly, loving, pure young adult leader. Or the godly wife and mother who served. Smiled from the joy within. Gave selflessly. Loved unabashedly. Exuded integrity. Nothing like my insides. My sin. My shame. The hopelessness of my despair. I longed so deep. I remained so far. Yet Thursday, among our youth, I sit. There. Really there. God shows me. His power. His grace. His faithfulness. His work. His full-circle redemption. In the pastor’s office, listening, observing, remembering, I sit, the woman I always wanted to be. He’s done it. He redeemed. He transformed. A miracle. Truly. Much done. More than I could have imagined. Much to do. More, I’m sure, than I could ever imagine.

I didn’t think it could ever happen for me. Not with what I’d done. Not with the way I still struggled. Not being the hard nut I was to crack. But God. He did it. It worked because it was Him. It couldn’t be me. Me the mess I made of my life. He the beauty of what He produced from it.

Isaiah 43:19 comes to mind: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” It’s what He’s done. It’s what He will do. For me. For you. He will do the impossible. That which we cannot ask or imagine. When all we see is trees hemming us in on all sides, He sees the path. His way to redemption. Deliverance. When all we see is desolate, He sees abundance. The lush oasis of His provision. When all we see is hopelessness, He is hope.

The weekend’s theme is ROOTED. Growing roots in hope. Deep roots in Christ. Stable roots secure in the midst life’s greatest storms. Unuprootable. Roots through which the power of the Holy Spirit produces fruit. Much fruit.

Circling our home leader, ten high school girls, a young mom, and this old girl sit sharing testimonies. Tempests meant for destruction reveal young trees clinging to their Savior. And God is doing a new thing.

What new thing do you need God to do in you today? What impossibility threatens despair only He can dispel? Are you in a Sahara or a dense forest, and only God can make a way? Behold! He will do a new thing! Check your roots. Are they buried in the soil of self-effort? Good works? Independence? Financial security? Popularity? Accomplishments? Possessions? Physical appearance or ability? Career? Tolerance? The word of the media or cultural gurus? Or are your roots extending deep in the rich soil of the word of God? Are you fertilizing with fellowship, basking in the sunshine of gratitude and praise, watered with the rain of His Holy Spirit, protected under the shadow of His wing, drinking in nourishment through prayer?

My prayer for each girl this weekend is my prayer for you. For me. In Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we remain ROOTED:

Radically available

Open hearted

Open minded

Totally honest

Eternally blessed

Divinely changed

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7).

 

I pray the God of hope will accomplish all He desires according to His good pleasure as we become wholly His today.

 

Shauna Wallace

Holy His