Let me tell you about a lesson God taught me once. But it all happened in a bit of a strange way. So come back in time with me. Back to the days of gigs, songwriting and singing lessons...
Once upon a time I lived in a basement suite under a lovely old lady named Yu. During that time, I was working a lot to try to pay for making music and staying alive. It was pretty challenging for me! Even with a nearly constant day-to-night work schedule. I had very little money, and it caused me to feel some jealousy for the people who were able to make beautiful projects with expensive graphics and videos, while I was finding the budget ways to make my craft and things weren't coming together.
Instead, I worked in teams, learning to collaborate and build with others. That was a useful lesson, but at the time I was just feeling a little bitter and jealous about my lack of music funds.
One thing that was driving me wild was my broken curling iron. I needed it to curl my hair for corporate gigs that I would sing at on weekends, but the cord was broken, so it kept turning off unexpectedly. I was already allocating funds wisely - purchasing beans and rice for complete protein amino acids on the days when buying meat was just too extravagant - so spending extra money on a curling iron was not at the top of my list!
Just when I thought I had hit the depths of self pity over my struggles, I had a flood in my bathroom. The pipes in that old house were all connected, so I could no longer use the toilet, shower, laundry or sink.
I just sort of gave up at that point, poured myself a glass of wine from the economical box-of-cheap-wine on my counter, sat down and opened Facebook.
There I sat, drinking wine and approving friend requests, and *boop!* got this message saying something like, "That was a fast approval!". I was in the right frame of mind to start whining to a total stranger, so I said hello and began to explain my bathroom flood situation and how I was currently avoiding it.
About half an hour or so of a very lively, joyful and wonderful conversation about sailing, science and the ocean, I discovered that my new friend was a professional music mastering artist in New York. He was working in the mastering facility that did albums for Rihanna, Katy Perry and the like.
Long story short, he asked me to send over my recently completed album and mastered the dickens out of it for free. It was an incredible experience that I'm so grateful for, and also saved me thousands of dollars.
But that's only a tiny part of where this story is going, because The Holy Spirit was about to communicate with me and teach me some gratitude, patience and contentment.
The next day, I anticipated the arrival of a plumber to my house. I would meet him after teaching singing lessons. While I was driving home, I was still feeling pretty down in the dumps about my finances. I was a little bit early and had a few extra minutes, so I decided I would cheer myself up by going to Winners and maybe (finally) buying myself a curling iron.
When I arrived, I picked through the curling irons until I found the perfect one! I picked it up, clutched it joyfully to my chest and was over the moon excited to take it home with me. I turned the corner and was in for a surprise dilemma.
I nearly bumped into one of my lovely voice students and her mom!
Now, at this moment I had a dilemma. I had no more than 5 minutes, because the plumber could end up at my house before me. I had time to talk, or time to buy the curling iron - but not time for both.
I had to choose.
I decided to prioritize human interaction over my selfish ambitions (for that moment, anyway) and proceeded to have a lovely conversation with them about how sometimes things don't go our way, but God has a plan and a purpose for us.
I went home feeling quite joyful about our talk.
There was a plumber waiting for me and he was able to find the cause of the flooding ( a piece of fabric that had washed 50 ft down the pipes out of the washing machine)!
The next day, I could hardly wait to get back to Winners to get my curling iron. I parked, walked in and bee-lined for the curling irons. I found the one I wanted and picked it up.
Instantly I felt The Holy Spirit: "No."
I got the "no" feeling so hard.
I ignored it and walked a few steps. It came stronger and more intense.
Well now I got defiant and was all like "No!! I'm getting this curling iron!" I started walking down the aisle and the feeling was so intense that I thought I might throw up.
I thought (and might have said out loud) "Really, God? I don't have enough money still for a THIRTY FIVE DOLLAR curling iron?" I felt so poor in that moment. But The Holy Spirit wasn't in support of this decision and I wasn't able to refuse. So I turned around and put the curling iron back.
I went home to take a nap before afternoon vocal teaching, but really felt... bad. So I did what normally helped me feel better. I logged onto Facebook. One of the first things I saw was a brand new gorgeous music video made by a friend of mine. I wanted to feel happy for her - I really did. But I had a team of people asking me why I wasn't able to make my music happen, and I didn't have the money to make beautiful things like.. this.
I said to God, "Lord, if I had lots of money, I would be able to make beautiful music videos like this! Things that encourage people and motivate them to have happy healthy lives!"
And then I cried.
And then I laid on my bed and cried myself into my nap. And then I woke up and went to go teach.
When I got to the lesson, the first student was the girl who I had recently talked to at Winners. She arrived with a long bag... a gift for me.
I opened it up, and well.. what do you think was inside?
The curling iron. The very one I had wanted.
She explained, "When you left, Mom and I felt very strongly that God wanted us to buy you that curling iron. So we stopped and prayed about it in the store and agreed, yep. God wants us to buy it for you."
I cried. I was so moved.
I was moved that God didn't let me buy it. He organized for someone else to do it for me. He blessed me.
I could practically hear Him saying at that time, "I love you. I can provide all of these things for you. I am taking care of you. If you don't have it, it's because you don't need it right now."
Reader, I don't know what you're going through in your life right now, but sometimes it feels like we are striving and striving, and God isn't listening. Like God isn't there for us. But I wanted to share this story to let you know what He cares. And He's looking out for you. Surrender that dream into His mighty hands.
He made the world and everything in it, for goodness' sake! He can make anything happen for you.
If you don't have something... pray about it... give it to God... He supplies everything you need according to His riches in glory... and that's a lot.
He has a good plan and a purpose for our lives. A good one. Not to make you suffer, but to bring you peace and make you prosper. Keep holding on.