Over two years ago, I joined Team Beachbody as a coach and began to build my own health and fitness business. I had a big WHY fueling me, and one of the things I was working toward (once I found out about it) was the free Success Club trip. My husband and I never had a honeymoon, we couldn’t afford it, so a FREE trip to a tropical paradise was at the top of my goal board. I earned a spot my first year as a coach but never got asked the wait list because I was so high up. I was bummed, but I knew that rejection is always God’s protection. I chose to trust him and pushed hard to win the next trip as well. Which I did. And guess where the next trip was to? Punta Cana. The exact spot I had told my husband I most wanted to go on a honeymoon! In that moment, I knew exactly why the first trip didn’t work out. God had something even better in store. This time I DID her asked off the list, but when I did only the most expensive rooms were available, which was more than what I had earned. That coupled with the cost of airfare made it unaffordable. It was so hard but I knew God didn’t want my family to go into debt over a vacation. If he willed us to be on the trip, he would make it happen and I didn’t have to. So I let my invitation expire and went live on Facebook to share that despite a customer service rep telling me it was “highly unlikely” that I would get asked off the list again, that anything is possible with God. If this trip was truly a gift from him, nothing would stop that. That was in late November 2016. Fast forward to February 2017 and I got a funny feeling I should apply for our passports. I put it on my list of to-dos but didn’t get to it. Then, just a couple days later. I got an email telling me that my invitation to register for the trip would be arriving on Monday. I couldn’t believe it! God has done it! I was SO excited to tell my husband. He was so happy too. Being less than two months from the trip, we immediately pulled up flights. And then came the letdown. The cheapest flights we saw were about $800 each. That was over $2,000 more than we were expecting! Yet again, I felt disappointed. Discouraged. Unsure why God allowed us to be asked off the list just for airfare to be unaffordable. But we did the only thing we knew to do: pray. And instead of asking for God to just give us what we wanted, we asked him to lead us in the direction of his will for us. If he didn’t want us to be on this trip, as much as we felt like it would be great for us, then we didn’t want it either. He has been so faithful so many times that we have learned to trust him. So we asked that he would block this trip right from the get-go if he didn’t want us to persue it, that only the most expensive room would be available and then we would know it wasn’t his will. But that’s not what happened. All of the rooms were open, which means the trip would be free. Now all that was left would be passports, which we ironically still had just enough time to get, and airfare. But it was so high. Why even register? Why bother at all, if we couldn’t afford it? Well, because what I’ve learned in my faith walk and with anything, is that we don’t usually see the way ahead of time. We have to take the step in faith, and THEN the staircase appears. The Israelites were hungry before food came, thirsty before water spouted, trapped before the sea parted. The provision didn’t show itself ahead of time, right? And with Jericho, the soldiers had to March around the city 7 times before the walls fell. But what if they would’ve stopped at 6? What if they would’ve looked at the situation and said, there’s no way? And interestingly enough, God didn’t want the Israelites to attack the city, to gather up weapons and man power and fight for it the way you would think. If God told you that he was going to deliver a city into your hands, wouldn’t you think that he would secure your victory but that you still needed to show up with guns and swords? I know I would! But that’s not what God told them to you. He simply told them to March, to circle the city, and the walls would fall. He would do the hard work. HE would secure the victory. And that’s how God usually works. We have to show up, we have to take the step, but HE will do it. He will secure our victory. So my husband and I decided to put ourselves out there. To register and pay the $300 deposit, and to leave the rest to God. We felt that he was leading us to the trip, but we didn’t yet see the way. The how. And we didn’t have to. We simply needed to sign up, to show up for the blessing. It’s like one of my favorite sayings from Proverbs 31 Ministry’s Lysa Terkheurst, “My job is to be obedient to God. God’s job is everything else.” We live in a rational world, a world where we make decisions based on what we can see and what we know. But for those of us who follow Christ, life can and SHOULD look very differently. Because we walk by FAITH, not by SIGHT. And that’s precisely what we’ve been learning to do. We’ve learned to let God be God more, and the more we do, the better our lives get and the more we see his faithfulness, love and divine provision at work!
Leaving things to God isn’t easy. Our human nature is to xontrol, to make things happen, to take matters into our own hands. Most of us pray to God, tell him we trust him with something, and then take back control as soon as it gets a little hard, as soon as it’s crunch time, as soon as we will like we might miss out and aren’t sure if God will come through. The issue is always a lack of faith, and that’s something I want to work on. God is capable of everything and anything, but I have to wonder how many times I have missed out on his blessings, on SO much more that I could’ve gotten or accomplished on my own, because I lacked faith or patience? Patience is the key word, because God’s timing is not our timing. And I knew that full well when I told my husband that I felt led to leave airfare to God completely, to not book now even though a part of us wanted to. $832 per person was more than we had to spend, and I was tempted to charge it and tell myself God would help me pay for it later, but I knew that that was taking the matter into my own hands. I didn’t feel peace about doing that. I didn’t think it was the answer I was praying for. Instead, I felt God give me a nudge to trust him completely to do what only HE could. Maybe it would be a big sale, maybe it would be financial provision I didn’t yet see, but either way it would require massive faith in action. But I told my husband that if we were going to do this, we weren’t going to commit to it and then check the Internet obsessively. We needed to leave it to God and trust him to put it on our hearts or in front of our eyes when and where and how to book. He agreed and so that was the plan. I was nervous, it seemed CRAZY to expect (or hope) airfare would significantly drop as we closed in on four weeks out from the departure date, but following God often does feel a little crazy.
Then came the first test. My girlfriend who has a pilot husband messaged me to tell me that the flight I had told her about, the one that only had 3 seats left and was the only direct flight to Punta Cana (which we would obviously want with a 3-month old baby) was the last one and that they wouldn’t be adding any more flights as it got closer. I wondered if maybe there was 3 (exactly what we needed since the baby would be in my lap) because God was trying to tell us that was the way to go. But I knew the price was too high. I needed to not doubt, to not waver. The next test came when my husband felt like he should check and the airfare actually had dropped, but by less than $100. And yet again when I found out many coaches were flying out a day late since airfare was much cheaper, and it was cheaper, but still out of our price range. I called the hotel to see what the rate was to accomodate us for one more night and although the rate was low enough that it would save us money to stay an extra day, they only had two rooms left at that price. Crunch time. And that’s where it got tough. Was this how God was providing? But deep down I knew it wasn’t. Deep down I knew I was having a scarcity mindset, that I really wanted the trip to happen and was afraid that if I left it to God, maybe it wouldn’t. That’s the truth, even though I didn’t want to admit it. My husband agreed with me and so we let it go. I realized I needed to let my faith be greater than my fear, and that if God didn’t will for us to be on this trip, then that was what was best for me and I shouldn’t try forcing it. And if God did will for us to be there, then he would take care of our every need. I simply needed to rest in that and trust him.
Although airfare didn’t drop, I was able to see less than two weeks later exactly WHY I didn’t feel peace about booking at $832. My son wound up in the emergency room twice, admitted into the hospital where we all stayed for a week, and had surgery to remove his gall bladder. When we were in the hospital, we were told surgery would probably be the last week of April, which was the week of our trip. I looked at my husband and he looked at me with the same exact though. Punta Cana was obviously out. I was sad, but grateful God had given me the wisdom to trust him and not force it. If I would’ve, I would’ve been SO much more upset that we had $3,2o0 on a credit card and wouldn’t even be able to go on the trip! Then the doctors told us they might be able to do surgery the following week, but that still wouldn’t give Caleb the necessary time to recover. It was tough admitting it didn’t look like we would be going on this trip after all, we all wanted to so badly and felt like we really needed a vacation more than ever after the month of trials we had had, but we obviously wanted to do whatever was best for our son. And just when it looked like the trip was all said and done, the doctors felt like Caleb was doing so much better that they thought we should do the surgery while we were already at the hospital and they had an opening Monday morning. A nurse who had gotten to know us well said, “Well, it looks like you can still go on that trip now!” We were excited the possibility was still there but had no idea whether or not it was really still possible. That was in God’s hands.
My son has been recovering nicely and God helped me hit a goal in my business that won me a free photo opp with my favorite celebrity super trainers on the trip just days after we got home from the hospital even though I hadn’t been able to work very much with everything going on. Everything seemed like it was lining up for us to still be able to go, but…airfare. I felt it on my heart to check the day we left the hospital and my heart sunk when I saw that it had doubled! I checked a few times on different sites and they were all pretty close. Even worse, the flights were all going to take us 17-24 hours to get there, something I knew wasn’t going to work with a baby and a toddler. So, I guess that was it. I admit, I felt pretty down about it. I wasn’t mad at God, but I was disappointed and confused. Why would be let us get asked off the list, get a tax return when we shouldn’t have, get everyone’s passports just in time (mine just came this week), have Caleb’s surgery date bumped up to the point that he could travel just when it was time for us to leave, and even allow me to win the photo opp just to say NO in the final round?
BUT, as I thought and prayed about it, I remembered God’s faithfulness throughout our hospital stay, amidst our recent trials, and so many times in the past. I recounted the times that God’s rejection had been our protection. It isn’t always easy, but I know I can trust him. And I know that if things don’t align for us to go on this trip, then it isn’t what is best for us. Because God wants SO much more for us than we even want for ourselves, so if he isn’t working to get us to Punta Cana, then we shouldn’t either. He’s more than capable of providing, and if he doesn’t, then maybe it wouldn’t have been such a great idea. He knows how much I need rest right now after 6 weeks of trials and testing. Maybe the trip would’ve thrown both kids off and I would’ve gotten less rest. Maybe something bad would’ve happened there. Maybe Caleb shouldn’t be so far from home. Maybe Josh wouldn’t have done well. I don’t know. All I know is that now that we are sitting under $36,000 of medical bills, I’m sure glad we didn’t force it. And that’s the thing. Praying for God’s will and trusting him doesn’t ensure we will get what we want, but it does ensure that whatever happens will ultimately be what is best for us. Sometime we will be able to see why now or down the road, sometimes we won’t, but I’m certain God knows what he is doing and that HIS way is ultimately the best way.
God knows our needs. He knows how badly we all need some rest and were so looking forward to a vacation. He knows how my heart breaks when I think of how excited Caleb was to go, dancing around the house chanting “Punta Cana, Punta Cana!” He knows much much my husband and I were looking forward to going somewhere tropical together, the very same place we wanted to go on the honeymoon we still haven’t taken. He knows. And if he knows all that, which he does, and loves us more than anything in the world, which he does, then I can rest knowing that whatever happens is for our best. Things don’t look good right now in terms of going, but I know that God will provide for us and meet our needs in his way and his timing if it’s not Punta Cana. I also know that God can still come through in a BIG way, in the final moments, which is when he typically loves to come through. Although I admit I’m discouraged, I haven’t given up hope. God can do anything, the question is whether or not he WILL. And it looks like we will just have to wait this one last week to see…