daily devotional

Our God is the God of full circle. He is always at work to bring all things together for good. He is forever using mayhem for miracles and destruction for destiny. He is the one who creates beauty from ashes, and he’s also the God who allows the fire to first create the ashes before he forms the beauty. Sometimes we see that full circle evidence the same week, and sometimes it takes 25 years. Regardless of the time it takes to see it and recognize it, the truth is, God is still using all things for good and bringing us full circle.

On Friday, I took one of those classic jumping pictures you’ve likely seen of mine. It’s not that I can jump high, it’s that I understand angle. I know the right angle of the camera along with perfect timing of a video screen shot will capture a below average jump and make it look impressive. I’ve taken hundreds of these jumping photos and taught thousands of others my tricks, but this particular photo on Friday captured a full circle moment.

Behind me in the photo was Memorial Medical Center. A hospital in Savannah, Georgia. The hospital where 25 years ago God used the hands of doctors and nurses to save my life. The hospital where a blood clot was discovered, lodged in the stem of my brain causing a massive stroke. The hospital where I was carried in by my newlywed husband, but unsure if I would ever come back out. The very place where that young soldier helped feed and bathe his 19 year old bride. The halls where I learned how to walk again.

And now, here I am 25 years later, whole, healthy and restored, jumping for a photo. Jumping because God has done a work in my life. Jumping because it was all used for good. Jumping because what started here was dang messy, but what is now here is my message. Jumping because I can, and that was God!

God is always at work to bring us full circle. He uses what was once broken to break strongholds today. He uses what once hurt us to bring full healing now that reaches beyond us into the lives of others.

If there’s ever been a full circle story, it would be Moses. He was born into a world of trouble and chaos where every baby boy was to be killed by the Egyptians. So his mother hid him in a basket and sent him floating down the Nile River. There on the river, the daughter of the Pharoah of Egypt found baby Moses and took him in as her own. She would need someone to feed the baby and guess who she found … a woman who had just given birth but had lost her child. She had the ability to feed her new found baby. Guess who that woman was … that’s right the little mama who had sent him down the river to save his life. Now here she is in the palace, helping raise her son. Full circle.

But wait, there are bigger circles at work here. Oh girl, you know sometimes we see little circles where God is working, but we have no idea the bigger circles he’s still working on! There’s something so much bigger than you in the works, but it involves you and it involves your hardship. You just can’t see it yet.

Moses grows up in Egypt, but he has a heart for his birth people, the Israelites who are slaves here. And when God is ready to lead the Israelites out of slavery to freedom, who does he use? Moses. The baby who Pharaoh himself had ordered to kill. The baby who became his grandson. The baby who is now rising up as a leader and changing the destiny of thousands.

God used Moses.

But first, there was a mama who feared for the life of her baby and had to let him go. And there was a God who saw it all and allowed it to happen. He saw her tears. He heard her cries. He saw her act of sacrifice as she let that basket float down the river. A river infested with the most deadly snakes in the world. And all this time, he had a plan. He had a plan to use it all for good. He had a plan to bring it full circle.

Moses led his people out of Egypt into freedom. But first there would be an encounter with the impossible. There would be an angry mob of Egyptian soldiers hot on their trail, running after them with the intention of killing them for escaping … and there would be the Red Sea in their path. A sea too big to swim across and they would surely drown.

And what does God do? He uses Moses, the helpless baby who once floated down a dangerous river, now as a mighty leader with nothing more than a stick and enough faith to believe God would do what he said he would do, and he parts the Red Sea. The water stood up on it’s ends and created a dry path along the sea bed for Moses to lead the Israelites to freedom. The moment they were all safely to the other shore, the sea returned to cover where they had walked and the Egyptian soldiers chasing them were drowned.

God not only saved this baby years ago in the middle of a crisis, but he used this baby now as a leader to save others and lead them out of their crisis. Full circle.

When we are gifted with the opportunity to see our crisis come full circle, we understand God was always at work. We understand his hands were in everything and nothing was ever wasted. And when we understand how our God works in all things, we can trust him with all things.

Returning to the hospital where my life was spared 25 years ago helped me understand the full circle work God has done in my life. This was where my husband and I learned to truly appreciate life. This is where we understood how short and precious our days are and we are all just one moment away from everything changing forever. And what I didn’t understand then, is this place is where a seed was planted, where a trajectory was changed, where a purpose was put into position.

Seeds are always planted in dark places. If a seed is left out in the light, it will never grow. It must be put down deep, in darkness to break free from it’s shell. Here in the darkness is where it grows roots and eventually sprouts up to the light.

In the darkness is where our seeds are planted. In the hardship. In the crisis. In the confusion and chaos. On the shores of a dangerous river where you’re desperate for an answer. In the bed of a strange hospital where you’re unsure why this happened to you, to your family.

In your darkness, in your hardship, in your struggle, there has been a seed planted. This is where your trajectory was changed. This is where you have been positioned for a great purpose. But don’t lose hope when you don’t see it right away. God is working and his work is a full circle work.

God says in Isaiah 45:7 “The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.”

This scripture used to scare the crap out of me. Now I understand it. This is simply God working. Working in all things. Wasting nothing. It is the Lord who works to bring things full circle in my life and in your life.

It was a stroke that put me on the path I walk today. A path of a life far bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. Looking back I see it. It was what taught me to savor life. But it was also what gave me a very specific purpose. Laying in a hospital bed, I vowed if God would heal me I would do something with my life. It was there I decided I would be the girl who once couldn’t walk, who would run marathons. I would be the girl who once couldn’t talk, who would never stop talking. I ran a marathon as a fundraiser for the American Stroke Association. Then they asked me to be their spokesperson. That led me to overcoming fears of speaking and boom … here I am talking to you today!

Coincidence? No. Head on collision with a purpose. God always knew the circle he was creating.

The trajectory of my life was forever changed, and this is how … the worst day first.

I would imagine it was a really bad day for Moses’ little mama to place her precious baby in a basket and set it among cobras on that river. I can’t imagine watching that basket float away, uncertain of what would happen. But God was in the middle of it all, working a plan that would be better than anything she could imagine. She would get to help raise that baby in the palace, and watch that baby grow into a world changer that now, hundreds of generations later, we’re still talking about.

BIG CIRCLES. That’s a BIG CIRCLE she couldn’t have possibly imagined.

And sister I know this much, there are little circles in your life where God is bringing you through and back around to completion, and perhaps you see them. But there are also BIG CIRCLES being created in your life right now that you have no idea about. You cannot fathom how God is using everything that has ever happened to you for something so much bigger than you. Generations to come may be impacted by something that happened to you in darkness. Countless lives may be changed, even saved, because of what you went through and the seed that was planted there.

You may see it this year, or it may take 25 more years to comprehend what God has done. Or it may wait until the moment you walk through the pearly gates of Heaven and see Jesus face to face and then he reveals to you all he has been doing in you, through you, for you, and because of you. I know this much, it will be worth it.

I can’t even describe the feeling of standing outside of that hospital again. It was a total surprise. I’m here on Hilton Head Island, SC hosting a BIG Life Retreat and on Friday I had taken our retreat girls on an adventure in Savannah. They had found out the name of the hospital, searched out it’s location, and while I thought we were driving back to our house on the Island, they were actually taking me straight to that hospital for my full circle moment.

Wow, you just never know who God is going to use to bring you full circle. You never know how and when it will happen. But it will. And when it does, it’s as if you get a tiny glimpse into the behind the scenes workings of heaven and you understand why God allowed darkness. It was the most perfect place for a seed to be planted. And eventually that seed will grow to become something bigger than your human mind can conceive.

Have you had hardship in your life? Something unfair happened to you? Has darkness threatened your family? Oh my sister, that means God is working. He is doing a full circle work in your life, in your family … maybe you just don’t see it yet.

I have a few circles that are still in progress. Some darkness that hasn’t quite revealed it’s purpose, but I must trust those seeds are still in process. Maybe you do too. You don’t see the purpose in this pain. You haven’t found your message in the mess. You still don’t see how God is using it all for good and bringing it full circle, but you will. I will. I believe that.

And that’s what makes it possible to still find joy on the journey. Just knowing it’s coming full circle … the jumping photo is on it’s way, you just can’t imagine with your human mind how it’s all going to come together. But God … God with his big ol’ miraculous God mind can. And it’s his thoughts that set everything into motion!