God is not done with your story. This is not the end of what he’s doing in you, through you and for you. Oh honey, there is soooooo much more. More than you have dared to dream. More than you can imagine. Your story is MORE.

Yesterday was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the 99+1 Coffee House in Stratford, Oklahoma. This is the ministry BIG Life partnered with a year ago to turn an old abandoned, condemned nursing home into a beautiful, sacred space for girls who have aged out of foster care or been rescued from horrific situations like sex trafficking. Those old rooms with broken windows and holes in cement walls became designer rooms straight out of a magazine. Literally the things dreams are made of. And these girls, the ones once not chosen, the ones once used and discarded, the ones deemed broken beyond repair … they now call this their home.

But wait, there’s more.

As if that weren’t enough, God went and did MORE. He turned the huge lobby space of the old unsightly nursing home into the most perfect coffee shop for the girls of the home to be able to have jobs, build their futures, and serve their community. And yesterday, the big golden ribbon stretched across what was once abandoned and condemned, to declare the space has been restored, remade, redeemed, and reopened for so much more.

Where life had once ended, now life overflows. Where hope had been lost, joy now abounds. Coffee was officially shared in this space for the first time. The velvet couch held conversations of restoration and God’s glory. People walked into that space and saw in neon lights on the wall a sign that says, “Look and see what God has done.” What has God done? MORE THAN WE COULD EVER ASK, THINK OR IMAGINE.

What’s God doing next? Even more!

And this is precisely the picture of what God desires to do in your life! Indeed, he wants to step right into what is too far gone, undesirable, shameful, and totally given up on, and do his miraculous work. God doesn’t just make it ‘good enough’. He doesn’t just make it suitable for the basics again. No, God goes exceedingly and abundantly above anything we could ask, think or imagine.

You’re willing to settle for a tent in your wilderness at this point. Lord, just give me something, anything. But, God says, keep moving my girl, I have a Promised Land waiting for you, and when you get there, it will be so much more than you could have ever dreamed of on your own. There’s a gold ribbon to cut in your future. A reopening of what was walked away from. A restoration of what was too far gone. A redeeming work within your life that leads you to so much more. A reopening of your great big, beautiful, destined and purpose filled life.

So, here’s what you can’t do here … you can’t give up.

Restoration work is ugly and messy. It’s overwhelming at times. That’s why we’re willing to settle for a fresh coat of paint to cover up the damage and move on quickly. Yes, we’re willing to settle for fixing up our tents in the wilderness over taking another step on a journey that feels impossible. But, Sis, when we settle here, when we don’t take our next steps, when we opt for quick and easy new paint rather than complete restoration, we miss the divine opportunity to experience so much more in our lives.

Don’t you pitch your tent here. This is not the end of your journey. Don’t you settle for fresh paint on crumbling walls, there’s demo work to be done here first. Dare to believe things that are far beyond your reach, things that are above your abilities, things that are infinitely bigger than just you, are all in God’s design beyond where you are today. THERE’S SO MUCH MORE.

Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

GOD IS ABLE TO DO SO MUCH MORE. The power for this work is already within us. We’ve already got what it takes through Jesus. What we need here is a spirit that won’t give up! A sold out belief in God’s promises over our lives that simply won’t allow us to settle for less. A relentless pursuit of God’s best with an unwavering faith in the process. What will the result be? MORE THAN WE COULD ASK OR IMAGINE.

Yes, full redemption. Yes, new life where there was no life before. Yes, complete restoration. Yes, stepping into spaces you haven’t even dared to dream of yet. Yes, golden ribbons cut for new beginnings and reopenings!

In the book of Exodus, we read about the Israelites on their God guided journey from their captivity in Egypt to the blessed land God had promised them. There was a destination awaiting them that was greater than anything they had ever experienced before. To get there, they would have to travel through a wilderness. But, God would always be by their side, guiding them and providing for them. In Exodus 13, he led them with a pillar of clouds during the day, and a pillar of fire at night to give them light. In Exodus 16, he rained down manna from Heaven as daily provisions in a desert land where nothing grew.

There wasn’t an abundance here, but there was just enough. The problem was, the Israelites decided to settle for just enough. They pitched their tents in this wasteland and declared it was as far as they could go. They stopped short of their destiny. They stopped short of God’s promise. They forfeited the chapter of their story where they cut the golden ribbon on all God had planned for them.

Where have you stopped short of God’s promise? Where did you give up when it got too hard? Where did you dismiss yourself because you felt not good enough? Where did you settle for fresh paint when God wanted to do a complete restoration?

The Israelites died in their wasteland, all while there was a promised land overflowing with abundance just on the other side for them. But they settled. They stopped. They gave up. They allowed their story to end there.

And God wants you to know YOUR STORY DOESN’T END HERE! This may be hard. This may be more than you can handle. This may not be working the way you hoped it would. This may be a bigger mess than you bargained for. But God has an offer on the table for so much MORE for you.

Yesterday, while the big golden ribbon was being cut in Oklahoma for the 99+1 Coffee House, I floated down a lazy river in Colorado with a few podcast listeners who I now get to mentor. One of the girls is a beautiful, feisty little spirit packed in a 5 foot nothing package. She’s a tiny little thing, but whew does she have fight in her. Her story was one of tragic loss and extreme hardship. Her husband was gunned down in front of her in Mexico with 22 bullets, leaving her with 3 small kids, 5 bags of clothes, and $80, in a foreign country.

Now that’s a wasteland. That’s a wilderness. That’s a hardship you can’t be prepared for. BUT GOD HAD SO MUCH MORE FOR HER. More that reached far beyond this tragedy. So, God led this single mom with 3 children, 5 bags of clothes, and $80, step by step to a land she could have never imagined. Today, she has a wonderful husband, 6 children, and a little ranch where she rides her horses and raises chickens. And the joy overflowing from this woman is unspeakable!

Only God can do that. Only God can write that story. Only God can do a redeeming work like that. She would have settle for just surviving, but God surprised her with a life that is immeasurably more than she could have ever asked for or even imagined.

What did the process look like? Messy. Overwhelming. Scary. But, was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! The big golden ribbon on her redeemed and restored life has been cut, and she’s living in the fullness of what her good, good God always had planned for her.

Can you do the same? Absolutely!

What will it take? It will take you not settling along the way. It will take demolition of some old walls, some old habits, some old thoughts, and some old wounds. It will lead you right through the mess. It will take you directly through the impossible. And one day, you will cut the ribbon and step into SO MUCH MORE!

But, Sis, until you get there, you can’t stop and settle. You can’t give up on the process. You can’t pull back and hide. A full surrender to the Almighty is required, and it’s required on the daily. Today, renew your resolve to keep going. Dig through God’s promises over your life again, and cling to them with every step. One day, you will look back and say, “Look and see what God has done, it’s so much MORE than I could have imagined!”

And if you’re asking why would God do this for you in your life? Oh honey, because of the GLORY he will receive!

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