Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:)
Psalm 95:1-11 ~
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”
Today I just want to talk about what God did this week.
A few weeks ago, I felt pretty nervous about my book.
Black Friday was coming and I couldn’t slow it down, the holidays were quickly approaching, and I had virtually no strategy to sell books.
This autumn has been hard. All the easy sales (friends and family) are gone and now I’m trying to sell Far Below Human Eyes to people I don’t even know yet, which is weird. And the whole time, a voice in my heads keeps whispering, “you didn’t go to college for this. What do you have to show for it?”
So a few weeks ago, feeling all that pressure, I came up with a plan. I’d reach out to every middle school in Parker, ask to speak in their classes, and sell my books that way.
Well, God had a different plan. But as usual, it was way better than mine.
I called and emailed every middle school I could find. Sometimes they responded. Most directed me to the voicemail of their principle.
Feeling I was at the end of my rope, I frantically thought of any other schools I knew off the top of my head. I immediately thought of an elementary school right behind our old house. I grew up playing on their playground.
So I gave them a call. I was directed to the librarian and left a message. Feeling defeated, I shut my computer and prayed for a response.
Two weeks passed. Not one of the middle schools got back to me. But one morning, I found an email in my inbox from that one elementary school, from their librarian named Jennifer.
Jennifer and I went back and forth for a few days. She told me she wanted me to come speak to all their 3rd and 5th graders (WHAT!). And she wanted me to come that Friday (which at the time was like 5 days away).
I was STOKED but super nervous. I had reached out to all these schools not exactly expecting to get a yes, so when I did, I realized I didn’t really have a game plan. Also, I hadn’t done public speaking in over 9 months. Rip me.
All week, I worked on my presentation.
I designed 52 super colorful slides, planned out a game to play with the kids, and prepared a 25 minute speech-ish sort of thing. I wanted it to be perfect for these kids.
At the end of the week, I was ready. On Friday morning, I drove over to the elementary school, adrenaline making my heart race. As I sat in the parking lot looking at the school, I took a deep breath.
“God, please take over my heart. Please take over my motives. Not to sell as many books as I can, but to encourage these kids. Help them believe they can create cool things too.”
I waddled inside carrying my box of books and a bag of candy (which I last-minute bought at 7-11 for an EXORBITANT amount of money but whatever). Jennifer was inside the library waiting for me. And this was when I realized:
I shouldn’t have been so nervous.
In person, Jennifer is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. Setting up for my presentation was easy and fast. As my first group, the 3rd graders, trickled in, I saw all their tiny faces and realized I didn’t have to worry about being perfect.
They were engaged and so curious. They laughed at all the parts I hoped they would. They loved the game (and the candy), and after a few minutes I realized I was just having fun with them.
Afterwards, they asked so many questions. You know how, in a room full of adults, no one will ask questions and it’s super awkward for the speaker? That’s what I was afraid of. Not so with curious 3rd and 5th graders. I didn’t even get to answer all their questions hahaha!
Afterwards, a handful of kids came up to me and told me about the stories they wrote. Melted my heart. One girl said she liked my outfit which nearly made me cry she was so sweet. Another boy was super curious about how much money I make off of books. Another asked about what I’m writing right now, so I got to share Jesus with them for a minute.
It was crazy.
By the end of both presentations, I was completely overwhelmed with joy. The pressure to sell books was gone and I just wanted to hang out with these kids even longer. I didn’t even care if I didn’t sell a single book. I just wanted them to know that Jesus gave them the gift to create cool things!
And you know the craziest part? Far Below Human Eyes takes place at a pond behind my old house. Right next to this elementary school. And when I mentioned it to these kids, they all knew exactly the pond I was talking about.
All that’s to say: God gave me some incredible reasons to worship Him this week. He didn’t want me to speak to middle schoolers. He wanted me to speak to this elementary school. He didn’t want me to just sell books. He wanted me to use the gifts He’s given me to encourage others. His plan was better.
So I wanted to tell this whole long story to say, “Look what God’s done!” But also to say:
God is worthy of praise all the time.
During this last fall, when things were falling apart and I wasn’t selling books ~ He was still worthy of praise.
During the victories, He is worthy of praise.
During the failures, He is worthy of praise.
Whether we are feeling happy or excited or frustrated or upset or defeated ~ He is worthy of praise.
Because we worship a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
And we do not worship our God only for what He has done.
We worship our God because of who He is.
I asked myself yesterday: sure, I feel joyful right now and want to praise God. But would I still praise Him the same way if I was struggling? Would I still fall to my knees if I was going through the hardest time of my life?
My God is a God who is good, not because of what’s going on down here on earth, but because of the fact that He created good in the first place.
My God is a God who is worthy of praise not because of whatever is going on in my tiny little life, but because of the fact that He created everything, deserves everything, is everything.
So yes I will praise Him today. And I hope I can praise Him tomorrow. But thank goodness I serve a God who, even if I can’t bring myself to worship in the moment, He still commands the praise of all creation. He is still worshipped by far more than me. He is still worthy of praise.