Finding Destiny in the Midst of Chaos by Gretchen Rodriguez
By Gretchen Rodriguez
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By Jeremy Lopez
Sometimes destiny unfolds in the most unusual circumstances. For me, everything changed when we moved back to the States, after serving on the mission field for nine years. We decided to move to California and become members of our dream church, Bethel. I was thrilled! Little did I know that a life-changing adventure was about to begin.
The journey with the Lord always guides us beyond ourselves. It leads us away from our "do" and straight into our "who." This was exactly what I was about to discover. Though I fully believed I would continue in ministry, it wasn't God's top priority. His priority was, and always is, to help us understand exactly who we are in His eyes.
Weeks after being accepted on the church's dance team, I injured my back. It was bad and I was devastated. I'd studied and taught ballet since I was three years old. I'd wanted to be on Bethel's dance team for years. Now what was I going to do?
For six months, I did little more than lay flat. Though I wasn't angry, I certainly had a lot of questions. We've all experienced times when God didn't make sense and this was one of those times.
Have you ever felt like you were losing grip and unless God was hanging on to you, you'd be sucked into an emotional black hole? That's how I felt. I had spent most of my life pouring into others through ministry and dance and now all I could do was—nothing. Nothing but focus on Him and worship. And that was all He wanted.
Though God never afflicts us with suffering and pain, He is the Master of reaching us in their midst. He began to teach me who I was, in greater depth than I had ever known.
During this time, God was fine-tuning my identity. Suddenly, I wasn't Gretchen the missionary, Gretchen the dancer, or Gretchen the pastor. I was just—me. Known and loved by God, hidden in His presence and enjoying every moment of it. I lost all desire to "do" anything. I was perfectly happy being a lovesick bride.
God knows how to use situations, which would otherwise bring devastation, and use them for our good. He's a faithful Father. The victories we gain in the wilderness, become golden truths imprinted upon our souls, which can never be erased. Never despise the difficult times because it is out of them that the greatest breakthroughs erupt.
From this place of total surrender, He resurrected a secret desire in my heart—a desire to become a writer. I began to take risks and do things I never thought I would. Titles no longer made me brave. His voice did. Courage lifted me up and wrapped me securely in His arms. I was strong because I found fulfillment in being His child.
I became a writer, not because I was searching for identity, but because I had found it. Out of heart-wrenching disappointment, I found my purpose—to be His and to be completely at peace with that and nothing more.
All that I did began to flow effortlessly from my love for Him. It was no longer about doing things to find my place, it was about doing things because I had found my reason for doing them.
Now, four years later, my back is getting stronger, I'm an assistant leader for our dance team and authoring books with Brian Simmons. Most importantly, I've learned how amazing it is to simply be me.
If you have found yourself in similar circumstances, where nothing is turning out the way you thought it would, hang on! You're on the verge of your greatest breakthrough! God is calling you higher—to a life that challenges you in the most beautiful ways. He wants you to dream with Him, to hope in the face of countless disappointments, to believe in miracles, and to be so confident in His love for you that your life explodes with purpose!
"God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings, yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God's plan and our destiny." Romans 8:27 The Passion Translation