Have you ever been hoodwinked? I know, I know. It’s an old term that no one uses anymore, but I like the sound of it.
hoodwinked: bamboozled, duped, hoaxed
Of course you have! So have I! I’ve lost count of how many pieces of exercise equipment or magic pills or other resources I’ve purchased over the years that promised to help me loose 10-15 pounds in four weeks while burning away belly fat like it was wax thrown into a raging fire. Or what about that “very reliable and in excellent condition” used car that seemed like such a wise (even frugal) purchase at the time but turned out to be a money pit of repairs! Snookered! Hornswoggled! Deceived!
Generally speaking, “hoodwinked” isn’t a term used in the context of something positive. But when GOD is doing the hoodwinking … well that’s another story.
And that’s exactly what I feel happened to me this year … I got hoodwinked by God!
This same time last year, as is my practice, I was talking with Daddy God about the ups and downs of 2017 and questions I had about 2018. In truth, I was a little bit discouraged on a few fronts – particularly the blogging front. I’d been inconsistently posting throughout 2016 and 2017, in part because I was very busy launching a WOSB, and in part because I was discouraged by a low readership. Questions like “who am I writing this for?” and “if no one is reading this, why am I still writing?” were at the forefront of my mind. I asked the Lord if I should just shut down the blog altogether – and obviously, His answer was no. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard Him clear His throat (ah-hem) and say “I never told you to stop writing”. Ouch! And that’s how I came about committing to a weekly blog post throughout the year 2018 – and since HOPE was what I needed to experience, I chose the subject “2018: A Year For Hope”
HOPE: a desire accompanied by confident expectation
During the first few weeks of 2018, I often included internal/external dialogs of fictional characters to set the stage for a subject that was on my heart (perhaps inspired by something I or a friend was going through). And over the course of those first 12 weeks, I struggled to complete an art piece to illustrate my heart in response to a dream someone had for me (posted in week #12)
Fast forward to April 2018. Readership was increasing (what a balm to my heart!) and I was painting again. “OK Lord, I think I can keep this up … what is the next subject?”
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Wanting to honor my commitment to Him to post weekly, I did my best to listen to what He was impressing on me and then post about it … but I still felt there was a bigger subject, something that would take a few weeks to cover (like some of my 2014 and 2015 posts). But I wasn’t hearing what it was … so I just kept doing what I was doing.
And then, after a chance encounter with a young woman at a BigBox store, the Lord impressed upon me to tell my story (top to bottom) in chronological order. There was a part of me that quickly said “Yes, Lord. If that’s what you want me to do, I’ll do it.” But then there was another part that was slightly less enthusiastic about that whole idea. I mean it’s one thing to reveal all your warts and bruises within the context of a known audience (be it a group of trusted friends, or a group of fellow believers, or in a setting where there is still some level of intimacy and perhaps even anonymity). But to put the whole mess out there in cyberspace for anyone to read?? That caused me to pause, and to prayerfully think about it.
I have shared bits and pieces of my story many times over the years, but rarely (if ever) from start to finish. Lets face it, it’s a long story! 🙂
I started sharing my story in week #20 and it took to week #34 to get my story out, and to week #41 to wrap up some loose ends. That’s 21 weeks … about 5 months! That’s a lot of time to be digging around in the dirt of the backyard of your life. But I did it. I obeyed.
When I wrote the prologue for this blog series last December 2017, I had absolutely no idea what God was going to ask of me in May. If I had known, I might not have been so quick to say yes – might not have said yes at all – but by May 2018 I had already committed to writing a weekly blog post and was in desperate need of new subject matter.
Funny, God! Really funny!
He pulled the old bait-and-switch on me!
I got hoodwinked!
And how glad I am about it! As a result of this blog series, and more specifically the posts between #21 and #41, I’ve connected with many amazing people (some still walking through their journey, some on the overcoming side of the fence) who were blessed and encouraged by my candidness in sharing about a neglected and abuse childhood which set the stage for my disastrous choices as an adult. I never would have made these soul-spirit connections if I hadn’t have obeyed.
I also think God has an incredible sense of humor! He must have been smiling big when I prayed for multi-week subject matter in April! (Oh don’t you worry, daughter. I’ve got a subject in mind for you alright!!!!)
He is also extraordinarily kind to me, because never in a million years would I have imagined how healing (even after so much healing already) it would be to chronologically lay out all these pieces of my life. But it was, and in doing so I was able to put some pieces of the puzzle together in a way that I had never seen or understood before. Thank you for that Father!
My prayer in December 2017 was that 2018 would be a year for hope to come alive again in new and exciting ways. That dormant areas of my life would spring to life. That victories prayed and believed for would manifest. That breakthrough would swallow up constraint, and that my eyes would behold in 2018 the marvelous works of God in my life and that of my family.
It truly has been an year of hope for me and I pray it was for you too!
And where we need more hope still for 2019, let us be encouraged that He who began a good work is always (and I mean ALWAYS) faithful to complete it, through Christ Jesus! (Philippians 1:6)
Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year. See you in January 2019, writing about … well, I’m praying about that now 🙂 God bless!