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Trust Me Yet?

Have you ever been in one of those situations? The kind that you have to trust God to take care of you and get you through the insanity that is being presented to you?  The kind that you could literally never get through on your own, even on your best day?

I have.  In fact, I’m in the middle of one of those situations right now.

This year is only barely halfway through, and yet this year has been filled with so many moments I didn’t see coming.  I never thought I would be paying for grad school out of pocket.  Sure, I knew if I needed to get my Master’s degree then I would have to pay for it; I just assumed I would pay it back, not pay it up front.  And let me just tell you, this one thing has caused so much stress and strain, but it has also tested my faith.

Don’t get me wrong!  I’m beyond blessed to have made it through an entire year of graduate school with zero debt from it.  Literally only the Lord could be responsible for how He has orchestrated that.  Literally.  Only the Lord.  And I praise Him every day for helping me get this far.

I never thought I would be planning a wedding during a long distance engagement, while I was in grad school.  Now, I know this was all my idea and I’m the dumb one who did this to myself.  I take FULL responsibility.  Well, half.  I’ll take half of the responsibility.  I’ll put the other half on Brandon.  …Poor guy…  Anyway, that has a whole other set of craziness that I will not delve into at the moment.

I never thought I would be living more than just paycheck to paycheck.  I don’t even currently make enough to support the expenses I have right now.  Not to mention that the Lord has called me to step down from one of my jobs, so I will have even less money coming in each month.  Yes, this is kind of my fault, but I think it’s more God’s plan than anything else.

I never thought I would be letting go of so many things I held dear…

Remember how I said that the Lord told me to step down from one of my current jobs?  Yeah… In my head, that wasn’t supposed to happen until I moved and got married and all that jazz in May of 2018.  However, as I have often found in life, God had a different plan.

So, here I am.

Tomorrow is technically my last Sunday on staff at the most incredible little church.  I loved being a part of this church family even before they somehow decided that I was the person they wanted to work with their kids.  After I took the job as children’s ministry director, my life changed forever.  Literally.

Each child in that ministry is like one of my own.  They have taught me and continue to teach me so much more than I ever knew I needed to know.  They showed me such unconditional love, such agape love.  They accepted me so fully and allowed me to be a part of their lives.  They have a piece of my heart and I pray that I did right by them.  I pray that they saw me as a servant and vessel of the Lord, not as a woman seeking praise or favor.  I pray that they learned something and felt God’s love in a way that they will never forget.  I pray that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are valuable, chosen, loved, and prayed for extensively.  I hope I was able to light up their world just a little bit with the love of Christ.  I just hope they know that they are loved so thoroughly by so many different people and by a God who died to know their name and carry their burdens.

I hope…  I pray…

I have been thoroughly blessed by the people in my church.  They have supported me when I literally had no clue what in the world I was doing.  They encouraged me when all I could see were my flaws and failures.  They have kept me positive when all I knew was the negative.  They are literally the best people on the planet.  I thank God for them every single time I remember them.  I know the Lord put them in my life to help me not only survive, but thrive in my growth and experience while working with the kids in my church.  I couldn’t have done it without them.  And that’s the honest truth.  Thank you for everything.

The number of people who volunteered time and time again to help me serve the kids is astounding.  All of the volunteers I worked with had a heart of gold and the love of Christ shining from within them.  They have served beautifully and relentlessly.  They blessed me beyond anything I had ever known.  Children’s ministry isn’t for everyone, but those who serve the little ones are such a blessing.  They have taught me so much about loving on God’s precious little children.  Thank you for your time and heart.  I pray the Lord blesses your socks off!

My friends and family who have supported me through each and every crazy, insane, chaotic step of this journey…  You.  Are.  Phenomenal.  Thank you for not giving up on me and walking away from my waves of negativity or tornadoes of chaos.  Thank you for supporting me and showing me nothing but love.  Thank you for talking me down when I was so riled up.  Thank you for your endless prayers and countless texts and phone calls.  You have blessed my socks off.  (Literally!  I don’t have any socks on right now!  You blessed them right off!!)

I don’t even know where to begin with the prayer bunnies…  Literally.  There are NO WORDS that could ever express my gratitude and love for each of you ladies.  Knowing that you are always there, ready with a prayer for me when I need it most as well as when I forget just how much I need it.  I pray the Lord blesses you beyond all measure.  I know each of you has so many crowns awaiting you in Heaven.  I also know that you will relinquish every single one of them before the throne of the Father, even as you have done on this earth.  You have turned every blessing that He has poured out on you into the sweetest incense of praise.  May the Lord drop prayer bombs of blessings on each of you.

Now, to the absolutely phenomenal and incredible woman who is taking my place.  You’ve got this.  The kids will accept you and love you with more love than you ever thought you could receive.  They will welcome you with open arms and they will teach you things you never knew you didn’t know.  You will be incredible.  Seriously.  Don’t freak out.  You’re more qualified for this job than I am!  God used me and blessed me for the time He wanted me there, but it’s your turn now.  God will use you so fully if you allow Him to (and I know you will).  The kids will test you and they will drive you insane sometimes, but you know that.  But let me just say, the insanity and chaos is nothing compared to the love and joy and even peace you will find while ministering to those sweet kids.  You’re awesome and you’ve got this because God’s got you and He is putting you in this place for His good, pleasing, and perfect will.  And you know I’m not going anywhere yet!

The Lord has been so good and blessed me through all of the insanity I’ve faced throughout my life.  I know He will be with me during this next year and the year after that and the year after that.  I know He will be right beside me and before me and behind me.  I know He will help me plan my wedding and pay for grad school.  I know He will walk me across the stage at graduation and down the aisle at my wedding.  I know He will place me exactly where He wants me for my clinical fellowship year.  I know He will help us choose our first home and help us organize our things within that home.  I know He will help us love one another through the first difficult year of marriage and every other crazy year after that.  I know He will give me the perfect job with great coworkers.  I know He will be there every single step of the way.

I can hear the Lord now: “I’ve helped you through so much in the past.  I’ve shown you My love.  I’ve taught you My ways.  You’ve never been in need before.  Why in the world would I stop providing now?  Why don’t you just trust Me.  I’ve got this.”

I know God is using this insanity to help me see things more clearly.  Being perfected, molded, and purified aren’t pretty and they are also pretty painful.  However, with that in mind, it is necessary to go through the refiner’s fire if I wish to be used by the Lord.  So, into the fire I go.  Knowing the Lord walks before me and beside me and behind me, each step of the journey.

So here I am.  Trusting God to provide all of my needs.

Thank you all for your prayers, supports, and intercessions.  I feel them more and more each day.  You are all incredible and I pray the Lord heaps blessings upon each of you.

Gentry Bass

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Your Wiser Self

At the beginning of my time as a graduate student, one of my professors had us write a letter to ourselves and seal it in an envelope.  This was done so that we could read our letters one day. When things were tough and we couldn’t remember the joy we had at the beginning of it all.  When the insanity that surrounded us never ceased and rest was no where to be found.

Today was that day.

Life is tough as is.  Throw in graduate level classes, clinic schedules, enough homework to drown the most studious of individuals, financial struggles, and work responsibilities…  Well, you get the picture.  Basically life is crazy and we’re swamped.  I mean, I’m sure there are some phenomenal women in my cohort who are thriving and pushing through this insanity with grace and ease.  Sadly, I am not one of them.  Not even close.

Today my professor brought our letters into class and I opened mine.

I pulled out the envelope to see that I had written quotes on the outside of my letter:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified or discouraged for the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

“Who by worrying can add a single day to his life” -Matthew 6:27

“Cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

“________ is a big problem, BUT GOD IS BIGGER!”

The one that caught my eye was the last one.  It is something I came up with for a lesson on David and Goliath and one day I want a plaque with those words to hang in my home at the height of Goliath.  I made each child a laminated bookmark so they could write and rewrite their problems on the line and then realize that although it was a big problem, our God is bigger.  God is even bigger than the insanity of the Speech Pathology graduate school program!

Once I opened the first part of the letter, I realized I had written even more things on the next flap of paper before I was able to read my letter.  These grabbed my attention even more than the first verses and quotes because they are all things that God has said to me.  Whether through a time of prayer, a song, or a Bible study, each of the following has been the voice of the Lord in my life speaking directly to me.  (If you need the Lord to speak to you, maybe He can use these!)

“It’s gonna be worth it all.”

“Seek Me and be still.”

“Quit worrying.  I’ve got this.  Now, let Me got this.”

“I will provide.”

“Don’t give up.  I AM here and I always will be.”

“Be [I AM] still.”

“I will give you rest.” (PRAISE JESUS FOR THIS PROMISE!!)

“Circle, then shout, Gentry.  Then I’m going to bring the walls down.  This battle will not be won with muscle, mighty warrior.  This battle will be won by faith.” (this refers to the battle of Jericho when the Israelites circled the city in prayer and then shouted in victory)

And the real kicker:

“I’ve gotten you this far.  Do you really think I’m going to give up on you now?”

I don’t know about you, but that one just slapped me in the face.  Duh!  Of course God won’t give up on me.  He’s been faithful and gotten me through every hardship up until this point and I firmly believe that He will get me through this insanity.

If you would like to know what my full letter of encouragement said, please feel free to continue reading.  I hope these words can help even one person remember that God truly is in control and He has a purpose and a plan for everything that is happening in your life.  Don’t give up.  He’s got you.

Take a deep breath.  You’re fine.  The Lord’s got you in the palm of His hand, remember?  Everything that you are going through has a purpose and He will reveal that purpose to you when you are ready for it.  Don’t forget about all of the other times that He’s been there for you and literally walked you through.

Remember when you sat in a quiet room with your family and two doctors seated around a big table.  Remember how it felt when you heard the doctor say, “you tested positive for Vascular Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.”  Remember the days and weeks after that appointment when you realized that your mom and brother had VEDS too, that you would probably never have your own children, that life with Brandon would forever change, and that your life would forever be marked by a bracelet with a label on it.  Remember that feeling of being completely overwhelmed?

Now, do you remember how the Lord got you through all of that?  How He walked with you through every question and every valley of darkness.  How He sent people to pray for you and help you through it.  Remember that?  If He got you through every part of that valley, don’t you think He will get you through these two years of grad school?

“You will get through this.  It won’t be painless.  It won’t be quick.  But God can use this mess for good.  In the meantime, don’t be foolish or naive, but don’t despair either.  With God’s help, you will get through this.” –You’ll Get Through This, Max Lucado

Calm down, be still, and seek the Lord.  All you have to do is ask Him and He will give you what you are lacking.  So ask.  But make sure that you aren’t too far away to hear Yhwh speak.  This graduate program is only two years of your life, but your relationship with God is eternal, so make sure you are putting Him and keeping Him first.  “Seek first His kingdom and all of His righteousness and all of these things will be aded unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

You’ve got this because He’s got you.  Don’t worry.  It won’t help anything.  Instead, pray like the overcoming warrior that you are.

-Your Wiser Self

Gentry Bass

P.S.

In case you were wondering why I spelled Yahweh without the vowels, it was purposeful.  Try to pronounce it without the vowels.  It’s a whisper!  Yhwh is a holy name of God that is literally only a breath.  The thing is, you can’t hear Yhwh if you’re not close enough to hear His whisper.  So get close and listen up!

Just a little food for thought.  It’s one of my favorites.

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