I was 25 years old, when I had been given potentially very life altering good advice. I’m not sure what gave me the courage to reject it, but at the time, it had a lot to do with me ‘trusting my gut.’
Let me give you a little back story…
I was a single mother, supporting 2 children alone. I had a 3-year-old daughter, and a new baby boy. My son had just been released from 2 weeks in the hospital (he spent 5 of those days on life support.) I received zero child support, and having gone from pregnancy to newborn to severely ill baby, left me with the only option being welfare. Part of being on assistance, (other than a degrading screening process, and harsh monitoring) meant that the government kept a close watch on my bank account. Any extra money going in, meant welfare backing out. I wasn’t even allowed to accept cash gifts, and financial help from my church or family, or I would be cut off. (they found shortcuts to pay my bills and buy me groceries! Yeah you go church!) During this time, I also received maternity leave checks, so the two incomes is what I lived off of for several months.
One holiday weekend that all changed. My maternity check was deposited 2 days early, bumping the pay-day to the 30th of the previous month, making my bank records look suspicious. Welfare instantly cut me off, and with a pointless tearful call explaining it all, they told me I would have to reapply all over again. That meant booking a 2 month waiting list appointment, resubmitting all of my expenses and references, having an in-home assessment done, where they point at your belongings and tell you what to sell, and showing up to a public meeting where I got to meet all the other people on welfare for a group lecture. I wasn’t too panicked, at least I still had my maternity check, but the next month, when I anticipated my deposit, there was none. I checked the next day, nothing, and the next, nothing. I was stunned and called right away. It’s a bit of a pointless story, but apparently the Government had made an error and my claim had ended. I would have to reapply with an appeal and it could take several months. So at 25-years-old, the sole provider of these 2 young babies, over the course of 1 month was destitute.
My landlady cried as I gave her my notice. I was a good renter, but I couldn’t pay her anymore. I had no home, and I was not sure what was next for me, but I soon had to move in with a friend and her family. Me and my two kids shared a bedroom in their home, it was a memorable time, and I am still forever grateful for their generosity.
The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Advice
Around the same time, I had been asking God for direction in my life, and as I prayed, God began to really nudge me towards going to University. As I prayed for confirmation, I went to church one Sunday, my pastor at the time began to preach about destiny and purpose. He said …”If you mix passion and education, you create a powerful destiny” It clicked for me, this was the confirmation I needed. I was so excited, and for the first time in my life I began to see a horizon line, a line that said that life could possibly be more than where I was at. So one day, I begged God to show me again that this was indeed my next step, and when I got the mail that day, there was a University of Lethbridge Info package. I knew that God was nodding a big fat holy yes.
As I began to share my excitement with my friends, family and church members, I knew I was getting closer to making a final decision. You have to remember, there was no husband to bounce ideas off of, this was my decision, and mine alone. Then one day, 2 ladies from my church called me up. They had some concerns, and wanted to come over to share them with me. They sat me down, and told me that they didn’t think my faith was strong enough to handle University and the real world. I was too young in the Lord, and not secure enough. They felt that I would probably get in another bad relationship and get pregnant again,they told me that it would be best for me to reapply for welfare, and stay where I was. I nodded, and thanked them for their concerns, and I spent the next 3 weeks picking my heart and faith up off the floor.
I was such a young Christian, so at this point in my life, anyone who was a believer was way more deserving and heard from God way more than I did. I trusted these women, they knew my struggles, and spent many times ministering to this young single welfare mom. Oh man! I look back now and see such an obvious plan from Satan to keep me where I was… It reminds me of the mocking the Israelites faced as Nehemiah and the others tried to rebuild their wall. I was handed a tool from God and a command to rebuild my life, and they pointed out the rubble and the impossibility of it all. After a few weeks of crying myself to sleep, wondering if I could even ask God for anything if my life was such a mess, I almost gave up, I almost stayed.
But as I began to press into God, even with my shame resurfaced and gnawing, I felt His hand continue to push me, and then I received prayer from my spiritual Grandfather. He said, “I see you standing on the edge of a diving board, looking into the deep waters and God says it’s okay to jump in, you won’t drown, you won’t get lost. God is going to make your path straight, and He’s going to bless you” This was the final confirmation, there was no more refuting. God had tracked me down.
The Final Decision
I was accepted into University, and 5 years later I graduated with distinction. Oh, and they were right! I did get pregnant!!!! TWICE!!!…. but by my husband, who I had met in my 2nd year of university. We married, one year later had a baby, and 2 years later had another one. Oh, and we bought 2 houses in there at some point too.
We are taught as believers to always listen to good counsel, to seek direction and wisdom from leadership. I absolutely agree, that these are the people we should be weighing our decisions with, but at the end of the day, they are our decisions. So often, we put our futures in the hands of people we think hear from God more than we do, or know more than we do. Worse yet, sometimes we put our lives in the hands of the mockers and lay down our tools. I have seen too many times, people’s lives stifled because of this belief and false doctrine that their leaders are solely responsible for their well-being, and therefore their opinions are usually the final say. The truth is, God is responsible for our well-being and He gets the final say!The truth is, God is responsible for our well-being and He gets the final say! Click To Tweet
I was once advised that my ‘boyfriend’ was not a good match for me, he was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, that I should walk away, but my gut told me ‘nah’. Good thing cause 12 years later we still share a bed!
Years after that, we were told that 4 kids was plenty and we should stop… we were like…hmmmm good practical statistical argument, but “nah” and it’s a good thing, cause I just watched my 5th kid play a killer game of soccer tonight!
I am in no way proposing we throw all caution and do whatever we ‘feel’ like. We need good advice we need the Body-of Christ, we need the wisdom of older men and women in our lives, and sometimes we NEED to listen to them! However, most of all we need the Holy Spirit.
How to know when to throw away good advice?
Every one of these examples, I had a huge, ‘Holy Spirit gut feeling‘, that this was the right decision. When we take responsibility for our own relationship with God, and we take responsibility to learn to hear from God ourselves, we can stand in the face of hard decisions and even oppose good opinions, that oppose the will of God. God will never ask you to do anything that is against His Word, for example, leaving your husband for “your soul mate”, or lying to the government about your taxes, but he will ask you to believe for the impossible when all things look impossible.
He’s kinda awesome that way!
P.S. Remember the cancelled Maternity check, that left me destitute? Well, I did end up refuting that claim, and 3 weeks before I began University, I needed one months rent security deposit for my new apartment close to school. I needed $1,200, ASAP. That same week, I received a maternity check in the mail, with 3 months of back pay for $1,270.