How God Turned My Loss Into My Destiny: Because he knew what was coming
After a 3 mile warm up to the starting point and some chit chat with my cycling group, the brightly colored, fully spandexed lot-of-us peddled out of the parking lot onto Highland Avenue. It was only a 24 mile out-and-back ride, a moderate distance for endurance road cyclists. But the “Tuesday / Thursday Training” ride was anything but moderate in intensity.
The 12 miles out were really 12 miles UP. Not a killer grade, but when the goal is to climb it as fast as you can, even a 1% grade can make a world of difference. Pulling onto Lytle Creek Road, with a couple miles of mostly 2 and 3% grade to the meet-up point … this is where I really had to dig in, focus, keep my cadence, breeeaaathe … and keep my eye on the prize.
For me, the prize was beating my personal fastest time … and as many people as possible!
Today was a good day. I was in the zone. I was riding strong. I felt good. Well … relatively speaking, since there’s always a generous amount of physical pain and a distinct lack of oxygen when pushing this hard.
I didn’t break any speed records that day, but felt good about my efforts as I joined the group of predominantly male cyclists at the halfway point.
But the BEST part was yet to come!
I excelled at descents, not only because … for crying out loud … there’s less pain and far more oxygen in your lungs when riding downhill, but my body type and fearless love of speed propelled me faster than most women.
And just because I was going downhill didn’t mean I wasn’t peddling. If there was a gear that moved my bike faster, I was using it. If I was coasting, my body was as low and tight and aerodynamic as I could possibly get it. I had the art of closely drafting cyclist’s wheels in front of me like no one’s business, and a decent skill of rounding a corner in optimal time.
During the last, mostly flat leg of the ride, I would glance at my bike computer constantly, fully aware of my former fastest time to the second. And if I forgot, all I had to do was look at my wrist, where it was likely written with a Sharpie! (Obsessed much?!)
And if the wind was in my favor. If I’d adequately recovered since my last intense ride. If I’d fueled myself properly. If I used every ounce of physical strength and skill and mental vigor I had in me … I just might crush my former time and beat a handful of friends.
But today … the day I’m writing about … was not one of those days.
Don’t worry, I didn’t crash. It’s not THAT kind of story, though I know plenty who have that story … whether they’re alive to tell about it or not.
The Dreaded “Bonk”
If you have any experience with endurance sports like running or cycling, you’re probably familiar with the term “bonking”. When your body is strong in one moment, and in the next it simply says, “No more! I’m done!”
Suddenly, your body …
This is what happened to me on the ride back that day. I got to a flat stretch of the ride, where I had to physically work harder … and my body just said NO.
I eventually veered off from the route and limped home alone, thinking it was “just one of those days”. One of those fluke things that happens on occasion.
Little did I know that this was basically the first day of the rest of my cycling life. This was not bonking. This was adrenal fatigue. My body had had enough hundred mile “Century rides” and the like.
There were some ups and downs in regard to my riding after that, but for the purpose of this blog post … and there IS a purpose! … suffice it to say that something I loved tremendously, worked hard to be good at, and was huge part of my lifestyle … was basically taken away.
God Used My Loss To Get My Attention & My Time
I have always felt a strong call on my life. And riding a bike wasn’t really a part of it.
If anything, riding had taken the place of my biggest passion and life-long calling … music ministry.
And a few years before my hormones went whack, forcing me off my bike, I had stepped away from leading worship at church. To say this was massive for me is an understatement. It was like walking away from my identity … which is actually one of the many reasons why I did it.
In addition to throwing myself into the sport of road cycling, I spent time praying about and exploring other areas of my life I might be called to. Surely I had gifts other than singing, performing, and leading worship. What are they, Lord?
Well, whether I liked it or not, with my narrow focus on music obliterated, and a very time consuming sport now out of the way, God was able to get both my attention and my time for something I’d had a teensy-weensy inkling to do for years.
God Turned My “Riding” Into “Writing”
I stood with a select group of women in a small room, taking turns praying. We’d come together for the express purpose of praying over my dear friend Dawn, as she embarked on a huge transition in her career. From Disney movie marketing paralegal to Human Resources Director for our mega church where we now gathered, Dawn was wise in seeking prayer coverage as she stepped into a career position with … a “higher purpose”.
After we took turns praying for every aspect of Dawn’s new challenge, I felt her sister Melanie’s hand on my shoulder as her prayers shifted to me.
“It’s time to start writing,” she uttered.
Stunned is a pretty good word to describe my reaction.
How did she know … I’ve kind of … sort of … thought about maybe … possibly writing … some day??!
Well, she didn’t of course. She had no idea.
But God did.
Because he had put that tiny little desire in me, along with the budding gift to actually equip myself and follow through on it.
Well, I could go on about my encounter with God’s directive that day, but suffice it to say that after my initial shock, my first question was pretty obvious.
“What the heck am I supposed to write, Lord?”
Well, you KNOW what I did.
I Googled it.
Probably something like “how to be a Christian writer”.
This led me to Faith Writers.
And this … my friend … is what consumed the next season of my life.
God full on led me to a community of like-minded writers, where I could not only learn the craft of writing, but also funnel my strong competitive spirit into.
I threw myself into the Weekly Challenge, my absolute FAVORITE part of FaithWriters! I took the given topic, wrote the best story I could possibly muster, submitted it, and waited SUPER impatiently to see how it ranked among others in my “level”.
I could have written devotionals or poems, or anything really, but I chose stories.
Weekly Challenge submissions are posted online for all to see and comment on during the week, which forces both vulnerability and bravery. Winners and rankings are announced on Thursday, and how well you place determines how quickly you move up to the next level.
I did my best to humbly and wisely glean from the thoughtful critiques of more experienced writers. In other words, I was teachable. I took everything they said, worked on my craft, and went from Beginners … to Intermediate … to Advanced … to Masters in ... well, record time!
God Prepared Me For What Was Coming
During this season of losing one thing and gaining another far more valuable skill … little did I know that my husband of 20 years had long been having thoughts of divorce.
I was blindsided.
But God wasn’t.
He knew that while I’d been homeschooling my girls and supporting my husband in his business, that my financial stability was going to be ripped away and I’d need a way to provide for myself.
He knew that, while still fighting for my marriage, I’d start poking around for ways to help financially support our family with my writing skills … which would lead to the start of my first monetized website … which would, very slowly but surely, become the backbone of my own financial provision.
He knew that, once single, Good Catch Publishing would post a writing opportunity on FaithWriters, landing me a paid gig talking to people and writing their incredible true stories to be published in books. (It just so happens I have a thing about incredible true stories!)
He knew that I’d dig deep, develop a boat load of skills and work hard at MANY avenues of income. And that many of those skills would come together to create one of the biggest callings of my life.
So the day I “bonked” was the beginning of God’s fulfillment of my destiny.
Did he CAUSE my adrenal fatigue? I don’t know, but I sure see how he used it for something devinely fabulous.
God Might Be Using Your Loss To Fulfill Your Destiny
What loss have you experienced, or are experiencing right now? God can use it for divinely fabulous things … if you let him.
Cycling was just the first of a long string of losses for me … including the soul-crushing loss of my marriage. But God used it all. Nothing was wasted. Even the things that felt like “derailments” from my higher calling in ministry … God used all of that too. Nothing was wasted.
I can’t say that enough. Nothing was wasted.
Lean into God and let him lead you to new and exciting adventures. If something was taken away, look expectantly for what He is giving you in its place.
Sometimes you just want to smack someone upside the head when they quote this verse to you in the midst of heartbreaking suffering. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
God IS causing everything to work together for your good.
Tell Me About It!
Tell me about your losses. Tell me about your destiny. I want to know!
If you are struggling after a loss. If you are having a hard time seeing what your destiny might be, I’d love to help.
Write a comment below or send me a message.