Living Out Loud by Louisa Guzman
Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. [Psalm 37:4]. Although this is one of my favorite verses, I admit it isn’t always fresh in my mind. Yet, somehow, subconsciously, it comes out in my actions and I am reminded of it every time God lavishly presents me with the gifts that are the very desires of my heart.
One of the first things my husband told me when I met him was that he loved the ocean and traveling. So naturally, because I, too, love traveling and the ocean, thoughts immediately went through my mind of us jet setting and cruising all over the world. My brain flooded with images of us on exotic beaches, being splashed by dancing waves, very much like the scene in “From Here to Eternity”.
Unfortunately, none of that took place, and while the marriage was short lived, I delighted in the Lord and He reminded me through my other favorite verse that He had plans for me…plans to give me hope and a future [Jeremiah 29:11]. And so He gifted me with the ocean in Rockaway to remind me that “every good and perfect gift is from above…” [James 1:17]
During that time my beloved Lucy became ill.
Not only did her illness create endless vet bills, I was also trying to pay off the loans that were a result of my ex-husband’s callousness, as well as, the rising astronomical rent due to living in an ocean facing apartment on the beach. For 30 seconds I saw myself living on the street, homeless, with my sick dog, holding a sign, asking for a handout. But I knew that when I passed through rough waters, Jesus would be with me [Isaiah 43:2] so I continued to “delight in the Lord” – living each day out loud, with joy - and He continued to “give me the desires of my heart” [Psalm 37:4]: another year with my precious Lucy, an unexpected way to continue living on the beach, and a solution to some of my financial troubles.
I always say our Glorious God has a sense of humor, and because He loves to teach us along the way, while He prepared the perfect place for me to live, He had me move next door with a neighbor who didnt turn out to be very neighborly. He had me experience some pretty uncomfortable situations in that apartment, which made for some very interesting chapters in my book. He had me clean out and purge my closets of never ending knick knacks, chochkis and clothes I never wore, and showed me how to live a more simple life.
Last year, as the school year came to a close, I dreaded the “what are your summer plans?” conversation that takes place on the last day at work because although I always truly enjoy every minute of my summer “stay-cation” in Rockaway, I badly longed to travel again. So in my distress I called on the Lord: “come on, Lord, You know how badly I want to travel”, and He answered me, and told me great and unsearchable things I did not know [Jeremiah 33:3]. My Heavenly Father told me the best was yet to come, but all in His perfect timing. So I remained patient and continued delighting in the Lord, enjoying every single moment of the gift of not having to work all summer and being fortunate enough to only live a block from the beach. Then God whispered, “Get ready! Now is the time! Pack your bags!” And because with God, all things are possible [Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27], a year later I have accumulated life lasting memories from six fabulous life impacting trips that hardly cost me anything!
I am in no way saying we should love the Lord so He can give us gifts, but how can I ever not love the Lord for always giving me such amazing gifts?! Even my desire to have a pet again was fulfilled in the most unexpected and amazing way, when on a random day this beauty walked into my life.
and 9 weeks later, gifted me with these darlings that I had the thrill of seeing come into the world!
Who am I that God should lavish upon me such amazing gifts? I know I am in no way worthy. But Matthew 7:11 reminds me that “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Remember that God wants you to ask Him, as Matthew 7:7 instructs us: “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Just be intentional. Be specific. Go to God with your concerns and desires, just like you would to your BFF. God tells us, “you may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” [John 14:14]. (According to HIS will.- I John 5:14).
And as you wait patiently for His response, appreciate the good things He has surrounded you with. Be grateful for everything. Flood your mind with His word. Talk to Him throughout the day. Delight in Him in every way.
Live out loud!