What started out as a simple "Thank You" note to those who contributed to my Choir tour expenses, soon developed into a full-blown Testimony of what God did in my life during Priority Tour 2011. Please read the letter/story/testimony I wrote below... :)
Hi _______, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your generous donation to my Priority choir trip in June! Your gift went sraight towards paying for part of my trip, and helped me reach my goal of $550! I had a wonderful time, and really enjoyed worshiping God and serving others in sunny California. We sang at several churches, the Salvation Army (for children and the elderly), at a Men's Shelter, at a Women and Children's shelter called Shepard's Gate, and also at Great America theme park for thousands of people! It truly was an amazing experience.
I wish I could tell you every detail of the trip, but I could write pages, and I'm sure you'd get bored of reading a novel written by me... ;) However, I can share with you one occurrence that really made a difference in my trip and in my life.
After singing at Great America, we had the awesome opportunity to have a break from singing and serving and to enjoy a free day at the theme park! Unfortunately, on my very first ride in Great America after we performed on stage, my bag was stolen from the holding area while I was on a roller coaster. I was devastated. My bag had contained several valuables, including my wallet, money, cell phone, iPod, camera, makeup, and more, and all of that had suddenly been taken from me. I tried not to let it ruin my day in the theme park, but it really hit me hard when we went home that evening and I had to face the realization that I had so much less with me leaving the park than I had had coming in.
“Why would this happen to me? How do I deserve this?!” These thoughts constantly ran through my head in the remaining days of the trip, but I tried to stay as positive as I could. Thankfully, I was surrounded by 60 amazing people who were more than willing to lend me money, makeup, cell phones, and anything else I needed that had been taken from me. People kept reminding me that God has a plan for everything, and that everything happens for a reason. At first, this was hard for me to believe. What good could come out of something so horrible? Especially since replacing everything would take a lot of time, money, and patience. I prayed and prayed, asking God to show me what his purpose was for this tragic event, and it wasn't until after tour was over, and I was back at home, that I finally got an answer.
One of the songs we sang on tour was called “All Things New”. At first, I wasn't too fond of the song... it was kind of slow and a little boring to me. However, as we sang it multiple times on every day of the tour, the lyrics really started to stand out to me, and it started to become one of my favorite songs. Here are some of the lyrics that I love:
“So we let go of our possessions, leave behind our successes to take hold of one obsession, only Jesus.... So we watch and we wait, and we hope and we pray, You will come and make all things new. And we won't be afraid as we long for the day You will come and make all things new, all things new.” and then later on in the song... “Our struggles here cannot compare to what we have to gain.”
These lyrics are truly inspiring, and once I really started to study the meaning behind the words, I began to realize how relevant this song was to my life and my current situation:
It's quite the coincidence how after having all of my valuables stolen, I will have to go out and buy “all things new,” isn't it? ☺
When I discovered how much meaning was behind the title alone, I knew God was sending this song as a message to me about what Good was going to come out of the bad. Just like how I will have to start fresh with my possessions, I want to start fresh in my life and my walk with God. I've learned that to truly live my life according to God's plan, I need to make “all things new” in myself and the way I live my life. Also, I was finally able to understand how little material possessions of this world actually matter, especially considering how much joy and happiness I will possess in my relationship with God and in Heaven. When this hit me, I was so excited. No longer am I mourning over the loss of my things, but I am praising the LORD for this wake-up call! Instead of being obsessed with my cell phone or iPod or credit cards, I want to be obsessed with staying close to God and getting into His word every day. I know this is more satisfying and healthy for me than any technology or material purchase could be.
Based on what I have learned from this experience, I would just encourage you to never doubt in God's plan. Even in the worst situations, when there may seem like there is no hope, God will have a purpose and a reason behind everything, which he will reveal to you if you believe that good will eventually outweigh the bad. Now I truly can believe that everything does happen for a reason! ☺ Karisa ♥
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19 NIV
~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ MESSAGE REMIX VERSION: (Proverbs 3:5-12) I love this version. "Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind all this."
Thank you Karisa for sharing your testimony!! Karisa blogs over at "a beautiful mess" check out her blog, and send some <333