It’s so easy to think our way is the best way, or to always be looking ahead to the next step. What happens when life takes a detour and suddenly the way you thought was right isn’t, and that next step isn’t yet happening? Esther explores the wondrous (and often mysterious) guidance of God through His orchestration in our lives…
Esther Joy Thompson:
Our first coffee date and we were already buying matching fleece zip ups from Old Navy! (Only $7.50 a piece.) Since that afternoon at Jitter’s Café, I have had the privilege of getting to see just a piece of what an amazing woman of God Esther Thompson is. Having grown up at Elim Gospel Church, Esther now co-leads one of EGC’s young adult small groups. She’s a powerful hybrid of spunk and sweetness with a passion for purity. Her talents are so hidden beneath humility and a desire to learn about others rather than talk about herself, that you would never know she’s had the opportunity to speak at a women’s conference in Africa, or sing at conferences with Isaiah Six, or that she would love to share with young women the value and beauty of a pure heart. Right now she’s in the waiting, between graduating Hope College with a degree in communications and minors in management and dance, and finding a full-time job in this not-so-great economy. Your “ordinary” 2009 college grad with a passion that is definitely “extra-ordinary,” meet Esther Joy Thompson…
Favorite color: Blue and green
Favorite food: French fries…mmmm…
Describe yourself/life in 3 words: Expressive, joyful, encourager
What you want to do with your life: I have a passion to encourage women and college students to not settle for anything less than God’s best. I also can’t wait to one day be a mother to children who will be world changers!
One interesting fact about you: I have two older brothers who are both Ironmen (a race of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running a marathon 26.2 miles).
Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done: Does mountain biking (on a bike with near to no suspension and was painted like swiss cheese) down a mountain in Switzerland count?
Favorite quote: “Live in such a way that there will be no regrets when someone else follows in your footprints.” ~Roy Lessin
Favorite Bible verse: Numbers 6:24-26
What is one secret to living life as a woman of God in today’s world? Find contentment and fulfillment in Christ by spending consistent time with Him. This way you know who you are and whose you are, in any situation, because you have a grounded and well-invested relationship with your Creator.
“Orchestration” by Esther Joy Thompson:
The letter I had been waiting for.
I eagerly tore open the envelope, withdrew the sheet with the distinguished college letterhead, and hungrily read the words before me. My anticipation quickly dissipated to disappointment as I read the unwelcome phrase of, “you have not been accepted.” A crushing feeling swept over me. It had been my dream to go halfway across the country to pursue dance at this particular college. I had flown there twice, once to tour the college facilities, and once for the entrance audition. It seemed to me that my life would be perfect there, yet this letter brought an abrupt ending to that dream. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I sunk down to the floor. What was I supposed to do now? In that moment, I had the decision either to dwell in my sorrow or worship through the heartache I felt, knowing that somehow God was in control. I gathered myself off the carpet and sat at the piano. Sweet melodies of surrender and trust arose from my spirit, and God met me in that place. He was orchestrating the details of my life, even when I felt that all the options I wanted most had been closed for me.
Whenever you’re nearing the end of a season in your life, such as finishing a school year or graduating from high school or college, people are always asking, “What is your plan?” This question is asked so frequently that I have been tempted to make a t-shirt with all the answers on it, so people can just read it. Their interest is appreciated, yet it can be a trying question to answer when you are searching for the answer yourself. This situation has met me quite a few times in life—right now being no exception. I find myself wondering what God has up his sleeve. It seems that when you graduate from college, you are supposed to get a job and launch directly into the career that you were educated for. But, I haven’t, although I know that the part-time jobs I have now are not in vain. This is not an easy place to be in, but I have found that a remembrance of God’s orchestration builds strength for the moment and hope for the days to come.
I co-lead a small group at my church, and we have been going through the book of Romans. When we came to chapter 8 (read it sometime, if you haven’t read it in a while—it’s powerful!), verse 28 jumped out at me. It is a verse that I’ve heard many times, but the Holy Spirit spoke to me through it. It says, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” This is a perfect description of his orchestration. First, He works in all things, and I mean all! Every detail is aligned according to His plan. Second, He works for our good. Our definition of good may not match His, but He has our best in mind and we need to trust Him in that. Though you may be in a tough place of questioning what is next in your life, be assured at this moment that God is at work. He is aligning situations and opportunities in the background as you pray and seek Him. Ask Him to open your eyes to His orchestration in your life.
When I was in that place of questioning God as a senior in high school, I was not aware of God’s orchestration earlier that year. My parents and I met a family from California on our summer vacation in Switzerland (a gift from my grandparents!). We went on a biking trip with this family in the Alps, and the dad told me about Hope College, where he had gone. He spoke enthusiastically about the opportunities that he’d had there, as well as the excellent dance program. At the time, I quickly dismissed his comments, because my mind was set on the other school. When I was rejected by that school, God reminded me of his alignment of events. I applied to Hope College, was accepted, had a glorious four years there, and graduated from that school with the knowledge that God wanted me in that place at that time. I knew that Hope had not been God’s second choice, but His best plan for me. There is nothing like the peace that you feel when you know you are exactly where God wants you to be.
Next time you wonder what in the world is next for you in life, know that God standing with you. You are not alone. Rest in the awareness that He is orchestrating every detail of your life for His good and for your good. Worship Him, listen to Him, and follow Him. May He receive all the glory as His orchestration unfolds in our lives.
For more of Esther’s blogs, check out: http://estherjoythompson.blogspot.com/
Click here to read on to Devo #8: “Praying Always” by Michele Rennie!