When “No” Means “Yes”: On Gratitude + God’s Faithfulness

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

I am thankful for my new nannying job, for the cute kids I get to call my precious friends. I am thankful for a brand new gig: working front desk at my climbing gym, and for a community of climbers who both challenge and encourage me.

I am thankful for Watermark Community Church, as they have housed my church, Northway Church, since we were displaced when a tornado hit our sanctuary two months ago. I am thankful for Northway’s leadership, as they have encouraged us to look outward through this tragedy, to support our neighbors who are also suffering from the storm.

Perhaps more than anything, I am thankful for God saying “No.”

Ever since I graduated from Baylor (Sic’em!), God has sent me some pretty disappointing, resounding, life-altering “No’s.”

For example:

  1. When I moved to Nashville post-grad, God said “no” and sent me back home to Dallas after suffering from mental health issues.
  2. When I began to recover from my mental health problems, I wanted to move out of my parents’ home, to which God said “no” and kept me at the house I grew up in for over a year.
  3. When I started dreaming about going to law school, God said “no,” and instead provided me with a public relations internship instead.

It seemed like at every corner and turn, God was saying “no” to me. Left, right, here, there, everywhere. It was overwhelming and discouraging and I did not understand why so many doors were shutting in my face.

But today, I am grateful for the “No’s.”

Because today, I realize that all of those “No’s,” were really, “Not now, maybe later’s.” Because at every disappointing corner and turn, there was something great waiting for me just a little bit further. Because for every door that was shut, an even better one opened.

For example:

  1. Even though I was pretty discontent to live in Dallas again at first, the past four years it has become home to me again. My family, friends, community live here. My church, gym, cute little apartment are here.
  2. Though living at home was difficult for many reasons, it was also exactly what I needed at that moment. And after I moved out, I got to call several close friends of mine roommates over the past few years. And now I have my very own place, the Shoebox, to cherish and call home.
  3. Law school has been a longtime dream of mine — nearly four years in the making. This year, I finally had the courage and stability to take the LSAT not once, but twice! And I have already submitted two applications.

God always keeps His promises.

It is something I firmly stand by and believe in. Even when the glass is half-empty, when my cup is dry, and my heart is sad, God promises to be good to me. He promises to go ahead of me, to stick beside me in the moment, and to follow me in the past to mend my tattered heart.

It is something I know in my head and my heart. Even when I am facing the valley and the skies are grey, I know He has provided for me in the past, and He will continue to in the future. I know my heart can rest in Him, His truth, and His promises.

Friends, trust Him in the “No’s.”

Trust The Lord in those waiting periods, those “Well you said ‘No,’ now what?” eras. Trust Him when your cup is dry and thank Him when your cup is full and especially when it is overflowing.

It could be that the “No” you’re hearing is really a “Not now, maybe later.” It could be that your “No” is actually exactly that: a “No.” But I guarantee you, something better is waiting. The Lord likes to cook us up good things and great treasures and lovely surprises just for our hearts to be happy in!

You are allowed to ask and beg and plea and petition. You are allowed to mourn and weep and grieve when you don’t get the answer you want. But you are also encouraged to be glad for each day as it comes, for each gift as you receive it, for The Lord keeps His promises, and He is good to us. Forever and ever. Amen.

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