I thought I knew exactly who I was and who I was always going to be in my teens and early twenties. I absolutely couldn’t stand ‘Christian’ music and often declared that it was ‘cheesy’ even rolling my eyes when someone would put it on and whining “Do we HAVE to listen to this? I mean, it’s just so bad” but you guessed it! Here I am, A Christian Contemporary artist, deeply in love with the genre, wishing every song ever written (in pop, country, rap and R&B) were to praise Jesus.
There have been many other declarations “I don’t ever want to go to Africa” (I went for 3 weeks to 3 countries in 2010, and hope to go back one day) or “I’ll never stay at an all-inclusive resort, the idea of spending your entire vacation at one location is depressing” (Jordan and I absolutely LOVED our time at an all-inclusive resort we stayed at for work purposes last year) or my opinion of cruises “I will NEVER, repeat NEVER go on a cruise. It sounds like torture to be stuck on a big floating mall” and here I am, two days away from boarding my first cruise for a Women’s Retreat. And you know what? I’m actually excited!
It’s easy to think we know ourselves, I mean after all, we are the ones operating our minds, thoughts and actions, aren’t we? But through the years I have learned a great lesson. God knows me WAY better than I could ever, or will ever know myself. He see’s beyond my opinions and beyond my judgements to my heart. He puts me in situations I never would have chosen for myself and in the end I’m always grateful, and most often down right thrilled with the result.
For the first time in 12 years I’m back in Florida for a week with my parents (we lived here for 5 years through some of the most impactful moments of my career) and in the midst of one of my concerts this past weekend I had the strangest feeling sweep over me. My eyes were closed as I sang in the midst of my testimony. And for a moment I felt that if I opened my eyes I would be 18 years old again at the very beginning of my journey, and everything I had been through, the heartbreak and the joy, would have all been just a dream. I cannot fully describe the strangeness of the moment but I can say it was utterly the worst feeling in the world. The thought of going back to the beginning and everything that I thought had ‘gone wrong’ going right… and being given a new path. If given the choice, knowing what I know, I would do anything to have it JUST the way it was and just the way it is, I wouldn’t change one single solitary moment (no matter how bad) because the outcome is the greatest outcome I could have ever dreamt of.
God knows how to write the perfect story. And I’m so thankful He knows me, a million times better than I know myself. And maybe, from here on out, I’ll be a little more careful when I make my ‘never’ declarations!
- Naomi Striemer