One day, while driving to work, a song came on the radio. Knowing the song well, I began to sing along. I had never had any qualms with the words or intent, but this time was different. For the first time, I realized what the song was saying about life and God. Outwardly, I found myself saying, “This is not the truth of God”; inwardly my heart ached because I knew many people (including me for many years) believed the lyrics were true. Isn’t it funny how God will use all types of music to teach us His Truth? The lyrics of this particular song ask if it’s valuable to know the future. If you knew the end, would you change the beginning? Given the opportunity to opt out of events and relationships because you knew the pain it would bring, would you do it? In the end, the singer determines he does not want to know the future. I agree! But then, he determines “our lives are better left to chance”! WHAT? That is the part that got stuck in my craw and had me shouting, “NO! NO! NO!” The truth is, our lives are a perfectly orchestrated journey, choreographed by our Father in Heaven. He formed us in our mother’s womb; He planned every detail of our lives; He knows the number of hairs on each of our heads and the number of our days; and He knows the identity and purpose He sewed into us. He loves us dearly and He loves us forever. There is no “chance” here! Until the last few years, I would not have been able to make the last statement with such conviction. For most of my life, I struggled with faith and confidence in the Lord’s love, goodness, and His plan for me. God has transformed my perceptions of who He is and who I am in Him. My journey in this area, which I call “The 7-Step Dance,” started with me saying, “I don’t know how to do this faith thing,” and the Lord saying, “I will show you how, step by step; just follow Me.” The steps are based on the truth I found in His Word. Step 1 – I am loved and valued. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him “(John 3:16-17, NLT). The first thing God spoke to me when I started my freedom journey was “I LOVE YOU and “YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR.” This is what I needed to believe and receive into my heart for the remaining steps to make sense. God reminded me that He had sent His only Son to die on the cross for me so that I could be reconnected in relationship with Him. A relationship which is so deep He knows the number of hairs on my head. That’s truly amazing to me and gives me a warm sensation --like a big hug from God!! Step 2 – God is good and He works all things for my good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, KJV). “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalms 100:5, KJV). This was the hardest step in the dance for me. I found myself tripping over my own feet and logic. We live in a fallen world. There will be heartaches, wounds, challenges that bring us pain. God will use all of my life experiences to create goodness in me, draw others to Himself, and transform me into the likeness of His Son – Jesus. Step 3 – God is trustworthy and faithful. “For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalms 33:4, KJV). “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, KJV). “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13-5, KJV). For this step, God asked me to go back over the years and review my prayer journals. I could clearly see God’s presence in every entry; answering my questions, answering my prayers, protecting me, correcting me, and straightening out my messes and relationships all with much grace, mercy, and patience. Step 4 – God shows great mercy. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy” (Psalms 103:8, KJV). “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” (Ephesians 2:4, KJV). I have sinned, and there have been some areas of habitual sin in my life. God has helped me to understand why I do the things that I do. I am being given an opportunity to surrender these to Him and allow Him to work things out for good. Even though I move slowly and struggle at times, God is always patient with me. Step 5 – God is gracious and deserves gratitude in return. “Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness” (Psalms 150:2, HCSB). “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything” (Deuteronomy 28:47, NKJV). My Heavenly Father has given me many blessings. Twenty-years ago, the Lord showed me the man I was to marry. He is the perfect match for me. God has used my daughter, as well, who has taught me so much about love and generosity. Truly, His blessings are new every day and I’m thankful for all of them! Step 6 – God is love and He created me to love. “I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as have loved me” (John 17:23, KJV). “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18, KJV). “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5, KJV). I have been called to love others as I have been loved by my Heavenly Father. Over the years, I have been given opportunities in the church and in the community to show His love here on earth. He continues to call me to love, expand His Kingdom, and reveal His love to the world. Step 7 – God has a unique destiny and plan for my life. “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny” (Psalms 73:24, NLT). “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” ( Jeremiah 29:11, NLT). I was designed for a specific purpose that only I can accomplish. To me this part resembles a jigsaw puzzle; there are pieces to be put together by God in His perfect timing that create a joyful, abundant life, and destiny. I have been on my freedom journey for five years now and recently have been given a few new pieces to my puzzle. God has something planned for me that is bigger and grander than I would/could imagine for myself. What I have come to realize in the area of faith is that faith comes down to making a few decisions. The first one is to invite God into every area of your life. Allow Him to be Lord over every area of your life. Then ask God about the decisions you have to make. Even though God has a unique plan for each of us, the steps of the dance often look the same. With each new step of faith you will come to understand more about yourself, God and what He is really like. At some point during the dance, you’ll realize nothing about your life is left to chance.