I should mention that I wrote this about a year and a half ago. But since my brain is mush lately, when I found it I was like, “YAAAS. Thank you, old Erica, for saving my lazy BEhind today.”
Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
I’m in love with a nerd. I think I’ve always been drawn to nerds, and in the nerd world, friend, I hit the jackpot. Nathan is not only a self-taught software engineer, but he can fix literally anything on any electronic device. He’s incredibly intelligent and is way into board games but isn’t one of those awkward-around-people nerds- he’s hilarious and so fun to be around. And my oh my is he a handsome man. Like I said, jackpot.
If you don’t know what an RPG is, allow me to educate you in the ways of nerdom. An RPG, aka a “Role Playing Game” is when a group of people pretend to be made up characters while a Game Master leads them through a story. In my opinion, it’s like those old school “choose your own journey” books and make believe combined. My husband, that handsome nerd, is way into RPG’s. His group of friends plays every Thursday night and they have a blast. Don’t knock it until you try it- these games are a ton of fun.
The first time I played an RPG I was thrown off by the fact that there aren’t a ton of rules like most games. You can basically try to do whatever you want and a roll of the dice tells you whether or not that move was successful. My first game was about saving a space ship and everyone got super into their characters. I love acting games, I’m so freaking good at them. I once made Nathan question our whole relationship because I was so into my character and deceived everyone. It was ah-mazing.
Nathan recently found an RPG for kids and Ella was so excited about it. The mission was to save a unicorn from some goblins and help make the forest safe again. Adorable. She was a warrior princess character who could slap people with her hair. I was a sneaky little rogue. We made a good team. Nathan was the Game Master and was over the moon that Ella was excited to play.
Now, our Ella girl… she has a lot of fears. We pray every night for Jesus to help her be brave and she really has come a long way. She’s vibrant, outgoing and a shining star, but that girl gets trapped in fear. I can see it coming over her and it clouds all reason. If I’m being honest, sometimes fear does that to me still. It’s like this big cloud floats down and settles in around my head. I can’t think clearly and everything seems scarier than it actually is.
The first time we played this RPG with Ella she was having a total blast. She was smacking people with her hair, killing goblins left and right and becoming best friends with that unicorn. We played the first half during dinner and put the rest on hold until the next night. Nathan and I were beaming at how brave she was acting and how much fun she was having.
The next night we picked the game back up where we left off and had to fight more goblins in order to destroy their forest-ruining weapon. And that’s when it came over her- the fear. Which honestly is strange because she was doing so great before. But this time, she got so afraid to go after the imaginary goblins that she started crying. Like, frantic terrified crying. Over a game. That isn’t real.
We didn’t want to just give in and stop playing because we knew she needed to conquer a fear. We reminded her that it was just a game, that she beat the goblins last time and that it was just make believe, but nothing was helping. “I don’t want to go in there!” she screamed, “I can’t do this! I’m too scared of the goblins! I can’t do this!”
Then Nathan said, “Ella girl, listen- I’m in charge of this game. And I’m not going to let the goblins get you. You’re going to win this game, ok? You just have to go after those guys. And I promise you’re going to win.”
Cue my feeling tears.
Ella, eyes full of tears but voice steadying, said, “Ok, daddy. You promise you’ll help me?” “I promise babe.” And then she took a deep breath and tried to laugh at the things that scared her. (Which is honestly hilarious. It’s like this loud, maniac laugh where you can’t tell if she’s laughing or crying. Usually she is laughing AND crying.) Sure enough, we won the game. She got her footing again and we cheered after we saved the forrest from the goblins.
This is a silly story, I know. But friend, as Nathan spoke those words to Ella, it was like I heard our Father God speaking them to me. “I’m in charge of all this, Erica- everything. And you’re going to win. I promise you’re going to win.”
What do you believe about the goodness of God? I mean, really. What do you really believe in your heart of hearts?
Trials come and go in this life. Fears come and go too. In the midst of those, we find out who we really are and what we really believe. I wish I could tell you that through my biggest fears and trials I found that I was brave and that I really believed that God was good. But I did not. I was devastated to realize that when the rubber met the road my beliefs were opposite of what I thought.
“If God is really good, why do I keep getting sick?”
“If God is really good, why won’t He give us a baby?”
“If God is really good, why has He allowed this suffering for years? He can fix it. I know He can fix it. Why isn’t He fixing it?”
We had a hard time getting pregnant the second time around. And it’s not like it had been smooth sailing before that, I had been sick with a vicious superbug for years and it was starting to feel like we just couldn’t win. We were struggling in every area of our life. It took a while for me to realize it, but I was faced with the truth: I believed that God was good… to everyone but me. I could see Him working in others’ lives and I knew He loved them. But our life seemed like a downward spiral.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
I wish I could have heard back then what Nathan said to Ella during our game. I needed to know that we were going to win. For too long I allowed the cloud of fear and anger and distrust to come over me, when that wasn’t the real story. God was healing my body and preparing me for what was next, but it didn’t look like I thought it should. I was so caught up in the story I could see, that I didn’t step back and ask God what story He was really writing.
My Ella girl, that shining star, I learned a lot from her that day. She really trusts her daddy. She believes what he says. He’s the only one that can truly get her out of a fear cloud and he’s taught her to laugh at the things that scare her.
Friend, you are going to win. Whatever cloud is over you today- shake it off in Jesus’ name. Don’t let fear or anger or distrust write your story any longer. Go after those goblins- they’ve invaded the wrong turf. The God of the universe, the King mightier than any king is writing your story. He knows where you came from. He knows where you are. And if you have breath in your lungs today, your story has not yet ended. Look at your Daddy, ask Him if He’s really going to help you. Believe Him when He says that He’s in charge- that He’s not going to let the goblins of life get you. And believe Him when He says that you’re going to win.
And you are, sweet sister. Cry laugh yourself through it if you have to, but you really are going to win.