Graceful Women: Morgan Morris
Happy Tuesday, Sisters!
We have another sweet friend who is sharing her beautiful heart with us, in my series Graceful Women. My hope is that this series will hold richness, and be a life-giving place that breeds wholeness, healing, community, honest sharing, vulnerable story telling, and joy to bloom and blossom here in this little space. I will be taking submissions for content soon so keep an eye open for information on that, I would love to feature your beautiful hearts! Meet my friend Morgan as she shares her story and heart !
By Morgan Morris
Maybe you’re dreaming of finding a career that you love or advancing in that career. Maybe the dream is about going back to college? Launching a business? Publishing a book? Maybe your heart’s desire is to get married? Start a family? Maybe your big dream is for your family… your children?
Or maybe…. like me, what was once a dream has come and gone.
Have you ever made big plans for life, only to see those plans fail?
Eight years ago, I was Miss Oklahoma USA and my dream was to become the next Miss USA.
If you’ve ever watched a pageant, you know that it ends with two girls standing in the middle of the stage, holding hands, nervously awaiting the winner’s name to be called. —During the Miss USA 2010 telecast, I was one of those two girls. But instead of being crowned the victor, I was tossed a bouquet of second place roses.
While I was quickly ushered off stage, the other forty-nine contestants rushed the center in celebration of the newly crowned Miss USA.
Can I be honest with you? It was a pretty devastating blow. It was numbing, really. And when I say numbing, I mean that it was the kind of heartache where you'd rather emotionally block it than face it—you’d rather be numb, than allow yourself to feel. It took me a good few weeks before I let myself process, cry, and mourn properly.
For some, it might be hard to understand why losing a contest could illicit such loaded emotions, but I had never wanted anything more in my life. I trained relentlessly… for that moment. I ate, slept, and breathed for… that moment. Everything I did for an entire year was for… that moment.
I honestly thought the crown was a part of my destiny. In my eyes, there was no plan B.
So when I placed 1st runner-up, I think I felt betrayed by God in a way. It was like—"God, you knew how much I wanted this… you knew how hard I worked for this… you know how much I prayed… this isn’t fair… this isn’t right... this isn’t how it was supposed to happen.”
I had literally played that moment over in my head a million times, and it never went that way.
"Is this even real life, God? Can we please just rewind time? Can I have a do-over?"
"Also, P.S. GOD –Are you finding some kind of pleasure in seeing me in pain?? Is this a game to you?? Because FYI, dude— it would have hurt a heck of a lot less if you hadn’t of let me get so close. I mean, seriously, Jesus. I probably would have been over this quicker if you had spared me from even becoming a top 15 finalist. But instead? Oh, instead, you let me get as close as humanly possible to obtaining my dream — to rip it out from under me at the last second. But why????? Are you that cruel?”
"I’m sad. And I’m hurt. And I’m angry. And I don’t understand."
That’s where I was sitting emotionally many years ago. Maybe you’ve felt this way too? Different circumstances, but a similar wrestling match with God… Maybe you feel betrayed by God right now? Maybe He hasn’t given you something that you feel you deserve? Or maybe it feels like He is withholding good things from you? Maybe you have asked Him for something in prayer over and over and over, and yet it seems as if absolutely nothing has happened. Maybe you’re angry because it feels like God didn’t come through for you in an area? Maybe you feel as if you got the raw end of the deal?
Or maybe your story is more “Where were you God?” Maybe you don’t understand why God allowed something? Maybe it wasn’t an opportunity you feel like He took from you, but a person?
“Lord, why didn’t you come? You said that you loved me. How could you allow this to happen? ...Lord, if you had done ____________ differently. Lord, if you would have let me get that promotion. Lord, if you would have let that dating relationship work out. Lord, if you would have protected him. God, if only this… God, why that? …Where were you, God?"
Do you wrestle with God? Do you have a hard time believing Him? Are you angry about something? Are you hurting?
If your answer is yes, then my next question is this— What are you going to do with that? –Because it’s real, right? Pain is real. Anger is real. Confusion is real. Doubt is real.
Where is our hope in this when our circumstances feel so heavy? Is there purpose in our pain? Can we trust God? Is He even good?? Does He even love us?!
These are all fair questions. So, if someone hasn’t already told you, your feelings are validated. It’s OK to let yourself feel. It’s OK to let your heart ache. It’s OK to cry. It's OK to hurt. It's OK to wrestle with God. But, it’s not OK to internalize those painful experiences by receiving failure as a part of you or letting it define you. It’s also not OK to blame God. Friend, there is risk in anything that we choose to invest. Whether you invest your heart, your money, your thoughts, or your time—there is risk. Investment means something matters to us. Investment means we care. So when something does not go as planned, these emotions are natural reactions. Why wouldn’t you feel hurt and disappointment? The question again now is, what do you do with your hurt? How should you think moving forward??
In my pain... and in my confusion... and in my questioning, God showed me these three life changing truths. My prayer is that you receive these in your heart today, too and find healing and rest in Jesus’ name.
1.) GOD IS NOT DONE. Just because that one thing happened or has brought you pain does not mean it is over. Your life may look like an unfinished painting—a huge mess— but that doesn’t mean that the end result will not be a work of art, a masterpiece (Philippians 1:6). (And it does not mean that you are not Christ’s masterpiece). Although you cannot see it right now, God is still doing a creative and brilliant work in your life. The Christian life is a lot like a mosaic—a mosaic consists of sometimes thousands of tiny pieces of colored tile. The thing is, you can never make out the whole picture by only seeing a few pieces. It is when every piece is combined that we begin to see and appreciate the stunning portrait for what it is. The mosaic of your life is being pieced together by a big-picture God. Knowing that God has unfinished work in your life should offer great hope. Have faith in the process. A lot of times God is more glorified in the journey than in the destination.
2.) LIFE IS HARD AND GOD IS GOOD. One doesn’t cancel out the other. “Why is there injustice? If God is good, then why does this happen?” —These are questions that everyone has thought at some point. But here’s the thing, we can’t assume that because something painful happened, that God is not good. He is by definition GOOD. It’s not an either/or scenario. Start watching for the goodness of God… despite your circumstances. God doesn't always cause the pain, but He sure will use it. Our good God has a miraculous way of redeeming our pain and giving us purpose in it. Often times our greatest passion is birthed out of something painful. God might be developing in you right now the tenacity that you’re going to need to change the world someday. God might use your struggling marriage to light a passion in you for healthy, thriving relationships. God might use your addiction, depression, or disorder as the seed that leads you to study psychology, or become a counselor, or simply have the ability to help other people someday with similar battles. God specializes in making something beautiful out of what was broken.
3.) THE AUTHOR OF YOUR STORY IS FAITHFUL. Stop asking God why, and start remembering the Who. When something doesn’t go our way, we have to remind ourselves of God’s track record of faithfulness. God will never contradict His Word or character. He may not meet all of our limited expectations, but the more we know Him and clearly see Him, the more fully we can experience Him and understand His ways. Keep your heart open to what God has for you. At times, it can feel safer to live under a false sense of control than to trust God with life’s uncertainties. Make plans, but leave room to say yes to God’s plans. When our life appears to suddenly change direction, it can be scary, but God is trustworthy. All that He has for you, He will work for good. His thoughts are higher. His ways are better. His plans are greater… and He loves you. So, trust dear sister, in the Lord with all your heart, and not your own understanding. Be strong and courageous in the face of the future, and release your pain, troubles, and fears to the Faithful One. Despite our circumstances or heartache, Jesus is God-With-Us, Emmanuel. He will never leave us or forsake us. He promises to comfort us and to give us the strength we need. As long as Jesus is doing the writing, you can be confident that the story of your life is and will be a great one!
That’s the thing with this life of faith we live. We don’t know what’s next. We just don’t.
BUT… what I do know is that hindsight tells me that GOD IS FAITHFUL. Hindsight has slapped me in the face so many times with a reminder of God’s faithfulness—even when things happen that I don’t understand—heck, ESPECIALLY with things that I don’t understand. Looking back, God has fulfilled so many of the desires of my heart as I put my trust in Him. He has brought me so much joy! I thought the job of Miss USA was going to fulfill me, but because of that experience, God taught me so much and He drew so close. After I realized the danger of the way I had been living for so long, God changed me forever. Winning Miss USA was not my destiny, but it was a part of my story for a reason. It was a part of the process.
When I look back, I just see faithfulness. I get to honestly do what I love – tell people about the reason I live... the most important thing on this earth. I got to do that professionally as a youth pastor! What an honor! God also gave me the most amazing husband in the world. Real talk— “getting it wrong” was one of my greatest fears growing up — and trust me, I got it wrong a lot in the dating department, but God protected me from committing to anyone who wasn’t who He had for me. Brian is simply amazing. I can tangibly feel God’s love through the way my husband so selflessly loves me. It is beautiful! ...Another dream come true: I have always been fascinated by other countries and cultures—my whole life, really. I had a world map on the wall in my dorm room before I ever went anywhere. Today, I’m on country number 31 before 30 years old. God did that! He knew that I longed to see His world and He orchestrated a life that would allow me to do it. He is so good. ...Today, I’m a mama to the greatest little redhead of all time. What a joy, privilege, and a dream come true she has been.
God has continually proven Himself to be faithful in all things… He was faithful then, He is faithful now, and He will be faithful forevermore.
What do you need to trust God with today?
Ultimately, in sharing my story, I want to bring you some hope in saying, "Hey, me too, girl!” Trusting God and His absolute goodness can be hard, and I still struggle with it today. You are not alone. Just recently, I saw someone living out my dream (again) Ha! To make matters worse, it was someone I knew, and didn't particularly care for even (just keeping it real)! And do you know what? –It stung a little. *Insert doubts* "Hmm… Does God love her more than me? (NO) Is she more special than me? (NO) Is she more talented than me? (NO) Is she a better mom than me? (NO).
So then I had to remind myself once again about what is true… I remembered point #3: O yaaa, I can trust God with my future. He is FAITHFUL! And then I remembered #2. O yaaa, my God is a redeemer of all things. HE is GOOD! I can trust Him with what I cannot yet see! And then I remembered point #1— O yaaa, MY GOD IS NOT DONE! My life is an unfinished masterpiece! My God has spoken a dream into my heart. He has given me a new song… and His track record tells me that I CAN trust Him.
...So whenever you begin to experience moments like these, surrender to God, and say Jesus I trust you. Have Your way. "I will trust You when it’s scary. I will trust You when I’m angry. I will trust You when I'm hurt. I will trust you with my pain and my brokenness, and believe for You to make something beautiful out if it."
God wants to redeem it all, and He will.