Updated: Sep 21, 2022
I'm sure by the time you're reading this you already know that this year, Stay Lit Apparel had a presence at the Big Church Day Out Festival 2022. Since we started this brand back in 2019, Big Church Day Out has been on our radar, but before I go any further, let's start at the beginning...
Big Church Day Out is the Christian version of Glastonbury music festival. Christian artists from all over the world come together on a variety of stages and perform their music to thousands of Christians, approximately 35,000 to be more precise.
As I said in the introduction, it's been on our radar for years but it was never a possibility. Why? The door was jammed.
I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian who believes in the Biblical Sabbath. Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. (If you want to find out more, here's our Sabbath blog post series that goes into much more detail.) During the Sabbath hours God calls us to rest and worship. We set work aside and take time out of our busy schedule to worship wholly and completely. What's this got to do with Big Church Day Out? Sabbath was the jam in the door.
Most Christians don't observe the fourth commandment - Remember the Sabbath day to keep in holy. (Ironic really, I'm pretty sure that's why God said remember!) When applying to be a vendor at Big Church Day Out, one of the requirements is selling products on both days of the festival. Friday, no problem but Saturday, the selling hours were right in the middle of a summer Sabbath.
I've never been one to compromise Sabbath, not for anything. It's that important to me. Not for a friends birthday party, not for a holiday, not for my university degree and definitely not with work now. I'd much rather pass up an opportunity than purposefully disobey something I know God has called me to obey.
Seen as I didn't qualify for the main terms and conditions, as well as covid putting the event on hold, I decided to pray about it. The idea was weighing on my heart, not for days, or weeks but months. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I prayed, and I prayed and then I sent my initial email. Again the application wasn't accepted but the burden on my heart didn't go away. So I prayed and I prayed and I sent another email and another and another until the door started moving.
There was one space left. It was around April when I found out this information, the deadline to apply was the beginning of May and I was given hope. "There's one space left in the tea garden market. If no-one applies for it, you can apply." This was all I needed. Nothing in this statement was concrete or solidified but I realised it made things possible. So what did I do? I prayed and I kept on praying.
May came and I'd just finished family worship. I looked at the date and thought if I don't get confirmation for Big Church Day Out this week, I won't have enough time to prepare. (Bearing in mind I was flying out to Austria for a mini holiday with my friend in 3 days.)
So I sent one last email. As a family we prayed, as we usually do and this time I prayed for my silent request out loud for my parents and sister to hear. They too joined in and added my request to their list. When we had finished praying, I opened my eyes and there was an email saying. "Hi Laura, We would be happy for you to apply, here's the form."
The jammed door had opened. God did that!
It wasn't just confirmation that my prayer had been answered but I felt that this burden wasn't a burden at all, but an opportunity. God wanted me there. He had a work for me to do there, so He made it possible.
I wish I could tell you it all went plain sailing from there, but that would be a lie. The application was just the beginning. I needed to submit my payment, order stock, find volunteers, acquire a tent, submit an insurance document, the list goes on and the devil really tried it.
There were moments I panicked and thought to myself 'Laura, what have you actually done? Are you crazy? Are you ready for this?' But in my moments of weakness and madness God reminded me, I'm right here with you. Hold on, it's gonna be a bumpy ride but it will all be worth it.
I almost couldn't fit everything into the car, but God did it.
One of my volunteers almost couldn't make it, but God did it.
A 5 hour drive turned into 10 hours, but God did it.
There's too much to tell you in this one blog post, so stay tuned for part two. Before I go, let me leave you with the things God reminded me through this experience.
Three Things To Learn About God's Faithfulness
God will always finish what He started
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; - Philippians 1:6
God planted that seed in my heart and He didn't let it die. He cultivated it and watered it until it blossomed into a beautiful flower. The work He starts in us, He promises to complete. What has God started in you? Trust that He will be faithful to complete it.
If it's God's will, He will make the way
Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared... - Exodus 23:20
The same way God promised to take the Israelites from A to B, He promises the same with us. He already has the plan, He's already prepared the way, we just need to be obedient and trust He's got it all under control.
God won't just bring you to it, He'll bring you through it
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” - Exodus 14:13-14
When God brings you to a new place, sometimes you freak out and want to run back to where you came from, even if you've been praying for Him to move. The Israelites after being slaves in Egypt for so many years, when faced with the challenge of the Red Sea, they panicked. God brought them to an impossible place but He didn't leave them there. He brought them through it. I can relate. God placed on my heart something I thought would always be impossible but He brought me to it and He brought me through it. He can do the same in your life.
Last thing, pray BIG prayers, God's listening!
What impossible things has God done for you in your life? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear.