In our journey through The Story, my church family and I found ourselves in the midst of Joseph’s progression from hated younger brother all the way to Pharaoh’s second-in-command. When we first meet Joseph in the Scriptures, he is a spoiled, seventeen-year-old, favored by his father but hated by his brothers. Joseph was one of two sons born to the woman his father loved most, so as a result, he showed favor to Joseph.
At one point, Joseph tells his brothers that he had a dream— that eleven stars along with the sun and moon bowed down to him. His brothers laughed at him, thinking this dream ridiculous, for they found it hard to believe that anyone— them included— would bow before their younger brother. Joseph had a dream, but no one else supported that dream, and as a result, I’m sure Joseph faced many moments of doubt in wondering if this dream would ever come true.
One day, Israel, Joseph’s father, sends Joseph to check on his brothers as they work, and before the day is through, Joseph finds himself thrown into a cistern and left for dead. But the story does not end here. One of his brothers speaks a bit of reason, and instead of leaving Joseph to die, they decide to sell him into slavery. Joseph then travels to Egypt and begins his service to one of Pharaoh’s officials, Potiphar.
Meanwhile, Joseph’s brothers plot how they are going to deceive their father in making him believe that Joseph is dead. They slaughter a goat, dip Joseph’s coat of many colors into its blood, and then they present the bloodied coat to their father. Israel has no doubt that Joseph was attacked by a wild animal and is now dead.
But again, the story does not end here. In Egypt, Joseph has become a trusted servant in Potiphar’s home. He is given authority to manage every aspect of the household, but there is one giant problem— Potiphar’s wife. Everything comes crashing down for Joseph when he is accused of trying to compromise his master’s wife, so he is thrown in prison.
But even in prison, God honors Joseph and is with him. With God’s help, he manages to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, and after a span of a few years, Pharaoh himself has a dream. Joseph is remembered for his success in interpreting dreams, and Pharaoh summons him from prison. Joseph tells Pharaoh that his dream speaks of seven years of plenty for their land and crops, followed by seven years of severe famine.
In response to Joseph’s interpretation, Pharaoh appoints Joseph as his second-in-command, assigning him the task of preparing for the approaching famine. Pharaoh’s dream becomes reality as seven years of plenty come over the land, but then the famine comes— a famine so severe that is felt in Canaan where Israel and his sons reside.
Israel sends ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain, and it is then that they meet Joseph— only, they are unaware that this official is actually their brother. Through a course of events, Joseph is shrewd with his brothers; he recognizes them and calls them spies, yet, he does not reveal his identity to them. He sends his brothers on their way, holding one of them prisoner until they return, bringing his brother Benjamin with them on their return to Egypt.
It isn’t until his brothers return with Benjamin that Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers. He tells them that what they meant for harm, God meant for good. He was appointed second-in-command to Pharaoh so that lives might be saved in Egypt and beyond. So in the end, we find that Joseph forgives his brothers, holding nothing against them for the harm they intended to cause him.
As I read the story, I wondered if I would be able to forgive my brothers if I were in Joseph’s shoes. I have never been left for dead, sold into slavery, or accused of compromising someone’s spouse, but I have been wronged and I know what it feels like to feel cheated out of something. Such was the case last year as I found myself letting go of a lifelong dream.
Early in 2011, I was approached with the possible opportunity to expand my music career. I was excited to potentially record, distribute, and perform my songs on a larger scale, and I found myself on the brink of fulfilling my little-girl fantasy of being on stage and singing for crowds— maybe even being famous.
But in many ways, it was as if I was teased with the idea of the dream— like it was swung before me on a string and I just couldn’t grasp it. The deal fell apart before my eyes before I really had a chance to see any of it come into play. I was crushed, and I found myself in tears because I wanted to see this dream come true more than anything!
For about two weeks, I was confused, hurt, and downright depressed. I wondered what I would do now that I had little or nothing left on the horizon. But God works in mysterious ways, and He was preparing my heart to accept His dream for my life— a higher platform than I had ever imagined.
My pastor called and asked me to meet him for coffee so we could talk. It was then that he told me what had been on his heart recently; he wanted me to consider accepting a part-time position at the church, leading music and participating in the worship ministry. I had been applying for worship and music jobs at churches throughout the past year-and-a-half, but each job interview had led to a dead end— either it wasn’t a good fit for me or I wasn’t the right fit for a particular church. But when I considered FRC— my home church congregation and the place where I had first begun to spread my wings as a worship leader— I just knew it was right.
I took the time to pray about it and truly consider what this opportunity would look like, but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that this was the next step for me. God had opened up the doors, and I was walking through them.
Now a year later, I am serving at the church, and it has truly been a blessing to lead God’s people in worship. I am honored to have been a part of forming OneVoice, a group of women who are committed to singing praise to Him with a transparency that humbles me every time we lead in worship. I truly love my job, and I can’t imagine doing anything else at this season in my life.
A few months ago, I was reminded of the opportunity that had fallen through earlier last year, and I found myself taking a huge step backward. I didn’t want to think about where I could have been if I had walked through that door, and I thanked God that he had diverted that path so I could now lead at FRC. At one point, I was asked if I was angry at the people who had played a role in drawing a close to my childhood dream, and although I was hurt, I could honestly say that I wasn’t angry. I had come to a place where I had felt God’s blessing on my life and what I was doing, and no other dream for my life could hold a candle to the joy and peace I had found in serving at FRC. Did I forgive those who were involved? Yes, I can also say that I have forgiven and moved on. Although my experiences were nothing compared to Joseph’s in the book of Genesis, I can now relate to what it feels like to relinquish a dream, only to have God step in and create something so beautiful that there is no comparison in the greater scheme of life. I think of this as the altered dream, for although things didn’t pan out like I had planned, God’s dream for my life was much greater than I could have ever imagined.