If you read my post about our trip to Los Angeles, you know we were blessed with the opportunity to be in the Riff Raff Room at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. BUT THERE’S MORE TO THE STORY, YOU GUYS. I’M DEFINITELY CRYING WHILE WRITING THIS. God is so good and I still cannot believe what I’m about to share with you! IT DOESN’T SEEM REAL! All the glory goes to God and God alone.
OKAY, HERE GOES NOTHING! BRACE YOURSELVES! MAKE SURE YOU’RE SITTING DOWN!
A few months ago, Pastor Jerry shared with us a sermon entitled When the Gospel Speaks. After singing Standing on the Promises (one of my favorite hymns) he reminded the congregation, “It’s better to be standing on the promises than sitting on the premises.”
Regardless of how much or how little we know, each of us has a responsibility as followers of Christ to share the Gospel.
The culture we live in today lives for the present “likes” and praise which occur as a result of telling people what they want to hear.
God doesn’t want us to stick to the status quo!
He wants us to shake the dust off and remember that, at the end of the day, knowing God and being a witness to those around us is all that matters.
We need to stop living for the present affirmations and remind ourselves we are striving for the affirmation in Heaven, the “Well done, My good and faithful servant” we as Christians hope to hear when God calls us home.
Pastor Jerry concluded his sermon with, “If God gives us something to say, then for God’s sake, say it!”
VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THE STORY I’M ABOUT TO SHARE WITH YOU.
Aside from my closest friends and family, I had no intention of sharing what REALLY happened with The Ellen DeGeneres Show over Christmas break and the events that occurred afterwards. I saw it as MY story and my story ONLY!
I genuinely thought if more people knew about it, my experience would feel less special. And, I wanted to wait until my story had a “happy ending” before sharing it with the world (i.e. the handful of people who actually read my blog posts, L O L).
BUT I WAS BEING SELFISH.
I wasn’t giving God the glory He deserves.
This is HIS story, NOT mine.
By choosing NOT to share this story, I was choosing to sit on the premises rather than stand on the promises.
SIDE NOTE: Notice I said I came to the realization a few months ago. I’ve known for a few months this blog post needed to be written but didn’t want to write it. I was sitting at Chick-fil-A when I first felt convicted to share this story, so I began writing and the words immediately poured out of me. GO FIGURE. In just 30 minutes I had most of the story written. But somewhere between starting and finishing the blog post, my pride got in the way. I refused to continue writing it. After a LOT of prayer and after reading Praying God’s Will for Your Life, one thing became clear. I should be boasting in the Lord and what He has done! That’s it. That’s all there is to it. This life is solely a test for the next and I should be studying the material God has given me (rather than using Spark Notes or cheat sheets) to ensure I pass it with flying colors.
I must warn you, this is a lengthy blog post, but it will be 100% worth it in the end! I PROMISE.
As you know, WE WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE RIFF RAFF ROOM at The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
We misunderstood how “Day Of” tickets worked and failed to meet the requirements. DESPITE OUR PREDICAMENT, an Ellen employee showed us kindness and compassion. As a result, we were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in the Riff Raff Room!
The Ellen DeGeneres Show employee didn’t have to ask for my name and number, but she did. She didn’t have to call us and give us tickets to the Riff Raff Room, but she did.
If you watch the show, you know Ellen ends every episode, “Be kind to one another. Bye, bye!”
We witnessed firsthand the kindness Ellen speaks of every single day. We were blown away by the love we received and, if it’s even possible, we left loving Ellen even more than before.
It was, hands down, the best day of our lives! TO THIS DAY I wonder why God let everything happen the way it did.
SIDE NOTE: Out of respect for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and because I don’t want to spoil anything, I won’t be sharing EVERY detail of the story!
HERE IS WHAT I DIDN’T TELL YOU. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS GOOD! *cue elephant tears*
While waiting to go inside, we were approached by a guy (Ian) who works for The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He asked us to meet him outside where 30ish people were gathered. He split the group in half, sending half back to their seats and the other half to a Bungalow tree. BY GOD’S GRACE WE WERE SENT TO THE TREE! I HAD NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY TO BE STANDING BY A TREE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
There were nearly 400 people (400!!!!) at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. We were pulled aside with a group of 30 people AND THEN NARROWED DOWN TO AN EVEN SMALL GROUP OF 15 PEOPLE. LIKE WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HECK!? HOW!? WHAT!? HUH!?
WELL GET THIS.
After the show ended…THE THREE OF US WERE PULLED ASIDE BY THE SAME GUY! He said he had a few more questions for us. OKAY!? ASK AWAY!
LET ME REMIND YOU THE RATIO WENT FROM 400 PEOPLE TO 30 PEOPLE TO 15 PEOPLE TO 3 PEOPLE.
To say we had no idea what was going on is an understatement!
We were clueless, speechless!
We went from NOT BEING ELIGIBLE to see the show, to getting pulled aside and asked multiple questions by someone who works for the show!
I CANNOT BREATHE.
We answered the questions to the best of our ability. Before the conversation ended, Ian asked if he could give us a call to follow up with a few more questions. Naturally, we squealed, “YES!!!!!!!!!”
We didn’t know when he would call, OR IF HE WOULD ACTUALLY CALL FOR THAT MATTER, but we left with grateful hearts.
We couldn’t wrap our minds around that day’s occurrences!
What was God doing!?
Why did we get pulled aside and not anybody else!?
Is this really happening!?
Check my pulse! Am I breathing!?
I’M GOING TO THROW UP!
We found ourselves at Warner Brothers Studio the next day! AGAIN, we didn’t know when he’d call or IF he’d even call! Not because we thought he was lying but because this kind of stuff doesn’t just HAPPEN so we weren’t expecting anything.
Madison encouraged us to keep our phones on loud JUST IN CASE. To prove ONCE AGAIN God’s timing is perfect, we were at Warner Brothers Studio from 9:00AM-4:30PM and didn’t receive a call ALL DAY LONG!
When we finished at WBS, we walked across the street to the souvenir shop to buy our Friends apparel (BECAUSE DUH). We were literally only in the store for a few minutes when my phone started ringing.
IT WAS IAN!!!!!!
He asked if it was an okay time for me to talk.
“OF COURSE! I have all the time in the world to talk to you!”
I DON’T EVEN LIKE TALKING ON THE PHONE, Y’ALL. BUT BY GOLLY I WAS MORE THAN WILLING TO TALK TO AN ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW EMPLOYEE. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
I spoke with him for about 30 minutes or so. He asked me a lot of questions. During the conversation, I had the opportunity to tell him why/how Ellen DeGeneres inspires me. In doing so, I was able to share my dreams and ambitions with him!
If you don’t already know, I dream of being a talk show host. I want to change the world. I want to inspire those around me to “seek the sunshine” and find joy despite their circumstances, and I hope to encourage everyone to, “Give a stranger a smile [because] it may be the only sunshine he sees all day!”
After I shared my heart with him, he said he had one more question for me. He asked, “What would you do if there was a one-in-a-billion chance Ellen DeGeneres called you on the phone?” I IMMEDIATELY STARTED BAWLING AT JUST THE THOUGHT OF ANSWERING A PHONE CALL WHERE ELLEN DEGENERES WAS ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE!
I was B A W L I N G, people.
And, while hardcore bawling, I told him I would cry my eyes out…which I *think* (wink, wink) he found believable. HAHAHAHA!
Before hanging up, he said another employee may call to ask further questions. I thanked him once more and we hung up!
After sharing what happened with Rylea and Madi (who were taking pictures of me sobbing the entire time #TrueFriends), I realized how at peace I was about the situation.
I was excited, but calm.
I had no idea what was going on.
But that was okay.
I was content and grateful for all that had happened thus far. God had already done more than anything I could have asked for or dreamed of.
The Ellen Degeneres Show employee was as nice on the phone as he was in person and it was a blessing simply talking with him! I WAS/AM SO GRATEFUL!
By the time I finished updating Madi and Rylea on our conversation, it was nearly 5:30PM! We didn’t know whether we should leave WBS and head back to the hotel or if we should stay in the area. You know…just in case!
After contemplating what would be best, we decided we would stay near WBS, find a place to charge our phones, and simply reflect on everything God had done that day.
We walked a few blocks to a coffee shop and started calling our moms while charging our phones (priorities). We were only in there a few minutes when my phone started ringing AGAIN. IT WAS IAN! AGAIN.
He asked if he could talk to Madi and Rylea, so they took turns talking to him on the phone!
We were, once again, left speechless.
There were no words.
The only words we could get out were, “God is so good. Wow. Just…wow. Oh my. Wow…what? What on earth? Wow. What is happening?”
A few weeks went by.
Christmas break ended, school began.
I had just gotten home from working out (new year, new me) and was in the middle of washing my hands when my phone started ringing. The Ellen DeGeneres Show appeared on the screen (I obviously saved the number). WHAT!?!? *wants to throw up*
I immediately dried my hands and shakily picked up the phone! IT WAS ANOTHER ELLEN EMPLOYEE WHO WANTED TO ASK ME A FEW MORE QUESTIONS.
FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! WHAT IS HAPPENING!?
I answered her questions to the best of my ability and we talked on the phone for about 30 minutes! It was as if I were talking to a friend! She was so friendly, encouraging, and helpful. I was able to share my dreams with her, just as I had done before, while explaining to her why Ellen inspires me!
Not once did she laugh or scoff at my dreams.
In fact, she did the total opposite! SHE GAVE ME ADVICE AND ENCOURAGED ME! She said, “I believe you should ABSOLUTELY follow your dreams! Do whatever it takes until they come true. No matter what anybody else tells you, if you believe in yourself, you can make anything happen.”
I hung up and cried.
Go figure, L O L.
I was blown away by the conversation and just laid on my bed and cried out of gratefulness.
I had now shared my dreams with someone who worked for The Ellen DeGeneres Show twice (technically 3X because I wrote it down on the survey they gave us before the show started). AND, on top of that, I received advice and encouragement to follow my dreams!
I was blessed with yet another encouraging conversation with someone who works for The Ellen DeGeneres Show…
…and that’s it! That’s where it ends!
I was acting selfishly when I chose to keep this story between myself and a handful of other individuals!
THIS IS NOT MY STORY!
I did NOTHING to deserve this and I do NOT deserve this!
Every single event that has taken place was orchestrated by God. Why? BECAUSE THERE IS NO EARTHLY WAY POSSIBLE FOR THE RATION TO GO FROM NEARLY 400 PEOPLE TO 30 PEOPLE TO 15 PEOPLE TO 3 PEOPLE TO 1 PERSON. BELIEVE WHAT YOU WANT BUT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER EXPLANATION FOR IT.
It’s not every day you have the opportunity to share your heart’s deepest desires with someone who works for the woman (THE Ellen DeGeneres) whose job you dream of having one day! ONLY GOD COULD HAVE ARRANGED THIS!
This experience is solely an illustration of God’s grace and this story is too good not to share!
God gave me something to say and, for His sake, I needed to share it to ensure He was most glorified. He didn’t have to let me experience this, but He did…and because He did, I witnessed His faithfulness on a whole new level. I’ve always been able to see His hand at work, but I have NEVER experienced it to this extent.
For the first time in my life, I was left speechless (for those of you who know me, you know how big of a deal this is).
I couldn’t talk.
I could hardly catch my breath.
We went from not meeting the “Day Of” ticket requirements, to getting into the Riff Raff Room, to getting pulled aside, to talking on the phone with an Ellen DeGeneres Show employee TWICE, to sharing my dreams of being a talk show host with Ellen Show employees 3X, to being asked, “What would you do if there was a one-in-a-billion chance Ellen DeGeneres called you on the phone?”
This experience has done nothing but reassure me of my hopes and “God-sized” dreams. It has reminded me NOTHING is impossible with God!
I PRAY THIS STORY ENCOURAGES YOU AS MUCH AS IT HAS ENCOURAGED ME! I pray you know and understand God’s faithfulness to His children! He has no limitations. WE SERVE A GOD WHO KNOWS NO LIMITS!
If you take anything away from this story, may you know God’s power is at work in your life and God doesn’t need you to make things happen.
As Ephesians 3:20 says, God can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
I am going to be completely honest with you. Although I was/am grateful for everything that happened with The Ellen DeGeneres Show, I found myself frustrated with God. I didn’t/don’t (and probably won’t) understand why God allowed those events to unfold.
Wasn’t I trusting Him?
Wasn’t I trusting His will for my life?
Hadn’t I placed my dreams into His hands?
Why did He allow this to happen if nothing was going to come of it?
What’s the point?
As I mentioned earlier, God used Praying God’s Will for Your Life to remind me of something I had forgotten:
“Often the desires of your heart are the desires of His heart, but they still must be achieved His way, not yours, and you must know that it is He who is accomplishing them in you, not you achieving them yourself.”
I love the song Oceans by Hillsong United. In it, one of the lines reads, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.”
While listening to this song the other day, suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Here I am asking God to “lead me where my trust is without borders” all the while ignoring the opportunity He has presented me!
I’ve been saying, “I’m putting my dreams in Your hands, God, but I want it to work out like this, not that. Okay?”
Just as Stormie Omartian mentions in Praying God’s Will for Your Life,
“[I] have to trust that God has [my] best interests in mind and be willing to do what He asks of [me], even if [I] don’t understand why at the time.”
As much as I’d like to say I’ve heard back from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, I haven’t and I most likely will not…but that’s A-OK because this experience, through much frustration and confusion, deepened my relationship with God.
I experienced His faithfulness on a whole new level.
There are 1,000+ ways for Him to get me to my purpose, whatever it may be.
I am called to trust him 100% with even my biggest dreams!
This situation has opened my eyes to a whole knew meaning of trust and what it means to trust God with EVERYTHING, EVEN WHEN I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT!
Although it took me a few months, I finally realized…if the only reason God allowed this to happen was to ensure I mean what I say when I sing, “Spirit lead me where my trust is WITHOUT borders” then that is all that matters.
“God’s ultimate goal for [our] life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants [us] to grow spiritually and become like Christ.”
We’re called to become better, not bitter! God knows what is best for you and for me.
As Rick Warren mentions in Purpose Driven Life, we’re called to “give thanks ‘in all circumstances’ not ‘for all circumstances'” because “no matter what’s happening, [we] can rejoice in God’s love, care, wisdom, power, and faithfulness.”
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