Faith in the Storms

faith in the stormAfter a long hiatus, I come back to the blog world as I continue my faith journey.  Part of why I disappeared was because of the writer in me that wouldn’t allow for imperfect posts.  I would read and re-read, edit and re-edit, and it was taking me hours to get out a single thought.  But after MUCH time off, reflection and inspiration from my amazing husband, I am back at it, understanding that the sharing is more important than the writing itself.  What’s more, NOTHING is perfect except God, so why aim for something I can never achieve?

This past year, specifically, has been the longest and most daunting faith walk I’ve ever had to take.  In my life.  My marriage has been through trials that I wish no woman would ever have to face.  My body has been through trials that I wish no woman would ever have to face.  And now I’m in Texas.  To sum it all up, God has been working in his miraculous, mysterious ways and has called my family to move from Massachusetts to Texas.  For what reason, we’re still not quite sure.  It’s only been three months, so we are confident that his purpose will be revealed soon.  But looking back, here’s how I have  often felt since my last post:

I have walked, or should I say trudged, through the storms, soaked, cold, chilled to the bone.  I have dropped to the muddy ground, sobbing in tears, begging for the tumultuous weather to stop.  I have crept up on my knees, with my arms open wide, neck stretched out to the sky, eyes straight into the tempest and screamed, “Why, God, whyyyyyyyy!?  What have I done to deserve this?!?!”

His answer?  Nothing.  It is not a punishment.  Our good God doesn’t work that way.  He provides opportunities to get our attention.  It’s all about getting our attention and re-focusing our eyes on Him and on the path He has set forth for us.  But that isn’t always the most comforting thought.  Out of habit I would sit and suffer in silence and brood over my misfortunes.  And the pain was real, and the suffering was agonizing.  But because I know God is good, I can acknowledge His presence, thank Him for the strength He has given me (and will ALWAYS give me) to weather life’s hurdles.  Because after the rains subside, there is life again.  There are lush, green pastures and oftentimes rainbows.  If we could only hold on to the hope of the rainbows, and remember in the squall that He is there providing the precipitation for a reason.  I know in heaven He will show me the reason for that suffering and that pain.  But for now, I work hard to demonstrate my faithfulness in the trials.  I am a sinner, but I have faith.  I encourage you to hold on to Hope because God has never, and will never, let you down.

In similar fashion to my previous posts, my blog will contain a prayer and a passage from Scripture.  It is my hope (and prayer) that you will be able to connect with the prayers, and Scripture regarding any storm you may be experiencing at this moment.

Sinner Share #8: It’s so hard for me to have faith in the storm.  The pain is so real and sometimes the answer and the value seem so far away and unattainable.  A pastor from my home church used to say that the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, that it’s fear.  And I’m afraid all the time.  I want to be a woman of faith and not of fear.

Prayer: Dear Father God in Heaven, You know my struggles.  You know my saddened heart.  God I’m sorry for the times I have lacked faith.  Dear God, I believe, please help my unbelief!  As a sinner, as a human I come to you for my strength for you are my Rock and my Redeemer.  All things are possible through You and You alone.  When I feel alone and abandoned, send me the Holy Spirit as a reminder of your ever present and everlasting love, mercy and grace.  I pray to you today, Father, for all of those readers who feel lost in their own personal storm.  May you bless those who are weak and weary, and send them Your peace and reminders of Your promise that the suffering will end, and that Your purpose will be revealed.  We love You and we need You.  Thank you, Father.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 23: 1-6 “The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

For those who are in Christ…

…There is no condemnation! (Romans 8:1) What a comfort this passage provides. If we have Christ in our hearts, there is no disapproval. In regards to the Lenten journey, Christians may feel tempted to give up if they falter, much like a New Year’s Resolution. Upon slipping once, it’s easy to say, “Well, I gave it a fair shot, better luck next time”. And instead of committing for a year, it’s just 40 days, and the guilt may set in at our weaknesses in the face of all that Christ was able to sacrifice. Journey on the Cross, the seasonal devotional, urges us not to give up, but instead, for those who have already fallen off the Lenten wagon, so to speak, to run to the cross. I love that imagery. If then were now, how many of us would be running to the cross. I hope that if I could transport back in time, knowing what I know now, I would humble myself in the sight of the Lord.

hope found at the cross

But we don’t need a physical representation to do it. We just need to embrace this moment, this opportunity to sacrifice and to communicate with God. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He’s waiting for us to confess them. And if we aren’t yet aware, He has been trying to reach us, we just need to silence those distractions which overtake His still small voice (1 Kings 19:12). Wouldn’t it be great if the truth about Lenten abstaining came like a stork in the night with a baby? We could wake up in the morning, look on the front step and open our special package. Would we follow it still? If God sent a personalized note informing me that it was His intention for me to give up my car for 40 days, would I do it? That is more daunting than pasta, which is a task in itself! I think this is a faith test like many other trials God provides us. It’s about knowing that the conversations we do have in the privacy of our homes and our hearts, are God-driven, and are expected to be followed, regardless of any hand-written note of approval letting us know we were on track.

faith is doing what God has called you to do

While I have been writing this post, I had a GOd wink. I was searching for appropriate photos to add to my commentary, when I came across the InstaLent Photo Challenge . God spoke to me to do something similarly. I will search the Bible for words that inspire me to focus on every day throughout Lent. Today’s word is inspiration. Tomorrow’s word is Listen. Can you think of any others?
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Sinner share #5 – Faith IS doing what God has called me to do. I know He has called me to be a kinder, more patient person and I have a hard time doing that. Years of hurt and anger and frustration with the way the world works inhibits my ability to love my neighbor and to bask in the light of His love. Self-absorption and pride are sources of evil and we need to arm ourselves with the armor of God. This I pray.

Ephesians 6:10-17 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

30-something share #5 – I am stuck. I want my husband to want to go through this journey with me, but he hasn’t. I know faith is personal, but I also had grandiose ideas that it would be a “we” activity that he would want to take part of daily. It doesn’t make me love him less, but it does leave me confused about how to engage in this with him enough to satisfy my, and not too much to aggravate him. I know God wants us to enjoy Him together, I just wish I could accept that whatever we have in our faith as a couple is enough. Do you have similar struggles with your partner?

Romans 14:3 – “The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.”