Happy new year! I have missed blogging and will be posting a Life Lately Holiday edition very soon! So you can see all that we did since my last blog post. New years brings many things, everyone likes to start making goals, setting resolutions for the new year as it feels like a clean slate or a chance for us to hit the reset button on our lives. We can make a list of goals, we can choose to be intentional about those goals and we can put forth our best foot forward to better ourselves in the new year to come. One thing that we have no control over is our circumstances or storms that may come, after we have set these exciting and refreshing goals.
I am sharing only from personal experience. I was so excited about the new year and still am. I can hear what God is speaking to me about what 2017 will mean in my life. If 2016 had a theme it would be “a dream come true” and “God’s faithfulness” getting the chance to actually taste God’s goodness and the promises that He had made from my childhood. Watching precious and innocent lives being healed, restored and renewed. With that also came trials, and hardships as we believers can expect.
What I have learned is this. Trials will always come. Never once in the bible does it say that once we are one with Christ we will never face hardship! No God tells us over and over again this will surely come, this is something we cannot be blind from. I have faced trials and hardships in my life, some darker than I’d like to share, but it seems as my faith is strengthened they seem to get harder or bigger. Because God would never allow one without us having the ability to handle it. God knows our limit, He knows how much we can take. God tells us in the bible He will never give us more than we can handle, He makes so many promises that He will see us through, that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.
I love reading Matthew 8:23-27. And if you have time today! You should too!
Jesus calms the storm. This is something the Lord has really put on my heart and spoken to me this past week as the storm in my own life seemed to overwhelm and sadden me. I felt like God was saying don’t look at the natural, look to me, trust me. I will see you through. I can’t imagine being on a boat with Jesus, and a great storm approaches. I wonder what my reaction would be. If I would wake him up or sit watching the storm approach trusting that because he is with me no evil could overtake us! But then I think of my initial reaction to this knowing that Christ is with me, and see that TRUSTING is hard! That we must remove our eyes off what is going on in the natural, pray about it and look unto him. God wants storms to mold us to become more like Jesus. The most perfect example of who we are to become more and more like everyday.
So let me ask you this. So why is so hard to believe it when you are walking through it? One hardship that changed my life as I know it happened a few years ago. The only thing I could do is cling onto His promises for my life, choosing to see all the good in my life and speak his goodness into existence. Speaking that only by His grace I would get through, so in the end all who saw or heard would know it is only God who could do such a thing. So that HE gets all the glory, so others can see that it is not by or through our abilities, it is only through His.
It seems that once the new year began, and plans were being made, a storm had emerged, and amidst that trial more seem to intercede. More than I felt like “I” could handle, facing one that seemed much “bigger” and harder than the others. I found myself feeling completely stripped down of everything and everyone that makes me feel comfortable. I also found myself feeling completely alone. The thing is I AM NEVER ALONE. I have a God who doesn’t sleep or slumber, a God who called me to such a thing, that He would never leave me in. This is what I know. That we are to go through these trials knowing that God will see us through. We have three choices.
1. Question God, ask him why me? Why are you doing this to me? How could you allow this?
2. Turn from God, and try to run as far as you can to avoid the trial in your life. Which will never help.
3. Hang in there, persevere and draw even closer to God, praying and relying on the promises he has made us, filling yourself with his word to get you through.
God allows trials in our lives to strengthen our faith and reveal to us things that we couldn’t have seen before. We see how deep our faith is, and we see how fully dependable we truly need to become. And if God wants to build and strengthen your faith he has to STRETCH YOU!
I find myself thinking “God I can’t handle this anymore” “God I am being stretched more than I think I can handle.” This makes me think about lyrics from one of my favorite songs Oceans by Hillsong United.
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Singing these words, that even among the waves I would keep my eyes above the waves. That through following God into the unknown my faith would be made stronger. Knowing that we are in the presence of our Savior. I can say with hope in expectation that He will see me through, that He is building my faith, preparing a path before me for the works to come. You can never stop learning, you can never stop being stretched, you should NEVER give up as hard and dark as it will seem! God blesses those who persevere. He even tells us this…
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”James 1:2-5
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
You see God promises us over and over again that even in storms, dark times He is at work making it turn out for our good. God will NEVER allow a bad situation to occur without producing good, even if we cannot see it right away.
So be encouraged through anything you face that you can rely on the one who has created this earth, in the one who gave you a purpose for this life.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ” Romans 8:28
It doesn’t say that God works somethings for the good of those who love him. He says ALL THINGS! So through this new year, would you keep this in mind, would you try to spend time in God’s word so He can speak to you, strengthen you, encourage you. So you would understand and know His promises so when trials come you can pray them back to Him. Faithfully expecting a good outcome, an outcome that you will thank God for in the long run, because through hardship your true character and faith will be revealed.
I am praying for all of you and your families, whether we have met or not. Your life has purpose, all of ours are different, but remember how special you are in the eyes of the one who created you. Don’t forget to call out to Him, He’s listening.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
You are loved,