That You Might Grow in Faith

2 Corinthians 4:6-10

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

The unexpected things can be the hardest.  Yesterday, I went to a thrift store to look for a desk for my “office space” in our bedroom.

After we got into the store, I let my son down to wander a bit- he is 19 months and rather hard to keep still for very long.  When he started to wander away from me, my daughter threw a total meltdown fit.

You really can’t appreciate what a shock this was to me unless you know my daughter-she is very laid back- sweet, gentle, and very calm. I was in complete shock.  She would not let me comfort her, she just kept freaking out and even after her brother came and sat in my lap- I could not get her to calm down.

I finally just said, let’s go home.  She started freaking out even more. She swung at me.  I felt like my heart was bursting into a million pieces.

heart breaks in 2

We finally got into the car, I started trying to talk to her again calmly.  She kept screaming and was so upset.  I raised my voice, I know my face was contorted in anger- she told me I was scaring her.

I cried silent tears the whole way home.

I felt raw, exposed, ugly- how could I screw up like this?  All the lies began to assail me- I am a bad Mom, child services is going to get called by someone at that store, I have been trying so hard to be calm, to not get angry- I will never get it right.

I was so discouraged- crying out to God- “I am trying so hard to grow closer to You- and this is what happens- I totally crash and burn-do everything wrong- respond wrong.”  TOTAL FAIL.

I called my parents and a family friend and prayed a lot.  I thought about what happened; I talked to my daughter several times.  I asked her forgiveness.  We talked about what happened that made her upset (still not completely sure).

This morning, when I got up to be quiet with the Lord, I felt Him gently speaking to me.  All these things that happen- the unexpected, stressful things that feel bigger than we can take and hit us totally unprepared- these circumstances can be used (if we let them) to deepen our Faith.  For they call us to Trust God.

What I was doing was trying to “control” the situation by my own methods.  I wasn’t seeking God in my moment of distress.  I was depending on my own self-sufficiency. This is a really bad habit that I have.

My first instinct is not to pray- it should be.  To invite God into those stressful moments and to cry out to Him to help me.

I should have prayed with my daughter– maybe not in the store- but definitely in the car.  We could have asked God together to help us to understand what happened that was so upsetting and ask that He would use this hard time to draw us closer to Him.

We can choose to let our bad choices defeat us- to wallow in our own sense of failure and disappointment at not handling things the way that we hoped to- or wanted to- or we can humbly approach God again and say- Lord, help me learn from this.

Next time I pray that I seek God first- that His Holy Spirit will guide me- that I may cling to my Rock when it feels like the whole world is tilting and shifting under my feet.

Being a Godly Mom is the constant prayer of my heart.  Teaching my children about God’s Word, making sure they feel loved and safe- that’s a priority.

To be in a situation where I felt like I was being attacked at my core- and so unexpectedly- I felt like someone had stabbed me in my soul.  The pain was excruciating.  I started doubting every moment since I had become a Mom in that moment of raw and unexpected pain.

Our reaction in our thought life in these moments is so important.  I was thinking later- I need to keep some verses in my purse that I can pull out and read- or post them up in my car.

I don’t know about you but sometimes in those panicked moments I can’t call any verse to mind- I am trying to- but my mind is such a jumbled mix of hurt and confusion- sometimes I can’t wade through to find God’s truth.

I need to see it, to read it out loud.  As I cling to God and as His peace descends upon me in those crazy moments- I pray that I will be able to call those Scriptures to mind- but I don’t want this to become another thing I feel guilty about- something else for Satan to use as a weapon against me.

I was feeling guilty because I couldn’t think of a verse in the heat of that moment- when I was hurting- and I started thinking- well, this just means that you are not a strong enough Christian or you don’t really know God’s Word at all.

That’s not true- I know that- but in our vulnerable moments sometimes we believe things that we never would on a “normal” day.

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Every circumstance in our life is an opportunity for us to grow in Faith.  That’s what God longs for us- that we may grow strong in FAITH.

That means that we trust God in all things.  When the unexpected attacks come- when we feel Satan breathing down our neck- when those lies start going through our mind- when we feel defeated, trampled on, whipped and beaten by our circumstances- we turn to God to strengthen us that our faith might grow in our hardships.

I pray that if you are facing a challenging season in your life, or just a challenging moment (if you are not, get ready- John 16:33)- that you will cling to God. That He may strengthen your Faith in Him through your circumstances- and that you will obey Him- even if it means stepping out into the unknown- without being able to see the outcome.

1 Peter 5:6-10

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

additional new growth

Lord, we know that suffering is part of our growth, that many times we must be brought low that you can lift us up in due time.  May we cling to you in our uncertainty. Help us to trust your plan Lord, even when we can’t see where you are leading.  I pray that we will step out in obedience, daily seeking your Will, and clinging to the truth of the gospel and who we are in You- to steady us during life’s storms.  Remind us today- your burden is light- we can rest in our Fortress, we can hide in the shelter of Your wings.  Lord, God- You are Faithful.  We praise your Holy Name.   Amen.

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