I just have to begin by saying thank you for all the prayers and kind words of encouragement.
Yesterday I finally called to find out test results. I was twisted in knots waiting and decided that it was time to just find out already.
When I called the nurse took a minute and then came back and said some medical stuff I don’t remember (and frankly couldn’t understand) and then she said, “So the doctor would like you to retest at your next appointment at the end of the year!”
Now THAT I did understand.
That meant that God had said, “No, precious daughter, I’m not asking you to walk that path right now.”
Thank you Father.
I have a few friends walking very difficult paths right now. I was speaking with one dear friend recently and the thought struck me that it is both comforting and difficult that God is in control.
When I said it, I thought how true that statement felt. It is both comforting and difficult that God is in control.
But trying to unpack that…it’s hard to explain. I just know it to be true.
What is comforting about God’s sovereignty?
Is it knowing that my Creator is always with me? That I’m loved and cared for in ways and to depths I can’t even comprehend?
And yet, what do I do with this element of difficult?
I find it difficult to let go…even though I don’t really know what I’d do if I was truly in charge.
Difficult to understand…the whys? And whens? And what nows?
Sometimes I think I choose to live in the difficult.
Living in the difficult…that can be like living in a pit.
And I keep going back to my pit…instead of focusing on the Lord’s goodness and love and faithfulness.
My pit dwelling appears to be based on my circumstances…shocking I know.
And because my circumstances don’t seem to be changing anytime soon, I best figure out how to get out and stay out of the pit.
But how do I not slide back in anytime soon…or ever?
This past week, waiting for results, I felt like I was scrambling desperately to get out and I couldn’t quite do it. Every “what if” thought had my feet skidding down the slippery, steep side. I felt covered in the mud of fear. Nothing I could do seemed to totally get that horrible slimy crud off of me. I just couldn’t figure out how to stop feeling the anxious feelings I was feeling.
Anxiety. It’s an awful thing. And it pushes me into pits faster than almost anything else.
I kept trying to pour scripture into my head and think thankful thoughts. I prayed for peace – begged for it.
And then I realized that I’m looking for God to do something that He has already done.
He has already given me peace…the Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, PEACE, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I remember a speaker once sharing the truth that we have already been given the fruit of the Spirit – we already have it all. I don’t need to keep asking for it (not that I’m prone to ask for patience or self-control often – no matter how desperately I need them! That prayer always seems to get me into a pickle!).
Maybe the key is asking for God to reveal how to tap into it?
But then again, why does it matter exactly what I pray when God knows my needs, my wants, my hopes, my longings?
I have heard that prayer is more about building a relationship with the Lord…connecting with Him, casting our cares on Him, learning about Him, leaning on Him, and in some ways reminding ourselves that He is in control. I believe that to be true.
When I pray I’m acknowledging the One who really does hold me and everything else in the palm of His hand.
When I pray I’m reminded again that the Creator of All Things cares about me…listens to me and acts on my behalf.
As much as I speak (write) about prayer…about longing to be a prayer warrior…lately, I find it difficult. My prayers have seemed to fall flat…to be “unpassionate”, kind of weary.
My youngest daughter feels like God doesn’t hear her prayers. She has voiced repeatedly that she wants to believe in God, but she doesn’t feel like He is listening…or even there. She bursts into tears every time we talk about it.
Dear Lord, what have I not done…or done…that my precious little girl doesn’t feel like she knows You?
And yet, Lord sometimes lately I feel that way too. Sometimes I feel like my faith maybe isn’t as genuine as I thought it was. Maybe it is way more wobbly than I ever thought it could or would be.
It hurts to type that. To say that I don’t feel strong in my faith. It probably makes you think twice about reading what I write.
I wonder if others go through seasons in their faith like this…where faith is just based on the past, not something happening right now?
Remembering the joy of believing and trusting and knowing…it is a blessing in the midst of doubt, anxious thoughts, and questions.
Today while I was driving I was thinking about my faith and about gratefulness. How the two really do go together. I was thinking that when I ponder the huge number of things I could thank God for, I feel a spark of my old faith coming back.
Tonight while walking upstairs to get something, I looked down at my beautiful hardwood floors and thought how kind God was to provide them. Wood floors. Who would have thought something so not amazing could remind me of God’s love.
My house is a big blessing. It isn’t perfect, but it is near perfect for us. And I can’t begin to understand how God could bless me in such a wonderful way, I feel so unworthy of it.
I’m comforted by the knowledge that God cared about so many little things when He choose and blessed me with this home.
I’m comforted by the blessing of dear ones in my life…people who love me, pray for me, and care about me.
I’m comforted by the knowledge that no matter how wonky I feel about anything and everything, God is always decidedly loving and faithful in His care of me and mine.
I think I’m seeing it…the precious comfort of knowing my loving Father is in control.
And I’m understanding the difficulties of letting God BE in control…of letting go of my struggle to make things work out the way I think they should.
How much more peaceful my life would be if I would let go of the struggle and embrace the peace of Christ.
This past week I struggled very much and even with the good news I still struggled…I was still out of sorts. It seemed like I had residual anxiety…I maintained the fear even when the problem was resolved. I’m not sure why I did that…seems weird to me.
The weight of worry needed to lift off and the power of His peace should have been clearly there. Instead I held on to the anxious thoughts…grasped them like a crazy person. Why in the world???
Is my new normal to be anxious rather than peaceful? I shudder to think I’ve chosen that as my normal.
I wonder though…
I wonder what my deal is.
I don’t totally understand myself, but God is revealing to me in little snippets and encouragements that maybe my faith has been quite a bit academic lately. I know the Word and how it is to be applied and I know God and His love for me and I understand and am thankful for the Gospel.
But do I love God? Do I love Jesus? Do I love the Holy Spirit?
Do I really and truly LOVE them?
Is my relationship with more like a teacher and student relationship, than a Father and daughter relationship?
I think it has become that…in some ways it is easier to just do my faith using words rather than emotions. (Which is kind of ironic considering how emotional I have been lately.) It has been easier to just study Scripture than delve into a really truly deep relationship with my Lord. I wonder why that is?
Maybe words are just easier for me. Relationships involve trust…that’s not always easy.
I’m ready for a change though…to go beyond a student of the Scripture and embrace my true identity as a daughter of the King.
To once again know that my faith is indeed genuine.
To trust Jesus, who is my peace, truly does love me.
To trust that my God will never leave me nor forsake me.
And to know more deeply the wonderful mystery and blessing of a God who is loving, faithful, kind, and totally and completely in control.
Hello Sue, I don’t know how I stumbled onto your blog, but God must’ve led me here! I’m touched by your honesty and candor. I pray for you and your precious children! How brave you are to be a single mom to them and to live in such a tumultuous world and face this responsibility alone. Ah, but you’re not alone, are you? He is with you and in you! I loved reading the progression of your thoughts above and it reminded me of King David and how he writes in the Psalms where he started out with doubt and pain and finished by encouraging himself with the truths of God and His word! Bless His Word, that sustains us in times of need. I will pray for you all and I am confident that God has amazing plans for you all….this is just a time of testing and He is ready and waiting to prove Himself faithful to you!! May God Bless you, Sheilah
Thank you so much Sheilah. What words of encouragement and blessing! Thank you for taking the time to write them. I’m glad you see that I hope to always come back to the truth of what a mighty and loving God we serve. I’ve is ever faithful to bring me back every time! God bless, Sue