The farther I journey into my faith, the more I recognize my own sinfulness. Perhaps it comes from a deeper self-awareness and more intentional pursuit of growth and change. It increases my thankfulness for God’s grace to me. In this space of my imperfection, God meets me with open arms and love. He does not tolerate my sin, but He loves me regardless of it and wants me to continue to pursue a relationship with Him. Oh what a beautiful thing! To be loved so fully, so completely.
I have always struggled with my worth. I am a middle child and have always been fiercely independent. I have never had any fears until I became a mother. I reflect on my personality traits and sometimes I laugh at the mixed bag that I received. I am fearless, confident, outgoing and yet struggle with identity and my worth. Maybe that’s what keeps me humble. I know that God is good and that He has a plan for my life. So I will embrace all of me, the parts that I love and the parts that I do not understand.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of teenagers about having relentless faith. I shared some of my own stories about how I lost my faith for a season. It was me walking away from God and choosing to let go of my morals. In a place of guilt and hurt and desperation I went back to God on my knees and asked forgiveness for the all the awful and hurtful decisions I had been making. In that moment I experienced God and His grace so profoundly. I walked away from Him, He never walked away from me. Yet when I came back with a battered and bruised soul, God accepted me with open arms and forgave me. It was a physical weight lifted off of me. It was a sensation I could physically feel. I experienced God and it was beautiful. That moment changed my life. So when people ask me how I know God is real, I tell them that I know because in my faith, I have experienced Him, heard Him speak and felt His presence. I encourage them to ask Him to make Himself real to them. Pray for an opportunity to experience God. But also read the Bible and pray consistently. Your faith needs an anchor to keep you from drifting. That anchor is found in the truth of the Bible.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The message
Another aspect of Faith is we do not only have faith when life makes sense, but faith is the essence of what gets us through all of the hard and messy and ugly and unknown that life throws at us. Seven years ago I prayed to have faith life Job. If you have not read the book of Job in the Bible, do it! I read it and was so moved by his uncompromising and profound faith in God even when Job’s entire life was falling apart, he lost everything even his health, yet he trusted God and would not compromise even in the face of death. I wanted to have that kind of faith! The very next day, I received a phone call from my doctor that the child I was carrying would not likely be healthy or fully formed. The child I carried might even have deformities that would make life not sustainable. I heard a whisper in my heart so loud it was as if someone was standing behind me saying, “Have faith like Job.” My faith was tested like none other for the next 6 months. I did not see the finish line, my life felt like one massive storm where there was no sunshine just relentless testing of my faith. So many nights I cried from the uncertainty and listened to praise and worship music. I needed constant reminders of God’s goodness so I would keep on having faith. I remember one night something broke in me. I decided that no matter what, that God was good. If my child was whole or incomplete, God was good and I will trust His goodness and finally let go. Tears streamed down my face, but in that moment of surrender to the unknown, my faith grew. God was teaching me to have faith like Job.
Bethel Music says it so well in their song Raise a Hallelujah. “I’m going to sing in the middle of the storm. Louder and louder, you’re going to hear my praises roar. Up from the ashes hope will arise. Death is defeated, the King is alive!” It’s a decision. You must choose to praise God in the storm. And that is faith!
My daughter was born perfect and whole and she is my daily reminder of my faith in God. She is my miracle and I love sharing my story of Emma. You will never regret choosing faith in God. I challenge you to look at your life. Where is your faith?