Friday, November 29, 2013

November 2013 Recap

At the beginning of this month, I set out to share with you all the many things God had taught us through our experience with our daughter. I knew there were "sermons" that God wanted me to communicate to just the very people who needed to hear them. I have had so many people send me messages or tell me that whatever post on whatever day spoke to them or was "just what they needed to hear". I am beyond thankful that God can use what we went through to grow others' faith in Him or provide the comfort or reassurance or sympathetic ear they needed. I have added many prayer requests to my list and am honored to have the opportunity to lift others up in the way so many lifted us up.

Tomorrow marks the end of November. I plan to post a list of resources -- books and websites -- that were helpful to me. That will make twenty-four posts out of thirty days in November. Not bad for my goal to write every day! I do have a two year old and a five month old to tend to, ya know :) Today's post is kind of just a recap, thoughts on where we've been and where we might go.

If I had to pick one common theme, one message that ties together all the others, it would be that we are not in control. We did not create this world, and we do not run it. We all live in our own minds, though, and that makes it so incredibly difficult to move outside ourselves and recognize the Creator who is in control. Each and every day, we have to remind ourselves of God's power, His omnipotence, and our place in that equation, as the created, as the clay that is formed, not the Potter. When you also remind yourselves of the goodness of this Creator, His love and compassion and justice and holiness, any situation you may face is a new opportunity to grow in faith and grow closer to God. If you accept your lack of control, you receive God's direction for your life. If you put trust in that (instead of throwing up your hands in powerlessness), there is nothing life will throw at you that can knock you down. Your God is powerful, and He loves you. You have nothing to fear.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

The other main thing I hope you all walk away with from this is that your feelings are okay. There were many times I felt like my feelings were a betrayal of my faith, like if I really believed in God's power and goodness, I wouldn't be sad or scared or angry. This is true in a way; the more I preach the truth to myself, the stronger my faith and resolve are. But I think the Bible shows us that our feelings are more than okay, that God cares about those as well. The Psalms, over and over, read like the most intimate parts of someone's journal, confessing fear and anxiety and the fear of God's abandonment. The kicker is that all those Psalms that cry out let out all those feelings and then praise God for His strength and power and praise Him for the work they had faith He would do. Having those feelings, sharing those feelings, within the context of trust and faith in a good and powerful God, brings so much glory to the Creator and shows that powerful peace that "surpasses understanding".

Lastly, I would note that none of these things -- believing in God's power and goodness, having faith and trust despite our feelings -- are possible without the great grace and mercy of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. We are the weak, broken ones; God is the strong Creator. All of these things are possible through prayer. You can try to talk yourself into believing it, give yourself a great pep talk, go in with spirits and hopes high. But without the deep powerful work of the Spirit, we will never truly believe or truly be able to rest. We must trust in God for even the power to trust in God.

The most beautiful thing about all of this is that none of it requires our own strength or faith or stability. Through it all, we rely on the God who molded the stars and knows the number of hairs on your head. We don't have to be strong. We don't have to be faithful. We don't have to have all the answers. We don't have to know how to fix it. We don't even have to be able to form coherent sentences. (Any parent who has ever spent the night in the hospital with an infant can give me an "Amen" to that one! Let's be real, any parent with an infant, period.) God is God is God is God is God. There isn't anything ever that makes that not true. Praise the One who made that great power and amazing love available to us. 

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:13-14)

The God we serve was yesterday, is today, and will be tomorrow. Each day, He is I AM. I don't know exactly what the future holds for this blog. I do know that the God who walked with us through ambulance rides and feeding tubes and allergies and hearing loss and medications walks with us now through washing bottles and changing diapers and cleaning clothes and hearing aids. To think the lessons will stop now that we're out of the hospital and on the road to health would suggest that God only teaches us in the difficult moments. Every day, good or bad or in between, is an opportunity to meet God and learn and grow in faith. I hope to continue to share that journey with you all. Stay tuned!

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