"The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life."~ James L. Christensen ~
I love this quote, it brings to mind Romans 5:3-4
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
I remember when I was a new believer that I had this idea that Christians were always happy, perfect people. Sad.... but true.... I was in need of disciplining, but didn't even know that I did.
The first few years of my conversion were great! Peaceful even.... I was very involved at church.... children's ministry, missions.... care group at our home.... but after a few years.... and during my pregnancy with Rylee joy and peace began to slip away.... I did not understand why. I did not know if I was "doing" something wrong.... I had no idea.... but I was very depressed.....
During my last month of pregnancy with RyLee I was really bad... I remember crying the phone with my mom questioning my salvation, and feeling very far from God. I was desperate..... I know my mom felt horrible for me.... It was bad.... she asked me to read a few different books in the bible... and me.... being so desperate read all she told me too! no kidding.... right after I got off the phone I read Ephesians, Galatians and all of Romans! I was desperate....
I read and I cried... I prayed like I never did before..... I came to a passage in Romans that just lept right off the page at me....
Our Victory in Christ In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
For months, I had felt alone... even abandoned because I couldn't feel Gods presence in my life...... remember... I thought Christians were perfect, happy people... no troubles.... so since I had trouble.... I thought I didn't have God anymore... I felt ashamed of myself.... and rejected by God.... I was missing the big picture.....
That passage in Romans clicked with me for some reason..... I think because my spirit was groaning and I didn't know what to 'do' or say anymore..... I could only weep..... and as time past.... probably another year... I began to realize that it was not God who had moved from me.... but me who had moved from God...... I was a human doing.... busy at church... busy at home.... busy with friends.... busy doing church stuff..... but not busy in my devotion to the one I was 'doing" all these things for! it was the outer exterior of who I was... that I had put so much time into.... not the inner. :) like I said.... I really needed disciplining..... but never asked.... nor did it dawn on me that I needed it.... till that point in my life.....
I have been through many valleys in my life since then..... some refining walks through the valley, some trials..... but I have become reassured it is only for a season, these times do not always last for ever and fruit awaits in the end..... a realization that God is shaping me and growing me... loving me along the way.... so that I will be able to rely on Him and handle situations and people they way I should.... through Him and His love and righteousness.
My most recent trial/challenge and character forming situation has been a very personal one. Just in the last few weeks, I have come to a realization about myself and it has been humbling and liberating!
4 years ago... maybe 5.... I began to have difficulty with personal relationships and I started pulling away. I realize now I was doing more than pulling away. I was avoiding. Avoiding hurt and avoiding rejection. I felt I was being made to be the bad people. I was attacked, accused, lied about and I became increasingly tired of these situations. I was hurt and sad...... so instead of confronting, I moved away.... thinking that if I removed myself..... and just kept going forward.... it would all work out..... Ya... right.... funny thing.. God is not a God to leave things undone is He?
I was at a woman's gathering a few weeks ago, and the subject matter had to deal with hurt and rejection..... I was hopeful I would be able to gain wisdom and a plan to overcome my hurt... but didn't even consider the rejection aspect of the message, till i showed up! What I learned and realized..... I have deep hurts, hurts from 4 years ago, deeper hurts from 20 something years ago....... and they were hurts that I have not allowed God to touch in my heart. I realized I had only been giving Jesus access to pieces of my heart.... the ones I am comfortable with.... the painful pieces I had not given over to Him, or allowed anyone in.... I moved Him away from those ones.....Just like I moved away from relationships...... I am tired, and I don't want to feel hurt.... I'm trying to avoid it!
The other thing I realized, was that because I had not dealt with these hurts.... when rejection and or hurt arose..... I would see the situation through old wounds.... The woman at the conference related it this way... she put on her gramas sun glasses..... and these old glasses represented the hurt and rejection in our heart..... now realize they were also sun glasses.... glasses that were hard to see clearly out of. I could not see clearly through my hurt and rejection either... and because it was so far hidden in my heart I did not deal with it... and now I too had blurred vision!
I needed to give God access to the hurt and rejected pieces of my heart.....so I can have clear vision when things arise.... not rely on my old vision.... but a new vision..... to respond.... not pull away.....
I could always talk about the hurts... but I have never really dealt with them. This has been a liberating realization....... and I didn't want to keep God from these places in my heart any lobger..... but to give it to Him completely.... I was very devastated when I realized I truly had not done this yet. Its been 13/14 years my friends.....
I am not a perfect person, nor am I with out fault. I look back at the last 4 years and now realize I could have handled things so much better..... but I was looking at them through blurred vision of old hurts.
I love this verse.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Im so glad!
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