One of the greatest blessings this world can offer is the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. It's a lesson I've been relearning each year of my life and during each trial. This past year, my relationship with Christ and my belief in His character has also caused the greatest strife in my life.
Because when you accept Jesus, you also accept the spiritual battle that is being waged for your soul.
Satan is the Master Deceptor, and he wants nothing more than to take the joy and redemption from your walk with Christ. Satan wants to destroy this gift you've been given and turn you back to a child of darkness.
And he's been playing hard with me.
For a year now, he's been whispering the most evil lies into my ear, and in my doubt and sadness, I've believed him. It's an ugly truth and one that has kept me from sharing my thoughts, feelings, and journey with all of you. But by Grace, I'm seeing my failure.
I'm realizing some of the misconceptions I have about God based on my own human perceptions and "satanic convictions". My mom's two year battle with breast cancer, leukemia, and all the complications and near death experiences caused by this disasterous disease drew me closer to God like never before. The nurses and doctors were calling her their "Miracle Girl", but we all knew who performed the miracle. Her life and story was a testimony to so many people, it was hard not to stand up on a table and shout...
"THIS IS MY GOD!!!"
But the night that she died, it was a shock and huge slap in the face.
I remember being with her during her last few hours and my entire family crying out to God with eager anticipation for His next miracle. We knew He was using her story for His glory, and I was confident that He was going to step in and wow us all.
When my mom took her last breath, I was confused. I may have even looked around with questions on my face, I don't remember, but I clearly remember thinking, "He missed it. He came too late. He failed."
As so I've been wrestling with this mentality and doubt all year.
I'm a control freak and I've always struggled with trusting people with responsibility, relationships, and my feelings because I fear they will fail me. But I've always been taught that God will never fail us. The agony in losing that hope overtook me and I put up a wall between God and I.
If no one can be trusted to put my good first then I will trust the only one who is looking out for me and my desires...myself.
My other misconception of God has truly been a lifelong battle to overcome. I can honestly say, I'm still there yet. To me God is distant. He sits on a throne up in the sky moving people around like chess pieces. The little things in life are not a concern for Him...
BUT if we sin He is right there to knock our pieces over.
To me God is about discipline. I put Him in a box that only I can understand. I don't "get" unconditional love. I'm a "do-er", a hardworker. Everything I own, I work for. I take pride in my clean home, my well fed family, my servant heart. I worry that if my kids are acting out or a hair is out of place, then no one would want to associate with my out of control famiy, or that I am failing my husband.
I am Martha, and I earn your love and approval by my actions and talents.
At the same time, I'm completely insecure and need a lot of reassurance of one's love, so I work even harder to earn it. I know if I fail, then I've disappointed someone and somehow that truth is unbearable for me to live with.
But with God, relationships don't work this way. I can't earn my way to Him, I can't earn His approval.
I already have it.
He already loves me.
I just can't wrap my head around it. I've "done" nothing to deserve it, and if anything, I deserve the wrath and punishment I feel should be coming. I know I've disappointed Him with my life. So I see the bad things in my life as my punishment.
So here I am today at a fork in the road. Where will I choose to head this day forward?
Our pastor, Tim Harkness, has been in an amazing series and he spoke right to my heart the past few weeks. His message, along with some convicting worship, opened my eyes to some of these false convictions I've been allowing to capture my thoughts.
Will I allow my personal grief and misconceptions of Christ to make my heart cold or will I trust that He knows if a sparrow falls to the ground, and the number of hairs on my head, or more importantly that my mom's life coming to an end was a part of His greater plan and not a mistake.
Will I believe that He never fails and sees all. Will I learn to understand, as Pastor Tim said, "What I DO is not 'to be loved'. I AM LOVED!"
I still have a lot to learn and process, but I believe God will help me find my way back to trusting Him.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:6,7