Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crisis of Faith Part 2

If you read my last blog, then you know just a few weeks ago, I was experiencing a true crisis of faith. I'd come to a turning point in my spiritual journey and I had to figure out did I really live my life as if I believed God's Word.

Now, it may be easy to say, "Well if you're a real Christian, then you must believe God's Word." And although ordinarily I would agree with you in a general way, I would ask you to go a bit deeper in your analysis.

As Christians, we say, "Heaven is my home, and this earth, we're just passing through." Really! Then I would say that if we Christians really lived our lives like Heaven is our home, then why do we spend so much time trying to store up treasures here, than in Heaven where we intend to spend eternity.

Or closer to the subject at hand, we say, "Let go, and let God." But then most of us set about putting into motion Plan B.

And that is where my struggle was. I know that God is faithful, that He sees everything, that He will take care of His own. But in my situation, I had to ask myself, "If I really believe God is faithful, then shouldn't my reaction to this situation be different. If I'm going to say I trust God, then shouldn't that belief transform my reactions to the everyday missteps, failures, blunders, disappointments that I face."

I had to go back to a lesson that God had taught me many years ago. In spite of how the situation had worked out, I had to take time out to remind myself of what I knew to be true about God. He is a provider. He is not able to see a need and not provide for it. He cannot lie. His purposes will always be fulfilled. He loves me with a love that will never end.

And as I mediated on these things day in and day out, I had to see my situation from a different vantage point....not from where I could see, but from where God could see. And just by changing my perspective, it changed my response.

Now, I'm here to tell you that this was not a one day turn around. It took me about two weeks to speak truth to myself. And sometimes in those very dark times in our lives, we have to know that if we have accepted Christ as Savior, then the Holy Spirit lives in us. He teaches us spiritual truth and He transforms us from the inside out. So in those times, I choose to just take my junk to God and tell Him honestly how I feel, and ask all of the questions that I have, and sometimes that means literally just crying to Him. And then when all of that is done, I trust that the Holy Spirit has translated all of that and spoke to God on my behalf, filtering out the nonsense. And then I trust, that if I come before God long enough even in my broken state, His Spirit will comfort me, and His Spirit will speak truth to my spirit and help me to move from darkness to the place where I can again seek God, pray, praise, worship.

As a sidenote....when we say we are too busy to read our Bible, or do anymore than just attend church on Sunday and wait for the pastor to spoon feed us...we miss out on the many truths that God has put in His word to encourage us. One that I came across once in my personal study is Hebrews 7:25 which says, "Therefore, Jesus is able once and forever to save those who came to God through Him because He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf."

Don't miss that. Jesus Himself, our Savior, our friend, our Redeemer, He lives to go to God for me. Is there any greater advocate that I could have on my behalf than the Son of God to plead my case, and stand up for me. WOW! If that doesn't give you goosebumps I don't know what will. That blew me away when I first read and truly understood and embraced it. So that was one of those truths God had to speak to my Spirit in the darkness. He had to remind me of who He is and what He sacrificed that I might be able to come to Him as Father.

But in His greatness, He didn't stop there.

You'll have to stop by one more time to see how the story got even better. In the next edition, I'll tell you not just what He said to me, but what the amazing things He did!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crisis of faith--Part 1

I've been on a spiritual journey now for about the last two years or so. It started when God began to awakening in me this sense that there was more to being a Christ, to following Christ, to having an intimate relationship with Him. I knew I was missing something and my heart longed to draw closer to my Savior.

I was introduced to a book called "Jesus on Leadership." If you've never read it, pick it, get some friends and do a study together. It WILL change your life. Then Matthew West put out a song called, "Motions" and the song turned my life upside-down. I realized I was doing a lot of good things for God, but I wasn't really looking to God to doing any God-sized things in and through my life.

So my hunger for God grew and I kept asking myself the questions of what did it really mean to follow Christ, to be sold out to Him, to die to self daily? What would my faith story looked like if I truly lived out and beleived God for all the things I knew to be true about Him and the kind of life He wanted me to lead?

So God has been challenging me, and growing me, and pruning me. And I have just tried to be as honest and transparent with God as I could be.

And then a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to apply for a position. I've been a stay-at home-mom off and on for the past 11 years...and totally at home for the past 7 years. But now that all of our kids are in school, it made sense to start looking for a full-time job. The decision to live on one income was a sacrifice we had chosen, but it had started to really strain our finances. The job would literally change our lives.

Well, long story short, after 3 interviews over the course of about 4 months, I was really hopeful. Friends and family were praying, offering words of encouragement, and some even outright saying the job was mine. There were Scripture passages that came up in Bible studies and sermons that felt like confirmation that this was where I was supposed to be. I prayed earnestly and felt very positive about the interviews. But then I didn't get the job.

To say I was devastated would be a gross understatement. And to my surprise, I went into a tailspin of a faith crisis. I couldn't understand what had happened....and not just about the job, I struggled to understand why I was responding the way I was.

I was so frustrated and confused with God...that I didn't even know where to begin. I felt isolated and abandoned by my faith. I remember sitting in my car one morning fighting back tears because I couldn't even afford to buy my son a cup of coffee at the gas station. And in that moment, I just looked at my life and thought...this is not really what I signed up...this is not how I thought my life would be in my 40s. After all, my husband has a Ph.D. and a I have a master's degree. We got our education, we loved the Lord, we were working to raise our children to know God.

I was at a lost. I was obviously missing something. Everything that was happening in my circumstances said one thing, but my experience with God said quite another.

Stay tuned to see how God spoke!