I started this year with these words ringing in my spirit: Know your God.
I was all excited and geared up for all the great + daring adventures God had in store for me this year. I looked ahead at the road laid before me and saw that it would be wonderful, magnificent, glorious. I couldn’t wait.
And then I took my first step on that path… and fell flat on my face.
These past few months have been hard. The falling-into-a-black-hole-of-depression, can’t-get-out-of-bed, lost-all-feeling-in-my-heart kind of hard.
There have been heart issues + health issues all mixed in, and its been a lot to take at once. I’ve been feeling like the losing end of the battle for my heart – trying not to let it grow cold & hard in the face of betrayal and sorrow.
I was taken beyond just proclaiming God’s prophetic Word; now I had to live it.
But here’s where it brought me.
I found that everything I depended on – health, youth, relationships, talents, gifts – were shaky ground and easily taken away. I found that God was the only Source. Just like He said I would.
I grew so utterly unmimpressed with all the things that I’d hitherto been impressed with… and in the process got pretty impressed with God. Just like He said I would.
The path was unexpected, but it brought me to exactly where He told me it would.
You see, God’s Word has the power to perform itself.
He had given me the prophetic significance of this year – to know Him, really know Him – and He would watch to see that His word was fulfilled. (Read Isaiah 55:11 and Jeremiah 1:12)
He shook everything that could be shaken to reveal the areas of my life that had been built on shaky sand. The only parts left standing (there wasn’t much!) were the ones built on solid rock. Everything else had to fall in order to be rebuilt.
He helped me, in spite of me, to peel away the layers of security I had wrapped around myself. He took away all my many, many crutches so I would see what I really needed – wholeness.
Because you see, God is interested in real wholeness.
He doesn’t just give us promises; He watches to see that it happens.
Watch: keep under careful, protective, or secret observation. look after, care for, minister to, foster, nurse, safeguard, protect.
It is an amazing experience when God gives us a life promise or a promise of blessing. But I am learning that the more amazing truth is that God is fully committed to making that promise happen in its fullness for us.
Jesus said that trials will come because of the word (Mark 4, Parable of the 4 soils). We sometimes envision running into our destinies in a haze of triumph with guns blazing. But God is far more interested in the fruit that lasts – our hearts. Our acts are not eternal, our souls are.
He is ever watchful, actively preparing our hearts so that we are ready to enjoy the blessing when it comes.
Because truth is, if our hearts aren’t ready to receive the blessing, it becomes a stumbling block.
So the question is: How much do I want Him?
His promises come with trials designed to do deep heart-work (Joseph).
His blessings come with long periods of wrestling and a permanent weakness that ensures we have to lean on Him in order to keep walking (Jacob).
His calling comes with rejection and loneliness and oftentimes a stigma (Jesus).
The trials are meant to prepare us to receive the blessings, and the joy of the blessings are far greater than the pain of the trials. He has promised that He will be with us in the crucible — “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Is it painful? Sometimes.
Is it hard? Oh yes.
But is it worth it? A thousand times over.
not a bed of roses – but God is ALWAYS with us
“He doesn’t just give us promises; He watches to see that it happens.”
Sometimes it is so hard to search for the good in trials. Thank you for reminding me to always look for God’s hand in everything we do!
Beautiful thoughts! This year has been one of shaking for me as well. Everything that I unknowingly had built my identity on was revealed to me and removed. It’s been hard, but I’m realizing that my identity is to be in Christ. That’s it. That’s all that matters, that’s what’s eternal. I love when you said “Our acts are not eternal, our souls are.” I needed to hear that today! Thanks for posting it, it hit home with me.
i can so relate to what you’ve written. I too have been through postpartum depression and just recently my husband lost his job. The one thing that keeps coming to us is “Be StILL and know that I am God” Big hugs to you!
Oh I am right there with you! These last 6 months have been nothing short of awful, but it is all God shaping me. Thanks for sharing this – we will be more Christ-like when our trials recede and we KNOW we can always rely on Him, for in our weakness He is strong! Keep writing, it’s wonderful.
Thank you I needed this encouragement today – it makes me see trials in a new light, enabling me to embrace them and look forward to what God is preparing me for.
Well written post. God brings us to a place that opens our eyes and hearts to fully know Him. To bring Him glory. He is enough.
What beautiful words. Praise the Lord for what He is teaching you (and all of us through your writing) with this #knowyourgod2015
This speaks to me in so many ways. I often make plans and when they go awry I get upset. Thank you for this reminder to place everything on Him and trust in that alone!
Lovely post, good truths.
This post is so good and something I really needed to read tonight. Thank you for being raw and honest with your readers and for not backing down when God started to impress you and shape your heart. His Word is living and active and can teach us so much!
I am here right now. Great post. Thx for sharing.
Powerful, very powerful!!
The enemy doesn’t like it when we proclaim the Word and the Truth of God–sounds like he hit you full force. But God is good, and God if faithful and in him we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS!!!
Prayers of strength & courage to you, Jody
A great reminder life is not always easy, but we have an Ever Present Help to help us through.
Thanks for the encouragement. Just today, I was thinking that no matter what this life bring, I will respond with “I get to see how God is going to us this for my good.” I believe this attitude will help me know Him better in 2015.
You are so right, in that it can be difficult to know Him and being His child. You will be rejected by the world including by some of your friends. You can lose all and sometimes be challenged in unimaginable ways but I doubt if any of us has been tried the way Jesus was. He is worth the suffering we endure and so much more.
Thank you for the encouraging words!
God’s got His hand over everything in our lives
Ooh thank you! I was in a similar experience. I was all on fire, ready to conquer the world, and then – BAM! I was struggling to find the motivation to eat and function like a human being, let alone blog or do anything even remotely Kingdom building. I sensed it was an attack. Glad to know God is powerful and He stands by His Word!
Just what I needed. With two littles who have been sick off and on all year and postpartum depression for a while after each one it has been hard.
What a testimony. God only gives us what we can bare. He watches and then blesses us from our trials. We can’t witness if we don’t have a story. I have been through a lot in the past year as well. When things started going good everything went sour. But our God is an awesome God and I praise him anyhow. Thank you for sharing.
Oh what a powerful testimony to how God has a plan for our hearts and our lives… he whispered his plan in your ear, and you went into the fire and came out refined… Knowing your God. Just as He said.
Wow. You wrote this beautifully.
How beautiful and very true your words are! I have faced many struggles the past 4 years, in some ways the most difficult times of my life, but also the most blessed because of the peace of God. God brings healing and hope in even the darkest situations and we develop strength we never could have had otherwise. This is such a beautiful post that will encourage many!
Yes–God is always interested in our wholeness. And sometimes it’s about our growth through the process more than the destination. But he is always faithful! Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing.
Thank you for reminding me to always believe! Life has been tough lately in my home. Friends and smiles, and having faith has really gotten me through it. Thanks for sharing!
I love this! I truly believe there is an intimacy with the Lord that you just can’t understand until deep suffering has occurred. As we journey through infertility I have felt the Lord pushing me to be more and more transparent. To show how you can fully believe His faithfulness but still ache with pain. It’s not always easy or approved of but you are so right that we still must press on. For the sake of Christ and knowing HIm. Love this! Thank you for it!
“The trials are meant to prepare us to receive the blessings, and the joy of the blessings are far greater than the pain of the trials.” I love this thought. It must be read and reread slowly for it to sink in. Thanks so much, Amy