SIMPLE TRUTHS ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT

If you are a regular reader of this column you already know that for last few months I have been on a journey that has been difficult. If you are a first time reader or occasionally a reader, you know now. I am going to take a few months away to find a way to press into God and heal, but I wanted to share a few things that have happened and let you know where I am currently.

A couple years ago, I heard about a new journal writing of Mother Theresa that had been discovered. The big news about the discovery was the fact that on several occasions she expressed doubt about her faith. She was such an iconic and faithful follower that the revelation caused quite a stir. I am not Mother Theresa by any means, but I too have found myself in the midst of the biggest battle of my faith that I have ever encountered. What is ironic about it is that a few years ago I faced what I still consider the hardest time of my life, yet through it all my faith was strong and was the foundation upon which I firmly stood – and both got me through. So why is this situation different?  I ask myself that question and sometimes I realize that it isn’t. I just need to make the decision to stand on God’s truth, to accept it, and quit looking at my circumstances and focus on who God is. Then there are times that the overwhelming emotions challenge what I have for all my life believed and trusted.

photo courtesy of Doug Gephardt

As I have struggled, I am amazed at how God simply refuses to let me go. So, I have some healing to do. But I before I take a break, I want to share three experiences, God moments, that have inspired me.

First, I shared in one of my earlier articles about a year or so ago about how a fellow church member shared how her signature line on her email account was “In Him.” I was so inspired I decided to add it to my email, too. So for more than a year, anyone who gets an email from me knows I am boldly declaring my allegiance to my Heavenly Father. A few weeks ago, I got a call from my supervisor; she is an executive director for the school district. She called to tell me how she sees me living my life and this has inspired her. She shared how she was struggling aligning her faith with some of the work she was taking part in, and so much more. The important thing is not what we discussed, but the timing of the call. As I struggled, God wanted me to know that my sacrifices for Him make a difference, they have an impact. I am just NOW understanding the importance of that last statement, because part of the problem has been my questioning and wondering if choosing to live a life for Him even makes a difference. I was thinking from the standpoint of being a parent, but what we do for Him is so much bigger than our children.

The second thing I want to share is title and subject of a sermon my pastor preached last week. The title of the sermon was “The Truth,” but the part of the message that stood out to me was the question, “What happens when you base truth on your own understanding?” That is so powerful, because the heart of the issue that has lead me to question my faith is indeed due to leaning on my own understanding and erroneously thinking that it was God’s truth. I am aware of this, which brings me to the last thing I want to share.

A third thought…I have a 10,000 gallon above ground pool in my back yard. I have learned the hard way how to take care of it and keep the water clear. The flip side is that I know what happens when I don’t do what I need to do and the water can go from clear and pretty to bad, so quickly. So it will come as no surprise that I let the pool get out of hand during this time and it developed a pretty bad algae problem. I went through the process and just about had it clear, when things turned bad again in a matter of days. I made the rare decision to just drain the pool and refill. It took me a couple days to drain it and then we got in and scrubbed and vacuumed out all the algae. That is where I am right now. I have had too much of my own expectations in God’s truth, and I’ve had to be completely emptied of my own understanding. I am now empty and going through the process of being scrubbed down, so I can be refilled with God’s PURE truth. I have been gracefully broken.  It just hurts way more than I thought it would, and because I have spent so much time focused on the pain, hurt and disappointment of everything, I have allowed the enemy to attack me and challenge my faith in ways I would have NEVER thought possible.

I have known for a while know that I am standing at a major crossroad of my life of faith. I am tired and am weary and I want to quit. The funny thing is I will not actually live my life any differently. I have no desire to bring into my life anything outside those things God has over the years shown me that I should not have in it as a Christian. So I will say good-bye for a bit as I allow God to do His work, because I know there is no other life for me. I just need to take time to be with Him with no other outside obligations weighing me down. I need to allow Him to not only fill me with His truth, but lead me to who He needs me to be for Him - going forward. If all goes well, He will have lots for me to share with you when I get back in a few months. As I close, I have to once again share the scripture that has gotten me through my fair share of tough spots:

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

I love Him, but most importantly He loves me.  What a simple truth.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?  DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER ENCOURAGEMENT STORIES.
Gracefully Broken
by Erica Simmons

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