Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If it wasn't this, it'd be something else.

I wrote my last blog about faith. It was on my mind for a few days but I thought that was it. But boy was I wrong! God wanted to teach me a little bit more. A few days later, I went to read my Bible. I didn't really know where to turn so I randomly started reading 1 Peter. Let me share with you what I read:
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may by proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
1 Peter 1:6-7

After reading these verses, I began to think back. A few years ago, I was the Director of Student Activities at ETBU. I was so blessed to have a job right out of college, especially in this bad economy. I loved my coworkers and I loved the students that I worked with. The job taught me a lot and I grew more than I thought I ever would. But that job was HARD. It was very demanding and time consuming. It was so stressful, and I cried in my office many a time. I put so much into my work that I didn't have much else to give other places- at home with my husband, to my friends and family, or in ministry at my church. I had given so much of myself to my job that I didn't even feel like myself anymore. I was SO relieved when I got pregnant because I had a deadline. Once I had that baby, I would no longer be working.

So, then I had Leeland. I am so blessed to be able to stay home with him. He is laughing and smiling 80% of the time and it is such a joy to watch him grow and learn new things. Also, I am able to devote so much of myself to my home and my husband and I love it. I just know that this is where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. But this job is HARD. There are days when I don't get much sleep and those days always seem to coincide with Leeland's fussy days. I can't always keep the house clean and I don't always get dinner on the table every night. Not being able to do everything and get everything done stresses me out.

After thinking about all of this, I realized, "If it wasn't this, it'd be something else." I was SO stressed and drained in my job before. I don't have to deal with that anymore but now I'm experiencing a different kind of stress.

Remember in my last post when I said we can't say we have faith when we haven't let go? Well, I've learned it takes even more than that. We can't say we have faith when we haven't even exercised that faith when things are rough. Maybe you've let go of the edge and you're trusting God, but have you held on to your faith in hard times, when things get stressful, or when things seem uncertain?

Sometimes we wonder, "Why is life so hard?" or the famous, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" I think the answer is in 1 Peter. Yeah, things may be hard right now. But God is allowing those things to happen so that our faith may be proven genuine and so that HE may be glorified. If life was always easy and wonderful, why would we need faith? My point exactly.

[Disclaimer: I know that my life is pretty good and that sooo many people in the world have it off much worse than me. This post is not lamenting that my life is "so hard" or anything like that. If lack of sleep and a fussy baby are my biggest concerns, I'm living the easy life! I just think that no matter what situation we are in, no matter how good or easy things may seem, God still allows us to experience trials to give us a chance to test our faith and grow in Him.]

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lessons from Leeland: Faith

Leeland has been learning and growing so fast in the past few weeks and months! After army crawling for a long time, he finally started getting up on his hands and knees and from there, started pulling up on everything. He LOVES standing. The only problem was that he couldn't figure out how to get down. He would pull up on the tv stand, play around and enjoy himself, and when he was done, he would look at the "long way" down and get terrified. He would scream and cry until Mom would come along to help him down.

Then one night, when all of the family was over, he started doing squats. He was holding on with both hands but going up and down, up and down. I pulled out my phone and started videoing because it was pretty cute. Then, right when I started videoing, he started exploring a little more. He tried to reach down and touch the floor but couldn't quite reach yet. Then suddenly, he did it- he let go. He landed (almost) softly on his bottom and realized it wasn't that bad. He turned and looked at his audience and flashed a satisfied smile. He did it!

I learned a valuable lesson from Leeland that night- a lesson in faith. Faith requires letting go. Letting go is scary. That's why Leeland didn't do it for a few weeks. But then he exercised faith. He could have stayed where it was safe, but he chose to step out. It didn't require much, just one simple action, but it opened up a whole new world for him.

I was reading Matthew 17. Jesus' disciples had tried to heal a boy but they just couldn't. So the boy was brought to Jesus and just like that, he was healed. Later on, the disciples pulled Jesus aside and asked why they had been unable to heal the boy. You know what Jesus said?
"Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20-21

Ouch. I kind of feel like that was a slap in the face to the disciples. I'm sure in their minds, they felt like they had faith. But I think they just hadn't let go. See, you can't say you have faith when you are still clinging to the edge of the TV stand, dreading that two foot drop to the ground. True faith only comes when you let go, take the plunge, and trust God to guide you. And just like Jesus said in those verses, when we have even the tiniest bit of that, a whole new world of opportunities is available to us! (...umm..moving mountains?? what?)

So, today I'm gonna let go and see what God has in store. I will take that leap of faith and see what mountains we can move together. After all, I have seen time after time that God's plans are much greater than mine. I put my faith in that.