*I share the following testimony with the prayer that God will touch other hearts, no matter what hardship or struggle others may be going through. I love it that the Lord can turn the bad into good, and work the worst out for the best. During any dismal trial, when we truly have the Spirit of God in us, we have the powerful ability to comfort others who are struggling with the comfort with which we have been given by the Spirit. A terrific promise from our Lord.*
Steak is good, but it's even better when you season it.
This may be a poor analogy, but it works as a lead-in... last year at this time, God was in the process of seasoning my Christian walk. Hardships, difficulties, and emotional times often seem horrific in the midst, but when we are willing to learn, God is so willing to teach us.
At the time, my head knowledge was on key... I knew the Truth. Yet my heart was so wrapped up in emotions that were contrary to what was unfolding that I was blind to my own good advice and prayers. And to that of others.
It's interesting to look back now with a clear head and heart. I can see how God worked out a bleary situation for amazing glory and good. He took the one thing that I always wanted and desired, and He allowed me to see it as temporarily available. When a bigger issue came up, it crushed me. What I finally thought could be, and would be... was just as quickly snatched away.
But I would not let go so fast. I held on as long as possible.
Just yesterday, I read a quote that is so fitting to what my situation was:
"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open." -Corrie ten Boom
After working through the worst of it, I slowly but surely started to heal. In one of the biggest surrenders of my life, I handed the broken pieces of my heart back to God so He could mend it back together.
Over the course of a year, He has done just that. When I am weak, then He is strong... a wonderful promise from God, and one I have come to know dearly and personally. What I have today is a heart stronger than it was last year, and more seasoned with the experience of Faith. What I have is an amazing testimony of how God worked in my life... in a very unlikely way... to reveal unto me where I belong. For example: I feel more involved in my church now than ever before, and my desire to be there and connect with the body is so strong. At a time in my life that could be difficult and painful, I am met with contentment and joy by God's good grace.
He has taught me that attitude is everything. When I dwell only on myself and what I want and think I deserve-- even if those things happen to be good or "for His glory" in my mind-- then I become even more unhappy when those things aren't delivered. But if I focus solely on what HE wants for my life, then I have nothing but joy to cling onto as I see Him work and unfold miracles in front of me.
Like the famous line, "Life is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you're going to get," at times, so are God's ways. Despite our best efforts, intuitions, and insight, we can't always predict God. So we're better off letting Him handle the results because the minute we think we deserve a chocolate-covered cherry, He gives us one with caramel instead, and we end up discouraged.
I don't think expectations and desires are always bad. But only looking at the "wants" and "haves and have nots" of life is a recipe for disappointment. Our job is to ask God how we can show Him the most glory and to be open to His guiding. Yet that requires complete surrender... even when He says, "No."
Because it's in the times that He withholds something good from us that He has something even better to reveal.
Love you all. T