So many years
life is always happening
it doesn’t accommodate our schedule
or ask for an appointment
it isn’t scouting for the perfect environment
or adjusting for the most flattering angle
it doesn’t care about having
enough money, enough time
enough energy or enough of anything
life is simply happening
it’s on-going and going on
don’t let it pass you by
don’t get left behind
while looking back
or too far ahead
be where you are
life is happening there
whatever you’re doing
wherever you have your being
life does as it does
it continues to happen
whether you’re ready or not
it will happen no matter what
don’t waste it on hopes for tomorrow
don’t wait to live out loud
don’t allow your wants
to diminish what you have
forget what isn’t
relish what is
Spending my day at the Woman Be Restored Conference at Times Square Church. This year it started with a two hour morning break out session. I chose the Relationship Restoration breakout teaching. I missed most of the first hour – I thought there would be a warm of singing before we got into the meat of the conference. My thinking was wrong. So was my attitude. I walked in on the teaching saying that our ability to forgive is based on our capacity to forgive. My listening walls immediately went up and I typed in my notes, “capacity vs. understanding.” Meaning we have the capacity to do everything God instructs us to do, we are limited only by our understanding of who God Is and the Power He has to Perform in our life. We have to understand that saying “yes” and “amen” to God will take us places (internally and externally, spiritually and physically) we can’t even imagine or envision.
While my attitude was busy saying no to the teaching in the room by countering the points with my own, God broke in with a whisper, “Thank you for Peewee.”
Before I know it, I’m searching my phone for this post I wrote in October 2016. I shook my head slightly on the negative even as my hand was going in the air for permission to speak.
My hand played cat and mouse with the air several times before I was called on. I ended up being the last to speak before we closed the meeting in prayer. I think it was fitting to close on a cry of thanksgiving. I started by stating that forgiveness is an expression of love and I offered it to my dad, Peewee, as an offering of love for my deceased mother who loved him to her death. Forgiveness is a process and many people will try to dictate or force their interpretations on you about their idea of what forgiveness looks, feels or sounds like. Then I read the paragraph beginning with “So on to now.”
October 2, 2016
Thank You for Peewee.
My dad has been coming to mind strongly and often lately.
I wrote a piece about him a few years ago as a submission for a father/daughter project. Some time after his death, I had a series of dreams about him, disturbing dreams actually. Dreams where I was locked up and still a sexual object for him. The dreams didn’t stop until I forcibly removed myself from the home he had me locked up in and blew the home up from a helicopter with a rocket launcher.
I awoke from that final dream feeling quite bad ass and liberated.
Despite the effort I made following his release from prison to build a father/daughter relationship with him, most of my thoughts of him are devoid of fondness. My greatest sadness about him is that there is no longer any opportunity to reconcile with him again. Our relationship blew up after my brother died in 2007 because of Peewee’s decision to honor his own brother at my brother’s funeral. His brother had also sexually violated me in my youth. My brother was not fond of him. And even if they had been in communication as Peewee’s sister recently tried to tell me, Antione would not have approved of the way his sister’s rapist was given a place of honor to speak through a relative of his love for his nephew at his funeral as his unprepared sister realized too late what was going on.
Peewee and I fell out over that sneak attack. What I snapped at him outside the funeral home as we walked out was, “Even now, with the death of your son, you chose not to put your children before your brother and sister. When will you put us first?” Although he had no rights of fatherhood, I had already named him as legal next of kin for my brother in order to help with funeral preparations until I was able to arrive in Gary. I insisted in the street the day of my brother’s funeral that he put his grandchildren first and sign the paperwork to have my brother’s cremated ashes sent to his daughters. He agreed and we walked back into the funeral home to complete the paper work. After that I told him he and I were done.
He died three years later. To my knowledge he made no effort to mend our breach. When he knew he was dying he called his brother and sister. Even on his deathbed he didn’t ask for me. I saw that as a choice… as in he chose who he wanted to see and be with in the end. As in, he never did get around to putting his children first – before his brother and sister.
And for that ending, my thoughts of him are often filled with resentment and a deep sense of rejection. Wow. I hadn’t been able to follow my thoughts through to this revelation before. His sister and perhaps others thought that my feelings towards Peewee were based on his sexual abuse of me in my youth. When she finally spoke to me about it a few years ago, I told her what I shared here and added that he had been forgiven long ago for his abusive violation of me.
So on to now. I’m sitting in the sanctuary streaming silent tears. During service, after a phenomenal message on ethics, integrity, loyalty and righteousness by Elder Jerry Hampton, I prayed during the singing of “You Are My Strength.” I began crying and thanking God for everything He has done for me. For my humbling and my affliction. “Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for responding! Thank you for the pastor. Thank You for this.” The word was phenomenal during that service and during the morning service also – the message flowed through both. The song took me to another level. “Thank you for keeping me. Thank you for everything You are in me. Thank you for forming me into the woman I am and for everything you’re doing to make me the woman I am becoming.” And before I knew what was coming up from the deep well of my soul, these words passed my lips, “Thank you for Peewee!” Perhaps I stunned myself for a millisecond, but almost immediately I affirmed my thanksgiving by repeating my thanks twice more. “Thank You for Peewee, Father! Thank you for Peewee.”
Perhaps this is the reconciliation my spirit, body and life needed: Acknowledgement that even Peewee has been a blessing to my life.
I then gave thanks for Anthony, the long forgiven uncle I want nothing to do with. I gave thanks for their sister who has a special place in my heart but holds none of my trust. I gave thanks for my mother who is always a blessing in my sight. I gave thanks for all the family God has blessed me with who has repeatedly and consistently rejected me or mocked me. They have all been my training ground. The rod of my affliction. Without them what would I know or understand of the true darkness of the human spirit? And by contrast, what would I appreciate in the pure light of God’s grace and mercy and redemptive powers?
Praise God. Thank You Father. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Holy Spirit.
Amen. Amen. Amen.
Recent thoughts re Peewee
I’m packing up my New York City apartment in anticipation of a cross country move. One medium size box is nearly full with stationery. I paused when I saw that.
The things I enjoy most in life were introduced to me my Peewee. My first box of stationery was powdery pink parchment he gave me for Christmas when I was 11 or so. He put together my first bike and let me help then took me outside to teach me how to ride. one of my remaining goals is to do long distance cycling across many different terrains. My live if sci-fi comes from watching Star Trek with him. it’s amazing to me that these are the memories that are dominating more and more as time passes.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: “Thus says the Lord who made the earth,[a] the Lord who formed it to establish it — the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword:They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them[b] with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil.Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.And this city[c] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.
“Thus says the Lord: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard againthe voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord:
“‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: In this place that is waste, without man or beast, and in all of its cities, there shall again be habitations of shepherds resting their flocks.In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who counts them, says the Lord.
The Lord‘s Eternal Covenant with David
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
“For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel,and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:“Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time,then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers.As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.”
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:“Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight.Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth,then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”
I wasn’t expecting much from the day when I awoke this morning. It’s been snowing heavy in the northeast this week. Yesterday I braved the weather and went to work. This morning, before getting out of bed, my dominant thought was: please let it be bad enough outside so I’m justified in staying put and working from home. After dragging myself out of bed, I tripped into the living room to look out the window.
As I pulled back the curtain and opened the blinds I was nearly blinded by the brightness of the sun bouncing off the pristine white snow piled high on my patio.
My first thought was: It’s beautiful out.
Second thought: All this snow will melt in no time in the blazing mid-30 degree sun.
Third: There’s no excuse not to go to work.
On the agenda for the day was lunch with a friend and Bible study after work. Staying home to work didn’t really save me from anything because I had other commitments that required me to leave my apartment.
Lunch was heart wrenching. My friend is dealing with life altering issues from various areas of his life he believes he has to be a bulwark of strength for. I left him with the message: Gentleness is strength.
From my own experience, it’s when I try my hardest to be strong – exhibiting my idea of strength, anyway – that I am the most brittle. In my brittleness, I easily break. However, as I learned again that evening, it is in my gentleness that others see power and strength in me.
After lunch, I headed to the office. I did my best to be productive on a Friday afternoon before a three-day holiday weekend (*wink, wink*). On my way to Bible study I actually stopped in the McDonald’s next door to my church for a Shamrock shake. It’s my favorite special shake and I haven’t had one mixed with chocolate in years. (Side note: This is how the enemy distracts us – in very innocuous ways.) I was going to take the shake to go but decided to sit and enjoy it. But when I finished I was in no hurry to leave. I sat there staring out the window looking at people rush past, half listening to a conversation of two foreigners, one African and one European, discuss their origins. The African was claiming he was from America. He had one of the thickest African accents I had ever heard and the European wasn’t convinced either. Oddly enough, the European claimed he was from France and he didn’t sound too French either…. Anyway, I found myself sitting there listening to their debate about origins and identity for several minutes after I had finished my shake.
Eventually, I made my way up to the Bible study. Sat in the back of the room. Attempted to take notes. I was so not interested. I wanted to go home. Since I had missed most of the study (leaving work late and sitting in McDonald’s), it was over in no time. Yet, I sat there in my seat. Playing with my device. The woman in front of me left the room, but not with her things. The man sitting next to her turned to me and said, “God bless you, sister.”
I responded in kind. In the next breath he was pouring out his heart. He’s a veteran. He has nightmares from multiple tours in war zones. He recalled parachuting with comrades behind enemy lines and seeing his fellows getting shot down in the air. Worst yet, he shared the horror of holding on to a fallen soldier as a shield. And worse than that, later seeing his best friend get shot in the head next to him while they were in a dug out. His mom and sister died in the States while he was away fighting. Even worse than all that, when he finally returned stateside with shrapnel in his body, he was denied benefits and had to fight for treatment. On top of all that, he’s homeless.
As he looked at me, tears filled his eyes and he asked me, “How can I ever get these thoughts out of my head? How can I stop seeing these visions over and over again? Is it possible for me to have peace? I want the peace that Christ offers.”
Perhaps it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway: I saw this man as the reason I fought my lethargy all day. I hadn’t experienced loss, death and homelessness in the same way he had, but I had experienced it. I knew what it was to be a target of an enemy intent on stealing my next breath and all my hope. I knew what it was to wonder if God was even paying attention to me, if He was even aware of what was going on in my life. I shared that with him, then I asked him two questions: (1) Can I share a scripture passage that helped me this week? (2) Can I hug you?
He said yes to both.
I intended to read Philippians 4:1-9 to him. I had been meditating on this passage during the week. But a few sentences in, I realized the chapter had advanced on my tablet. I looked up and told him, “This passage is intended for you, because it’s not the passage I turned to.”
1. From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle because that is what God wanted. Also from Timothy, our brother.
2 To the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that live in Colossae:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
3 In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 because we have heard about the faith you have in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all of God’s people. 5 You have this faith and love because of your hope, and what you hope for is kept safe for you in heaven. You learned about this hope when you heard the message about the truth, the Good News 6 that was told to you. Everywhere in the world that Good News is bringing blessings and is growing. This has happened with you, too, since you heard the Good News and understood the truth about the grace of God. 7 You learned about God’s grace from Epaphras, whom we love. He works together with us and is a faithful servant of Christ for us. 8 He also told us about the love you have from the Holy Spirit.
9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have continued praying for you, asking God that you will know fully what he wants. We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things 10 so that you will live the kind of life that honors and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. 11 God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. 12 And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. 13 God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son. 14 The Son paid for our sins, and in him we have forgiveness.
Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” ~ John 14:27 NLT
If you knew this moment, the moment you’re in right now, were your last moment on earth, how would you feel? What would you say? Is there anything you would try to do before you breathed your last? As I write this, I believe I’ve lived every moment as fully as I have possibly known how to live it. I’ve lived as open and honest as I’ve known to be. I’ve expressed myself in each of my relationships as truthfully as I’ve been capable of doing. I’ve learned from my mistakes, applied my lessons to my daily life, enjoyed my present and looked hopefully towards my future. I’ve given of myself and my resources generously. As God has poured into me, I have shared with the people He placed in my life across various mediums. I’ve gone empty many times, but I now realize, that’s the best state to be in to be filled by God. It’s best that I return to Him empty every time He sends me out. I should not expect to leave this life with a stash of anything He’s given me. Everything I receive from God should be well-used, well-invested and well-distributed.
I pray I have been a decent steward. I hope I have been an obedient servant. At the end of my time here, as my Heavenly Father evaluates at my life and my conduct in it, I long to hear Him say, “Well done, my child.”
Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever. ~Psalms 73:23-26
I tell you, as I sit here and write, there is nothing I would ask for an extra moment for. I’ve said all I’ve needed to say in every situation I can think of. I’ve done all I’ve longed to do and more. I’ve offered everything in me when I had the strength and presence of mind to do so. Honesty has been my policy and a desire for truth my constant request. If this were my last moment, I would breathe my last in peace. There is nothing I regret, no one left unforgiven or offered to God, no opportunity for peace and unity left unoffered or unexplored. I’ve been the best person I know to be, attempting to walk in love more and more as my understanding of love has expanded. Obeying God has increased me immeasurably. I am so very grateful for the life the Lord has granted me – all the pain and sorrow tempered by eternal hope and peace. Indeed, if today were my last day on earth, it would be a day full of joy in my Lord and a great expectantcy of being fully in His presence.
I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow Your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever. ~ Psalm 16:7-11
The below excerpt is from a speech given by Chief Tecumseh to his Shawnee tribe. It’s one of my favorite quotes and it fits the message of this post. Before I became aware of the peace Jesus offered, I was trying to incorporate the below words into my life.
Shawnee, so live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
Rather you want to believe it or not, the Word of God guarantees our struggle here on Earth. There is no promise for an easy life in Gods’ word. He tells us to put our burdens on Him and promises us rest. He assures us He will never leave us nor forsake us, and everything we go through will work to our good. However, He does not promise us a life free of trial, tribulation, struggle and strife.
We’re told the enemy is combing the land in search of people to devour. We’re instructed to resist the devil and in doing so he will flee from us. We are admonished to bring even our thoughts under Christ as our imaginings can be our downfall. Our Heavenly Father sent His Word to fortify us. We’re told we will win the struggle if we persevere, endure, and continue in patience and faith. In fact, we are already victorious.
The enemy is indeed a powerful adversary. Cunning and scheming. His greatest weapon is the power of suggestion. What does he usually suggest? Something really subtle. Your mind takes over from there. When is the enemy successful? When you act on his suggestion and ignore God’s direct instructions.
What image comes to mind when you think of the enemy (aka satan, devil)? What image do you envision when you think of your deadliest combatant? Your most lethal foe?
Here’s an exercise: grab a mirror; take a look. View your greatest enemy. Weapon of choice: doubt. No one can shut you down as completely as you can shut yourself down simply by doubting who you are and what you know to be the true in Christ.
1. To be uncertain about; consider questionable; hesitate to believe
2. To distrust
3. To be undecided in opinion or belief
Doubt is a wicked word. Mostly because it’s so unassuming. It’s a synonym for disbelief. During my study of doubt, I’ve become intrigued by the theory of doubt as the original sin, which then made way for disobedience. The question that led to the fall: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” That’s basically how the enemy operates, misrepresentation and exploitation of our desires. Temptation itself is not sin, yielding is.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. ~ James 1:14-15
Though we are victorious conquerors through Christ Jesus, we can forfeit our victory. Doubt can nullify your faith when you take your eyes off of God, remove your focus from His Word and allow your faith to diminish. You can render yourself ineffective. Doubt can cripple your walk. Entertaining doubt can destroy you. Belief and obedience are basic requirements to prosper in God’s Kingdom. Your thoughts are precursors to your actions. We are admonished to not only be hearers of the Word but to be doers also (James 1:22). If you doubt the Word, what are you going to do? Truly? My guess is… nothing. And right there, by your continued inaction due to your unbelief or uncertainty your victory is lost. Or, at the very least, compromised. We deceive ourselves when we think believing by itself is enough to grow in the Kingdom. God always requires action – obedience to His instructions.
Here’s another exercise: look in the mirror again. View your strongest warrior. Weapon of choice: faith.
1. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1
2. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. ~ Hebrews 11:3
3. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6
I will stand before you today and tell you I fear nothing and no one. There’s nothing I can’t do, if I put my mind to it. There’s no obstacle too great. The bigger the challenge, the greater my determination. Two verses eliminated fear from my life.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. ~ Colossians 2:9-10
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
For the past few years I have been learning to walk in my dominion. Wherever my feet tread is space God has provided for me (Joshua 1:3). I belong wherever I am. Whatever He has given me is mine to keep. Whatsoever I desire is mine for asking. I have only to think, speak, and walk in the name of Jesus. Then consider it done. That’s a powerful faith. A faith that has allowed God to move miraculously in my life.
How then does my enemy stand a chance of manipulating me? He gained an opportunity to get me to doubt myself. This strand of self-doubt sounded like: Have I applied God to my own selfish desires?If I was wrong about this pursuit, what else have I been wrong about? How can I trust my judgment in other areas, if I can’t trust my judgment in this (a thought I had been committed to for years). If I can’t trust myself to hear God correctly, then I certainly can’t trust myself to act on His behalf. One doubtful thought slipped in and spawned so many others I became incapacitated. I, through self-doubt, became my greatest enemy, capable of stopping my forward motion.
How did I leave that door open and unguarded?
I made myself vulnerable, which isn’t a sin within itself. However in my vulnerability I sought reassurance from others. So that seed of doubt took root and spouted from neglect, silence, lack of communication, the well-meaning criticism of friends and the not-so-well-meaning venom of others. Suddenly, my thoughts were in full-fledge war. You’re stupid! No, I’m not! You were wrong! How can I be? Remember this? Yes, but I also, remember that. Back and forth the argument went with plenty of evidence supporting both sides.
Somewhere in this struggle, I realized I had looked to people walking in the flesh to support my walk in the spirit. How had my thinking gotten so off?
I had taken my focus off the Word. I was concerned about my situation and sought to console myself with other peoples view point. My defenses were weakened and the enemy wouldn’t be the excellent enemy he is if he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity I provided.
Shield of Faith
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ~Ephesians 6:10-17
I am equipped to withstand attacks. However, when this last attack of self-doubt came, I wasn’t ready. I had grown weary. Tired, listless, anxious. Lonely. I didn’t think I had put God to the side, but perhaps that’s implied when I began to focus on my shortcomings instead of His amazingly abundant provision. I know a truth I can’t explain even when breaking it into tiny nuggets of understanding. Perhaps my righteousness started to sound too much like unwarranted arrogance. My idea of being ready was chasing the bull down, grabbing the horns and jumping on its back, then rubbing its neck to sooth its agitation. But to do all that, I had to set down my sword and my shield. Where did that leave me?
I was so busy doing that I crossed the line into doing too much. At some point, I had stopped exercising my faith and started laboring in the flesh. God is never glorified or honored when you look to your own hand rather than His for results.
The Word of God says FAITH will extinguish/put out/destroy ALL flaming arrows/attacks from the enemy. (Ephesians 6:16). As long as I am standing firm in my faith, I’m protected. As long as I’ve done all I’ve been told to do; all I know to do, I am free to stand on faith that the outcome will be according to God’s perfect will.
As difficult as doubt can be, it can also be a strengthening agent to your faith and an energizer to your walk – once you overcome it. Keep up the good fight of faith! When you work through the labyrinth of screeching, halting, careening doubts tossing you to and fro in your mind, you re-enter the peace you have in God through our Lord Jesus Christ because of your faith (Romans 5:1). When you work through a difficult case of “doubts” you become more firm than ever in your faith and reliance on God. And that, my people, is why we are guaranteed struggle and should consider it a joyful process. Without struggles we would just be; with them we become… better, greater, more Christ-like.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:2-5
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-11