Foolish, But Free

Last week I shared a story about Doubting Thomas, and how I struggle with the issue of having faith. I also shared about my recent struggle with fear and doubt over my desire to have another baby.

This week, I would like to share the rest of that story, the part of the story that taught me the importance of abiding in God.

When I began to think and sense that I might be pregnant, I shared my heart with a close friend. I knew that my friend had been through a similar experience and would support me, encourage me, and pray for me no matter what happened next.

On a particularly difficult afternoon, I sent my friend a text message and shared with her my feelings of doubt and sadness. She responded: You shouldn’t be sad. You need to pray and wait!!! I’m afraid that if you aren’t pregnant you’re not going to be prepared.

The words of my friend went straight to my heart. I knew, in that moment, that I wasn’t prepared for the possible reality that I might not be pregnant. Quite the contrary, my heart had already embraced the idea of having another baby.

It seemed, at the time, that God was speaking to me, telling me that it was okay to want another baby, and I was trying my best to trust Him. Would I be able to except God’s answer, if it turned out to be “No”? Would I still be able to trust Him? How do you prepare your heart for the possibility of pain and disappointment?

As I considered the ways in which I could prepare my heart for the reality of not being pregnant, I realized that I had a choice to make. I could either begin to guard my heart from possible pain and disappointment or I could choose to abide in God.

Whenever we are waiting and praying for God to give an answer, for the desire of our hearts to come true, we are faced with this choice. It is easy in these moments to self-protect and guard our hearts from pain.

I do believe that God intends for us to guard our hearts from sin, but I don’t believe that He intends for us to guard our hearts from pain. Instead of guarding and protecting our hearts from pain and disappointment, I believe that God intends for us to bring our broken and hurting hearts to Him and allow Him to be the healing we need. I believe that he longs for us to find, and know, and trust that He is the only true healing there is.

The concern my friend expressed for my heart and my preparedness to deal with the possibility of not being pregnant was offered with the best of intentions, but instead of preparing my heart to face the possibility of pain and disappointment in a way that I could handle, I found myself choosing to prepare my heart to abide in God.

In the end, God showed me, that it was okay to embrace my hope and desire to have another baby with all of my heart, and He also showed me that it was okay to risk the hurt. Either way, He would be with me, in my hopes and in my hurts, if I would but choose to abide in Him.

Sometimes taking a leap of faith feels foolish. Allowing our hearts to embrace something that could very well end in pain, is just the sort of thing we like to guard against. But isn’t it okay to be foolish over God?

We think so often in terms of handling our hearts, but what can we do to protect our hearts from pain? What can we do to keep our hearts safe? What can we do to fix a broken heart, but trust that broken heart to God?

I’m learning that the best way, the only way, to protect my heart is to abide in Christ. I’m learning that faith may make me feel foolish, but it also makes me free. Free to hope, free to hurt, free to live in Him.

Doubting Thomas

I’ve been thinking about Doubting Thomas lately. Thomas, the infamous disciple, who couldn’t believe that Christ had risen from the dead until he saw and touched the scars in the palms of His savior’s hands, leads me to consider how I sometimes struggle to believe, to have faith.

It seems sort of silly now, but I recently thought that I might be pregnant. This wasn’t something that my husband and I were expecting, so the symptoms I seemed to be feeling came as a bit of a shock.

I love the children I’ve already been blessed with, and I can’t wait for the day when I can have more. This being the case, it didn’t take long for what started as a slight possibility to turn into a deep seeded hope and desire in my heart.

As soon as it seemed reasonable to do so, I took an at home pregnancy test. When I saw that the test was negative my heart sank. “It’s probably still too early,” I assured myself and determined to try again in a day or two.

Six pregnancy tests and about ten days later, my hope was all but lost as each and every test I took continued to turn out negative.

In my heart, in my mind, in my body I felt sure that I was pregnant, but with each negative pregnancy test I became more and more confused, and I didn’t know what to think. Was it still too soon to tell? Was my body playing tricks on me?

Discouraged, afraid, and full of doubt, I curled up with God and poured out my heart on the pages of my prayer journal. As I wrote out on paper all the movements and feelings of my heart, I realized that the real struggle I was facing was a struggle of faith.

A few weeks ago, one of the pastors at my church said something I’ve never heard before. He said that fear is counterfeit vision. Similarly, I think that doubt is counterfeit faith.

When the pregnancy tests I was taking kept turning out negative, I started to put my faith in these tests. The God of the universe, in this moment, in all moments, was and is with me, around me, inside me, and yet I was choosing to put my faith, in what I could see.

Perhaps it was the same with Thomas. While I’m sure his heart wanted to believe so badly that Christ was indeed alive, he placed his faith in the death he had witnessed just three days ago, in logic, in the laws of nature, in everything that seemed to be true.

Sometimes, it’s so easy to believe in what we see. Believing what we see makes sense, and we humans like to put our trust in that which makes sense. However, Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith is about believing in what we do not see.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

After sharing my heart with God, and turning my hopes, my doubts, and my fears over to Him, to His will, to His plans, I shifted my faith from that which I could see, from that which scared me, from that which caused me to doubt, to God and His promises. Just like Doubting Thomas, I looked to my Savior and placed my faith in the palm of His hands.

In the end, it eventually became evident that I was not pregnant, and although I was disappointed, my faith in God has given me peace and a reason to hope for the future, to hope for what is unseen. I am blessed with a heart that is not afraid because my faith is found in the heart of my Savior.

No matter what appears to be true in your life today, no matter what you see that may be scary, discouraging, or the cause of doubt, don’t be a Doubting Thomas. As the story of Thomas reminds us, our faith is in a risen Savior. Though our lives may not always make sense, though we may not always be able to see, our hearts need not be troubled. Christ is the source of our faith; Christ is our reason for hope.

Everyday, Election Day

IMG_4076For the last few weeks, as we all know, our country has been held captive by the recent Presidential Election.

I know we are all weary of the topic, but in the days that have followed the election my soul can’t seem to shake an overall sense of fear, worry, and discouragement. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

The concerns I have felt since the election are not new, but seem to have deepened as of late.

~ My husband and I are starting our own business. How will we manage to stay afloat in today’s toxic economy?

~ It’s already hard enough to make ends meet. How will we weather the rising cost of EVERYTHING?

~ In the midst of all that is happening in our country (and in the world,) I wonder and worry for my children. Will we be able to provide for them? What kind of future will they inherit?

~ What kind of future do I face as a writer? Will I ever publish my book? Who’s going to buy books when it’s a struggle to feed, clothe, and house our families?

~ What’s happening to my country? The America I know and love is becoming more foreign every day.

~ And God…

How can God bless, and work, and use a nation so seemingly hell bent on leaving Him behind?

Amidst these questions, worries, and fears, a familiar verse keeps weaving through my troubled mind, stringing together truth and hope.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NKJV

Choose? Elect? Maybe every day is an election day. Not for man or candidates but for God.

By choosing each day…electing… each day to serve God, I am choosing and electing to put all my hope, all my trust in Him. Here in lies my chance for peace, my chance to silence the worries.

When my hope and trust are placed in man, or in the rulers of this world, I become a servant to worry, fear, and discouragement. When my hope and trust are placed in Him, I become a servant to God, His love, and His peace.

What a difference Election Day makes.

A song I love by Jack Savoretti says:

“Don’t believe in only the things that you see, believe in me.”

I can hear these words as a message from God in the middle of all that surrounds me.

designIt isn’t easy, to see only God, to believe only God. The temptation to worry and fear is almost always there. I guess that’s where “Choose for yourselves this day,” comes into practice. Ultimately I know that my God is in all, and above all. He is bigger and greater than my worries. He has gone before all my fears.

After all, I haven’t been asked to find the answers to my long list of questions and worries. I haven’t been asked to solve the brokenness of the world. I have been asked to choose this day whom I will serve. I have been asked to be found faithful to our business, our children, my writing, my country, and most importantly my God.

Could it be that by being faithful to God, and all the things He’s called me to, the list of worries grows shorter and the brokenness gets healed? Maybe? Just a tiny bit?

Every day is Election Day. Today, in the midst of earthly rulers and world wreckage, my vote is cast for a faithful God.