The driveway slopes down to the street below.
I've set up camp in front of my childhood home. It sits on top of a hill overlooking the neighborhood and the branches of the huge tree in our front yard mingle with the stars.
I am content with just my Bible, a big blanket, and me.
This is one of the few places I sense that all things are possible and the God who makes it so is ever present.
This house is the first place that I learned faith grows in seasons of adversity.
Unwavering trust is forged on the battlefield of disappointment and heartbreak.
Hot tears would soak the floor of my basement room and sometimes, hardly above a whisper, I would pray:
"Jesus, I will follow you even if I never feel you. I will follow you even if my family is never whole."
My family grew up believing you could "name it and claim it," but it wouldn't work this time. It was then that I realized God didn't fit into my formula. Instead, I had to make the adjustment.
It wasn't that I had to embrace the hardship, I had to embrace God in the midst of it.
It was during this time that my relationship with God became more personal than ever. It was here I decided that even if it was just me and God, I would be okay. In fact, I would be better than okay.
My dad had left our family and we were falling apart at the seams.
I have since forgiven my father for what he did and I love him so much. But for a long time, I held him at arms length because I didn't know how to embrace him without feeling like i was somehow excusing his actions.
At the time, my heart was broken.
Sometimes, out of my hurt I would lash out at others in bitterness and anger.
I never got it perfect. Not even close. But during this time, I learned three valuable lessons:
1. I cannot force people to change.
No matter how much what they are doing is hurting me, others, or even themselves. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, But it's end is the way of death." There is no exception to this rule. When left to our own devices we will try to fix things to make us happy or to find fulfillment, but in the end there is only death. The problem is that we are convinced we're right because it seems right. But our reasoning is faulty. Be careful, as there are times where we may even use the guise of spirituality to justify our actions.
2. I am responsible for myself.
Policing the actions of others will not make me feel any better about myself. The best thing I can do is live for the glory of God, which is contingent upon no one but me. There are no excuses that will justify a life not fully submitted to Him and His glory [1 Corinthians 10:31]. This reality will sometimes require me to be radically honest and transparent, thus allowing the Word and the Holy Spirit to dictate my actions aside from what I want to do at the moment. I must recognize that with growth comes discomfort, as well as the pain which comes from God removing all that is unnecessary in my life.
3. I can live to love others.
Because God is the highest authority in my life and has given me the command to love...since, He has so extravagantly poured His love upon me, by His grace, I can show love to others, no matter what they've done or who they are.
This does not negate justice. It actually necessitates it.
There are times where the most loving thing you can do for a person is to allow them to feel the sting of consequence from their actions. (Tweet this)
As we grow in community with each other we will experience conflict.
People may hurt you beyond comprehension.
And so we must remember that while we cannot force change, we can love.
We can love with patience and kindness and never neglect the truth. But if we try to do this on our own, then in our own power, we will surely fail.
God, help us to remember this!
Reliance upon Him is paramount.
Without God and His grace, we are lost and without hope.
With Him we have everything. We are truly rich. Nothing and no one can ever change that.
Anything that is of worth or value is found in Him and when we live from this place we can love without reserve.
Sign Up Here to Get the Good Stuff!
Freebies Coming Soon!
(No Spam. Just Love)