I spent the past weekend at the Extraordinary Women’s conference. I was really excited to go. I knew I needed a break from the day to day, and I needed to be challenged. I didn’t really know what I was going to get out of the conference; especially since this was the first I have ever been to. I just knew that I didn’t want to be the same when I left. Sidewalk Prophets were also putting on a concert Friday night, so that was AMAZING.
The theme for the weekend was “Trust God”. Well, that is easy. My whole theme for last year was to TRUST God. I would have this down. No problem.
Do you know what I learned? I don’t trust God. Yeah, in my head I do. I know that through all of the trials of the past several years we have been protected. I know that God’s hands were in and over every circumstance and situation. But, I am angry. I am bitter. My heart is a completely different story.
Our first ministry experience left us both feeling incredibly wounded and betrayed. God, if this is what ministry is then I am building walls. I’m building them tall and strong so that NO ONE can get in and hurt me again; including YOU.
We have faced many many trials since our ministry journey began. Through the loss of jobs, a miscarriage, more health issues than I ever wanted at this age, financial struggles, hurt, gossip, pain, etc. etc. etc. All of it has left me feeling incredibly bitter and angry. I have denied that every step of the way.
That hurts to admit. It’s hard to admit and come face to face with that harsh truth. It is hard to publicly admit this, but I think it’s important to do so. I need the accountability. I need others to know that they are not alone. I need others to know that God is not intimidated by our anger; that He is still right there loving me in spite of me.
Kasey Van Norman‘s teaching really forced me to come face to face with this reality. (Seriously, read her story.) She talked all about the reasons why we don’t trust God. Why we should trust God. How God faithfully loved her through her lack of trust and her mistakes and hurts. She really spoke right to me. I was left with my mind racing when she finished, but I still wanted to deny it. Oh, yeah, I trust God… maybe not as much as I thought, but I trust him for sure.
Then, up comes Rick Rigsby. He lost his first wife years ago to cancer. He said that God asked him when he was standing next to the casket “do you trust me?”. Of course he trusted God. Here he is 20 something years later and FINALLY getting it. He said that it hit him at 2 AM a few nights before when God asked him again “do you trust me?” Rick said “I keep flunking the same class over and over again.”
That’s when it really hit me. I keep saying “Yes, God, I trust you.” While holding onto all of these hurts and past wounds that I just keep pretending aren’t really there. I am obviously not trusting God if I am hanging on to all of these things. I’m desperately searching for stuff to make me happy and fulfilled. If I just have better clothes, I will love myself. If I just have a bigger home, I will be happy. Because, God definitely can’t bring me happiness. Look at where our lives have gone. (please note that I say that sarcastically.. these are lies I have told myself.)
GOD DOES BRING HAPPINESS AND JOY AND FULFILLMENT. God brings peace. He brings all of these things to us if we TRUST HIM. If we allow Him to do great things through us, He will. Not because of who we are and how good we are, but because of how GOOD HE IS. Good grief. Why have I been denying this for so long? Why have I blamed God and questioned Him?
I know that the transformation to trust God FULLY isn’t going to be overnight. I know that it is going to take time for me to allow healing. I know that those walls aren’t going to just fall down and suddenly everything will be rainbows and sunshine.
I’m really comfortable in my walls. I’m really good at not letting people in. I’ve perfected this art over the last 8 years. It is so much easier to leave them up so that I can’t be hurt anymore. But, I am not happy in my walls. In fact, I am downright miserable. I am lonely. I can paint on a fake smile with the best of them. But, inside I have felt like I am dying. I haven’t been LIVING my life. I’ve been just existing in the worst way.
Friends, please don’t stay stuck like I was. Don’t let it take so long for you to face whatever your reality is. God will take your mess and turn it into an amazing message IF you allow Him to.
I love you all, and am so grateful to every single person who takes the time to click over here and read.
We also heard from:
Shelene Bryan (Founder of Skip1.org)