Being refined. Stripped of all that I knew…All that I held on to. Often thinking to myself “I’ll be ok once I know what my new-normal is”….only to realize there wasn’t such a thing. Purifying…..Sanctifying….Refining…..
The title of this blog series first came to me when my late husband Matthew was in the hospital after brain surgery that had not gone so well. I was speaking to a newspaper reporter who had contacted me regarding Matthew’s situation and prognosis. Really, at the time I didn’t know WHAT the prognosis would be. All I knew at that point was that life seemed completely flipped upside down to me.
I was coming off of a year of medical uncertainties with the birth of my fourth child who was diagnosed, to put it in layman’s terms, “missing half his brain” and the diagnosis of Type I diabetes for my oldest son. As I recounted to her the past year we had along with the many different diagnosis and procedures that Matthew had in his life time, she shockingly asked me, “how does he go one…how do you go on? where do you find the strength or hope to keep heading towards another day?”. I easily replied, “because of our faith” and then told her of a book that Matt and I hoped to write together one day….the title is the name of this blog series.
Looking back now, I realize how immature and worldly my view of trials really was at that time
I won’t lie….I had high expectations for the surgeons and surgery Matthew had that August of 2011. I prayed, I asked God to make everything work out…..and then in my “I’ve gotta have control” type ways I began to think some how I was going to be the one who made the difference. The surgeons were going to be the ones who would make the difference. No where during that time did I think or plan that it was actually God who was going to make the difference. It actually makes me feel a deep sock-to-the-stomach to put those words out there. Words that I’ve known for years now….kept to myself. However, feeling so led by God to encourage someone out there….and the many, many, many lessons and prayers that He has continuously taken me through for my good and His glory….I know that it is time that I begin to share My Story…God’s Story….Our Story.
I became really, really good at justifying sin
It is a story of being a young mom, secure in what I believed to be my faith/spirituality, who had made one too many mistakes in my 30 something years. Considering myself a believer, calling myself a Christian, I would call out to God when things were going “bad”, but if honest, rarely involved Him in the everyday. It is a story that includes going to church every Sunday and feeling ashamed or deep guilt when I stayed home. The story includes talking to others about Christ, going on mission trips, and giving to the church……and it also included, often at the same time, completely being absorbed and walking in the way of the world. This included talking in ways I shouldn’t, acting and doing things I shouldn’t…not because of any “legalistic” reason…but because as a Believer…as a Disciple, I should be set apart…looking different and sounding different.
I know this NOW……sadly the only thing that really separated me from a non-believer THEN was the verbal confession of belief in Christ and that I went to church every Sunday and prayed occasionally. I just didn’t pay attention to it then. I sold myself on the line “I prayed the prayer and I believe” but failed to pay attention to how the heart change leads to life change and a deep desire to know more and more about Him. I never really understood the gravity of the gospel message of incredible grace and mercy. Some how in all my years of being in church and Christian school, I missed that…..but I had all the books of the Bible memorized and knew all the major characters. ??
I am where I am, at the time that I am, with the journey that I have BEEN on and am STILL on, all for His glory and always for my good. In the last 4 1/2 years I have learned more about Christ and His mercy, grace and unfailing love than I have known in all of my “so-called-believer-life”.
What I once thought of as being a one-time thing (my trial…being sanctified…refined), I have learned is a forever part of the Christian life. I’m not talking about consequences of our sinful choices or decisions, but trials and testing of our faith.
This I know: I continue to be refined. I continue to be sanctified…He continues to reveal things to me about my heart and my walk with Him. It is painful most of the time….but for the first time I am able to understand how I need to view the trials and testing. I get what it means to truly have “joy that comes in the morning”. This is the story I want to share.
I am so excited to share my journey. It is the platform for ministry that I believe God has called me too.
What my prayer is for all who read this series:
- That God is SEEN and ELEVATED above ALL
- That God will use my story and journey to encourage, strengthen and uplift a fellow believer who is struggling to trust in God’s sovereignty
- That the Holy Spirit will move through the hearts of those reading and convict where He needs to convict, comfort where He needs to comfort, and reveal Himself to those whom He chooses
- That the Gospel will be proclaimed and much be made of His name throughout this series and that hearts will be changed and lives made new by surrendering to Jesus Christ
Below is a key verse to my journey…like all of us. What a blessing it is to take such comfort in knowing that HE KNOWS….. He KNOWS.