Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fresh Faith

It has been too long since I have lasted blogged. Even if this page was never viewed by a soul, writing allows God to heal me in a way that is hard to describe. It is a chance for me to exhale my thoughts onto a page, usually jumbled rambling strings of tangents, but thoughts that need to come out all the same. So much has happened since the last blog. I spent some time in Montana with the kids and missionaries. It snowed six inches the first night I was there… in April. God did not design me for the snow. My body was made for hot climates and water. The only exception to that rule is coasting down the ski slopes of a snow-covered mountain. (I wish I could say jumping moguls of a double black, but the humbling truth is more like exiting the ski lift on a nice blue slope as children pass me on the way down). All is well at Sozo Montana and all the children are growing quickly. Your prayers are needed.

Speaking of ski slopes, our children’s home in Uganda was officially NGO approved last week. That translates to: the government now allows us to fully operate, buy land, get more kids, build more houses, and change more lives. Hallelujah!

And on the topic of humbling, I have surely been humbled. I have recently realized that there is such a thing as “fresh faith.” My faith, even though it seems so young to me since I am still in my twenties, has been calloused by the world and the enemy. There has been trial after trial, and battle after battle, and sometimes hope collapses. I have noticed it all around me. Even after I see God do amazing things and come through in ways that only He can come through, a week later, there I am again scratching my head wondering if God is going to show up. The criminals named worry and fear break into the glass walls of my mind and convince me to trust in myself over relying on God. They run away with my joy leaving behind stress, emptiness, and a headache caused by brokenness that no Aleve can alleviate. I have realized who sends them though… and it isn’t Yahweh, my Creator. God is always faithful. He has never let us down. And the great news is… He is always faithful regardless of our faithfulness. Here is another quick tangent that runs parallel with fresh faith. God’s call on your life should overwhelm you. Yes, I know that sounds backwards, but it should. God wants to do something in your life that you could never do on your own. He wants to transform lives, feed the hungry and clothe the naked. He wants people all across the world to know Him. Put simply, He wants to change the world through you. Sometimes the question is; where do we start? Though it may be overwhelming he accompanies that calling with peace. It is a calmness of the heart that remains even in the most violent storm. (This I am still learning). Through His calling on your life, with His peace and His faithfulness, God will accomplish His plan and His will simply by you being a vessel and saying, “yes” to whatever he puts in front of you. I am recommitting that in my life. God, you always have my “yes.” Even if that means to push through the hardest walls, go to the furthest place, speak the hardest words, or make the most difficult decisions. That “yes” is the birthplace of fresh faith. That is what I want to reach out and grab, and the Lord is just waiting for me to do it. I have had it before, but after a year of trying times, I need to refocus to that and really set my eyes upon the love of my life, Jesus. Here is an example of fresh faith:
Last week, Colby skips into the house with his arms wrapped around an air mattress.
“Colbmiester… what are you doing?” I ask him inquisitively.
“Setting up for our guests from North Carolina.” He shoots back with giddy excitement, (I think I even heard him giggle.)
“They are coming down for a few days just to see what God wants to do.” He said.
I thought to myself, “Who? And what? Why are they coming to stay with us here in Alabama, literally in the middle of the woods?”
Quickly without diving too deep into questions I responded with, “I’m down, burgers on the grill tonight?”
I learned more about the situation and it really brought encouragement to someone that needed to see someone portray faith on their beliefs… me. Two North Carolinians (can’t believe that didn’t get caught in spell check) and one French guy, that had only crossed paths in church a few previous times, piled into a small Honda and headed South. They had heard of Sozo Children International through a friend and got online to check out our website, liked what it looked like and… just got in the car and drove nine hours to find out what God is doing. It blew me away. They got here and we sat in awkward silence for a few moments not really knowing why we were sitting in front of each other. It didn’t take but literally a few moments and we were all jabbering in our own conversations with each other about all the incredible stories God has written on the pages of our lives. They all had a heart for missions and opening orphanages and said, “Where can you use us? We will go?”             Oh! How I miss that! I thought to myself. Faith that is pulled back like a slingshot ready to shoot at full speed with no hesitation at the first sound of God’s “Go.” I long for fresh faith. Healing has to take place.

Healing is something I don’t believe many of us still believe in today. Of course we believe that skin regrows, our bodies fight infection, or counselors can talk us through something, but the miracle of healing from God has become obsolete. Why is that? This week has been one of the roughest I have had in a long long time. Long long time. Life has altered and my heart aches in so many ways. My fears have defined me over the power of God. I have sought everything else except for His peace. At times, I have ran. I feel like I shouldn’t feel that. I know I need healing. Sometimes I feel like the expectations on anyone in ministry are perfection, from God and from everyone around me. I always strive for the approval of both. I have learned a strong fact this week; I don’t need others approval and I already have God’s regardless of how much I fall. His grace covers all. I hate to disappoint those that may read this, but here is another strong truth… I don’t have this all figured out. I really don’t. At times I feel like I am wondering like a sheep away from the flock in the middle of the night having no idea where to turn. Nothing good in my life comes from me striving hard or working more, even though at times I think that. The truth is… I know a man…. Well… he is man… yet he is God….He has walked through every trial… He stood under every test…. And was tempted in every way… yet he remained true to His Father…. Some know him as Emmanuel…. Some call him Messiah… Some may refer to him as the Rock… but for the first time in a long long time, through some serious trials, I have come to know Him as my Friend. His is Jesus, and this week he has reawakened my belief in Him for true divine miraculous healing. I could tell many stories but you might stop reading, so I am going to leave it at this; Believe Him. Trust Him. I am learning now to trust Him more than ever. He is always faithful. He has never failed us. Jesus desires us to surrender the deepest parts of us to Him and let Him do the work. Like the father running out to throw his arms around the prodigal son that decided to come home… you don’t even have to know how to get there, just start walking in that direction and God will meet you right where you are and welcome you home. Then, he will guide you through the trials and direct you in your ways. I wish I had seen that truth months ago. Truth in trials bring out humility and transparency, and it finally allows God to truly heal.

Lord, renew my spirit. Be strength when I am weak. Refine me in the fire. Let me know you’re with me. To you I surrender. Give me faith that believes you for the impossible, fresh faith.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,  and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:4-7

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