He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
There is something about the mountains I cannot fathom. Try as I may…but to no avail. I remember the first summer my parents took us at the Grand Teton National Park years ago. It was beautiful, but that was only the surface of my understanding. Now that I am older, there is something else I have discovered and being offered.
If I live in the National Park long enough, I may get used to seeing the mountains. I may get tired of it. But I don’t think I will. Whenever I look up, I see the magnificence of my Creator. The beauty beyond understanding gives me the confidence and relief. For as much of a challenge as it is to climb, air exits out of my lungs freeing the burden I’ve carried in my heart. There is no longer heaviness in my core when I am both in awe and struggling to find air as I pace myself up the hill. I must let go of the old and take in the new.
Then there are memories I still grieve and smile for. I feel as if though I am only here for my brother. I love the outdoors, but sometimes I wonder whether I am doing it for myself. It is an understatement that I love being in the National Park for many reasons…and maybe because I feel like he’s still around when I am out here. Whenever I am seeking adventure, I feel like he is smiling down on me and cheering for me. That is enough to give me the confidence to climb the mountains I may think impossible.
(This post is not part of “A Confident Heart Devotional”)
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
1 Corinthians 12:18-20
We all wonder what it would be like to possess traits and characteristics we do not have. I will not deny that sometimes I wish I was taller or that I was more driven. It is so easy for me to see my flaws and what I lack. But honestly, I am not as hard on my physical features as I am to my mental and spiritual development. I have embraced all that I am physically, but wisdom is one of the things I seek most importantly. With wisdom, I know I can only seek by fearing the Lord. Because of this, I am difficult on myself when it comes to my personality I have yet to understand.
I do compare myself to other women who I think “have it together” or have matured. I know I am only seeing some parts of them. I haven’t seen their worsts. I haven’t seen them in their pits of despair. The women I do look up to are the ones I know or heard have fought battles, fallen, and restored repeatedly. The ones I compare myself to are those I have never seen fall. The ones who seem so perfect, but in their silent cries, they are falling.
I have to remind myself that each of us has tailored uniqueness. We must understand that the Lord gave us each other to learn and grow from one another. We were made incompletely perfect in the eyes of God for the reason that we may willingly grow into the beauty He created us to be.
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
Psalm 103: 1-2
There are days when I am overwhelmed with stress that I find myself staring into the unknown for a long time. When I’m stressed out, I freeze. Other times, it takes away my appetite. But I do this until I notice myself getting into a pit of despair and disappointment. I do wake myself up and command my heart to get out of the situation. I pride myself for it. It takes awhile, but it’s enough time for me. I have been working on laying my burdens down to God instead of attempting to carry them on my own. When I feel overwhelmed with emotions, I am reminded to take heart, and to praise God. Even when it’s hard to, I command my heart to remember His goodness.
As it is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, give thanks in all circumstances. I will remember to breathe and lay it all to Him. I know He will get me out of any difficult situation. It might not be right away, but it will be easier to move forward giving my full trust to Him. Going into despair and pit of disappointment will lead me nowhere but discouraged. God is always good even when human eyes fail to see that.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7
Gideon became confident when he saw God’s power. But when God told him to decrease the number of men for battle, he became fearful. So he asked God for confirmation to keep His promise to save Israel. If I was in Gideon’s shoes, I would have done the same. I have asked God for signs and confirmations for certain doors I’ve been afraid to step into.
There was once a woman who told me that God has something big planned for me, but something is holding me back. She was right. I have many moments of being a wimp and I still am when given certain tasks. I picture myself as a child who’s being dragged by a parent because either I don’t want to go or I am afraid. I am no warrior. But I do know that God sees His children as warriors. I want to consider myself as a warrior. I look up to warriors in books, movies, and in real life. But we all know that in reality, even warriors fall sometimes.
I will always be amazed at how much God has confidence in us. He knows His truth give us the strength to make us turn from wimps to warriors. He knows we have weaknesses and yet, He sees us as so much more than conquerors.
“Those who know your name trust you, O Lord, because you have never deserted those who seek your help.”
When I decided to finally accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I had to learn more about who He truly is. While living at the orphanage, one of the American staff once told the story of George Muller to us. As she was sharing, I was in awe that I had goosebumps. Since then, his story became my inspiration and reminder that God is truly a provider. It was not only because the Holy Bible said so, but I have also experienced it for myself. It doesn’t stop there. I have yet to learn the many names He possesses.
At times, I forget He is Emmanuel. There have been many instances I disregard the fact that He is with me whenever I feel alone because I cannot physically see Him. Just as I have never felt my birth parents’ closeness. Sometimes the hardest part of being a Christian for me is not physically seeing my Heavenly Father. At times, I miss Him. How can you miss someone you haven’t physically seen? But I do…just knowing He created me and known me my whole life. I have wished I could see God in person and truly cry in His arms. I know I can feel Him, but sometimes I look around hoping for His physical presence. But that’s the point of having faith; “having assurance about what we do not see”. As long as I know He is there and will never forsake me, that’s enough for me.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9
Renee Swope illustrated a perfect example of a shadow of doubt. The shadow of doubt that I create myself because I face the wrong direction. I have choices to make and sometimes, I choose the shadow because I fear its size. Swope stated that shadows are made when the light has been blocked. This light is God’s truth. If I turn towards the light, I would only see God’s truth. But it is not so easy to do.
When I am overwhelmed, it is so easy to turn towards the shadow of my doubts. The fear that I am not good enough. My insecurities of my physical features and financial situation. The mistakes I’ve made. Who I was before I was adopted. It’s difficult to turn towards God’s truth because when I am covered in lies, I shackle myself with them too. I stare and stare into the shadow creating a pool of my tears hoping I can drown in them too. In my mind, I would believe the whispers that disappearance is the only solution. I would believe the lies that others would love to see me defeated. It is then I turn to the light and remember that God did not die on the cross for me so I can surrender to the darkness. He died for me because He loves me. He died for me because He sees value in me. He died for me because I am His.
I can choose to face the shadows to tell me how unworthy I am. I can face the shadow to cover me with doubts. Or I can choose to face the light with the shadow behind me. I can face the light and be covered in truth. The truth that I am His special possession. The only valid truth I need to believe and remember.