Blogging is a difficult journey for me. I have known my call to write for years, yet have had a long time of uncertainty, fear, and very present inadequacy within myself. But still, He has continued to provoke my soul and stir my spirit to write.
Today as I spent my time in the Word, I was reading Luke 9 and came to the story of the disciples with the multitude (i.e. the Loaves and the Fishes Story). I’ve read this set of scriptures plenty of times before, and yet, today, they jumped out and me and pinged my soul anew.
You see, for years the foundation of my faith was rocked pretty severely. My belief and faith in God never wavered, but my understanding of God shifted quite a bit.
For many years I studied and studied the fundamentals of how to be a good Christian, and totally was committed to doing the things He laid on my heart. This is all fine and good, but somewhere in that search for being good a twisted lie of works-based provision seeded its way into my soil.
Take Your Eyes Off of Yourself to See the Glory of the Lord, Part 1
I had a tiny lie, hidden down so deep I didn’t even know it was there, which suggested that “if I simply did things properly, ate the right foods, said the right words, disciplined the right way, kept my home in the right orderly condition, etc. then my life would be blessed abundantly, we would never be without, my kids would never suffer health issues (or at least they would not for very long),” and the list goes on.
This was NOT a conscious thought process, but it was uprooted from my soil to be revealed when the Lord began to shake the soil of our life right out from under me.
Suddenly these weeds of destruction began to be uprooted, and my life felt like it was falling apart in one foul swoop.
First, my oldest daughter, who I taught baby sign language, nursed for 2+ years, co-slept with, nurtured, loved, etc. hit an age that erupted a little personality I was woefully unprepared to handle. Then, about two years after that began (and was still ongoing), my firstborn son at 22 months old, who had been breastfed for 19 months, never vaccinated, fed a healthy diet, and I loved and nurtured, etc. was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder. Within the span of 10 days the son I knew was a shadow of the son before my eyes. EVERYTHING changed.
Again, two years later, the Lord began to place a burden on my husband and my heart about it being time for him to leave the military. The Lord told me we would be sent into the desert (i.e. the wilderness), and provided me with the stories of Abraham and Sarah leaving their families, and Moses and the Israelites being called out of Egypt. The Lord was taking us to our Promised Land…and we were excitedly terrified.
We obeyed. We sold everything. We bought a trailer so we would be mobile and able to go where He led. And, the months continued. And continued. And continued. Suddenly, again, the things that we had done were not producing the results we expected, according to the lie quietly rooted within.
And again, just over two years later, our firstborn daughter developed Type 1 diabetes at 10 years old. The journey through the wilderness was surely growing long.
But, the Lord was doing a new thing in us.
When a new thing is happening, the old must first be torn down and destroyed. In order to uproot a weed, the initial destruction phase can feel, well, destructive. There is a whole lot of chopping, and kicking, and digging, and shaking to loosen the roots of a stubborn weed (have you ever tried to uproot thistle?!?!)
In addition, God knows the best timing to destroy a weed in order to reduce the greatest amount of seedlings from being dropped.
A lot of the emotional pain accompanied the realization such a loss of control within my life, yet the Lord was teaching me some critical lessons in His Truth. He was uprooting the lies that would have continued to hinder and harm me for the duration of my life if I did not allow them to die.
He was showing me that all of my works were meaningless when they were dependent on themselves for to bear fruit.
When my eyes were focused on what I could do proactively or avoid intentionally in order to protect my family from the trials of this world, I was placing my trust in shifting sand.
It is not that these things had no merit or value, but rather that they alone were not where my hope and trust needed to lie. Works only have merit and value when coupled with faith in His provision, no matter what life struggles emerge and come in the wake of being on this planet at this time.
He wanted me to really, truly take in that I was not in control of everything (as the world taught me I could be, and am). That’s humanism: a belief and trust in one’s own ability to provide a good life experience for myself and others around me by controlling everything around me for my own comfort and preference.
FAITH is an entirely different story!
FAITH means to trust that God will take care of us, even in the face of tragedy and circumstantial uncertainty, while we continue to do the good things He has placed on our hearts to do (such as love our children, eat healthy foods, and other positive stewarding behaviors in response to our love for Him).
FAITH means that we look to Him for guidance, wisdom, and knowledge of what to do and how to proceed instead of the latest news article, educational change, political perspective, health trend, war potential, vaccine debate, homeschool curriculum, bible study, or end times risk (am I getting too real here?)
Is this making any sense?
All of the things that we do and are told to do by the many, many voices of today are based on a system of belief that ends with humanity, not God.
The ways of the world end with trust in what we do to protect ourselves, rather than who we serve that protects us while we follow Him in total trust.
THIS is where shifting sand emerges. THIS is the seed of the weed that needs uprooting.
Our works and good deeds are nothing if not founded and centered on the belief that God IS GOOD, WILL provide the Way for His children, ALWAYS loves us (even in the face of uncertainties and trials), has a purpose for all things, and so much more.
If we are uncertain about His character, then we will hold onto the reigns of control as tightly as we can. So, when life begins to unravel and trials begin to occur in our lives, suddenly His Love is on trial, His provision becomes questioned, and His goodness is uncertain.
Suddenly, He becomes the Zeus god who destroys because we failed to make the right sacrifice for him, or do the right thing, or say the right prayer.
And, this is what needs to be uprooted. Our God is not Zeus, ready to strike His children with punishment when we fall short of perfection.
He is a God of Love, abundance, provision, access, mercy, peace, gentility, joy, grace, and so much more.
The disciples in the parable of the Loaves and the Fishes looked at their offerings (five loaves and two fish), saw the multitude that needed to be fed (five thousand), and declared their limitation (there is no way this can feed that!). Their eyes were on their own abilities. They had experienced hunger in the face of food scarcity. They knew their limits.
Their eyes were on what they could do. And, that was their error.
Their eyes could only see their meager offering against the enormous task before them. And, the inadequacy of their scraps was obvious to them. God, however, had a point to make, and Jesus was the instrument chosen to show us the Way.
Then [Jesus] said to His disciples, ‘Make them sit down in groups of fifty.’ And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.” ~ Luke 9: 14-17
Read more on Friday to conclude this two-part post…because it was just a bit too long to make you read all at once.