Monday, November 24, 2014

Is Seeing Believing... Or is Believing Seeing?

I was slipping. I knew I was. 
I couldn't remember the last time I read my Bible or prayed. Church was becoming monotonous. When I would cry to God, I felt like my prayers were bouncing back into my face. So many things had and were still changing. I was overwhelmed. I was depressed. I was stressed. I was bitter. I was doubting. I just wanted confirmation. Confirmation that God hadn't forgotten me, hadn't forgotten my family, or our circumstances. Yet, I was getting nothing from God. The longer I went without feeling him, without him giving me that confirmation I was longing for, the more cold I got. I was losing my faith in people, in church, AND in God. 

I wish I could say I handled it better than I did. I wish I could say that I bounced back quickly. I wish I could say that I hadn't  been a complete stubborn mule. 

But I can't. 

It was then I questioned....

Is seeing believing?
Is believing seeing?

I was no longer sure. 

Looking back, I can see all of the warning signs God had been sending my way. At the time I'd brushed them off to coincidence or randomness. 

I can't recall how many times, throughout my life, I've heard the warnings preached about losing yourself. I've listened, most the time halfheartedly, about what could happen when your walk with God becomes shaky and ignored. It was like a cloud hanging over my head most of my life, because it felt threatening. It felt that if I got out of the will of God, that he would strike me down and take everything from me.

Even with all of that in my head, I knew I was losing the battle of optimism and faith. I knew I had my daughter to think of, my husband and our marriage, my lost loved ones, etc. Yet, it didn't seem as if anything could drag me from the mire of doubt and anger that I had gotten stuck in.

It wasn't until my lowest point that I realized just how far I'd gone in my doubt and bitterness. Just how lost I'd gotten in my anger and apathy. 

That is when it hit me, and I knew then, that if I didn't do something, I was going to lose, not just my walk with God and my faith in him, not just my loved ones, not just the security and peace over my husband, daughter and family, but I was going to lose myself.

With all of the changes that had occurred, I already felt lost. However, I knew that if I walked away from Him (God), that would be my downfall. After all, I was raised on faith in God and having a relationship with him. I was raised on leaning on him, and him being as much apart of you in your life as any family, friend, etc. It was in that time that I realized just how much apart of me he was. My identity was in him. And if I lost him, I lost who I was. 

So I started praying to him

*Side none*
For those of you who were raised to think, like me, that your praying has to be done on your knees for an hour for God to hear you... that isn't true.

I prayed to him as I held my sleeping daughter. I prayed to him in the car, while I was driving from one place to another. I prayed to him when I was laying in the bed at night. I told him how sorry I was for my mistakes. I told him how broken I felt. I didn't know exactly what to do to get back on track. 

I mean... is it really that easy to just... start over?

All I could think was how, in our lives, saying "I'm sorry" doesn't always fix things. 
It doesn't erase the words or actions. 
It just meant you acknowledged the hurt of those words or actions and felt remorse for them. 

Of course, God isn't on the same petty, human level that we are....

I remember a song that PCD (Phillips, Craig, and Dean) sang a long time ago, that I would sing in church. 

I thought that I had crossed the line
Walked away from love one time
Too many
I thought I'd used up all the grace
Set aside for my mistakes
So many

On my knees I found to my surprise
That your mercy renewed with the sunrise

You make Your mercy new every day...

How beautifully true this is... 
After all, didn't Jesus make the statement...

"For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins..." -Matthew 9:4-6. 

So is it really that easy to say "Lord I am sorry", and start over?
Yes.... yes it is. 

When we feel like it isn't, then it's not because God doesn't forgive us. 
It's because we don't forgive ourselves. 
We remember every downright, dirty deed. 
We remember every thought. 
We remember every angry word spoken. 
We remember every action. 

Thankfully, God doesn't. 

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
-Proverbs 103:12

So, while our memory is still fully intact, God has already forgotten it.
He has taken the chalkboard, so to speak, and has cleaned off all the dirty residue left from the chalk, and has made you squeaky clean again. 

Then it is up to you.

So, as I previously mentioned, I started praying. I picked up my Bible, and wiped the dust from it. 
I needed faith. I had a husband to encourage. I had a daughter to be an example to, though, she is still too young to understand. There were decisions I needed direction on. There was peace I needed to grasp a hold of. Did I mention needing faith?

Sometimes the journey back is instantaneous. You get your lightening bolt, and pick up where you left off. Other times, God wants you repaired slowly. God wants to know that you are willing to try. He can't always give you the lightening bolt, because then you will need to see to believe, when we all know that seeing doesn't always keep you believing. 

After all, the Israelite's saw the mighty works performed by God through Moses so that they could be led from Egypt. It wasn't long after that, when the "lightening bolts" were gone, that doubt set in. 

So... God has begun repairing me slowly. Though I had wanted the lightening bold as confirmation for so long, I am now content with my quiet moments. I'm content with the little bits of goodness and validation he drops on me when I least expect it. 

Do I still have problems, insecurities, trials, get angry, etc?
You betcha. 

But I'm finding my peace.
I'm finding my joy. 
I am looking at my life again with happiness. 
I finding courage, where it was previously missing. 

I don't have all of the answers.
But I know they will come in time. 
Or they may not, who knows God's reasoning. 
I just know that, whether I get the answers I want, I will trust him to know what he is doing.

I said all that I have, to say this...

When in anger,
When in bitterness,
When in doubt,
Seeing isn't believing.
That mentality will only leave you disappointed.
However.... When you believe without seeing, then that belief opens your eyes to things you couldn't see before. 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

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