…So that you may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name.
There is a book called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction which pretty much describes my life. Following Jesus minute by minute, day by day, week by week, year by year. It is more than obedience though; I have a deep longing to grow closer and more in love with Jesus until the time I see him face to face.
There was a restless and an emptiness in me even though I believed in God, I didn’t understand how to draw near to Him. I thought it was by being good enough. When I was invited to a Bible study my senior year of high school, I first understood and believed Jesus paid for my sins on the cross to make the way for me to come to God. Looking back, I would say I understood the gift of salvation through faith and although Jesus was a significant part of my life, He was not life itself. About 10 years following that original decision, I remember a transition when I wanted every thought, word and action to be His.
I found a love for God’s word and began studying in depth. These truths have been my anchor. My first major struggle was in my marriage. My husband was raised Catholic and our ideas of what it looked like to be a Christian were very different. We attended separate churches and I considered him married to the army. In addition to working endlessly, he was often away on training and deployments so about 5 years of our first 15 years of marriage, we spent apart. Parenting 3 young children without my husband would have been impossible without the Lord. When Mike left for Korea for a year, I was not sorry to see him leave as we had grown so far apart. During this year I saw the Lord’s goodness as He provided a ladies Bible study, someone to take the kids for playdates and sleepovers and a prayer partner. I believe though these prayers, Mike was greatly changed by his year in Korea. When he returned, our family moved to Hawaii and began attending church together.
Over the years, the many moves have been difficult for me – to find a dear group of friends, a Bible study and a place to serve only to have to separate from them after a few years. I felt like a tree that kept getting uprooted just as the roots were beginning to go deep. Between the moves and having 2 more children after a 10-year gap, I began a downward spiral into depression. While this has improved from where it was is 2010, it is a continual struggle not to give in to discouragement and continue to engage when my flesh wants to isolate and withdraw. I feel drained of energy and some days just showing up for life is challenging.
Since I feel more confident expressing my thoughts in writing rather than speaking, God prompted me to share my struggles online through a blog.
One verse I return to over and over …He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. The reason this verse means so much to me is because when I look at my life it seems messy and incomplete. No dramatic victorious moments just day after day persevering through the mundane and continually drawing near to God who pursued me and has never let me go. He preserved my marriage and provides daily grace and patience for me as I parent a child with Down Syndrome who has so many needs. God keeps holding me and loving me and I have no idea of all the ways He prevented me from evil or harm. No circumstances in my life, or yours, cannot prevent God from accomplishing the good work He intends in us and through us. When life is hard and the things God is doing are not visible to me, I can trust He is working and His ways are good and perfect. He is my strength and I do not know how anyone can go through trials without knowing they are held in the precious arms of a loving father who one day will redeem all our suffering into glory.
If you confess with you mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9