It's tempting to think that after 25+ years as a Christian, I should be at a place where I've finally "arrived". Sure there may be some tweaking here and there, but the major adjustments should already be taken care of. But as time passes, it seems that I become more and more aware of my sin, and, conversely, I see the magnitude of God's grace.
I have not arrived yet. God is still working on me.Unfortunately, the most recent season of growing has been very painful and is taking forever.
6 months of growing? No problem.
A year? Ok, I can handle that.
A year and 1/2? Wait a minute, that might be a bit of a stretch.
2 years? Um, not fond of that one.
2 1/2 years? God, what's going on here?
Those who know me understand that I have a strong personality. Whatever God is trying to accomplish in my life right now, He's up against one impatient, stubborn, controlling idealist (which explains all the kicking and screaming).
During this last round of trying, my husband and I had been praying for safety over all of my fertility organs in addition to a healthy pregnancy. However, knowing the intensity of grief that overcomes me each month I discover nothing happened, I also have asked God to help strengthen me emotionally if this month it didn't work out.
We still are not pregnant, but I have seen God answer my prayers by encouraging me in the midst of this in different ways.
1) Reminding me that great things can happen far beyond what I can create when I give God the reigns of my life.
I've got a new favorite song right now called "Steal My Show" and in it TobyMac describes this idea of letting God take over. We all have a show and we all have a choice: We can hoard the control of our lives or we can surrender it to God to do as He wills. When I imagine what things could look like if I just let God take over, it's freeing and intriguing. We'll see where he takes this, I guess.
2) Reminding me that my circumstances don't need to control my joy.
I've been really depressed lately because it seems like everything we own is breaking. In the last month, I've had to replace my husband's SUV, our vacuum, our toaster, and my car battery. Some of these things we originally bought with the future of family life in mind, yet here we are having to replace them without ever having used them in the context of their planned future purpose. On top of that, I'm still working full time and have no children. This was not my plan.
God spoke to me through some people this week to help put my negativity in perspective. The first person mentioned that I can still use the time God has given me now to invest in the people around me. The second person shared how weshe had asked God to help her be content in the midst of an unpleasant situation because she knew she did not have it in her own strength to do so.
3) Reminding me that He loves me and wants the best for me, which is why I'm experiencing this season of "pruning".
This week's sermon at church was one of those "God is talking right to me" sermons. The pastor gave an introductory analogy about plants, which for those who know me, know that I am addicted to plants and the joy that comes from planting them and watching them grow. Then he went on to talk through John 15, which was summed up in three points:
- God wants us to be fruitful people (becoming the best that we can be to advance the kingdom).
- Fruitfulness comes through being conformed to the image of Christ (discipline [or pruning], obedience, etc ).
- When we are conformed and are fruitful, we experience fullness of joy.