The very thing I ran from for years on end, came to pass.
I grew up in a Christian home where we would ritually attend services on Sunday. My father would periodically lead our family in what was named a devotional. Dad would open up a passage of scripture and share what the Lord laid on his heart. Together, we would pray and then be dismissed.
I grew up in a home that modelled Christian values. We were taught not to be drunk with wine, to dress modestly, to give to the church and to the poor and live faithfully according to scripture. However, I also grew up in a home that lacked my dad’s intimate presence. So even though we were modelling Christian values, at times I found it masked by dad’s constant involvement with the church in opposed to his family. People would speak so well and highly of my father. But they were describing a man I did not know well. Ultimately, as time passed, we continued to grow a part.
As I aged, I became more and more resentful towards the church because in my mind at the time, I felt as though they had robbed my father and I of a relationship. How many times do we blame other people or things for results in our lives that we have poorly assessed because of our unique vantage point?
This truth really disrupted my view of the church. The place I loved to attend became the place I became increasingly resentful. This was the fact, I didn’t trust the church. I didn’t trust that they would refrain from interfering with my life in a way that would be punitive towards my relationships, punitive towards my time nor punitive towards my growth.
So often as people we blame the church and others for things that are really pointing towards a deeper issue- our lack of trust in God. We don’t trust His sovereignty- that He is in control at all times.
It all goes back to my view of God. This is what I am currently teaching in my bible study; that when we are confronted with fear, we have a choice- we can choose to further engage in fear or we can choose to put our faith in God. It’s fear that caused me to resent the church and pull away from any sort of involvement. This was showcasing the issue that flowed from my heart; I didn’t trust God enough to safeguard my relationships and everything else I was holding onto from failing.
This negative mindset creeped into my marriage. Can you believe it? I can distinctly remember giving my husband such a difficult time because he was growing in his role in the ministry and I was terrified! I thought to myself, wait a minute! What will happen to my family, and what will happen to my marriage? This was fear speaking, this was my flesh in control not the Spirit.
Hubby and I fought on and off for years, yes years! As I was busy protecting what I felt was mine (my marriage & my family), I was failing to see that my desire was getting in the way of my walk of obedience to the Lord!
Then one day, the Lord showed me the error of my ways and how important it was to trust Him; to acknowledge Him in all my ways (Prov 3:5,6). I repented for the way I had been secretly conducting myself and opened my heart for the Lord to lead me on a path of trusting Him more.
Can I just say, trusting God isn’t always easy. But the more we practice, the easier it becomes. And just as I recently shared with a congregation, it is through our obedience that we get to see the mastery of our God. It is so true, that He will take the simple things to confound the wise. God will flip things up side down, just to remind us that He alone is God. It’s His sovereignty! God gets to do what He wants, when He wants and how He wants just because He is God. And if His intentions towards us are good and not evil, why not trust that the God who is in control, is the same God who will protect, fight and complete all things which concern us?
Friends, can I tell you that God took the very thing that I was literally running from and flipped the script upside down. Wait, what? Yep, I ran from being heavily involved with the church to being at the helm of a church.
In the fall of 2020, my husband and I became Pastors of a church in Toronto. And I am loving every minute of it! Not only did He heal me in the area of my service to His people, but He healed my relationship with my father. And I am so glad the Lord did what He does best because we are closer than ever before. I wouldn’t trade my dad for the world. The things I couldn’t understand as a broken person, I can now empathize as a whole person.
How can a God so big and so wise, take my experience and turn it around in such a way to be used as an example? Well He can and He did because He is sovereign- and if He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be God.
I want to encourage you today, open up your heart, especially to the areas that are hurt, alone, and/or abused. Allow the Lord to literally perform a miracle in your life. I’ve learned that you don’t have to walk around disgruntled, resentful or even cold. God can perform a miracle in your life today, if you simply believe and choose to obey. Choose to obey.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15)