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Feeling Lost

"Our values determine our evaluations.  If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us.  If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to 'count it all joy' {James 1:2}.  If we live only for the present and forget the future, then trials will make us bitter, not better."  --Warren Wiersbe

Convictions.  
They strike deep in our hearts like the fiercest of lightening causing us to squirm and sometimes even make us feel tempted to run from the truth.  Sometimes, we deny that we are guilty but soon we learn that we can't run forever.  God sees everything.  Other times, we fall to our knees in repentance asking God to forgive us and grant us mercy and grace.  When I read the quote above, I wanted to deny it's truth because it was a painful realization, but I knew no matter how hard I tried to push it away, it wouldn't change the fact that I wasn't living in character at all.  Instead, I have only been seeking comfort for months.  

Last summer, we prayerfully decided to adventure out into the realty world and sell our home.  We had ups and downs, but constant faith and constant prayer.  We knew that God was going to lead us to where we needed to be and no matter what we faced, He was right there beside us.  It was a relatively smooth process where we literally felt God's presence moving us along.

Somewhere between then and now, I've experienced some major backsliding.  I could list a variety of excuses, but if one read my blog to see the turmoil of my pregnancy and the uncontrollable setbacks and delays of our home building process, it wouldn't be hard to see what battles I have been against.  In the fall, my morning sickness kept me from being as devoted to BSF as I would have liked, then shortly after the spring semester started up, I began having the contractions that put me on just enough bed rest to prevent me from regular attendance.  The two year old class was full, and they needed a spot for a mom and child who could faithfully attend, so I gave up my spot.  

At that point, there was no question that I needed my bible in front of me more than ever.  Sadly, with each passing week, my bible stayed in my bag.  Not just that, for the same reasons listed above, our church attendance went from EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY, no excuses the past year and a half (other than being out of town or Preslie being sick) to every other Sunday, then maybe once a month.  Disappointing to say the least.  Of course, if you consider Preslie's three weeks of RSV, another week of the flu like invasion, my morning sickness, then the contractions episodes, it wasn't like we were just sitting around twiddling our thumbs.  Still, though, after that trend, I noticed we began lessening church going on our priority list even on "good" days. 

I still had my faith though, right?  I know scriptures.  I know the truth.  I know the word.  I wasn't weak in faith enough to falter that quickly....right?  

Then the contractions got worst.  Preslie began missing her mama.   Her mama began carrying SERIOUS guilt about the amount of time I spent in bed or resting and not actively playing with her.  Adam began picking up the brunt of EVERYTHING that I was responsible for from laundry to bathing Preslie to taking her to school when he was home.  Life was changing and I had NO control over any of it.  To make matters worse, the set backs began happening with our home right around this time.  Our completion date moved from mid May to end of May to June 1 to July 1st.  And my Blakely?  Between measuring so big and the amount of contractions I have been experiencing, I will be a little surprised if she makes it to 40 weeks.  I had Preslie at 38 weeks and if I have Blakely around then, that's only five weeks away.  Are you seeing where I am going?  Once again, I had no control.  I was completely helpless over my mothering, the roof over my head, and keeping this baby in my belly until she is due. 

My life has quickly become very uncomfortable.  Nothing is happening as I hoped or ever even imagined.  Slowly, I have begun to feel like our home is NEVER going to built.  A couple of weeks ago, moving out from my parents and into an apartment was becoming an option that I could hardly even begin to let myself think about at nearly eight months pregnant; how could I bring home a newborn for the possibility of up to TWO months into my parents house?  They've already had us here SO long, toddler included.  We decided to stay put, but I still wonder if that was the best decision. Today, I stand in utter confusion and disarray, but finally, I am choosing to fight that feeling of defeat. 

Over time and as I begin seeing all of this unfold, my faith has dwindled.  ...Faster than I ever would have imagined.  A little silent depression has settled in, my bible has become a foreigner and my prayers aren't getting too far before I am asleep.  Leading up to the past couple of weeks, in my sleepless moments (that I am not fighting indigestion or some other awful symptom), I chose to stare at our floor plans, shop the internet for decorating the girls' rooms, hitting up Pinterest for all sorts of things and ideas.  Although I didn't fully recognize how it was affecting my faith, I began to emphasize the material; the "seen"; wordly possessions.  

Many times, I was convicted.  Filled with guilt for the choices I was making, and I guess that's where the true defeat really began because I never changed my ways--I just kept neglected the word and my bible even though my world was rapidly crashing.  I just made excuses that I had to take care of whatever my distraction was now.  Then I ran out of things to do.  Looking at house plans made me sick because it only reminded me of how far behind we are...and why would I buy stuff for the new house if I was beginning to wonder if it would EVER be completed.  

Needless to say, within the past couple of weeks, many breakdowns have occurred.  Mostly silent, but a few major ones that required major support from Adam and a couple of friends.  Their advice was all the same:  to have faith in God's timing.  My response was also the same: I have none.  I have almost all but stopped praying.  I am lost. 

"I AM LOST." 

There it was, that admission I had been denying over the last few months.  I was lost.  To say "was" is completely untruthful.  I AM lost.  Still today as I type.  The difference is, I am now determined to be found. I am determined to practice what I know.  I am determined to find perilous joy in this situation.  Throughout the last few months, I have gotten by on saying, "This is God's timing," and "when we look back down the road, it will be revealed to us as to why we had to endure this season," and I believe all of that.  I've also repeatedly told myself that this suffering is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered for us.  Why can I not be obedient to Him just as Jesus was to His Father?   Why is this such a hard concept for me right now?  As Peter said in 2 Peter 2:9, the Lord knows how to rescue Godly people from their trials, but why do I keep forgetting that?

Regardless of knowing the truth behind trials and suffering, I began reading a little study by my favorite modern day theologian, John MacArthur this past week.  It's funny how so much of what I have read and highlighted, I know so well.  I know the verses, I know the explanations, and I know it to be true.  Yet I am not acting on what I know.  

Why?  Because I am not comfortable with everything happening in my life.  I am not in control.  I am living for the physical and the material and I cannot see past the now and into the future.   Because I am not living for character but for my own comfort, I am not living in the spiritual realm.  

"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."  Romans 8:18

Trials such as what I have encountered should never push us further from God.  We should face them joyfully knowing that what we are enduring will only strengthen us and draw us closer to Him.  Not realizing the value of our trials only reveals that we have not realized that God has an ever present purpose in those trials.  

"We should count it a privilege and joy to bear our bodies the marks of Christ."
Galatians 6:17

First Corinthians 10:13 says that God enables us the way of escape from each trial only after enabling is to endure the trial.  I believe that wholeheartedly. The ultimate goal of this season is to produce godly character and more righteous living, to be driven to a deeper intimacy with the Lord showing him that I rely solely on him to pull me through this time.  By doing this, a testimony and ministry to others is created.   

I am no where near where I need to be with my faith.  I have become lost, but I am being shepherded back to where I belong yet again.  The birth of our daughter and moving into our house may not signify the end of this season of trials, but starting now, I am choosing to work harder at facing this season with joy and impenetrable faith. 

Of the six parts of this study I have begun, I am only on part two.  My faith has rebounded already so much.  I can't wait to see where it brings me over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, I am clinging to what I know but have failed to practice or remember: 

"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." 
1 Peter 1:6-8

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