Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Finding Peace When All Is Not Peaceful

When we are faced with trials what do we do? Well, what we should do is go to the Lord in prayer. I am learning this, but just as you, I don't always do what I know I should do. I follow my heart. When your heart is breaking, following your heart is not a good thing to do. For me, it just gets shattered even more.

A few years back our home was filled with struggles. Those teenage years with our daughters were not easy. Oh, there was love, laughter and joy, that filled our home, but there too were days of pure hell. I don't know any other way to say it.

I wish a parenting guide came along with our children. The problems we face seem so big at the time. Later, as the years pass, you realize it wasn't so bad. Well, it was, it's just that the Lord brought you through it and washed you in His grace. Now instead of looking back you look forward. We grow and we learn with each trial that comes knocking. Sometimes we overcome with great courage and other times we fail in sheer fear.

There were times as a mom I know I rocked it! There too are those times where I wish I could have a do over. In remembering those years that seem like ages ago now, I can honestly see where I went wrong. I didn't go straight to the Lord. Oh, I did my share of screaming and crying, but I don't think I fully trusted Him. Things were not going as planned and I was angry at Him for allowing my family to go through such difficult times.

After all, we were doing everything right. We were in church. We served. We worked. We worshipped together. It was, "We", in our home and we served God with a passion. It seemed like the more I did, the more was going wrong and that was something I couldn't grasp. I couldn't understand how God would allow me and my daughters to go through such trying times when I was so focused on Him.

Then it hit me, I was focused on Him, but I was wanting Him to allow things to go my way. I was surrendering to Him, but I was only giving up what I wanted and holding tight to those things that I wasn't ready to let go of just yet, maybe not ever.

That is a scary place to be. So, what do you do? Well, for me I called on friends for help. I wanted someone to step in and fix things. I needed fixed. I needed someone to point me in the right direction and say, "Do this and all will be well". I shared my heart and they gave advice. Some I ignored and some I chose to follow. I was blessed.  My close knit circle of friends were there every step of the way, but you know what? I now know I didn't need advice. I didn't need someone to jump in and fix things. What I needed was for someone to remind me to stay focused on Christ. I needed  to hear, "Trust Him and He will show you the way."

I needed reminded of my teenage years and the troubles I brought my own parents. How soon we forget our teenage years when our own children are testing the boundaries. I needed to be reminded, "Don't give up. Hang in there and all will be okay. Don't move too soon and never stop praying."

Where had my faith gone? Was it my faith being tested all along? There were moments I was ready to give up on God. I had no idea where He went, but I knew He wasn't concerned with what was going on in our home.

Today, I can tell you, He never left. He was right there all along. I was just choosing to see the circumstances and the trials instead of His faithful presence. I didn't want my daughters to make the same mistakes I had made. I wanted more for them. I wanted to see them soar. As a mom it is so hard to see your children make mistakes. But as a mom, in order for our children to soar, we must learn to let go and allow God to move and work in their lives. It's a journey. A journey that we cannot control. Ouch!

I can tell you my relationship with my daughters is healing. It is much better and that isn't because of what we have done or what has been fixed. It's because of the grace of God. It's forgiveness and growth. It's the sweetness of the bond between a mother and daughter. The road isn't always going to be perfect and you know what? We cannot compare our lives with those of others around us.

It was easy for friends to say, "Do this", when they had never been down the road I was traveling on with my girls. We must be careful with the advice that we give. I think that is a huge lesson I have learned along the way. When friends come to me now, I point them to Christ and pray with them. I listen and cry with them. I go to God in prayer for them, but I in no way can tell them what to do. We are all different and we all are on a different path and all come from different backgrounds. What works for one doesn't always work for another. What is right for us, isn't always  what's right for another. We can't put ourselves in another person's shoes. All circumstances are unique.

There are times in life when we want everything fixed right now and we want perfection. First of all, perfection is what exactly? No family is perfect, no matter how good it looks on the outside. Each and every family has their own struggles they face. We cannot worry about how others will judge us or how they will react to our family journey. All we must focus on is our Lord and Savior. He has our life planned out from beginning to end. Who better to trust? If He knows what lies up ahead, shouldn't we just slow down and wait on Him and His direction? Quick fixes don't last. Sure, they may cover up the issue, but sooner or later that bandage gets ripped off and that isn't pretty. Healing comes with patience and grace. I didn't have to totally understand what was going on, I just needed to trust God and know that He was still in control even though everything around us was out of control.

I now have beautiful grandchildren. God has blessed. We have overcome issues and face new ones as they come. I no longer scream at the top of my lungs at God and run to Him for that quick fix. I have learned to step back and trust. I didn't get there over night. It has taken many years of learning to let go and let God.

I am blessed with the most beautiful daugthers in the world. My life can be seen through the beauty of their eyes and the smile they have that lights up a room. If I look back, tears can flow, at what I wish life could have been. But if I look forward, I can smile and know that without a doubt joy comes in the morning.

Friends, if you are facing an issue this morning, remember tomorrow will come. The clouds will break and God will show you the way. The sun will shine again and when you notice it this time it will be even brighter. Through the trials that have captivated my life I have learned great lessons. Lessons that have prepared me for others that have cropped up out of no where. He hasn't left you. Look to Him and not your circumstances. Trust in His Word and not your heart. Learn to be still and wait upon Him. That pain you feel today will grow into peace. Your journey is not over. Trust Him and He will lead you a place of solace. Pure joy comes when we surrender all to Him. It's there, my friend, reach for Him and see. God has a way of working everything out for the good of those who believe in Him. By trusting in Him we get to see His mighty hand at work. When we surrender to Him we witness His glory through our weakness. We must remember to not see our circumstances as simply pain, but as an opportunity for God to do something HUGE!

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."
Hebrews 11:1

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Don't worry about anything: instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7


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