Tag Archives: all things new

12. trials and change

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1.2-4

characterI am thankful for the fact that I am a W.I.P.

A “work in progress.”

And I am thankful that I don’t have to go through this transformation all in one shot:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1.6

This has been a trying year for me…one full of financial strain, relational issues, situations I had gotten myself into that left me wondering how on earth I’d ever get out, forgiveness, redemption, renewal and joy.

Yes, joy.

I have to include that as I am happier now than I’ve been in a long time. Now, don’t get me wrong. My days aren’t perfect nor are they magically full of rainbows and sunshine.

Joy is a choice I make upon pulling the covers back each morning and, at times, with each passing moment. And it’s hard.

Is it ever!

Truth is, I’m faced with trials that allow me to grow with each passing day. From trying callers at work to a friend who cancels last minute, I’m faced with the choice of joyfully extending grace or being what I like to call a “negative ninny.” I do not like what the latter does to my heart (or my day). I despise it, actually.

It’s easy to fall back into old patterns and habits rather than allowing Jesus to change the way I react in certain situations.

How many times am I faced with a tough (and sometimes not so tough) situation and immediately pray for God to fix it? How many times do I ask Him to make it go away without seeking out His Word or asking Him to help me walk through it?

How about when He answers in a way I don’t like?

“Not yet.”

“Not that way.”

“’Wait.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing, Anita, and wait.”

Or, my personal favorite: “Why don’t you spend time with me instead?” How convicting is that?

Most of the time, I know what God wants me to do…I just don’t want to do it; at least not in that moment.

How about you?  I know I’m not alone in this. We all deal with it. We all struggle with trials and most of us fight change to no end.

We must learn to seek His face first, in any and all situations. We also have to be willing to listen to His answer and to obey. We must consider it pure joy when we face any trial, especially when it changes us. “The new creation has come…The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

We cannot escape the trials and temptations we go through in life. Though they are hard to endure, they develop endurance and patience within us. We need to let these be developed in our lives so that we may become what God intended us to be, lacking nothing. In knowing this, we can consider it joyful because of what is developed in us as a result. That mindset is hard to grasp, but when you look beyond the trial and understand the purpose of it, what it accomplishes in us should be considered joyful.

I am not the girl I was a year ago. Granted, she’s still there as she’s a part of who I am becoming, but God has since touched my heart and has left me forever changed, moment by ever-chaning moment. And I know that change will continue…that’s  one guarantee I can hold on to.

And for that, my friends and family, I am grateful.

trials

6. the work of God in my life

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12.1-2

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Tough we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come! The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5.16-17Transformed WIP

I’ve written before on the changes God has been doing in my heart – excerpts below are taken from a posting on August 7, 2013 (found here):

“…I used to think that my story didn’t matter; that it paled in comparison. I was raised in a Christian home. I was practically born saved, or so I thought. I’ve discovered that is not how faith and following [Jesus] work. It’s a personal choice. I met Him when I was four, on my mother’s lap during a bedtime story and have encountered Him numerous times since…”

And each time has left me changed in some way, shape or form. I’m becoming like the One I spend the most time with…and will continue to as long as I am intentional about how I spend my time. Do I spend it wisely, including Him in each moment or do I compartmentalize my life, separating all things “churchy” from the rest of it? No. Not anymore.

You can picture a weighted scale or a pie chart, trying to map out how life should look with Jesus as your #1 source of ALL THINGS….but…

I’d rather picture a tall glass vase, which resembles my life, full of rocks in all sorts of shapes and sizes, resembling my own distinct interests and giftings. Add water (resembling Jesus). You’ll see how it gets into every nook and cranny and covers all things. That’s how a life crazy about Jesus should look.

I strive for excellence under the standard of grace…I’m not perfect and I fail, every day, but by His grace, I can get back up and love Him even more deeply than before. I don’t deserve it, God knows it, but He chooses to clothe me in His unending, incomprehensible love, grace and mercy. And one day, I will attain perfection…but not until He completes the work He came to do (both in me and in this world).

“…there came the faintest stirring of hope, the smallest increase of strength and the urge to break free…I feel it in every fiber of my being…[this entire year] has been a season of growth for me…I went from not being certain…to being certain of so many things…my dreams are changing.”

My life is changing.

“…God has been transforming my heart and my mind – [breathing truth where it didn’t exist before] – He has been shining His glorious light into the dark, cob-web-covered corners of my life and giving me the ability to see those areas with eyes of mercy and grace. He’s teaching me…”

To be kind to myself

To forgive myself

To forgive, period

To love myself

To see myself the way He does

I recently attended an evening of worship with one of my favorite Christian artists, Meredith Andrews. Something happened at that event…a stirring with in my heart, so deep it rattled my soul, and a sudden calm following by an emotion I cannot name. My heart accepted some truth in that moment, even though I don’t currently know exactly what that truth was, and I’m okay with that. I’m learning to trust Him and in His goodness.

“…Transformation isn’t something that we can do ourselves. Even among the pressures of this fallen world [and life in general], we must choose to be still and allow God to do what only He can do. We allow Him to renew our minds daily through His Word [by spending time in prayer and hanging out with Him on a daily basis]. It doesn’t happen overnight and there will be periods of waiting. The struggle is necessary for my development and strength of what God has called me to in His story. ..”

I am so very thankful for the work He’s been doing in me and will continue to do in me. Here’s to continuing on this amazing adventure He’s sent me on.