Late December 2019, instead of changing into my swimwear and dashing into the water (after a hot 30-min walk), I found myself sitting on the banks of Rio Don Diego, Colombia, oddly reflective.
I pondered the upcoming year and one of the paths I felt God was trying to set me on (at the time I deemed Him mad because there was no way I saw myself on that path). In that moment, I felt simultaneously excited by and doubtful about the possibilities of the upcoming year.
It came as a surprise to learn that my church’s word for 2020 was “Stronger”. It was frightening because I realized that one doesn’t become stronger by going through life without any struggles. Strength comes from going under and overcoming pressure. Despite my trepidation, I told God “Let’s do this! If you said I’m getting stronger this year, then I’m getting stronger.”
A Contemplation Upon Stronger…
Today, 8 months after I sat on that river bank, I find myself in that oddly reflective mood and I pause to ask myself: “have I gotten stronger?”
“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” – Isaiah 48:10
Like many of you, 2020 has not been the year I imagined it would be. There has been many moments filled with hurt, doubts, tears, unforeseen obstacles. Yet still this year has been quite rewarding. God is using this season to refine me; making me stronger in Him. Throughout this journey, He has slowly transformed my behaviors. I’ve learned to:
#1 – Put my hope in Him…
“My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!” – Psalms 108:1
Like David, I am learning to put my hope in God. Even when things don’t make sense, I’m slowly learning (progression not perfection) to lean on Him and hold Him accountable for His promised outcomes. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve told Him: “You put me here so please fix it.”
In the last few months, I cannot tell you how many tears I’ve cried as I clung fiercely to God and tried to stay the path that He had set me on. Yes, this is the same path that I thought Him mad to raise in December 2019. In my strongest moments of doubt, when I had had enough and was ready to throw in the towel, I would hear Him say: “Stay the path. I’m birthing something important here.”
And when things get hard and I can’t find the strength to pray, I’ve learned to still praise Him. God is good and faithful despite my struggles.
#2 – Pray for others when it is hardest to do so…
“Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” – St. Luke 6:28
One night as I ranted, raged and cried about a friend whose actions had hurt me deeply, God’s only response was that I pray for those who hurt me. I was flabbergasted! I legit had a “God, say what?” moment! My friend had hurt me deeply! My friend didn’t even seem to have considered my feelings! He didn’t deserve for me to pray for him in that moment. I wanted God to exact vengeance on my behalf! In one of the moments that I found to be the hardest, I chose to be obedient and prayed for my friend. In praying for my friend, three things happened:
- My anger dissipated.
- My perspective shifted to consider things from my friend’s point of view.
- My friend reached out to apologize, shortly after.
#3 – Be honest with God…
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” – Psalms 139:1
I’ve learned not to fake it with God. In years past, I wasted too much time putting on a brave face and telling Him nothing about me or my feelings. That was so futile because He knows my thoughts and feelings anyways. So now, if I’m not in the mood to spend time with Him or even talk to Him, I’ll tell Him. If I feel distracted or distraught during our time together, I’ll confess my feelings. If someone pissed me off or made me mad (even if that person is God Himself), I’ll tell Him. No matter the situation, I try to be honest with God.
My honesty with Him forces me to be more self-aware and increases my receptiveness to Him highlighting feelings I was unaware of or areas that He needs to improve in me. For example, in the midst of complaining (it seems I complain to God a lot…) about the confounding and undeserved negative behavior of my best friend, God flipped the script and highlighted all the ways I too have been demonstrating confounding and undeserved negative behavior. I was left dumbfounded and with a desire to make amends. This led to a pivotal moment in our friendship.
God continuously unearths aspects of my history and character that have impacted my present and have the potential to cripple my future. These included areas that I thought had been fully addressed. Unbeknownst to me, remnants of some of these issues remained that God needed to increase my awareness of so He could give me the victory. One such area was related to my abandonment issues (I’ll dive into this in a future post.)
The Point? I assure you there is one… 🙂
“For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.” – Psalms 145:13
You are whomever God says you are. If He says you are getting stronger, heck yes, you are getting stronger! If He says you are loved and delivered, cling to that promise! If God declares something over your future, best believe if you stay the path He has ordain, it will come to pass. God’s promises to us are sure. It doesn’t matter how you are feeling in that moment, if God says it, believe it.
For special reasons, Lauren Daigle’s songs have a special place in my heart. Today, her song “You Say” popped up in my playlist and served as the inspiration for this post. Check out the song below. Will you believe what God says about you?
Thank you for stopping by and reading. What is one thing that God has promised you about yourself? Do you see it coming to fruition? Share your experience in the comments section, below. 🙂
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favour and give you peace” – Numbers 6: 23-26
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I am a dynamic young lady who loves the Lord and seek to have a joy that no one can take away. My all-time favourite thing to do is gaining discoveries by design from My Father during our time each day. Reading, learning and trying new things falls behind in a close second place. My dream is to use my God-given talents to positively impact as many people as possible. As a proud Wolmerian, with a zest for life, I adhere to the “Age Quod Agis” motto in that whatsoever I do, I always do it to the best of my ability.
I believe God is making me Stronger in trusting him and having patience to see why i have to stay the course. I was in a similar position just this friday and i was so mad at God asking why it seems im forever struggling. But thanks for this, i will remember to pray for those who continually try to hurt me.
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Vannesa, thank you for sharing. I always find it incredible that God understands our potential way before we ever do. Your forever struggle will not be in vain. Just wait patiently as He births something important in you. One day you will look back and be thankful for this season. I will keep you in my prayers.
I too believe God is trying to make me stronger in this season amongst other things. Especially in the area of trust.
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The season when God builds our level of trust in Him can oftentimes be so difficult. The saving grace in those seasons is knowing that if we just lean on Him and stop relying on our own strength and what we can see, we will get to a beautiful end (more relaxed and less harried).
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yup. so true
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