At a bridal shower recently, we asked all the guests to bring a gift that has helped them grow in their journey of becoming a godly wife and/or mom.
I spent countless hours thinking, pondering, praying and agonizing over what I might present to my friend to symbolize what God had been using in my own life to make me more like Him. Finally, it hit me! I knew the perfect gift! But then reality hit, and I knew that I couldn't possibly give away N! ;)
In all seriousness, I truly believe that God has placed N in my life to stretch me, grow me, and make me more dependant upon Him. If we never encounter some rough patches, or walk through valleys-those hard and sometimes frightening places-we will never truly appreciate the mountain top experiences in life. We can grow so accustomed to life being easy, we lose our appreciation of it and take it for granted.
God says in Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
It makes me think of a welcome mat lying outside your front door. Every time you step in or out of your house, you walk across the mat, yet never really stop to notice it, or make much use of it. You simply "take it for granted" and probably even forget it's presence. But that's on a sunny day!
All of a sudden, when a thunderstorm comes and your shoes get muddy, you now actually stop on the mat, carefully wiping and scraping all of the dirt and mud off-taking full advantage of the mat and what it has to offer.
Isn't that kind of the way we tend to treat our relationship with God? We run over Him every day with short, quick prayers here and there..."Thanks for this" or "Help me with that." But only when we run into the rough, nasty circumstances of life and have mud up to our ankles, where God forces us to our knees in humble dependence upon Him, do we truly stop, take notice of Him, and interact with Him the way we were created to.
We may not always understand what He's doing in our lives, or why He chooses the paths that He places us on...but He doesn't ask us for our opinion! We're simply called to trust Him.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
"The word of our Lord holds true, and everything He does is worthy of our trust." Psalm 33:4
You're sure to experience many good, fun, happy times in life, but like it or not, you'll also experience your share of hard, uneasy times as well. This is where I want to encourage you to "wipe your feet" on God if you will.
"Cast all your cares on him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
Regardless of what ups and downs you face, I pray that God will bless you on your journey. May your door mat continually serve as a reminder of God's constant, active presence in your life. Don't wait for the hard times to seek His face, but daily go to the Lord in prayer...that's the only way you'll ever thrive and grow.
"Remain in me and I in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5
May you never take His presence for granted!