Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Whole Faith Thing....

I grew up pretty much with a Bible in my hand and my rear-end in a church pew on Sunday morning, most Sunday nights, and many a Wednesday night too.

The "faith like a mustard seed" Bible verse should basically have been engraved into my skull considering how much I heard it touted.

When I decided to name the first of my Sandwich novella's "A Side of Faith" I figured the faith part would be simple. (and yes, I came up with the title before the story! Not something I usually do, but I liked the play on words with it's mother book, Sandwich, With a Side of Romance.)

I mean, it's just a wee little mustard seed, right?

Yet...

While faith at its core is simplistic, the execution of such faith is not necessarily so.

See, faith in the existence of God, for me anyway, is easy. I trusted in Him at an early age, I've grown up loving Him, and He's carried me through some of the darkest times of my life. He's met me there when I know I had no power to carry on, and He carried me. His existence is something I accepted and believed a long time ago.

So this isn't the "faith" I wanted to address in my book, not at this point anyway.

But what about having faith not only in God's existence, but in His love? His strength? His power to heal and restore? In His answering of prayers?

What if God did something that was the exact opposite of what we expected/wanted/needed?

For me, He's done this several times in my life, three big ones I can name easily. When He allowed my parents to move me three states away when I was sixteen years old... even though I was leaving all my friends and going to a strange new "world" that I was determined to hate from day one. When He allowed me to miscarry our second child, baby Abigail, which literally tore my young mother's heart in two. And when He allowed my sweet Annabelle to be born with half of a heart and struggle beyond what I could have ever imagined for her every breath.

I did not expect any of these.

I definitely did not want them.

And I would have argued until I was blue in the face against my need for such circumstances.

Yet... God was faithful.

Even in the bad, he brought joy.

I met some wonderful people in Minnesota, made some lasting memories (some better than others...) and while frustrated and at the end of my rope, stumbled upon a then-popular Internet Christian chatroom where I met my future husband. He whisked me away to North Carolina and has loved me well every day since.

Though my heart still aches for my sweet Abigail, just three months after she met Jesus, I conceived my little Lacy Emma Leigh. She was my sunshine, my ray of hope, my gift from God. God whispered to my heart that He has a special plan for her, a divine purpose, and I knew that He had brought joy from my suffering.

And Annabelle. Annabelle completely rocked my world. I am not the same woman I was almost four years ago. In some ways I am stronger, having been refined by a fire I never thought I would be able to endure. But in other ways I am weaker, as the fire exposed my vulnerable parts, leaving them bare and gaping. I've learned that being vulnerable isn't wrong or bad, it's just real.

Oh yes, Annabelle changed me. Through her I gained a glimpse of what real faith is.

It's believing in God even when your world is crushed to smithereens.

It's giving your life over to God, with nothing except an eternity with Him as a promised future.

Faith is bowing down, opening up your arms, and saying, "Not MY will but THY will be done, Jesus."

That's what I wanted to show in my book. At least a tiny bit. True, lasting faith is such a deep, raw issue, I knew I couldn't fully touch on it in a short novella.

But Rachel has to come face to face with her own fears. Her own past that she has set aside and said, "Never ever again" to.

She has to answer the question, what if God brings you exactly what you NEVER wanted? (or in her case, the epitome of the type of man she never wanted...)

Sometimes you eventually realize that even though you don't want it, it's exactly what you need.

Let's Chat: 

Has God ever brought you to your knees in your faith?

4 comments:

MisMisWilson said...

First time was with our first child, the day before he was to be born by c section 6 weeks early, we were told he had 50% chance of survival, and would weigh around 2 -3 pounds. (He weighed 5.4 and is in the Army and a fireman today) Second time (15 months later - not planned) was when our second child was being born 7 weeks early, my uterus ruptured. He had a PDA heart repair at 4 weeks. Third time, when I wanted to adopt a little girl, we adopted a little boy at the age of 12. All three of our sons were born within 15 months. It was like having triplets. I would not change any of it. The last thing here recently, was being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on April 15th this year. I know God has a plan and I am ready for the season of my life!

Krista Phillips said...

Oh goodness! Isn't God amazing??

And I LOVE your outlook on your new season of life! So inspiring!!! It's hard to view such news with grace (and FAITH!), but you've absolutely done it!

Linda said...

For me, it was my husband's illness and death. It was quite a roller coaster and all we could do was hang onto God and try to make the best of the ride. Watching the man you love suffer so terribly does something to you. And knowing that I could do absolutely nothing to stop it or really even to really help him was terrifying. But through it all, God was with us. He carried us and showed us that even in dark times there are good moments and some wonderful lessons to be learned. I will never be the same, but that is not all bad. And some day, as my Lord has promised, we will get to spend eternity together. It doesn't get much better than that!

Krista Phillips said...

Linda, you are inspiring!!! Those dark times are so tough. I've not had to watch my husband go through that, but I do know the feeling of a loved one going through horrendous pain and feel so very helpless. I don't think I ever truly understood the concept of God being my strength and being held by Jesus than during that time.

Thank you for sharing your story!!