The past month, we've had some things come our way that have not been all sunshin-y to say the least. It's been refining us and in the midst, and the clouds have seemed quite heavy. I've allowed some of it to really steal my joy and I had become a big ball of anxiety and fear because my focus was in the wrong place. Funny how that all came about after my last post. Though I would pray and pray for God to take away my anxiety, for Him to give me joy again, etc., etc., it would never come. I kept asking if my faith was too small or if I was doing something wrong, still no answer. After a while, I was just plain frustrated and just got cranky and emotional all the time because nothing seemed to be happening. Then I started trying to fight everything on my own and it just made me feel worse.
Then my husband went to a prayer service last week and he told me about how they spoke of how God sometimes wants us to have "reaching" faith. The kind that asks us to overlook how we feel and come out of our comfort zone when we ask for His hand in something. He wants us to reach up and take hold of Him in our prayers. For instance, if we are asking about financial provision, sometimes He wants us to give Him something out of our finances as an extra measure of faith, even if it's small, rather than just ask and wait for Him to do something. Or sometimes we need to go and ask someone else to pray over us in a situation instead of trying to pray by ourselves.
So in that, God has also helped me learn "reaching" faith since. Here's my story. Hannah has had lice on and off for 3 weeks over the past month, and I have really let fear set in that we would never get rid of them. I've been trying to fight it on my own and have just gotten plain exhausted emotionally.
Finally, my husband reminded me to ask God what it is He wants to teach me through this. So I asked the Lord, "What are you trying to show me through this, Lord? I'm at the end of my rope". After that, last week, those silly bugs came back after a week of not seeing any. First I panicked again, then I began to pray, then I did a triple treatment on her head, but at the same time, I was prompted to pray over Hannah as I was treating her head, and not just pray for the lice to go away, but I was prompted to bless Hannah in my prayers and asked God to make this somehow a time of learning and growth for us, and if it is His will, to PLEASE take the lice away as well. That was also I believe a "reaching" faith.
How many times do we take a miserable situation and still use it to draw attention to God and use it for His purposes right then and there? Or do we just complain and fuss about it? I was doing plenty of the complaining and fussing and the enemy was enjoying it too much. So I turned the tables on him. And guess what, no lice since!! And as I look back, through the refining and sifting of stuff, God also showed me that lice is a lot like our sin. How many of us really want to carry sin around all the time? When it's there, if we don't sit at Jesus' feet every day, it can get out of control. When God wants to remove something from my life that doesn't belong there, He has to sit me down and make me still so He can tend to it. But I have to be willing, just like Hannah had to be willing to sit and let me look through her hair every day. She couldn't get rid of that lice on her own. She needed me to do it for her. Now am I willing to sit at the feet of my Jesus and let Him tend to me the way Hannah let me tend to her?
And to finish off, I was talking with a friend yesterday over email. And as I was typing to her when she asked how she can pray for me because she heard about all I was going through, I layed out some things, then in the end, began to start realizing all the answered prayers that God had given me over the past week aside from all the things I was dealing with. I realized there that my focus had been in the wrong place all along, and that's why I was getting so beaten down. And as soon as I started focusing on all the things God has blessed me with and the answered prayers that have come this week, I began to thank Him wholeheartedly because He was indeed answering prayers. I just wasn't noticing them in the midst of the "storm".
To name a few:
He gave us a buyer for Tim's truck last week to help with our finances
He has provided me with a way to make some money at home in the fall
He provided Becky the job this week she has been praying for
He got me through my surgery on Monday with no problems
Despite Faith's broken arm, she has been in great spirits and has had no pain.
And my friend's step-mom just found out that she is free of cancer after we've been praying for her for several months.
And that's the silver lining!!