Transition marked my life for the last seven years, and it sure stirred things up.
Maybe you’re feeling some of that now. When one thing after another changes, or breaks, or fails in some way, it can be disorienting. Even disheartening.
I wish transition wasn’t the hallmark of the last many years, because I prefer things calm and easy all the time. I wish they’d stay comfortably the same. But life doesn’t work that way. It’s full of unexpected events and turnabouts we wish we could do without. These seasons of life open the way for deeper faith though.
We can choose to look away from God when things are hard OR we can choose to seek Him out through every foggy, stormy, challenge. I bet you know which one is more likely to cultivate life.
Our long season of change began with the closing of a non-profit Christian library and ministry. This coincided with a painful church departure. My husband and I had led ministry for women, men, worship, prayer, and teens in addition to operating the library and homeschooling our children.
When it all came to a halt, we took a year of rest from serving while attending a new church home.
This season also ended abruptly.
We moved to ranch land owned by a foster agency where we cared for up to twelve children at a time. After fourteen months, we returned home and our family size dwindled from fifteen to eleven and eventually four. Change, change, and more change. My heart trembled as it twisted.
As we adjusted to life as a small family who no longer home schooled or served like we used to, we became the family in need of others helping us. Our marriage rocked and rolled for the next several years, including more than one separation. My heart groaned with the pain of grief, anxiety, and the impact of high-stress trauma.
One change begets another with an underlying thread of new beginnings. In every phase of trial, I faced hurt, temptations to flee, despair, and plenty of fear. It felt like death. I also had regular opportunities to let God’s work have its way with me. And to see more of this God I proclaimed to serve.
I bet many of you have faced this too. You know what it’s like to have life suddenly altered, then something breaks or falls apart, and just when you’ve had enough, more challenges come via relationships, or finances, or something else.
Maybe you’ve wondered how to keep going because all this change stirs up fear when you want to live by faith.
I’d like to encourage you with this. Choose to remember, with every new day we are given new mercies to carry us through. No matter what the day brings, as we step forward, He sustains new life.
I failed miserably at times and chose faithfully at others. In every fear-filled stumble, God remained one hundred-percent faithful. Even though I doubted it and railed against His way of doing things.
Some say the opposite of fear is faith. I’ve found that faith grows when we walk with God through our fears. They are not as exclusive of one another as we might think.
Fear prompts us to look for refuge and safety. Often, we look to ourselves. Always, we need to look to God. He knows the way and when we rely on Him we walk by faith.
Our paths are twisty. Sometimes a jumbled up mess of turns, valleys, and mountains. Just when we think we know where we’re going, something changes. I don’t know anyone who has a perfectly laid out map, although I’d sure like to have one. Wouldn’t you?
Instead, we get to trust what God knows and we’re asked to keep moving forward even when unknown territory shakes us silly.
Yes, we get to.
Because in these moments of choosing to trust God, choosing to God’s way over our own, and walking with Him while afraid, we find His courage rising up inside of us. It’s a kind of steady strength that goes with the flow of what God’s doing, rather than the self-focused challenge of trying to be strong on our own.
God does not wait for us to get to the other side of fear before we have faith. He doesn’t wait for us to get to a place where life is settled and hard things stop happening before we get to experience His peace and joy. Or the freedom that comes from surrender and trust. Neither should we.
God is our source of courage and faith as we walk through hard things afraid.
When fear creeps in, choose to step forward with the God who strengthens faith along the way.