Thankful for sweet little voices and hearts full of Joy to remind me how Great Gods love for me is.
I am so thankful that even when I (we) try to block God out and not hear Him, He goes to great measures to make sure I (we) am listening. You see, the past few weeks have been weeks that I have wanted to rewind and erase like they didn’t exist, it’s been a LONG time since I have had weeks like this, but it feels like I am being tested, and in some cases I want to turn and run far away and in other cases I want to press forward and know that in the end there will be great lessons I have learned, and that my faith will be even more stronger than ever. It is times like this when I long to hear the still small voice of my God and I pray and I cry and I pray and I cry and I pray for answers and in my mind those answers don’t come, but in my heart I know that sometimes I mentally block out of the voice of God, not intentionally but maybe because subconsciously I don’t want to hear the voice of God because I don’t want to hear the answers. The past few weeks have been filled with moments where I asked God what in the world I am doing here, as I had real conversations with young girls about real life decisions, I have parents who’ve been unhappy with me (which eventually lead to a GREAT conversation), I’ve had my personal space invaded, I’ve had a child tell me that they can’t talk to me anymore because their family had made a decision to follow another faith, I’ve felt more exhausted, more burnout, more overwhelmed in these two weeks than I felt in the past (almost) two years.
I really believe that God sent his message to me wrapped in the still small voice of a child this week and through the actions of a child last week, last week we had a Love Night event for our kids, an event where we do fun things to relay the message of love to our kids in a unique manner, through reminding them of God’s love for them through scripture and reminding them of our love for them through a special time of games, fun and bonding. But I think last week in the midst of my own chaos and exhaustion God knew exactly how He needed to speak to me. At the end of our lesson for the night I asked one of the boys who had been reading from the bible with me if he would like to pray to end our night, when he responded yes, I had no idea what would come out of his mouth. As “S” prayed he quietly whispered, I’m not even sure if anyone else in the room could hear him, but what was important was that I could hear him, his prayer was this, “God thank you for the privilege to live, thank you for the privilege to go to Heaven, thank you for this safe place on Wednesday nights, thank you God. Amen.”
A little later in the evening we presented one of our girls with a bible, and to see the excitement in her eyes as we each took a moment to write her a note of encouragement in her bible and share with her a few of our favorite bible verses, to hear the excitement in her voice as I hand her, her bible full of personal notes at the end of the night, and then to later her that she has been reading her bible every night and has not stopped talking about it.
These moments are moments that remind me why God has me in this place, and as I listened to “S’s” prayer and saw joy in “K’s” heart I was gently reminded by God that through all of the trials, through all of the moments where I wonder why in the world I am doing this, through my own personal struggles and trials over the past few weeks on top of everything else that He can still use me, He is still molding a story in my life and in the lives of those that I get to interact with, who I get to love.
As this blog entry has been sitting waiting to be finished for nearly a week in my draft box, God has taken a few other opportunities to remind me that He still loves me, that He still wants me to trust Him and praise Him in the midst of trials and suffering including through our staff Bible study yesterday which included this passage, James 1:2-8 (ESV), “Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” What a reminder that through trials we still should be joy-filled, and that in moments of doubt we should not be doubting, but running more and more towards our faith. And finally this morning, as an email came into my inbox as I started reading it, it was one of those emails that you know was written just for you, and then I get to the bottom of it, and this quote ends the email, “The Christian life necessitates trials and suffering. It is there we meet the Lord with greater intimacy.”
This quote spoke to me because as I feel like I am coming to the end of what’s been a testing few weeks, I find myself today feeling thankful for the trials, I am finding joy today in things that I would not normally find joy in, I am realizing that the intimacy that I have found with God most specifically in the last week has been overwhelming…and that each of the ways that God spoke to me this week were a true reminder that even when I chose to block out God’s voice He is going to take unique measures to speak to me. I am so thankful that even when we’re not running hard after God, we’re stuck in a rut and we’re not pursuing God the way we should, that He never gives up on us, He never stops pursuing us, and His love never fails.