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My Confidence, Your Faithfulness

Recently stood in front of my peers and shared my testimony. It goes like this…

1 Thessalonians 5:24 reads “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” It’s amazing how one simple sentence can bring hope to hopeless situations, encouragement to discouraging experiences, and just enough energy to get through any day. See anyone who knew my story would recognize the life behind this verse. Me standing here is a testament to God’s faithfulness.

So the problem many times is that spectators show up at a chapter like this one, where it appears we have it all together – sitting under great instructors to gain more knowledge, insight, and education in hopes of expanding our experience base to then be catapulted to the next level. Sounds wonderful, free of struggle, pain, and distress.

But you know it’s only because “the One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” About 3 years ago I told a supervisor of mine that my #lifegoal would be to become a renowned motivational speaker for women, specifically in regards to educating on God’s blueprint for healthy, sanctifying marriages. She laughed. Not because I used the word renowned being a simple Tampa girl or because I used the word marriage being a single woman in my thirties, but because I chose the word speaker.

See I was the licensed mental health counselor working in private practice and counseling at church, who also saw her own counselor for severe, debilitating anxiety.

I was the one who organized an entire Summit at my last job, but then handed the main speech to my supervisor at the last minute saying I couldn’t go through with the event talk.

I was the youth leader here at Grace who led 7th grade groups year after year encouraging these young girls to never put limits on what God can do in their lives, but would then shoot down opportunities to speak at youth events and trainings.

I was the Honors College graduate who created a website for the entire city of West Tampa, but then visited the Dean of the Honors College to decline the invitation to present my work to students, professors, and community leaders.

I was the USF diversity consultant who created trainings for staff, but would then spend the two hours before each training in the bathroom sick and unable to go setup the training room.

I was the one who would do all of the work for group projects in exchange for not having to speak in front of the class.

I was the one who would sit in class taking up the entire period going over in my head how exactly to ask the one question that I was seeking an answer for.

You see on the outside I appeared to live a great Christian life: raised in church, paternal grandfather was the pastor of the church my parents met in, volunteered in the children’s ministry starting at age 15, traveled on two missions trips, baptized at the age of 24, never really straying from the good ol Christian path, my biggest vice being my coffee addiction.

But on the inside struggling to stay above the waters from my worry, fears, and endless play of negative mind chatter. Having every step be so calculated and avoiding any situation that caused me to feel tense or unnerving. See my life was anything but peaceful – driven 100% by fear.

Right after sharing with my supervisor a dream that seemed unattainable and was literally quite laughable, my mother shares with me a vision she received one day when praying for me, where I was standing on stage and speaking to an audience.

There is an implication wrapped in the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” You see any healthy relationship is one that is two-sided. God calls us but the expectation is for us to answer to that call.

It’s taken me many years to answer God’s call – His call to a greater relationship with Him, one that is completely dependent on His abilities, not mine. Recently the last part of that bible verse hit me straight between the eyes. “He will do it.” My fears and insecurities were driven by my own imperfections, flaws, and weaknesses. The impossible had remained impossible because I was fixated on my own inabilities. But His promise for all of us is that “He will do it” if we just answer yes to His call.

See anyone who knew my story would recognize the life behind this verse. Me standing here is a testament to God’s faithfulness. I don’t know what the next chapter looks like, and that’s okay. My eyes are now fixated on Him. I give glory to God for where I’m at in my story now because “the One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”

“My confidence is your faithfulness.”

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“Where Are You God?”

Is it just me or do you also not trust anyone who says they’ve lived lives free of struggle, hurt, or discouragement? Individuals who claim to have lived perfect lives receive, from me, the same response received by couples that say they never argue – a rolling of the eyes. So this post is only for those who have some battle scars left from scuffles with Life, herself.

One of my favorite books growing up was “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” but it’s not until adulthood that I think back to my teen years, when I read this book, that I’ve realized I did not quite understand what just happens to be one of the largest similarities to cross racial, religious, political, and gender lines – the questioning of God’s existence.

“Are you there God? Why do I waste my breath on what appear to be unanswered prayers?”

When I started out as a Christian counselor I found myself fearing that moment when my clients, people who would find themselves broken and struggling to pick up the pieces, would ask me THE dreaded question: “Where is God in all of this mess?”

“My daughter is hurting and filling her void with men who are just using her. Where is God?”

“My husband is detached from the family and prefers to work late hours to spending time with our kids. Where is God?”

“I was taken advantage of night after night by my stepfather. Where was God?”

“She just walked out on me with no explanation. Where is God?”

“My mother was the godliest woman I know. Why didn’t he heal her? Where was God?”

“I’ve faithfully tithed week after week. How could He have allowed me to get laid off? Where is God?”

And see if I was to be completely honest, I feared that question because it was one that’d remained unanswered for me. When asked that question by a client, family member, or a non-believer, I’d automatically play back my mental footage of all of those moments I’d asked the same thing – unsure of the answer to the question “Where is God in all of this chaos?”

And my question for you today is, “Where are you?”

“Where are you in your unwavering faith?” Matthew 21:21

“Where are you in your steadfast belief in a loving God?” Romans 8:37-39

“Where are you in your hope for God’s promises for your life?” Isaiah 41:13

But see where are you when life happens? We expect God to be consistent, reliable, and stable (which He is), but then don’t act consistently, reliably, and stable ourselves when trials collide with our day to day lives. How is it that, with an attitude of entitlement, we expect God to be faithful, yet we are so quick to doubt His faithfulness when we don’t receive the answer to our prayers in the exact packaging that we’d hoped for?

We often ask, “Where are you God?” while He is simultaneously asking us, “Where are you?”