Friday, April 1, 2016

What Has God Taught Me

You hear people say that there are defining moments in your life.  These moments can include graduations, births, deaths, relationships, etc., These moments bring about change.  As I have mentioned several times on my blog, I do not enjoy change.  I don't know many people that do love change, actually.  The thing is, though, change is necessary. What is that saying?  The only thing that is constant in life is change?


In the past about eight months or so, there have been many defining moments in my life.  I cannot say that any of those major "events" listed above have happened. No graduations, my cousin had a baby but not a major impact on my life, no major relationship status changes.  The main thing that did happen as far as my list is concerned is that my Aunt Donna died last month.  It was a very difficult death for me, but I am not even referring to that.  

Without going into too much detail due to confidentiality purposes, God took some pretty big things back in August and September and asked me to really grow up.  God handed me some real "grown-up" stuff and said, "Rikki, you are 34 years old and I am going to test your faith.  You do not have to do this alone but you MUST trust me if you are going to do this the right way."  It has been hard and I did not always do it right, but trust Him, I have.  And you know what?  I have learned so much!  I have grown beyond those eight months.  There were mornings driving to work where I could barely see through my tears.  I remember specifically dialing every friend's number that I could think of and NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON was available.  I stopped my car on the side of the road and sobbed.  I am not talking cried.  I am talking SOBBED with noise, you know, like you did as a child.  I had come face to face with the reality that in that moment, God wanted me to go to Him.  Not my friends. HIM!  That is what He had been wanting from me for MONTHS!!!! I had been whining for the past few years about what a hard time I have had with friendships and what He was trying to tell me was that He wanted me to depend on Him instead of others.  That was only part of what He was teaching me.

What has God taught me in the past eight months? God has taught me that even if your past is your past, the actions of others really can rock your world.  When you feel like you have been able to separate your current life from your former life, somehow that connection to who you once were still exists and the pain is hard to shake.  The reality that someone you love has done something terrible somehow does have a reflection on who you are as a person, whether you want it to or think it should.  God has taught me that things are not always what they seem.  Even those that you find you should be able to trust the most, they are merely flesh and bone.  They can and will fail you. I have learned that someone can go from one complete end of the "secure" spectrum towards the total opposite end to completely "insecure" with one quick blow.  I have realized how devastating it is for someone to literally claw their way back from the PITS of insecurity hell.  I have learned to pray like my life depended on it - because IT DOES!!!  I have learned how to pray for my husband more diligently.  I have learned who my real, true friends are.  I have learned who, when I am at my worst, would be willing to offer me grace if needed.  God taught me so much about patience.  So very much about patience and seeking His face.  One of the main themes over and over again the past several months was not trying to figure out His will but knowing Him more so that I wouldn't need to "figure it out" I would just know.  I would be walking in it without even realizing it.  I would be IN His will because I would be daily living and walking with Him in peace knowing that it was what He wanted.  God has been teaching me more and more that this life that I live is not about me, it is SO much more about Him.  It is about what He will accomplish.  Through all of this that happened the past several months, what was God's main goal?  What did He want to accomplish?  Well, I know that He wanted everything to be done for His glory.  

I have walked through a study on the armor of God, to help us defend against the enemy and goodness gracious was the enemy attacking on all sides during that time!!!!  Then we moved right into a study in I, II, and III John about God's love.  From that study, we did a study on the Bible, from the beginning to the end which we just finished.  It was a great study on how the Bible is a seamless story.  I have recently started a study on Hebrews and I cannot say enough wonderful things about it and as women, we are about to start I Peter.  So much wonderful teachings through these studies!  GOD HAS TAUGHT ME THAT HIS WORD IS CRUCIAL!!!!  HE HAS GIVEN ME A RENEWED DESIRE TO STUDY HIS WORD.  I am so grateful that I long each and every day to sit down at His feet and study what He has in store for me that day.  I literally cannot wait to see what my study, His Word is going to teach me each day. I cannot tell you the last time I felt this way.  

God is in the business of doing good things. The thing is, as Brice and I were talking about the other day, God's good and what we think as good may not be the same.  I remember specifically talking to someone one time and her saying, "I just cannot believe and will not believe that it is God's will that my husband have a seizure disorder."  Well, her husband had a seizure disorder.  How else do you explain it?  Now, someone that is not a believer may very well have another explanation but I AM a believer and I very much believe that it was, in fact, His will if her husband had a seizure disorder (although I don't go around telling my patients' family members this...I do like to keep my job).  God's good is for HIS plan to be fulfilled - whatever that may be.  God's good is NOT for everything to FEEL good the way we think of it in human terms.  God's good might actually FEEL really yucky to us sometimes.  Someone might have to die for His good to be fulfilled and that may not make sense but God is sovereign and I do not understand everything there is to know about His sovereignty by any stretch of the imagination but I DO believe that sometimes in order for good to happen, it has to hurt first.  That is where genuine trust comes into play. That is something else that I have learned.  Trust.  

I have had multiple conversations over the past eight months where I had to be the "grown up" and say things that I wasn't even really sure were right or made sense.  I literally felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants and praying the entire time.  I remember saying many times, "You may have a hard time seeing it right now but you will come out of this stronger than you are now. God is going to do something wonderful through your story." This is true for many of the trials I have endured during this time period.  I believed that because I had to.  Like I said, God told me that I had to be the adult whether I wanted to or not!

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned change and how I did not like change.  It's funny because part of the anxiety that I had as things started to unfold during my time of multiple crises this past end of summer/fall was all of the changes that were happening.  People were leaving my life and things were just kind of unstable which is difficult for me.  I remember praying for those close to me that I knew were struggling with different things where I may not have been struggling because that is what you do.  When you are strong, you pick up the slack for a friend and vice versa.  What I remember most is, during the time I was praying for specific people, I also began to change.  The whole process that God has brought me and my friends and family through has been just incredible to see.  

I had a conversation yesterday with someone who I had been praying for during that time who looked at me and said with tears in their eyes, "Isn't God good?"  Yes, my beautiful friend.  He is.  He has shown Himself faithful, yet again.  In at least two very specific circumstances from the past eight months that I can pinpoint in my life directly.  This period of time might have very well been the hardest time that I have ever faced as an adult.  And, honestly, it isn't over.  The trials that I speak of are still continuing but I do really feel like time is healing parts of these wounds but the majority of the healing is coming from Jesus.  

These types of changes are welcome.  The process is hard but the changes we go through are so worth it.  God is so good.  He has taught me how to be a better wife, mom, and friend.  How to read His word more, pray more diligently, love more intentionally, give more, and worry about what others think less.

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