Monday, 10 April 2017

Faith in the Shadows

Transitioning into parenthood is a blessed challenge. Its a journey like no other and I found that my whole world was flipped upside down and over. Something I really struggled with was maintaining a faith through this transition. I never got to the point where I stopped believing - after experiencing and seeing unexplained things from God, that is not a question for me. But, walking with him closely and daily was a struggle. Overcoming guilt and condemnation was sometimes crippling.

My faith seemed to be in the shadows, hidden, cold and wanting to be in the light so close but impossible to get to. What I mean by the shadows, I felt that my heart and relationship with God was covered by darkness that hindered me from connection with Him and His creation. Sundays was like being a lamp that had forgotten to be switched on, there was no connection.

I struggled with this trying to understand what I wasn't doing right, how this was happening, was it the depression, did I not have the time. My brain struggled to process the Word of God or to even pray the way I used to.

Then one day I decided to have a tea with Jesus. I heard about people doing this all the time, going to a cafe, ordering a coffee and spending time with God. I didn't really get that. However, I was desperate to connect, to be a role model of a healthy relationship with God for my children. To be healed and healthy in my mind. To enjoy life with Him.

So I gave this tea time with God a go, and you know what once I got over the feeling of seeming strange, talking to an empty chair, something shifted. Hearing myself speak what was on my heart, I started to make sense of what I was feeling. At the time I simply felt like my faith was in a shadow, I can explain the emotions and thoughts now because I have processed this time. But at the time there was no explanation for me, just a shadow with a struggling intimacy in my faith.

I said to God "What am I suppose to be doing? I can only manage reading one verse from the same book in the Bible, writing in my journal is such hard work, I can utter a simple 'help me' for prayer. Why can I not connect with you?" then there was this stillness in my heart, and I heard clearly God say to me "That is all you need to do, you are connecting the best you can right now and that is all I ask." Immediately I was filled with peace, the sun was shining and I could breath relief. I said to Him "Aren't I suppose to be serving your Kingdom, but I am always at home. What should I be doing." the reply "You are doing what you are suppose to be doing, you are in a season of motherhood your priority is loving your children and enjoying your life, this is serving my Kingdom. Your dreams will come in good time. For now, love me, connect as you can, rest in this season of mothering and I will take care of the rest."

Mind equals blown!!!

The weeks following I continued to process this conversation and my perspective changed as I took the pressure of being the right christian follower off my shoulders and simply loved God and who He is to me the best way I could each day. Some days were deeper than others, other days were walking through the day thankful and then there were days I just knew He was there.

There was still this feeling of my faith being in a shadow but as my heart was changing and relaxing and I was enjoying life I soon realised that it was not a shadow of darkness but I was resting in the shadow of my creator, my father, my savior, my King.

He knows exactly what I am walking through better than I know myself and I don't need to explain or justify why I might be struggling. This experience taught me that He loves me in all stages regardless of what is going on and all He expects from me is to love Him and allow Him to walk with me through it.

Gods desire for me is to enjoy the life I have, to trust Him with my hopes and dreams. So now I live knowing that He gives me strength and peace.

My hope for you reading this is to be encouraged. If your not yet a Christian I expect alot of this to sound strange, trust me when I read over it and see the language it does sound strange. But I want you to know that God is real, He is gentle and He is loving. I cant explain to you how He does what He does, how I know in my inner being how real He is, the best way for you to find out what I am talking about is to discover a relationship with God for yourself. All I can do is share my journey, my joys and struggles in truth. My truth is that God saves me, loves me guides me through it all. So test the waters, go to a church, ask the questions, challenge Him and allow God to reveal whats true to you. Find your friend who lives with Christ and talk with them, pray with them. See what He shows you.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger so why should I tremble?"  Psalm 27:1

I don't believe there is a wrong and right way to connect with God. Our relationship with Him is unique to us. For me, I have recently discovered that my connection with Him is through the creative. Painting, writing, music. This is where I connect with my God, His Word and where I talk with Him. You've just got to love Him, be still and allow Him to teach you how to grow your relationship with Him. And if you feel like your in the shadows, you might actually be in the Shadow of Him so rest there.

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