Yesterday a dear friend emailed me, saying this:
"I admire you for keeping so upbeat throughout all that you have gone through this past year. If you step back and look at it objectively, don't you see how much you have grown spiritually?"
Well, yes. Kinda.
But something more? Last week I thought, "It's a good thing I 'built my boat' before these huge storms of the past year. Otherwise, I'd have sunk by now. Drowned. Gulp, gulp, gulp."
Heaven only knows how stressed-out I've been at times even inside this boat!
When soul-shaking storms come, we always have choices. Stand strong and still do the right things anyway? Or panic, flail our arms and blame God (or others) for the winds?
Way back in 1994 I finally let God remake me (instead of keeping on attempting to remake myself) in the not-so-bad times. And that has made all the difference. Ever since that year, He (very often through Joyce Meyer and a couple other teachers) showed me:
... it's not ok to snap at other people just because I'm having no good, very bad, horrible days. --and--
... walking around shaking my head and groaning, "I'm just not going to make it. I won't survive this. Things will never get better," is the worst thing I can do. (God responds to faith, not fear.) --and--
...blaming other people or circumstances is a losing game. When I allow God to change me, the annoying people or circumstances of my life will at least appear changed in the different light of my new way of seeing them. --and--
... tests arrive to show me--clearly-- the wrong stuff still oozing inside my heart so to keep me humble, pliable, also, so God can make me more like Him. Attempting to 'pray away the tests' is usually a big fat waste of time. --and--
... instead of racing to God just when things go wrong, He wants me matching my steps to His, with a conscious sense of His sweet presence. Hour by hour.
There's more (much!), but this type of stuff is what God used to build my boat, one strong enough to withstand winds and rains in stormy seas. And truthfully? I've had to use nearly everything that went into that boat in order to stay afloat, to stay up, to not drown beneath these hard times of the past year.
It makes me shudder to think, "What if I'd waited to build my boat? What if I'd attempted to grow closer to God and let Him make me strong only when the storms grew dark and wild while I stood out in the middle of it all upon a tiny raft?"
Gracious. Had I done that, instead? Well, seriously-- every lesson would have been twenty times harder to learn and I doubt that I could even put words together to form sentences right now. Seriously.
God is so very, very good.
Learn your lessons well ...