My life and your life are different. There are similarities of course since we are all human. We compare ourselves all the time, but we are all unique. Our pain is our pain and while it may seem "less" or "more" than others...for each of us, it is the most painful thing we can experience. There is no time limit for how long we should take to go through experiences like grief or sorrow or even joy.
In my life, I've had many experiences. Times when trusting God seemed easy, as well as times when it was difficult. I've gone through things I didn't want to experience - usually involving change, which I don't like very much. But change is part of life and we all go through it, like it or not. We tend to grow the most and mature in our faith more when we go through stretching times of change.
One of the illustrations that has lingered with me since my two summers as a Royal Servant is one of the very first ones. Upon arrival at training camp, there is a lot of immediate stretching going on - running everywhere, cramming 8 weeks of stuff into one (fairly large, but still!) blue pack, realizing we will be living in tents and using port-o-potties, hot and humid weather, bugs, tons of new people everywhere, etc. On that first evening, they loaded us all up into vans and buses and headed out the main road to training camp which is surrounded by corn fields. We stopped and a team leader walked out into the midst and another team leader on the bus asked us to look outside and see how tall the corn was next to that person - let's say it was waist-high. They told us we would all be growing and changing a lot in the next 8 weeks and it wouldn't always be noticeable from day to day, like the corn we couldn't see it growing. But a week later, at the end of training camp, we repeated this journey and even in a week, the corn had grown quite a lot! Like us...even though we couldn't see the immediate changes, things were happening and by the end of the summer it would be clear to our friends and family back home that we were changed.
In the past year, I've had a different kind of growing experience. I've spent a lot of time wrestling with what I believe and why I believe and determining how to "own" my faith. I've been so blessed to have a wonderful support system of Christian men and women who have encouraged and supported and blessed me along this journey. They didn't tell me what to do, but they shared their own life experiences with me and things they've learned. Through those people that God placed in my life, along with experiences learned through books read and most importantly, through reading God's Word - I learned so much and felt again and again that there must be some purpose in this journey. Obviously, one major purpose was my growth and deepened faith. But, I believe that this blog is in fulfillment of another purpose. God wants us to share our lives, to be in community with one another. And a big part of that is sharing our stories, our journeys, with each other. This blog has become a way for me to share my journey with you and I've been incredibly humbled and blessed to know that it's had an impact on you.
One of the things I've discovered is how much I love God's Word. I found that I really love and appreciate the Old Testament especially. I'd always been drawn to the New Testament in the past - focusing on the Gospels and Epistles especially and most of the verses I loved came from there. I'd occasionally see a verse from the Old Testament that spoke to me, but mostly thought it was dry and honestly, kind of boring. But, I was SO wrong!
Here's a prayer from Our Daily Bread devotional 5/19/13: