I didn't intend to take the whole summer off of writing, but that's what happened. This summer has been filled with change (both good and bad). God has been doing so much lately, and it hasn't all been easy. He has been changing plans and pausing dreams, revealing idols and misplaced identities, asking for surrender and deeper trust. But for some reason, even though so much has been happening, month after month, I have found myself without words.
Have you ever felt forsaken by God? Alone in your suffering? Have you ever felt that your prayers aren't heard by God? That no one, not even God, could understand the depth of what you are walking through? Regardless of what you are walking through, it's precisely here - in these darkest moments - that the events of Easter are so poignant...
In a beautiful way, the birth of this church has been one of the most tangible ways I have seen God's faithfulness to us. But, if I'm honest, I struggle to see God's faithfulness in every area of my life, and I have a feeling I'm not alone in this.
It's a little surreal, seeing something we've hoped for for the last two years become a tangible reality. But I won't lie, there have been days where it has been hard to hope for good things (about this church and about many other things). So this post is about hope and how hope can feel impossible. But also how hope is exactly what we're guaranteed in the Christian life.
When it comes to my walk with God, most of my doubts and spiritual struggles come down to the question "Am I really believing that God is who he says he is?" This question seems to come up again and again as I struggle through the ups and downs of life.
I've come to wonder...what does my incessant striving say about what I believe about myself? About the Gospel? What does your striving say about you? Where can we find rest?
I often struggle with the contradiction between striving to be more like Christ while also trusting God to work through me. The juxtaposition seems almost impossible. How are we supposed to work out our own salvation if it is God who is working in us?
The Bible is big and at first glance it can seem intimidating. I mean, it's 66 books that were written thousands of years ago by really smart people under the inspiration of God.
So how do we even go about studying it?
It's a word we throw around in the church a lot and it's a word that is actually not explicitly written in the Bible.
So what is DISCIPLESHIP?
This post is rooted in years of questions and doubts about whether or not I was truly following the “calling” of the Lord on my life. I pray that the words I share are encouraging to you.
“We are all tempted to want to do something important, but who are we to say what is important and what is not? Every person we engage is an eternal soul and every moment is one that can be leveraged for the sake of your spiritual growth and for the sake of the Gospel.”
We serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose.
And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.
Yes there is freedom in financial peace, but there is even more freedom in trusting God fully whether your bank account is empty or full.
Yes there is a benefit to having a retirement fund so that you can serve God freely after you stop working, but there is even more benefit to sacrificially and regularly giving of what you have, whether your gifts are large or small.
In the act of open-handedly holding your finances before God, you are invited to a level of trust and intimacy with Him that is so incredibly beautiful.
I drop a load of heavy grocery bags on the kitchen counter and walk out the front door to grab the last of the bags. I look back over my shoulder at our two-year-old puppy as he tilts his head at me, asking me (in his adorable dog-way) where I'm going.
"Sit....... Stayyyyy," I say.
These are daily words in the Bowerman household as we try to train Chief, our adorable rescue pup.
You know that feeling when something so deeply resonates and you feel this unexplainable sense of rightness? That deep deep conviction that God is real and true and good and faithful. And sometimes you can't even tell if that deep conviction is your own or if it's the faith of the people around you upholding yours. All I can think to describe it is the deep encouragement and sustaining of faith that comes from community. And it is beautiful.
You know that feeling when you literally have no idea how something is going to work out? When you know there's a "next step" that's coming but you have no idea what it is? When the deadline to have things figured out is just a month (or a week) away? When people ask you "what's next" and you can't answer because it feels like there's just this big black empty void of a black hole ahead of you that will swallow you if you get too close?