God Connects the Dots
I was raised in a home with a Christian mom, and as a young girl I attended church regularly. It was a place where I felt safe and where I began to learn about God. However, life was not without it’s struggles; the major one being the loss of my brother. He was only 11. One day I remember sitting in church beside my mom, and with tears running down my cheeks, I asked her a question that would be difficult for anyone to answer-especially a mother who has lost a child. I asked my mom, “Why did Jon have to die?” I still remember her response. At first she sat in silence with tears of her own streaming down her cheeks, and then she said, “Maybe God wanted to take him home to heaven, so he wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.” I suppose that comforted me then, but I know that I was revisited many times by intense sadness and a deep longing to see my brother again. It would be years before I allowed God to fill that hole.
The Shaping of the Clay
No one ever told me outright that bad things won’t happen to you if you are a Christian. It must just be one of those things that new Christians sometimes think internally: ‘God will protect me from the ‘messiness’ of the world.’ Well, I am older now and God has brought me through many difficulties and the loss of many important people in my life. I now understand more of what I was too young to understand then; I understand that life is full of struggles, and that it is in the struggles and through the pain and the ‘messiness’ of the world that God can shape us and mold us. He can help us learn to trust Him more when we know that we can't do it on our own. In the trying times, we can learn that God is enough. He teaches us to lean in a little closer because we know that He will never leave us.
The Greatest Loss
As the years passed, I had varying degrees of growth in my Christian walk. In fact, I had an experience in my college years that tested my faith. Because I grew up in a Christian home, I believe that my experience was a necessary step in helping me establish my identity as a Christian, and was based on my desire to follow Christ because of my own experience with Him not simply because I was raised by a Christian mom and attended church as a child.
Things Would Never Be the Same
Five days before my graduation from University, my fiancé was killed in a bicycle accident. This caused my world and dreams to come crashing down around me. I entered the ‘I’m-going-through-the-motions-but-nothing-really-matters-right-now” mode. I was very angry with God and couldn’t understand why this had happened. Needless to say the journey to find my way to God was long and winding, but I found Him or rather, He found me. He met me right where I was and let me feel his presence in a very real way.
Connecting the Dots
I know that nothing is random and that God has a great way of ‘connecting the dots’and making something whole out of parts. This helps me learn patience, as I know that God has a way even if I don’t yet see it. I can rest assured that it is taking shape. I have found that my growth begins at the end of myself, and it is usually during struggles, trials, and times of disappointment. The road is marked with such things as these, but more importantly it’s marked also with times of clarity, understanding, and faith. During times of quiet reflection it’s easier to see that God has been leading the whole time. I pray that I will be able to become more and more like Paul who told us to take joy in trials as the testing of our faith creates perseverance.
Though I do not always understand what God is trying to teach me. I can rest assured that He has a plan and that He will bring it to pass. I know that He will give me strength to hold on even when He is reshaping me into something new. I know He will give me the strength to press on even during the 'messiness' in this world.