Steadfast in Christ Alone - Church Advent
This holiday season I got the privilege to write a devotional for New Life Bible Fellowship. Below is the expanded version.
Steadfast in Christ Alone
When I got this email to write about God’s Promises I thought “great, God must know that I might have lost sight of His promises. This is surely his way of reminding me”. At first, I thought maybe I’ll ignore the email, but that Friday night I got this heaviness in my heart to research what some of His promises are. I thought maybe I could share how I could place them front and center. You know, for me to look at daily, especially since I already have an email that I keep in my inbox that reminds me of what I am in Christ. I thought this would be “easy”, but I was wrong.
This week developed into a busy week. It was filled with work, children’s activities, doctors appointments, and multiple therapy appointments. During one of those doctors appointments, I experienced another panic attack. I don’t know if you have ever experienced one of those. But for me, they have the power to make me feel inferior to those who don’t have them and it also exacerbates that feeling of being alone in the thick of it. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the thick of it, but for our family, this is one of those “seasons”. It’s actually been difficult since July of 2015, so a little over a year and a half. It started with a 3rd high-risk pregnancy. Where we delivered our daughter at 35 weeks and 4 days. It then climaxed even more with a late postpartum blood hemorrhage. That late postpartum blood hemorrhage required an emergency hysterectomy, 9 blood transfusions and 5 days in the hospital. I initially thought that leaving the hospital would mean that I was healed. I could finally go back to normal, but God had a different plan. See that night that I returned home there was a fatal accident outside the back of our home that I woke up to. Then just a few days later I woke up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe. It was my first "official" panic attack and since those panic attacks have altered my life since January of 2016.
When I first experienced them they were every few days and I was pretty sure that God just happened to be napping when they went on. Why? Well, because in my mind God would never allow something like that. I went on having panic attacks every few days for a little over a month before I sought help. During one of my therapy sessions, the counselor asked me to write what my identity was in Christ along with the scripture next to it. She also asked me to start repeating them to myself every time I got down on myself after every panic attack. As I navigated the next few months I felt like it was a broken record. Just repeating and repeating, truly not feeling that any of those things were true. I was then challenged a month later with the statement of “What if God was using this season in your life to save you”. My first reaction was less than pleasant. I actually said “I’ve already been through so much like losing multiple pregnancies in ways that were really difficult. Nearly dying did not need to happen…because really, I had it together”. But that was the problem “I” had it together...I was in control, not God... just “me”. I statements are typically good when trying to communicate. But in this instance this I statement was not good. Because at some point in those months of a high-risk pregnancy I went from dependent upon Him. To being angry, bitter and wanting to sit him down and say “MAN really?”. Side note: I often envision this conversation happening. Typically, God always replies back with “REALLY, it was needed."
Maybe it’s just me, but in the thick of life, it’s hard to remember God’s promises to us. In fact in this journey through this season I have realized that I became bitter to one of His promises. You know, the one that says that He is doing all things for our good. To be honest, it stings a little. Because this pain, suffering, and uprooting in my life is for my good... because His plan is greater than any plan I could have. It's hard to think about that because it's not the norm, it's not what society tells us it should be like.
I am pretty sure if you’ve been through something traumatic, devastating, or just really, really crappy you can’t see clearly. It's like a fog that you're walking through until you gain any bearing on the situation. Which means that you can't see His love for you or let alone one or any of His of his promises. So below I am going to share with you a list of what you are in Christ and also His promises to you during times of suffering. Heck, maybe that season might be now. You know, it’s the holidays, you’re missing that person that is no longer here with you. Or maybe you’re no longer caring that child that you were expecting. Or maybe you're dealing with an unexpected illness. Heck! Maybe you’re even like me where you went from your highest high on a 20 story building to a smacking your body on a concrete slab below. Maybe this season of suffering has left you paralyzed. Trust me I get it, and so does God.
Know that God is there with you and that there is MUCH hope in the circumstance that you’re in even if you may not feel it. Stay steadfast in Christ alone.
- How does God change within your heart during moments of difficult seasons? Do you believe that it will work together for your good? (Romans 8:28)
- Do you ever start to worry that God’s promises will not supply our every need? (Phil 4:19)
- Do you find it hard to give yourself grace or be open with your story during troubled seasons? (2 Cor. 12:19)
- How do return to focusing on God’s love and promises?
Put Into Practice:
Sit and pray over these lists below, so that maybe you can invite God into helping you regain mobility in your faith, in your hope and in your life. Maybe for right now that challenge is just too much. I want to invite you into making an hour worship time a priority because He can do great things through worship.