Three Things I've Learned About Faith

*I wrote this on Friday night and as I went to pick up one of our daughters from a fun night with friends, I missed a step on our garage staircase, fell and sprained my ankle. I went to the ER and now am in a splint and crutches for a week. Let me just say the devil doesn’t like this message – be warned! I have always loved people watching.  When I was a teenager, I remember my friends and I would just love to watch people walk by in the mall or on the streets of California.  Taking in all the outlandish outfits, crazy hairdos or how "that girl shouldn’t be with that guy". Twenty-five plus years later, it seems like my own teenage girls have caught the phenomenon of people watching.  I feel for them as people watching is now 24/7 in their lives.  Although, Mom and Dad hasn’t given into Social Media for them, it seems that in time they will be introduced into the way our world “people watches” from now on - all day, every day.

Recently I have had quite a few of you send me texts and emails asking me what have I been doing lately? - Is everything ok? You’re not writing as much as you use too. I’m not because right now where I am at - I am in the fight of my life.  No, there are no health issues. Praise the Lord!  Although I’m praying for friends like Michelle Cushatt battling cancer or even our own Pastor’s mother fighting a cancer all her own. Right now, Jose and I are in a midst of what I believe so many of us are fighting all our own.  We are fighting for God’s business.  We are fighting for this business that God brought us to Nashville from Denver 10 years ago.  Fighting for survival during the winter.  Fighting to stay afloat yet learning that whatever the outcome - God’s plan is bigger.

But, I do know this…God is in control.  I know without a shadow of doubt God will see us through, He always has.  Winters just plain sucks when it comes to construction. I’m a daughter of a Roofing Company owner and a wife of one too and one thing I’ve learned is that faith will always see you through.

As Jose and I walk through this season, it was just this past October that I was continuing to work at a high-end country club as an Event Coordinator, Marketing Director, Membership Director, Club Strategist, pretty much everything for the last 3 years.  See it was in this job that I got in the way of what God was trying to do three years ago when the economy went bad for everyone. The solution – find a job not wait and see what God wants us to do.  Then back in September everything was good. Debts were all but paid for, the teenagers had their things, and the business was doing great.  But I was struggling months prior. I was telling my husband how much I missed depending on God for our income.  How I missed depending on Him for our resources.  The paycheck I was receiving was a guarantee.  A guarantee that all is well. A guarantee that I never had to really ask God for anything.  I felt dependent on the paycheck and not on Him.  You have to remember this is a girl that has come from nothing but self-employed family – great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and husband.  It was as if I was longing for dependence on God.  No, I was longing for dependence on Him.  Now mind you this wasn’t what I call the "stupid" Christian that believes the money for the check that I wrote to purchase the car that is in the garage will arrive in my bank account. No, I’m talking dependence on Him as He orders my steps.

So an incident happened at work that was the last straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak after years of providing experiences for wealthy people, that included them getting drunk, hitting on married people, cigar smoking, and using their words in not so nice ways, it was time for me to quit.  What kind of witness of God and His kingdom do I have?

The holidays were wonderful. The kids made out like bandits. My mom came and stayed a week after Thanksgiving with us after losing dad this past summer.  The New Year looked promising and I was excited to see what God was going to do in 2014.

Be careful what you wish for.  When I said I missed depending on God.  He took it literally.

It’s as though we have gone full circle in where God had us three years ago - trusting Him.  Jose will quickly remind me though we are nowhere near where we were then, missed mortgage payments, bank accounts overdrawn, bill collectors coming from every direction.  We are fine and have endured some battle wounds; continuing to fight the battle of our faith until God gets all the honor and glory in His plan for our lives and His business.

via Creative Commons

So today I want to give you three things we have learned along this journey so that you can fight your own fight.  Finances are a subject a lot of us do not like to talk about or make public information, but remember how I told you about my love for people watching - every person we watch has a story. Every person has something they are going through, good or bad.  The more we become open with our story and make it God’s story, the more people we can turn to Christ as we tell others about our tragedies and triumphs, our battles and our victories, giving God all the honor and glory in each one.

1.  What is your motive? We have all heard on the news at least one time in our life about someone robbing a bank and the first  question the police ask is “what was the motive”? This is because motive explains human behavior. Everything we do is driven by motive. We hear a lot about passion and purpose which is inspired by motivation.  Where there is not motivation, these two things can’t exist.  But how does motive pertain to faith? Motive is birthed by our beliefs and convictions.  What is your motive for following Him? We know He can provide our loaves and fishes. We know He blesses those that hunger and thirst after His righteousness. But, Jesus, I think wonders if we are looking to Him not because of who He is but for what He can do for us? (John 6:24-27) He is the only trustworthy and reliable source of our faith – not His blessings, his provisions or His healings, but Jesus Christ Himself. So I ask you again as I have been stripped of this understanding myself – Is it in Christ or in what He can do for you that you put your faith in?

2.  Fight for your faith. Faith gives us hope, so if faith is lost, hope flees. Loss of faith leads to loss of hope, which leads to anxiety and despair.  Guard your faith carefully.  People will try to talk you out of your belief.  I never told one person, except my husband, that I felt as though God was dealing with me about depending on Him and not a paycheck before I quit my job.  Because here’s the thing….it’s crazy!! People would have told me I was hearing things that were not His Holy Spirit because at times, I admit, I thought that myself.  Fear and doubt are the two worst enemies that love to attack your faith.  You have a diagnosis of cancer, you just got laid off, your house burns down and you lose everything. When things like this happen it’s as though the whole world feels like its falling apart.  Then Jesus sweeps in and says, “I understand, I know you are afraid. Don’t be. Trust me”. In any situation we have a choice: fear or faith. Choose faith. Fight the fight of faith.  One thing as Christians, as followers after Christ, the devil is not after our money. He’s not after your house, your clothes, your children or your health. He’s after one thing – your faith. He knows if he can steal your faith you will be spiritually empty.

3.  Your faith will be tested.  Since January, God has me studying about Abraham and one thing that has spoken to me is how much he trusted God. Abraham trusted God with his whole heart.  Although Abraham never had the Bible to remind him of God’s promises - He was living them.  They were amazing friends. If you know the story you also know Abraham “helped God” in hurrying the process of His promise of having a child, he just forgot that God told him it was with his wife Sarah not her maid Hagar.  It’s funny how we get in the way and rush God’s answer to only find that we just delayed the process.  You may ask, what is that process? It is the process that says something about trials that clears our vision so that we can see what is truly important in life.  They help us remember that things are only things and never last anyway.  Only that which is Heaven will last, and that is where our focus needs to be. Then there are times we ask, “Lord, why are you taking so long? I need an answer God!” That’s when we need to remember that God is in charge and He knows exactly what He is doing. He will not delay forever, and when His answer comes, we will understand that it came just at the right time and in just the right way to bring our faith to maturity and all honor to Him.  The question is do you trust Him to do it?

Time and time again He has done it for me, my family, and through the generations before me.  He also did it for Moses, Joshua, Daniel, David, Job and even Jesus. When I find myself in doubt or fear, I now take a look at my motives.  I find myself blessed where God has us at.  We are not out of the woods yet, but we serve a big God that can do big things - it’s just not on my time it’s only on His.  I know without a shadow of doubt that He has and will see us through.  He will see you through. Just like so many before us, God keeps His promises.

What is your faith being tested with? How are you putting your faith into action?