I was working full time, coaching robotics, taking 3 kids to and fro, teaching at church, and keeping up with my home and regular responsibilities.
My response each time was, "It isn't me. God gets me through."
My strength came from God. It still does.
Y'all I work hard on my relationship with God. I'm not boasting about that at all. I just think it is important for me to say that we have to work at our relationship with Christ in order to grow and strengthen our faith.
Life is hard. Life is good. And in both of those, we need God all the time. So many times, we place God aside in the good times. We don't spend time with Him or read His Word. But when life is hard, we call out to our friends and family to pray for us. We start to pray. We start to reach and pull for anything that is God related.
The storm settles, and we push God aside again.
We begin to wonder where He is, why things happened the way the day, how we got to where we are.
And I truly believe it's because we didn't work on our relationship with Him.
I'll be the first to admit that for a long time I struggled to find time for God. I was busy, y'all. There was never enough time. Prayer and Bible study just didn't fit into my schedule.
But then, I started being a mom that I didn't want to be. At the end of the day, I wasn't proud of myself. I was struggling in my relationships with others due to trust and gossip issues. I started to really examine who I was and what made me the way I was.
What I found was this.....
I had been that person that placed God inside a box. I pulled Him out when I was hurt and desperate. When things calmed down, I placed Him back in the box. I wasn't growing in my faith. I found that I was filling my time with things that didn't really matter all that much. I knew that something had to change. I had to change.
Yes, I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. But I realized there was more to it than just that. Like my marriage and my other relationships, I had to work at my relationship with Christ.
Church became a priority. Instead of deciding we were just too tired for church or had too much to do on Sundays, my husband and I made the commitment to attend church regularly. This included attending Sunday evening and Wednesday night services as well. My family also became involved in Sunday School classes. We built relationships with others while learning more about God's Word. Instead of Easter and Christmas churchgoers, we became dedicated to being in church when the doors were open.
On top of all this, I made a commitment to read my Bible (the whole entire thing) on my own. I've done Bible studies alone and with small groups (in person and online). I've journaled and written and prayed. There is time intentionally carved out for God.....each and every day.....no matter if I woke up on time or overslept.....no matter how busy I am, He is the priority.
I've often heard people say that their faith gets them through. I've started to wonder and want to ask, "Your faith in what?"
Last night, our pastor said this, "There is a difference in knowing about God and knowing God." I couldn't agree more.
I can know about God and have faith that He will take care of me and get me through my storms.
I can have a deep growing relationship, learning more about God and getting to know Him better every single day. Then seeing how He has worked throughout my life and using those promises and the way He has proved himself through His Word and His work to put my faith and trust fully in Him.
During my husband's deployment, God was my priority. I made time for Him each and every day, no matter how difficult they day was, no matter how tired I was, no matter how busy I was. God was and is always first.
When I say that my faith gets me through a difficult situation, I also want to add that my faith gets me through my day to day life as well, no matter how good or how bad.
I want my faith to grow because my relationship with Christ has grown.
Are you stagnant in your relationship with Christ? Did you get saved and baptized and just stop right there? Do you struggle with finding time for God each day? Do you spend time in prayer by praising Him instead of asking Him for things?
Dear Friend, I encourage you to grow, to flourish, to have an amazing relationship with Christ. You don't have to jump all in at once. In fact, I'd encourage you not to do that because it can become overwhelming. Start small.
~ Get up 20 minutes earlier to read your Bible. I recommend a One Year Bible or start reading the New Testament with Matthew chapter 1.
~ Make prayer intentional. Pray in the shower. Pray in the car. Pray while folding laundry and washing dishes.
~ Keep a Bible with you at all times. Read in pick up line. Read at the doctor's office. Think about places where you have to just sit and wait and read there.
~ During your prayer time, PRAISE more than you make requests. Thank God for all He has done for you.
~ Keep a prayer journal. Record your prayers and praise reports.
~ Keep a gratitude journal. Each day try to record 1-3 things you are thankful for....the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the laughter of your children, no bills in the mailbox.
~ Make a commitment to attend church regularly.
~ Start a Bible study either online or in person. I've done both and have seen the benefits of both.
I've done all these things (and continue to do so). I'm not always perfect in all of them. But they've all been important in my growth. And please keep this in mind: we will NEVER reach a point where we can not grow any more in our faith and relationship with Christ. It is a relationship. Just like our marriages and friendships, a relationship with Christ requires time and effort. It requires patience and endurance.
I would love to hear from you.....What things help you grow closer to Christ? What things do you need to work on? Can I pray for you?
Our growth is so important for us to find our identity in Christ.