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Monday, February 22, 2016

Faith and food poisoning

Have you ever had one of those weekends when you actually long for Monday so that maybe your life will return to normal? This weekend was a doozy. First I drove down to Oklahoma to meet up with my husband so we could drive to Dallas to visit some friends. Before we could make it all the way to Dallas, I got food poisoning. After eating my favorite meal (chicken cobb salad) at my favorite fast-food place. And it was actually a healthy(ish) meal! I did some push-ups and step-ups on the floorboards of my van, and I was feeling motivated for a healthy weekend. Nope. It's always a great first impression to meet someone and almost immediately ask for the bathroom...and then disappear for 30 minutes. Only to reappear just long enough to get some water and disappear again. So went the first 8 or so hours of our visit in Dallas. They were such sweet friends to help take care of me, even though they'd really only just met me other than a brief conversation at my wedding. I recovered, we had a nice visit, and we drove back to Oklahoma for a few hours of family time. Until my husband got sick. Yikes! Needless to say, I can't wait to collapse into my own bed. I meant to blog this weekend...I'm sorry, that just wasn't happening.

So this is late, but worth it I promise! God has really been moving in the most wonderful ways in my life. Remember in our last talk, I mentioned having to give L's growth and appetite to God? He came through, as He always does. I mixed together some PediaSure one day and determined I was just going to hand it to L and let God handle the rest. I could hear the doubts and lies starting to whirl around in my mind, so I started saying aloud "I have faith. I have faith. I have faith." Over and over like a broken record, I said it to drown out any other thoughts. She took the cup, looked it over, and started gulping it down. At this point I was all but screaming "I have faith! I have faith!" I was clapping my hands like a seal and tears started pouring down my cheeks. I should mention at this point that I was in the Post Office parking lot. I'm pretty sure the other postal patrons were mildly terrified by my odd behavior.

This might seem ridiculously silly to you, but it proved a point to me. Sometimes we just have to take the leap, even when we still have doubts or fears, and trust that God will help us fly. There's a huge difference between belief and faith that is crucial here: to believe is to say, "I acknowledge that there is a God," to have faith is to say, "I trust that God is who He says He is." Let me explain a little more. I can believe that God exists and that He is powerful, but until I trust in His power and the promises He's made, I am a dormant, ineffective believer. Faith gives belief potency, power, action. "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see," (Heb 11:1). I also believe that sometimes our faith is the proof, especially when it demonstrates to the world that even in the worst circumstances, we are able to stand strong in our faith. Learning to have that solid faith in the hurricanes of life starts with the faith of a mustard seed (Matt 17:20) in the tiniest tempests such as L's growth issues.

It's important to point out that faith is not an ultimatum. Stating my faith aloud like a broken record wasn't a call to action to God. I can't make God do anything. But I can have faith that He has my best interests in mind, that He wants to bless me beyond measure, and that He is always in control. Things may not always work out exactly as I want them to, or in the immediate time frame that I want. God's plan is always so much better than mine, and His timing is perfect. Sometimes His timing seems to immediately validate our faith and assuage our fears; sometimes, He may require patience and an extra ounce of trust. No matter what, "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," (Rom 8:28). My new favorite quote is from Dr. Tony Evans (Priscilla Shirer's father!):

Faith is acting as if God is telling the truth. It is acting as if something is true even when it doesn't appear to be true in order that it might be shown to be true simply because God said it's true.

More simply put, "faith is acting like it is so, even when it is not so, so that it might be so, simply because God said so," (Priscilla Shirer, The Armor of God).

One last note here - although peace and faith are inextricably linked, it is important to understand that they will not always go in a certain order. You won't always have peace when you act in faith; sometimes peace follows after we have trusted God. Or sometimes you may have peace before you act. Even if you don't have peace yet, you can act in faith and know that it is not foolishness if you are following God's guidance (found in the Bible, prayer, advice from mentors/friends, etc.).

I pray that this week you are encouraged and find new ways to flex your faith. I'm going to be sharing a bit more later this week about God's work in my life, and sharing some "home stuff" as well. How have you recently had to step out in faith? Maybe grab a hot beverage (I hate coffee, hence the generic verbiage) with a friend and bravely share how your faith has been tested recently. I would love to hear what God is teaching you! Just don't invite me to share conversation over a chicken salad any time soon...

Hapless but hopeful,

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