2018 has been a year of growth. There is so much more that can be learned, but God has really opened up my mind, and heart to new things and new experiences. Not only has He shown Himself to be faithful on the mountaintops, but also in the deepest of valleys.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over this year:
- Full dependence on God. I’m not talking about the last-minute prayers we utter when something goes wrong. I’m talking about the hour-by-hour, desperate need to depend on Jesus Christ. There have been moments this year where I honestly didn’t know how to cope. I prayed and prayed until finally, I realized I just needed to be still. I needed to stop worrying, stop complaining, and stop making mountains out of mow hills and instead fix my eyes on the One who knows the length of my days. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 I don’t think I’ve ever “been still” until I had no other option but to be still. Somehow, I’ve always felt the need to do something or to act on God’s behalf. But that’s not what He’s been calling any of us to do. We need to recognize how desperate we are for Him to act on our behalf once we have done all that we can do. He’ll show up in the most unexpected, unfathomable ways if we just choose to be still, and know that He is who He says He is.
- Prayer is the fifth vital sign. In school, I was taught that pain is the fifth vital sign. While this may be true, I’ve also come to realize that prayer is just as important as the air we breathe. Prayer changes us, despite everything that’s going on around us. It allows us to commune with the Lord. As we converse with Him, we can know for certain that He hears us and wants to give us the desires of our hearts. I’ve prayed something as short as “Heavenly Father, strengthen my faith so that I will always believe in Your goodness and faithfulness.” Even though that may have been short and vague, God hears everything and answers us in His timing. My faith has been strengthened over time because He’s given me the desires of my heart. Sometimes, He answers our prayers in the most unthinkable, strangest ways. But at the end of the day, He knows best and would not allow us to go through something we couldn’t handle. As I laid on my bed this past weekend in excruciating stomach pains, my cousin leaned over and said to me “Maybe God wants you to have faith in Him that tomorrow will be a better day.” This statement was made by my eleven-year-old cousin. I honestly couldn’t believe the wisdom that way coming from this child’s mouth, and yet Jesus tells us in Mathew 18:3, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
- Complaining is foolish and frowned upon. I would be lying to you if I said I don’t complain about anything. But over the past few months, I’ve realized how pointless, and selfish complaining is. For some, it’s a way of expressing their concerns about something or someone. However, complaining has a way of shifting our focus off of God and onto a problem. We become so caught up in our complaints that we can’t see the blessings in front of us. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door. James 5:9. It is one thing to have a deep discussion about important subjects, but when we start to see a pattern in our conversations that begin and end with a negative attitude, that’s when we know we’ve lost the right perspective. As for myself, I like to remind myself of all the past times God has been faithful in my life, or a friend or family member’s life. It brings me to the ultimate conclusion that His promises never fail, and even if I don’t “feel” good, God is, has and will always remain good. You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3.
- Fellowship with one another is important. A few weeks ago, I was saying to Ben “I just wish I had more interactions with Chrisitan’s who are my age.” At my age, it’s kind of difficult to find a group of young believers to surround myself with. However, after praying about this, God answered my prayers and actually opened more than one opportunity to fellowship with other young Christians. First, He allowed me to go to a bible study where I met three other believers who all have the desire to grow in their faith. We ate pizza, played games, studied the bible and ended in prayer. This group was so kind, and actually lent me a book called “The Jesus I never knew” which is actually a fantastic read. Next, He orchestrated a friendship between me and a young Christian woman who attends my cousin’s church. It’s kind of a funny story of how it all happened, but in the end, I was able to meet this girl who also happens to be a nurse. We spent last Wednesday afternoon getting to know one another, talking about our individual walk’s with the Lord, and a lot of nursing stuff! She also introduced me to a very nice conservation area nearby which we walked and talked for a couple of hours. Not to mention, she invited me to a bible study here in town which I went to on Saturday and met some very kind people. As we parted ways, we spent time in prayer and I just couldn’t stop praising the Lord for placing this young lady in my life.
- Reading God’s Word should become part of who we are. As a student, I know what it’s like to study for an exam. The motivation level to study is just brutal, but in the end, I know that it will help me to do better. The same can be true with our Bibles. Rather than studying for a test, we study the Bible because our faith might be tested. We study the Word because we want to know more about who God says He is, who He says we are and how He calls us to live. There are no formulas written in the Bible, but there are a lot of “if’s.” “If” we obey, God will bless us.”If” we choose to exalt Him, He lifts us up. “If” we choose to stay away from certain things, He will sustain us. “If” we honor Him with our lives, He will bless us beyond our wildest dreams. See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. Deuteronomy 11:26.
What has the Lord been teaching you over this past year? How has He been working in your life in order for your faith to be strengthened?
My eleven-year-old cousin wanted to get in on this blog. So here she is, Miss Sydney!
Hello, my name is Sydney. I am Sara’s cousin. I hope you are all having a good day and I hope your day is even better after you finish reading this blog.
Here are are a few things about me: My favorite things are spaghetti, pink, family/friends, giraffes, gymnastics(I’m really good), ice cream cake(DQ) and blueberry pie(preferably homemade).
Over this past weekend, here are some of the things the Lord did in Sara’s life:
-He answered meaningful prayers (but doesn’t He always)
-He allowed Sara’s grandma, a.k.a Ben’s mom, to visit the farm (she lives in a nursing home)
-He allowed Sara to stumble upon a bookstore called, Living Waters
-He brought my cousins to the farm this weekend
-He’s been healing her digestive system
-He gave Sara the comfort she needed by bringing Sydney over to read Bible verses to her
-He allowed Sara to go to a Bible study, which really helped her
Hello, my name is Sara!
Here are are a few things about me: My favorite things are pesto pizza, the color sky blue, family/friends, small dogs, and goats, going for long walks, and moose tracks ice cream.
Here are some of the things the Lord did in Sydney’s life:
–He brought her to the farm to see family
-He gave her delicious meals
-He allowed her to make cookies with me
-He allowed her to ride the tractor and mow the lawn
-He let her see Bentley and Billy and the chickens
-He allowed her to sleep in my bed
-He allowed her to play
-He gave her all of the necessary abilities for what she needed for this weekend
-He allowed Sara to answer some of her bible questions
-He allowed her to go to church with Sara and her family
-He allowed her to have fun