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“I don’t believe, and I am ashamed.”
I prayed these words in between breathy sobs and running tears. I finally admitted it…I had doubts.
I doubted that God would take care of me, I doubted that God was hearing me, I doubted that God would fulfill His promise to me and the very thought of admitting that I didn’t believe pushed me into a sorrowful place that I was deeply ashamed of.
Being a Christian the majority of my life, Jesus was rooted into me early. I still remember being so excited to say my innocent little prayers before bed as a young girl. I loved Jesus early. So, when I think about how long I’ve “known” God, uttering the words “I don’t believe” scared me.
What had become of my faith? Would God be ashamed of me? Have I let Him down? How could I even mention those words after all He’s done for me?
So many thoughts swirling in my head, pushing me deeper into shame and bringing on more anxiety. I felt like I had let God down and allowed my emotions to drown me.
How did this happen?
I never thought after all God has brought me through, that I would ever have the audacity to say those words aloud. But, I had to be honest with myself and with God. I had to get it out of my head and off of my heart.
After several minutes of a heart-wrenched-prayer-cry, I felt relieved for being honest, but I also felt lost. What now? Where do I go from here?
After becoming fed up with unanswered prayer and my stagnant circumstances, I realized that I had reduced God to just being a “prayer answer-er”. I allowed my hurt feelings and disappointment stop me from believing in His ability and timing.
Yet, my Mom continued to encourage me, “Trust God Saunya!” and I would roll my eyes because I was tired of hearing it. I didn’t believe. I had been praying and praying and nothing was happening. Clearly, God is either not listening to me or was tired of me. Why even pray?
God is more than just a God who answers prayers. He is our all knowing and loving Father who watches us, loves us and challenges us to grow. I imagine that He drags out the circumstances in our lives to see how we’ll respond. Although it may feel like He’s disappeared, He’s there waiting for us to choose Him despite our difficulties. He watches to see if we’ll give up on Him or if we’ll continue to choose Him like He continues to choose us.
I can’t say that it’s easy because it isn’t. As soon as we reach a new level in our relationship with God, He tests us again, in hopes of shaping and maturing our faith even more.
Just like in relationships, when things get hard, we have the choice to continue loving our partner. God desires the same.
Even when things look bad. Even when there appears to be no way out, God wants us to get to know His heart so much that even in the middle of our toughest trials we continue to believe in Him. This is what maturing faith looks like.
This is growth. I’m growing. It’s hard but if the end result is matured faith, I fully accept the challenges I’m facing. I may be tired and even emotionally depleted, but I know that God has a plan through it all.
Are you struggling to rise above your difficult circumstances and trust God’s heart? I’ve created an affirmation print for you to hang in your home as a reminder. It is a reminder that no matter what our feelings are telling us, we have the ability to choose to rise above our frustrations and trust God’s heart.