Last week was full of trying new things for me, for putting my faith to the test, for being brave and for working on my confidence. I have seen God's faithfulness come through so much in the past year, not saying that He wasn't there before but I have been more open to it and been much more aware of it recently.
About a year ago it had been put on my heart to speak to my MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schooler's) group, but I kept putting it off and I kept making excuses. A million things would run through my head about what I could speak about, but nothing was really worthy enough to speak on to me. This past year we have had girls get up and talk about amazing, life altering situations that they have been in. Awesome stories, yet a little intimidating. I haven't had anything super crazy or horrible happen to me (Thank goodness!), so then I felt even less worthy to get up and speak. Yet that nagging feeling was still on my heart...
It was taking over my brain, suddenly everything became a possible topic to speak on.. I couldn't take it anymore! I finally said "Fine God! You want me to speak.. I will but you need to take this off of my heart and you need to provide something worth while for me." Pretty sure demanding God to do things isn't the best idea, however it worked. As soon as I made the commitment to speak, the nagging feeling that had been on me so bad was suddenly gone. I BELIEVED that God would provide.. and then I OBEYED Him in what He was telling me to do. Pretty soon after I committed I was feeling pretty confident on what I was supposed to speak on, however as it got closer I started to question whether that was what I was supposed to speak on. Also I questioned if that nagging feeling really was from God and not from myself. That is satan for you, he will ALWAYS attack, make you question yourself, your faith, your God. I let him in for about a minute and then I turned back to God, and handed it all over to him. Through it all I had so much support from friends. My pastor even took the time to talk to me about it and sent me a book that helped me understand the whole process of being obedient and staying in obedience. Such a blessing he was in that time, so supportive and someone I knew who I could get great advice from.
The day before I was to speak I had no clue what I was going to speak on... NO CLUE! I laid in bed that night, prayed that God would make me still, open my ears and give me the message that HE wanted me to speak. I fell asleep super early that night, right after asking to Him to make me be still, He clearly knew I was exhausted. The next morning I woke up knowing EXACTLY what I was to speak on... it was the original thing that I had felt so confident about before. At that moment I knew that God would (and had) provide, that He would give me the words, and that He would have me say exactly what HE wanted me to say, no more and no less.
I was still super nervous, but I got up and began speaking, once it started flowing I knew that what I was saying was not from me alone. I had already decided that it was ok if what I spoke on didn't speak to anyone, that it was a growing experience for me. I knew that God was using this to help grow my character, and to show me that I can trust Him 100%. When I was done speaking another mom got up and told her obedience story and that she was thankful for my willingness to share and then another mom shared and then another women signed up to speak. Even though I didn't plan on my speaking to effect anyone it did and God is good to show us just enough to show us that He is working.
Every time that I see God working it helps me to put more and more faith in Him, to question Him less and less, to put my confidence in Him every time.
That same week my church was having a volunteer appreciation night to honor all of the people that serve in the church. They had asked for a story about someone who has helped in one way or another. I wrote a letter about a childcare worker, soon after that I was asked if I would be willing to talk about it in a video.... Uh what?!
I did it.
I figured it was just one more growing experience. The night we were to watch the video I wanted to run out of the room, I didn't want to see myself on video! Yet, the pastor and 2 good friends cornered me and refused to let me leave. The video turned out good, however you see things about yourself that you can't see in everyday life. For me I saw a lack of true confidence, which is something I have been praying about a lot lately. I thought I was somewhat confident before but I don't think I show it like I used to. Just another thing to work on.
The last thing I did that week was let my sweet friend Hannah do my make-up. She did an amazing job! But then she wanted to take my picture... Ummmm what?!
I let her.
I am not a fan of myself, I see everything wrong with me in a picture and I just don't like it. Hannah did a great job with the picture, but I was still overly critical of myself.
As I think about all of these recent experiences I tend to think that they are all Gods way of breaking me down so that He can build me up. I have noticed that when you pray for something, God will answer the prayer but it might not be in the easiest way. In fact things may get a whole lot harder before they get better. I know that doesn't sound very reassuring but in the end it is ALWAYS worth it.
I have been studying Exodus for awhile now and that book is full of God taking the longest, hardest routes. All so that the people can see that it is Him who provides for them and so that the people can grow in Him and in their faith and in their character. He knows what He is doing and I trust that 100%. Seeing it played out over and over again in the Bible gives me that hope and understanding. When it's hard it's because God is doing a work in you. It's just our job to hang in there, to not turn away from him and to trust That "He has a plan to prosper you, not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)