Most people know that my year started out with my brother in law passing suddenly at the beginning of February. It was awful. It seemed like right before me, my whole family was falling apart. My sister in law was now widowed, my parent-in-laws were taking on a whole new job description as grandparents, my husband was carrying the weight of making sure that my nephews would get EVERYTHING they needed, and my son was so confused as to why his parents were so on edge and why his cousins were so upset. WOW... I honestly can't really put only a few words to describe all of the emotions that went through our family. We were scared, we were upset, we were confused, we were mad, and then it seemed like that cycle of emotions would start over again.
"He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever." Psalm 136:23
Which brings me back to faith. At the beginning of 2011, our pastor told us that this was going to be a year of warfare, but if I'm completely honest, in my mind I just figured that it was for other people... not my family. I was convinced that the God I served wouldn't put anything in our way to throw us off track. However, this wasn't exactly on track. You see, in my head I thought that because we had such a good relationship with God, that our life would go just how we wanted it to go, and then He threw a wrench in my plan when we got the call that my brother in law, Andy, was in the hospital and it wasn't looking good. Still, I had faith that he was going to pull through, because after all, nothing like this could happen to my family. Then we went to the hospital and we prayed, and we asked God to heal Andy. However, Andy went to be in God's Kingdom forever. That wasn't a part of my plan! That wasn't supposed to happen to my family!
So back to faith... Mine was starting to falter. How could such an all powerful God let this happen? How could such a good person like Andy, who loved the Lord and served Him well, be taken away so abruptly? I was angry. I didn't want to talk God anymore. I didn't want to have faith in Him. I didn't want to believe that everything was going to be ok. I stopped praying. I stopped listening to Him. I stopped reading His Word. My faith was dwindling. And you know what? My life was beginning to reflect that. It was like a snowball effect. One thing after another just kept happening. What was going on? Why is this happening to us? Can we just be a normal family again please?!? Then it hit me... I was doing this to myself.
"So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ." Romans 10:17
This verse says it all. I was removing myself from all of the Good News about Christ. I was letting all that was good in my life just pass by, because I was holding offense. I didn't want to open my heart to God, and let a healing process begin, and let His Word speak to me, and my life was showing that. Slowly but surely, I started to get it back. I began reading my Word again. I started listening to worship music again. I started praying every single day, whenever I'm walking by myself, when I'm in the shower, when I'm making dinner, when I'm putting my kids to sleep, whatever I'm doing.
And I have learned something. My faith was always there. And God never left me. I just chose not to really listen and look for Him. I chose to remove myself from His presence, so that I could sulk. But now, being with my nephews and sister in law, and seeing the joy it brings to them to just be with the family that they have, it's wonderful. Seeing the impact that Andy had on his kids, and how he has shaped them both to be respectable, gentle, loving, Christians. It makes me thank God for letting us have the time we did have with Andy.
"I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations." Psalm 119:30.
I choose to walk in faith with my God. I have chosen to renew my mind each day, so that I can focus on the good that I can be doing for my family, for my friends, and for any person that I may be able to help. I have chosen to thank God for the time that he allowed me to have with such a wonderful brother in law. I am thankful for the characteristics that shaped Andy and that shone through him, so that I could see them and be that much more blessed. I have chosen to be the best wife, mother, sister, daughter, and aunt that I can be through my FAITH IN GOD, not through my own powers. Because let's face it... I tried that route, and it didn't work out so good.
God is all powerful. God is always with me. God will never fail me or forsake me. I like the sound of that. I don't ever want to lose faith in that...