It is difficult to differentiate spiritual growing pains from suffering. The past two months, God has been wonderfully present to me. I told a friend that it felt as if my life was a jar of play-dough and God was a child squishing his hand all around this jar. It is a beautiful thing to have the Lord mold you further into a disciple for his kingdom, especially if this is something you have asked of him. It is, too, a very painful process. I didn’t exactly enjoy the process (muscle pains, hormones, the whole deal) of evolving from a slightly chubby 6th-grader to a tall, lean young woman. In the same way, I have to grit my teeth to get through this bittersweet process of maturing spiritually. But I am glad that I am no longer the little 6th-grader I once was and would similarly not trade this current process for anything.
I have been absent from this blog for a good bit of time now. Every semester I have to reposition my priorities, and it seems that this time my blog fell to the bottom, and that is okay. Seasons change and different things call for more attention. This semester has flown by ridiculously quickly, and has challenged me in so many areas. On top of being called to a new position as a follower of Christ, I have been struggling with newfound physical health issues, staying on track with academics, pondering my future, balancing passion with practicality, and of course continuing to hold my shield up boldly against anxiety and depression.
So, to sum all of that up, yeah this semester has not been one absent of suffering. The funny thing is, though, that the more difficult things have become, the more brightly Christ’s face has shown through. I have heard God’s voice, I have experienced his closeness, I have felt his hand guiding me even in the midst of the most terrifying experience of my life, and I have been reminded relentlessly of his all-powerful love and glory.
How cool is that? I mean you just know that when suffering hits hard, Satan is sitting right around the corner grinning because he is sure that we humans will not stay strong enough to endure and be patient with God. And really, I am not that strong—I don’t know why, but the Holy Spirit has given me the strength to hold on more tightly to hope and light than I EVER thought possible. Ever. It makes me think of Job. My suffering is of a very different nature from that of Job. No, I have not lost all of my belongings or my family, but I have been tempted deeply to despair. In those moments when I find myself wondering why on earth I am fighting so hard, why I don’t just give up, something smacks me in the face and reminds me that God’s love for me is greater than I can imagine. And, quick as lightning, I suddenly don’t feel despair anymore and am right back on the same path, holding onto my Father’s hand as I continue my steep and rocky journey.
Phew. Suffering is real. In fact, as a follower of Jesus, suffering may be more real to me on Earth than it is to those who don’t know the Lord. Because the enemy is fighting with all its might to pry me from God’s hand and pull me into the darkness. But I will not be moved. I am suffering, yes, but I can see that what I am experiencing now can in no way compare to the glorious pain-free life I will have with Jesus in Heaven later on. I think I have it in me to hold out and wait for that. I don’t know why God has chosen to bless me so well with this perspective and hope. But he has and I am so grateful.
I can’t promise an exact date that I will post again. Life is… well, life, and it kinda takes priority. But I do miss WordPress so here’s crossing my fingers that I’ll find a little time and energy to write and share.
Take care, my friends. I look forward to catching up on what you’ve been writing and enjoying all I’ve been missing from this community.