Do the Next Thing

Since first writing about my December challenge, I’ve had many, many people share their words of encouragement, as well as thoughts and opinions. I was aware of opening myself up to this when I decided to make this challenge public, and I was a little nervous about whether I was strong enough to weather all the wise words that would come my way, without losing sight of how this all began, and what I most wanted to focus on, personally.

I really appreciate all that people share with me, but it definitely has given me a lot to chew on, and I have gotten a little confused, at times.

Some people are completely sure that I will experience healing by the end of December.

Others think I will experience spiritual and emotional healing, but don’t really think physical healing will necessarily be a part of it.

Some people think I should never go back for another appointment again, because I should just have faith I will be healed.

Others think this month will be a great month for me to relax and rest without having to run around to a million different appointments, and I will have the chance to learn more about myself and about Jesus.

A friend came over last week on a day when I was feeling super confused about everything, and we had a good talk about it all. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know much, and I’m not even sure what I believe myself, but it comes down to this:

Trust God, and do the next thing.

Is that not fantastic?! It’s what formed in my mind last winter when I was learning a lot about what I believe about God’s will for my life, but my pastor shared this Oswald Chambers quote with me last week, and it may be what will save me, now in December, and forever after.

It’s simple, really. Do what you know. Right now. And then stop worrying about everything else.

For me, right now, it looks like this:

1) God said He will heal me. I don’t know when, I don’t know how, I just know He can, He will, and I’ll trust Him.

2) I felt God telling me to stop my appointments for the month of December. That sounds so specific, and so “I have a direct line to Heaven”, and I don’t even like putting it into words, but there it is. So I’ll do what I know, for the month of December, and then I’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll be healed. Maybe I’ll go back to all my appointments. Maybe I’ll only go back to some of them. I have no idea.

3) God didn’t tell me that He would heal me in December. He said He would heal me, I should trust Him, and then 2 weeks later I felt like He was asking me to give up my appointments for a month. I can do all of those things without actual knowing what needs to happen next.

I probably don’t have enough faith. Maybe I should be waiting joyously all month, just knowing that healing is coming my way within a matter of weeks. I don’t know. I was feeling really guilty about not having enough faith, and my pastor said, “Give Him your guilt. And then do the next thing.”

The song that keeps coming to my mind is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”. It gives me peace every single time I think of it, because it’s true – when I’m focusing on Him, worshiping Him, and dancing in my kitchen, or crying on my couch, just trying to surrender every hard moment to Him, I’m able to get past all of it, if only I fill my mind with Him.

Then nothing else matters – I could have pain for the rest of my life, and it doesn’t matter to me in that moment. I just see Him, and everything’s good.

That applies to pretty much everything in life, hey? Trust God, and do the next thing. I can do that. Little bits at a time.

So, I’m curious: What does “Trust God, and do the next thing” mean for you??

I Don’t Have Enough Faith

On Wednesday, I wrote brave words about teaching my girls strength through my weakness.

On Thursday, I broke down and wanted to take it all back, just for a minute….

Over the years since I first got sick, I’ve been prayed over many, many times for healing. I’ve been anointed with oil, and I’ve had hands laid on me, and great people of great faith have prayed boldly and confidently for me.

I’ve prayed for healing for myself far more times than I could ever count, sometimes with faith, and sometimes in pure desperation. But that miraculous healing hasn’t come yet for me.

And when I came across people who said, “Just pray with faith. If you have enough faith, then Jesus will heal you,” it always left me feeling like I wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t faithful enough, I wasn’t trusting enough, I didn’t believe enough, or maybe, just maybe… could it be that God didn’t care enough?

Other people got their miracles. Why couldn’t I get mine?

Waiting for a miracle brought me to a crisis of faith more than once along the way. But somehow, I always found my way through. I always hung on to Jesus, sometimes just enough to barely get by – but not enough to eliminate those lingering feelings of doubt that my sickness was my fault.

I didn’t have enough faith.

In the midst of my health issues, we were waiting for a baby. Two miscarriages, and it felt like no baby would ever come. But I kept begging and praying and pleading, and once again, it just seemed as though I didn’t have enough faith.

I didn’t deserve a baby, because I didn’t trust God enough.

But one day, as I knelt by our bed, begging God for a miracle, it suddenly hit me that He already was giving me a miracle – just not the one I wanted.

I was asking for the miracle of a baby, but God was giving me the strength to hang on, and somehow keep going, choosing Him even when things were hard.

Which was the greater miracle?

And so I tried to thank Him for the miracle of His presence and provision, even if it wasn’t the miraculous baby I was begging for.

But then, exactly two weeks after I was told a baby was completely, physically impossible, I stood in our bathroom holding a positive pregnancy test.

And I felt like I didn’t deserve it.

I hadn’t earned it. I hadn’t learned enough yet. I didn’t have enough faith. I hadn’t learned to trust God enough. I hadn’t found enough joy in the midst of this hardship.

But that day was the beginning of learning that I can NEVER do enough to earn it. I can never have enough faith, enough trust, enough of anything to actually deserve God’s mercy and grace and blessing.

He just gives it anyway.

So I held our miracle baby in my arms, and I wondered if maybe, just maybe…God could heal me even if I didn’t have enough faith. Or maybe…He could be enough, even if I spent the rest of my life dealing with health issues.

Yesterday, my friend reminded me of this passage in Daniel:

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. (Daniel 3:17-18)

Even if He does not.

That’s what I’ve learned. I think it’s the most important thing anyone can learn about faith and prayer and miracles, this side of Heaven.

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He is so far above me, I cannot begin to understand.

Am I okay with not having an answer?

Am I okay with not getting the miracle I’m asking for?

I believe He wants to give great and wonderful gifts to His precious children. But we live in a fallen world. He calls us to bring His kingdom to pass here on Earth, but it’s still all fallen.

So one day He’ll come and clean up the whole mess, and redeem our feeble attempts at “kingdom here on earth”, and Anika and I agree that we will eat ice cream every day from that day on, and I’ll ride my bike a lot.

Or maybe we won’t, and we won’t even care. Who knows.

All I know is that I trust Him. I trust Him for the miracle. I trust Him if He chooses to skip the miracle, and waits to heal me on that glorious day when He returns, and I meet our two babies I’ve never known.

He is good if He saves me, and I trust Him if He doesn’t.

Do I have “enough faith”?

Nope, probably not. I don’t really have enough anything, but that’s okay, because Jesus is enough, and I’m hanging on.

And so every once in a while, I come across people who suggest that all we need is enough faith. And then, all I need is a quiet corner to wrestle down those doubts that have plagued me for years. I give it all back to Jesus again. I surrender my life again.

And I say, once again, “Jesus, I believe you can heal me. But even if you don’t, I’m still choosing to trust You.

I hang on tight, and then we do it all over again.

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What are you holding on for today? Is it ever hard to keep believing that Jesus is enough, even if the miracle isn’t coming?

I know that some of these things are too hard, too personal, to be able to share with the general public in the comments section, but please know that if you ever need to get it out, and want someone to listen, you can send me an email. I’ll listen and pray, and hold on with you!