Sunday Devotional

I had a wonderful morning at church today. It was the first time Punkin and I went to the new church by ourselves. Jon had to stay home with Jude, who was sick. Nevertheless, it was a good day. It was a great message and something that I really needed. Punkin had so much fun that she didn't even want to leave her class when it was time for me to pick her up. Also, I am volunteering to work in the nursery and in the school classes and I'm really excited about it. It will probably only be one weekend a month (unless someone calls out), which is actually perfect. It will be a great way for me to get involved and help out with the church and to meet new people. I start in March.

One part of the sermon today talked about how God is the one who is in control of our lives and not us. This is something that I struggle with IMMENSELY! I am a very stubborn passionate person who is used to being in control of everything I do. No way is someone going to tell me when to do things and how to do things! I decide those things! I am in charge of the decisions I make and what my future holds! At least that is what I used to think...then things happened. Hardships happened. Great hardships. And the harder I try to fix it, the further God pulls be back. I've been telling everyone that these hard struggles I have been facing for the last couple of years are really starting to wear me down. I always say that it feels like I take one step forward and ten steps back. Well, I just realized that it is because I am! But I'm not taking these steps back. God is PULLING me back.

Before I had my daughter, I was your typical twenty-something single gal. I worked hard and I played hard. I made good money. I shopped a lot, went out a lot and I gave a lot. It always brought me great joy to give things to friends and family. I loved the fact that I could buy my parents a new wedding ring set for Christmas. I enjoyed taking my sister shopping. It felt good to go on a weekend getaway with friends and pay for everything. I did it because I wanted to. And I was able to. I had the money and wanted to spend it on loved ones. I didn't have a whole lot growing up. My parents (bless their hearts) didn't have the money to buy me whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. I guess it was a good thing. Because when I was finally able to get everything on my own, I appreciated it a whole lot more. I had to work for everything I had. If I wanted a car or a cell phone or a new outfit or new shoes, I had to go out and make the money to buy it. And I did. I got my first job when I was 16 years old and had never been without a job until after I had my daughter. And I loved being a stay-at-home Mom! But it was weird to me. Not working and not making my own money and relying on someone else for everything was weird to me. Then I separated from my ex and was left with nothing. No money, no car, no job, no income of any kind, a ton of debt, disconnected from most of my friends, and staying in a place where I was always fighting with my family (which hurt even more because we all used to be super close). I felt like a failure...a failure to my daughter...an idiotic failure for actually trusting in someone else. And I had no one. Then Jon came around and accepted Punkin and I for everything we were and everything we had...even if it was nothing. I say that he has been my support system through everything, but he has also been so much more. He has been my best friend.

So that leaves me where I am right now. Still trying to pick up all the broken pieces. But things are very slowly getting better. I have the love of a good man and my relationship with my family is improving GREATLY. But what about everything else? It's hard trying to find a job that will actually cover the cost of day care. And in this economy, it's just hard to find a job period. And I try SO hard! I try to find assistance and I make a ton of phone calls. And it seems to get me nowhere and I don't understand! Other people can do it! I know that I am not the only person going through this kind of thing! So why am I having such a hard time trying to fix everything???

Then I heard it today..."God is never surprised. He knows everything that is going to happen before it happens. He has put you in the situation you are in right now for a reason. You can't change it. Only He can. Every trial and every hardship happens for a reason." Okay, so why can't God cut me a break here? I mean, I'm a good person! Always putting others first. Then I really thought about it. These last couple of years, I have not been a good Christian. I mean, no one is perfect, not even Christians. But I have not been living my life the way I should to be calling myself a Christian and be more Christ-like. I have so much hurt in me that has now become anger and bitterness and resentment. And I have let those feelings consume me. With everything. I find that these days I have no patience and no tolerance for anyone. No forgiveness. I have a very hardened heart and I am finding it hard to change that. But as I listen more to the word of God, I feel that those feelings are slowly being chipped away. I find myself turning more to prayer. For some reason, praying has become a chore to me over the last couple of years, even though I have witnessed first-hand what the power of prayer can do. And this is why my situation is the way it is. I have not fully accepted that I am not in control of what is going on. I have not truly given everything over to God. I have not truly prayed the way I should be. I am still under some assumption that I can fix things. If I keep trying a little bit harder, I can change it. And God is pulling me further back to show me that I can't. He wants me to turn to him. He wants me to pray. And that is the reason we have hardships. I believe everything is a test to see how we will handle it. Turning to God in times of pain and suffering, turning the other cheek in times of anger, letting things go to be the bigger person. And I have failed. I hate doing all of those things! If people are wrong, I want to call them out on it! If people are making assumptions about me, I want them to know the truth! And I have to just keep asking myself...why? What do they matter? Let God take care of it. Trust in Him and He will take care of you.

So I am definitely what you call a work in progress. At times I feel so alone and at times I feel like giving up because nothing is working...not even prayer. But I know God is here somewhere with me because I can feel Him working in my life. It may be in small and subtle ways, but it is happening. And I am glad. It feels good to know that someone has my back. All I have to do is trust in Him. Seems so easy. So why is it so hard?

Enjoy this song. I definitely do and it definitely fits here!

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