The last two years have been some of the most stretching years for me. Stepping into a new church, new friendships, refocusing on a city I was happy to get away from in my youth and processesing a whole lot of heartbreak and new happenings… I’d love to tell you that answering the call of God was this easy leap of faith. I’d like to tell you it cost me nothing. I’m starting to think of my decision as more of a daring dash into the unknown. It has caused my muscles to ache, tears, a revealing of my weaknesses and even doubt. I nearly sabotaged it with insecurity, hurt from the past and wanting to be a spoon-fed believer rather than a woman who knows she can walk into a room with the authority given to her by God to kick the devil’s ass.
God has been gracious to me. Miracle after miracle, He opposed my doubting heart. Moment after moment, in my busy life, He spoke gently and offered His hand of help. I wanted to desperately to crawl back into my last safe season. I wanted someone to tell me how to live my good Christian life. Yet, I was here, now, and it has been a time to go forward confidently in the truth I know. Even if I was lacking comfort.
I’ve been so focused on my lack, I have missed my call. My view, fixated on pain or doubt, that I have blanketed truth.
How unfailing is the love of God… He doesn’t leave me high and dry to sit there.
I’ve almost counted myself out of the race with recent disruptions/distractions (call them what you will), and shit, Satan tried to take me out multiple times by killing my spirit.
How beautiful is the Church, the body of believers who carry me, even while they have their own troubles.
I almost left my place and they reminded me of the mission, why I needed to stay.
“Be still and know He is God. He will fight for you. Just believe.” — Read 2 Chronicles 20 if you want to know a great story on being still as God handles the details.
As I’ve learned from running, I’ve acknowledged what a terrible thing it is.
It tears your muscles apart.
It makes you pant for water.
Sometimes, the heat of day is wearing and your feet ache.
Other times, the cold makes you wish you were comfortable.
Still, every time you choose to set your foot on the ground, you go further and further because that is how endurance is built. You have to hurt to press through. Your muscles have to know what pain feels like to strengthen you for the journey ahead. Your mind needs commitment and to hear the voice of your Father or friends as they shout aloud, “You are able”.
I sat at a table with believers last night who have experienced loss, like I did. They have leaped, crawled, ached, starved, cried for their faith and guess what? The enemy didn’t take them out. With God on their side, they overcame the lie. In recent weeks, that lie has been amplified to the point of heartbreak. In that moment, a friend who battled through hardship I will never know, speaks to me from across the table. He says, “Steph, I’m not an emotional guy. I’ve always wanted facts. The first time I heard you sing (worshipping the Lord), I fell to my knees and met God there. That never happened before. You can’t stop what He has called you to do”.
I looked at him with teary eyes and just knew I needed to stick my course. I realized that I had been looking at who I was and what I carried as not enough for God to use. What a lie. All God asked was for me to run. Though running starts as a terrible experience, you grow stronger with time and see what you were capable of. In turn, you show others how they can do the same. Running is healing. I’m not here to make people look like better Christians, I’m here to tell people to experience Jesus for themselves and let His transformation unfold in HIS timing, not mine. I’ve got a voice, friendship, honesty, I’ve got some media capabilities and a car to get there… Most importantly, I have the ability to pray and point you to God through His word.
I’m keeping my course, I’m keeping my eyes heavenward. I’m not quitting the race, I’m keeping the faith.