Growth in the Hard Places

Yesterday my pastor delivered a message on wholeness.  It may, hands-down, be the best sermon I’ve ever heard him preach for a couple of reasons, #1 how relatable it was #2 his vulnerability in delivering the sermon–he shared how wholeness has had to come to play out in his own life.  His words hit me particularly hard because I’ve been going through some stuff lately, hard, soul-mucking stuff.  He made the point that there isn’t some magic switch that’s thrown when we accept Christ into our lives, there is still work to do, particularly addressing those harmful patterns and injuries we received early in life.
He outlined five necessary steps to take towards this process of healing and wholeness:
1) be honest with yourself
2) cease blaming others
3) forgive others
4) ask God for help
5) when you need to, seek help
I’m not sure if this is true for most other people, but I think step five has really boiled down to a pride issue for me, but we weren’t created in a vacuum.  We need people to share in our sorrow, to offer constructive ways to move forward–why shoulder that burden myself?  
He made the point, too, that it’s going to be hard work and oftentimes it’s going to take a while.  I wonder, too, if Paul’s conversion is, in some ways-ostensibly deceiving–struck blind and then a few days later, he’s this awesome indefatigable powerhouse for the Lord.  However, if we look just a little bit closer at his experience we see that immediately after being struck blind, he is silent for three days and eats or drinks nothing (Acts 9:9) and he is praying (9:11) before he receives his sight back from Ananias.
We shouldn’t look at this valley time as just that, we need to look at it through God’s lens, the last four years of years of my life have been full of uncertainty, upheaval and change.
BUT
God has grown me, he has shaped me into a person of greater faith and trust in who He is and I’ll share the scripture that my pastor quoted from Romans 8:28-29–yes, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose—and let’s keep going: For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 
He is shaping us, friends!  He is molding us, and he is disciplining us. Why? 
Because He love us.

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