the One Thing you can Trust

Discouragement is a thug.  It creeps up on you, punches you in the gut, and then slithers away laughing.  Discouragement breaks your heart, and leaves you in that painful place where sadness dwells.

Disappointment is a thief.  It robs you of the things you were hopeful would come to pass.  It steals, if only for a moment, your sense of the world, and where you belong in it.

Anger, oh anger.  It is a hard one to figure out.  On the one hand, anger can be your best friend, your self-defense, and your motivator to get out and do what needs to be done.  On the other, it can be your worst enemy.  It blindfolds, spins you around until you are dizzily confused, then spits you out.

Rejection.  Rejection is fear.  Rejection is walking onto a path, and losing your footing.  Rejection pulls the rug out from you, knocks the wind out of your lungs, and revisits all of your self-prescribed deficiencies.  Rejection also educates you…even if in the most unfortunate of ways.

The past few days, discouragement, disappointment, anger, and rejection have all been sitting side-by-side with me.  I’ve been able to displace them for a bit, but the moment I’m alone, they come tip-toeing back to me.

Last night, I had the responsibility of training future foster parents.  I knew I had to fake it through the night.  I had to pretend that my heart wasn’t in pain, my mind wasn’t a thousand miles away, and anger was not my friend.  I had to put on a good show, and never give away the fact that I was reliving the day over and over again in my head.

The truth is I’ve gotten pretty good at putting on shows.  Last night was no different. As the class ended and I made my way to my car, I began to exhale the vile thoughts I had kept in.  I turned on the ignition, put the car in gear, and pulled away from the church that I had been teaching in.  In that moment, I looked up and saw this:

Trust Image

There He was.  There, right in front of me, was the visual reminder of the only truth that matters.  The One Thing that I can trust.

Perhaps fear is what overtook me throughout the day.  Fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy, fear of not being good enough, fear of distrust, fear of the unknown, fear of feeling useless, and fear of no longer being significant.  

The future is not known.  Dreams and plans are not always fulfilled.  Even the notion of what appears to be fair and right are not always followed through on.  It should not come as a surprise that man disappoints, discourages, stirs up anger, and rejects time and time again.

The Lord though, He does not reject.  He does not disappoint.  He does not discourage.  Instead, He says, “You, my child, you are significant.  Your work does not go unnoticed.  You are not a disappointment.  Your anger will only visit you for a short time.  You are not a reject.  You are not inadequate.  You are not useless.  You are better than good enough.  You are MY child.”

I woke up this morning still feeling the left-overs of emotions from the day before. Still yet, my thoughts kept returning to the sign that caught my eye.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” -Corrie Ten Boom

Dear friends, the next time you feel the sadness of discouragement, the victimization of disappointment, the vision-stealing darkness of anger, and the overwhelming fear of rejection, remember Who holds your future.

Remember Who appoints your successes, and comforts your failures.  Remember Who finds you worthy.  Remember Who values your work, cherishes your talents, and Who you have nothing to prove.

Remember, your future may be unknown to you, but to your Father in Heaven it is mightily known.  Now, that is One Thing you can Trust.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

(photograph by Sarah Carter – http://www.sarahcarterphoto.com)

My daughter and I were setting up a room in a local church where I was scheduled to train foster parents on grief and loss.  The room is mostly used for youth so the decorations were different from the usual church auditorium.  Coming out of the stage and across the ceiling was a gigantic sculpted tree that was grey in color.  I could see where a child might find it a little frightening; although, I know that was not the intent of the designer.

My daughter said to me, “I’m scared. That tree is scary.”  I comforted her and told her that there was no need to be afraid as mommy was with her.  Again she said, “Mommy, that tree is scary.”  This time I told her that mommy and God were in the room with her so she did not need to be afraid.  When I told her that God was in the room she said, “No, He isn’t.”  I gently said, “Oh yes He is. God is with you wherever you go so there is no reason to be afraid.”

By now, I could tell she was quite agitated with me for saying that God was in the room. She put her hands out in an exaggerated manner and shook them while she said, “No He is not.”  I asked her “Where is God then?”  She looked up at me with her gorgeous blue eyes and sweet expression and said “God is in my heart.”

At that moment, the hustle and bustle of trying to get the room set up while tending to a clinging, somewhat argumentative 3 and 1/2-year-old melted away and I was reminded of how pure child-like faith is.

Do I walk around as if God lives in my heart?  Do I remember on a daily basis the implication of accepting Christ in my life?  Do I treat others in a way that truly reflects the love of Christ?  I love that God uses children to declare His truth and to gently humble us in ways that are so unexpected.

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  Psalm 8:2 (NIV)