by Cindy Hester
This week has been a difficult one. As the anniversary of my birth arrived, a mixture of stress and unresolved conflict resulted in a discussion well-orchestrated by the devil himself. Words spilled forth without forethought, anger mounted, and what began as a pleasant day turned on a dime into an ugly shouting match unbecoming anyone and unlike any usual conversations held on a day-to-day basis.
I realize this is a raw and personal revelation, but I know in these demanding times we live I cannot be the only one who finds him or herself in such a situation reacting in such a way. As the day progressed, my mind replayed the statements made. By the next morning the first word that came to my mind the morning of my birthday was failure.
God has blessed me in too many ways to count. However, to pass my life off as a fairy tale of perfection would be a great disservice to the grace that has gotten me to this point. God has done great things in the lives of those whom He has given into my care, more despite me than because of me. I understand the challenge of loving a blended family of individuals who are each facing different struggles at different levels in life. I know first-hand the confusion of deeply loving someone who is a part of, you yet being brokenhearted that the world’s lies tend to make you the enemy. I am intimately familiar with the longing to be known and respected for what is genuinely in your heart although your words may not always be able to properly express those thoughts – especially to those who are closest to you.
As I stood worshiping in church Sunday, all I could do was cry out to God. I seemed to have nothing left, and I could not pinpoint where all of this was coming from. I confessed that I had made a mess out of trying to live a Christ-like life in front of my family. I admitted it was impossible. They know me too well. No matter how hard I try, I have to start over again. No matter how genuine my heart, I still fail. This thought was prevalent, I have failed.
The longer we sang, the more we worshiped, God began speaking to my heart. I began to understand and to realize the message of failure was not from Him. A scripture my Pastor had prayed came to mind, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1. God reminded that I have been placed where I am with those who are in my life for a purpose. Then came these words, “It’s not over.” I had allowed my thoughts to be consumed with a feeling of finality. In my mind, I had either reached my expiration date, or I was throwing in the towel. I had completely taken my eyes off of God’s ability to overrule my shortcomings.
It is true that I cannot be a witness or live a Christ-like life in front of my family on my own merit. I can only come close to being effective in that effort by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform me by submitting myself to Him each moment of each day and by trusting Him to perform a work in their hearts. I will no doubt fall, but God is faithful to His promise to me. “The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me. O LORD, Your loving devotion endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8
I pray these words resonate with someone who may be struggling with an issue that seems hopeless. God specializes in hopeless. Our world is changing at a dizzying rate of speed, and challenges are presenting themselves in families in ways we once would have never dreamed possible. The one constant that brings us hope is the Word of God and the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is an unceasing source of honesty and peace. I pray God speaks His comfort to you through these words and that you’ll seek a living relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, and through the reading of His Word, the Bible.