It has been a pretty intense week for us as a family.  The culmination of a pretty intense few months.  Those of you in my circle know a little bit about the circumstances that make me say this.  Others of you that don’t, suffice it to say that we are in a season of change as we leave our church home of eleven years.  We would have preferred to leave in better circumstances rather than because we felt we had to.  We all go through times when it seems like we are tried beyond what we can bear.  At times like this I usually joke with my husband, Austin and say that I would like to go to sleep and wake up a fortnight later,  or whenever the dust has settled.  If only.

Part of growing up as a human being is learning to navigate the challenges that life brings.  It’s the same thing as a Christian.  However badly we may feel like rolling over and playing dead, that’s not going to help.  And having someone ‘kiss it to make it feel better’ doesn’t work either.  It might have done when you were four but not when you are forty.

The lyrics of a well known song are that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.  I am not sure that I agree.  Here’s why.  What doesn’t kill you has the potential to make you bitter and resentful or fearful even.  It can lead to a life that is limited because of past experiences and hurts.  Strength is not an automatic by-product of tough times. I have known people who have lived through terrible circumstances and they have come out the other end marred for life.  But there is a better way.

A few weeks ago I listened to a lady preach and she talked a lot about stepping up.  It was not really what I wanted to hear as I felt I had already stepped up as high as I could with little to show for it and all I wanted to do was chill out for a long long time.  So I didn’t pay much attention to that part of her message.  However as the days and weeks went by, I began to get a better understanding of why God would want me to step up when all I wanted to do was step down ( I guess you’ve never felt like that).

You see it’s like climbing a spiral staircase.  The higher you go, the better the overall view of what’s beneath you that you get even if you find yourself at a similar spot as you go up.  Yes climbing the staircase is difficult, downright painful sometimes, but there is a purpose in the pain.  As I have navigated these difficult waters , I have needed to go often to Papa God, simply because I could not go on without His arms around me.  That’s coming up higher.  And the higher I climbed, the more I could see, and the more sense I could make of what was happening.  The pain didn’t always lessen, but I saw the reason for it.  Stepping up does not mean you do more necessarily, but it does mean you draw closer to Him.  And as you step up to Him, you invariably step away from the things that would drag you down.

I am so glad that I have family and friends that truly love me no matter what.  I am grateful that I have wonderful people who pray for me because they care about me and they believe in the power of prayer (you know yourselves – thank you from the bottom of my heart).  Most of all I am glad that I have a Father who speaks tenderly to me and does not allow me to wallow in self pity.  Instead He whispers an invitation to ‘come up higher’ because He knows that is what I need more than anything else.  Perhaps that is what you need right now too.  Don’t ignore his invitation.

As we walk towards the next stage of our lives as a family, we have no guarantees except that our Father holds us close.  As long as we accept His invitation to come up higher we are assurred of a future that He has carefully chosen.  The path may not always be smooth, but with His grace we can navigate the potholes with dignity and hope.  His promise is the same for you.  As you walk through life – good or not so good, His promise is to never leave you or forsake you.  I leave you with this scripture that I read recently.  It brought such comfort to me to hear the Father say this to me in His word:

When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I the Lord will answer them.  I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. (Isaiah 41:17, NLT)

Beloved, you are never forsaken.  You are never abandoned.

In His Precious Name,