Growing Pains

I’ve never understood the phrase “growing pains”…

What does it mean to have pain when growing?

What does that look like?

Does it look like the same for everyone?

Well, all I can say is that there are indeed seasons of growing and those seasons can indeed be painful. The last several months have definitely been along those lines.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that it has forced me to go to God in a new and real way that I hadn’t done in a while to be honest.  But, is that a bad thing? Looking back at the last 2 months on the “other side” for lack of a better word, I think it is the BEST thing that could have happened.

When we are forced whether by our own choices, those around us, or just because we live in a fallen world to run back into the arms of a loving Savior where we are safest it can be the BEST thing for us.  For me personally, I picture Jesus standing there orchestrating my life, but I’m too busy running around to acknowledge His presence and assistance in my life. He is softly calling my name and desperate to talk to me, but I am acting too much like a Martha to stop and take notice. So since I won’t do anything about it Jesus steps in and forces me to become like a Mary.

But is that so bad??????

My first response is YES….Don’t you know how busy I am? Don’t you know how busy for your kingdom I am?

And then I step back (only because I’m forced) and look at the beauty of the gift of growing pains. Wait, what?!?!?!?!? Beauty in the midst of growing pains? Stay with me for a minute….

When a piece of pottery is being formed there is shaping, reshaping, and sometimes the potter has to restart. That, I imagine, if the clay could speak is a painful process. Its the same with us spiritually, physically, and emotionally. There is pain as we grow… When you want to lose weight you are going to feel pain running , lifting weights, and training your body to eat healthier. When you are trying to be more stable emotionally you are going to feel pain. And Jesus himself experienced pain when he was growing spiritually. Jesus asked for the cup to pass Him, but He also was willing to go through the growing pains to sacrifice Himself for us so that we could be with Him. But just because Jesus experienced growing pains all those years ago, doesn’t mean we don’t have to experience them as well.

1 Timothy 4:15 in the amplified Bible says “Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them [completely occupied in your ministry], so that your progress will be evident to all.”  That last part “…so that your progress will be evident to all.” hits me square in the chest. The evidence of my growth should be noticed by all. Not in a prideful, look at me I’m awesome way, but in a wow, look at what the Lord has done in her kind of way. But what is the evidence? I believe that operating in the fruits of the spirit is evidence of maturity and growth in a Christian.

So all this to say I am embracing (most days) the beauty of growing pains. I am embracing the growth and maturity that needs to happen. I am embracing the spirit of Martha and sitting and learning at Jesus’ feet. Is it a perfect process? NO Will I probably mess up? YEP  But I am excited to start this new journey with the Lord and excited for all that He has to show me and I am excited to watch Him move in my life and show himself mighty on my behalf!!!

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Hand in Hand

Hi, everyone my name is Katie, and I thought I would give you a bit of background information to understand the story I’m about to tell. I am a first grade teacher to kids that are in poverty. It is a very challenging and rewarding job all in one breath. The story I’m about to tell you tells you about a little boy in my class last year that is so very special to me (not that they all aren’t, but sometimes a particular child reaches out and grabs you).

Earlier in the school year my class had to walk laps due to poor behavior during lunch. Normally, this child runs them and completes them quickly.  However, today he was having a very tough day emotionally. Picture, if you will, a child that is in a house full of other people, a new baby, and not much structure. Needless to say he picked up the rocks on the track and started throwing them towards other students. Another teacher informed me of the behavior, and the consequence was to walk another lap. However, he chose not to do that and walked away from me (sounds like what we do to God sometimes???) Serval minutes passed while I waited to see if he would make a different decision, but he did not. I walked over to him and asked if he would like me to walk his lap with him, and he shook his head yes. We started walking and talked about proper behavior, why we don’t throw rocks, and that I loved him and that is why there was a consequence. We ended the lap, and he merrily skipped away to finish his recess.

However, I was struck with a picture so deep within me of God and His children that I have been ruminating on it ever since. There is a well-known poem called “Footprints in the Sand” written by Mary Stevenson which illustrates our walk with Christ. Throughout the poem the man sees sections with two sets of footprints and times with only one, and the poem ends with this line, “ The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.”

How many times do we walk away from God because of behavior, sin, shame, or condemnation and then accuse Him of not being there for us when it was our decision all along?  I have personally shoved God away more times that I would care to count, but yet each time I look around and feel all alone I begin to feel His arms surround me and see His guiding hand even in the midst of my disobedience. Romans 3:3 says, “What if some did not believe and were without faith? Does their lack of faith and their faithlessness nullify and make ineffective and void the faithfulness of God and His fidelity [to His Word]?” The answer to this verse is absolutely not…my pastor, Jamie Austin, always says, “God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” Those are such comforting words in the midst of the storms of life.

Maybe you’ve walked away from God not because of disobedience or sin, but because life has overwhelmed you and seems to be swirling all around you. Friend listen to Psalm 62:8, “Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”  What a powerful picture of what God wants from His children. I urge you friends, as I am learning this myself, to live out the words in this Psalm. Too many times I curve inward and rely on my strength, my knowledge, my accomplishments, my works and forget that I can’t do anything to make God love me more than He already does.

God loves us and truly wants to invade every part of our lives; including those areas that no one else knows about. The areas that are painful, that hurt too much to open the door because it brings back memories that you would rather forget. Friends, I’ve been there and have walked through the process and continue to work through the process. But God is faithful and wants to heal and clean out those areas while walking hand in hand with us in fellowship and lending us His strength to make it day by day. God bless.