I was reading my devotional today, on Genesis 14:22, and it triggered further reading and thinking… I pondered Genesis chapters 14-37. I thought about Abraham’s incredible story and the many struggles he faced in his life. He went through his life struggling to have faith in God’s power to deliver him from his enemies, to provide for his family, and to fulfill his promises. I started to think about how the faith of our fathers before us affects our walk and relationship with the Lord…
Isaac struggled with trusting the Lord to handle things and he lied to king Abimelech and told him Rebekah was his sister… and Isaac’s sons, Jacob and Esau… Jacob was constantly pulling away from God and doing things his own way because he didn’t trust that God’s way was better. Then I thought about Joseph and how even through being sold into slavery by his own brothers and later being sent to prison on false charges, Joseph never lost faith that God was taking care of him, and that there was a plan for his life. Joseph kept the faith and accomplished great things! That’s how I want to be remembered. I hope that my obituary goes something like this:
She was a genuinely good woman. She loved and feared the Lord and she was faithful to God and her husband. She faced many obstacles in her life, but she overcame all of them because she trusted God to lead her through. Her husband and her children were strengthened in their faith by her example. She served God in all she did, and He blessed her and her family.
I want people to look back on the life I lived and say, “Yep, she did everything for the glory of God, and you could see Christ through the way she lived her life.” I want my husband to see me as a faithful woman of God, and to have full confidence in me. I want my sisters and my brother to look at my life and see that to live according to God’s will is the ONLY way to live with perpetual joy and happiness. I want my parents to look at my life and be proud of the woman I’ve become. I want my future children to remember me with love, and I want to be the kind of mother that my daughters admire, and model themselves after; knowing that having modesty and a gentle and quiet spirit is far better than conforming to society’s ideals of beauty and femininity. I want my sons to grow up to be respectful gentlemen; men of God like their father. I want them to see how a woman is supposed to treat her husband, and for them not to settle for anything less than a Godly woman. I want to give my children the perfect illustration of marriage between myself and my husband, so that they might see Christ through us every day in our home.
And the more I thought about how I want people in the future to see my past, the more I started to think about the present… (Well, actually I thought about “The Butterfly Effect,” and how you can’t change the past, or you’ll alter the future, and it’s usually not for the best…) I thought that the best time to start writing a past that reflects my passion for Christ is to start living that way in the present. My present will soon become my past, and what better time than now to make sure my past is a reflection of faith? I can’t go back and change the things in my life that have already happened. I can only look back on them with a new-found wisdom, and move forward, growing in faith and spirit to become the woman God intends me to be.
It frequently frightens me to think about the great unknown which is my future. But in looking back on everything that has happened in my past, there has been a reason for everything. Every misstep, every failure, every struggle and every achievement, blessing, and victory have brought me to where I am now. And while I couldn’t see how the story was unfolding then, it makes perfect sense to me now. That’s how I know that I have to walk in the faith. I have to live according to God’s word. I must have faith and trust in the Lord. That’s the only way to get to the place I ultimately want to be. I know it’s going to be difficult, and I’m not so naive as to believe that I won’t stumble and fall. But I have a road map, and I have people surrounding me that are cheering me on toward the goal. I have a husband that loves the Lord, and who is strong enough in his faith to correct me when I drift, and point me back on track. That’s what gives me the courage and the faith to carry on.
From time to time, I get this anxiety that overwhelms me; I feel like I have to make all the right choices and if I don’t, I will have drifted off course from where God wants me to be. I recently re-read a journal entry I made a year ago, and I had written a quote from the pastor, Michael at Cornerstone Church. He said, “Our demands to get the decisions ‘right’ are most often based on pride, not righteousness… Community, unity, and order, are more important that getting all the decisions ‘right’.” I have to remind myself of that when I’m stressing out over what we should or shouldn’t spend our extra money on, or where we should go on vacation, or what I should cook for dinner, because ultimately, none of that matters. What does matter is that in all of those little decisions, God comes first. If it’s a matter of a new outfit or giving to a worthy cause within the church, I hope I think of God first, and choose the church. If it’s a matter of going to Orlando, or to some place decimated by natural disaster to help people rebuild their homes, and help to inspire them in faith, I hope I choose the faith. If it comes down to a nice dinner out with my husband, or a home-cooked meal with some friends who are having a rough time, I would hope I choose to be there for our friends. The choices don’t matter, because as long as God is at the center of all I do, my choices will always be the right ones. And when I need to refocus, I pray that God continues to point out my pride, and my selfish ambition and corrects me, whether it be by epiphanies that come through reading the Bible, or through loving gestures of guidance from family and my husband.
I know my God is able. And that’s what will help me to leave a legacy that my family and friends will be able to one day reflect upon after I’m gone and say, “She truly was a woman of God.”