‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ – Psalm 73:26
Every person has a story to tell and no story is any less of story then someone else’s. Some may be less extreme than others, but no less important.
I am very blessed with the family I have, a family who love Jesus and love each other. I have a mum and dad who have been incredible role models and lived a life of faith and putting their trust in Jesus.
But growing up a church kid with great parents by no means equals an easy life with no issues. And while my issues may seem so insignificant next to those of others, they still affected me and my identity.
All the way through my primary school years and teenage years like many others I struggled with rejection. Kids can be cruel. Starting a new school – one minute I had friends and the next someone turned them all away from me. Close friends that would all of a sudden just not be my friend anymore. A couple of relationship bust ups. A friendship betrayal. Ra ra ra ra. Im sure we have all been through these.
If you ask my parents….many tears were shed over friendships. Many lies were believed..’I’m not good enough’ ‘something is wrong with me’ ‘don’t get your hopes up, eventually this person will reject you too.’
But in all of those times I had one constant that I held on to. I held onto Jesus. I had been told my whole life that ‘HE would never leave me or forsake me’. He was my hope. He anchored me.
After school was done and I entered the working world I still struggled with feeling very lonely. I knew a lot of people but I just craved good close friendships with people around my own age. I was in no hurry to get married, but I went to A LOT of weddings of my family and friends and I couldn’t help but wonder when it was going to be my turn…if ever.
But still I had a hope in Jesus. I held onto him. He gave me courage, strength, grace, perseverance (and a whole lot more) to just keep going. I knew I was called by God, I had a purpose and so I kept going.
I got to the end of last year and I was exhausted. I had just completed four years of leading the youth ministry in a church. I had loved working with young people and had a passion to see them fall in love with Jesus and reach their potential. But at the end of that fourth year I was exhausted. I had lost my passion. I had lost my spark.
I moved to Sydney in search of some direction. I felt like it was the right move. And if you look at my last blog…God did some work in me.
For whatever reason..the months that followed have probably been the hardest months of my life. I completely lost any passion I had. I felt purposeless. I felt lost. I felt alone. And the one thing that destroyed me the most is that I FELT like the One who I had always held on to had rejected me too. I lost hope.
‘Take from a man his wealth, and you hinder him. Take from him his purpose, and you slow him down. But take from a man his hope, and you can stop him.‘ – C. Neil Strait
I think because it was habit, I still went to church on sundays and the messages were always nice but thats all it was (to me). I went to a connect group because I thought I should and it was nice but I was mainly there for the company.
Inside I was done. My head would tell me one thing simply because thats what I had been taught all my life, but my heart didn’t agree. Everything I had preached to young people over the years just seemed cold and lifeless.
The feeling of being without hope is absolutely horrible. Life becomes pointless. And because my head was going over all the things I had been taught growing up…I felt guilty because my heart wasn’t believing them. Guilt and hopelessness. Not a good mix.
One day I was sitting in church and someone was doing an offering message and I wasn’t really listening and I was going to be all to happy to let the offering bucket pass me by. But I just felt this little nudge inside me to put a certain amount in. At first I had a little argue with myself and then I thought ‘wait a second, I haven’t felt this kind of nudge in a long time, if this is God then I’m gunna do it.’ So I put in the amount that I felt to put in. And that was that. No more nudge, no follow up…But I got home that night and for some reason checked my bank account and lo and behold 10 times the amount that I had put into the offering had been put into my account. Coincidence or not, something happened. A spark of hope. My God was still real. He hadn’t left me. Hope.
As I look back over my time here in Sydney NOW I can see that God WAS with me and doing things in my life. I had been blind to it. God had placed some INCREDIBLE people in my life. Friends that were my age who would go out of there way to see me and make sure I was doing ok. An Aunty and Uncle that cared about me and would encourage me and have me over for dinner when I just needed some love. A close friend who was walking a very similar journey to me and understood everything I was going through. How could I have been so blind to what God had put around me.
I almost struck out. God has a calling on my life and I almost gave it up!
This spark of hope started to bring back some passion, some excitement for life, some purpose. I could hear Him talking to me again. I felt like I could breathe again.
I still have no clue what God is up to in my life or where he is going to take me. But I know that this ‘waiting time’ is not wasted time. In this time of so many uncertainties God is still using me and speaking to me and getting me ready for what is coming. Hope.
In a world that seems so lost and full of hopelessness; War stricken countries, children getting beheaded, humans getting trafficked, murders, kidnappings – horrific events. The ONE thing it needs is HOPE. The only thing worth holding onto is HOPE.
‘Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.’ Ps 62:5