Friday, September 21, 2018

A Seed of Wisdom...A World of Change

It's easy to say "I trust God". I know because I have said it endless times and heard others do the same. However, to prove it is extremely difficult. So what would you do if God put you in a situation where you had to put your money where your mouth was? Could you do it? That too is a question all of us can easily answer when asked but none of us know for sure our true reaction until we are in the midst of the challenge. 

Who and What Defines You? 

It was 14 months ago I found myself smack dab in the middle of one of the greatest challenges I have ever experienced. Not the only great challenge because there have been others, but a life altering, "Are you listening, Maria?!?" challenge nonetheless. All of us go through challenges of this magnitude and they help to reveal how we define ourselves.  Do we stay down because we can't shake the victim mentality? Do we rise up again, although perhaps confused, instinctively knowing we will somehow figure it out? Or do we quickly rise because we are certain of God's love and His desire to grow us? My guess is anyone who is on a journey of true change will experience elements of all three. Think about life even when you aren't going through an extreme challenge. You have good days, bad days. Good moments, bad moments. It's just life. Your position or professional title, your address and even your net worth don't define you. Yet so often that is exactly how we define ourselves, as does the world around us. 

With Age Comes Wisdom

I have come to appreciate and gain a greater understanding of Job 12:12 "Wisdom may be found in the company of the aged. Understanding comes with longevity.". One of the gems of reaching your fifties and having family and friends there as well or even older is experiencing deeper, more insightful life conversations. You realize a whole lot of us spent way to many years concerned with what others thought or expected. Fortunately, God uses our personal challenges, some we bring upon ourselves and others that are a part of His divine plan, to further shape us. The shaping process in and of itself can be sorrowful and insightful all at the same time. You may have to face failures or set-backs. You have to accept what you couldn't control and even forgive those who knowingly or unknowingly hurt you in the process. Then comes the period of quietness where you stop speaking and just become mindful of the present moment in order to see and hear God reaching out to you through His Word and others around you. But the beauty of it all are the forever changes to your spirit, soul and body. If done right, we find ourselves wiser, stronger and more humble of heart after a great test. God's compassion and grace flow from us at greater levels than ever before to bless and comfort others. Even the grace we should all extend ourselves increases. 

His Perfect Timing

In 14 months our family experienced the death of a grandparent, 2 cancer diagnosis, a rare pancreatic disease, a pacemaker surgery, a child admitted to the hospital for severe digestive issues, and the loss of employment for me. On average, our family encountered a major life issue every other month for 14 months. Now I know we aren't the only family with this much to occur in a short period of time because whatever you or I are facing there will always be others facing more. But collectively as a family we had to decide how we would take on the trials before us, so we did. We came together as opposed to falling apart. God revealed to me in deeper ways than ever before how precious my siblings and father are to me. He proved to me how much of a fighter my husband, son, nephew and brother-in-law are. He revealed to me how blessed I am to have my mother-in-law because my own mother is no longer with me and I miss her dearly. But most importantly, He showed me it is He alone that defines me. He showed me letting go and resting in His divine peace would get me through anything I face in life. Even if on some days my flesh won out and panic attacks set in. He taught me how to be a blessing to the world even though I was down. In doing so, I worked Hurricane Harvey relief, I volunteered with Angel Tree to ensure children with an incarcerated parent still had a merry Christmas and I donated my expertise to the North San Antonio Chamber as they built an executive level Innovative Leadership program. And to top it all off, He allowed me to be accepted into the program where I met a partner with a local CPA firm which led to me receiving a job offer as their Marketing Director. Although my family's journey through the wilderness appears to be over (for now), I'm grateful God loved me enough to break me so He could rebuild me. I will never forget the precious days and months He and I spent alone communing and all He taught me during that time. Our God truly is a good, good Father!