I went to a conference this past weekend for church. While there I was blessed to attend a number of great workshops and worship sessions. One thing that has stuck with me is the keynote speech from Friday. The speaker talked a little about his past, about the trials that he had faced growing up. Then he talked about how we all have things in our past that have shaped us, that are maybe difficult, and that we may still struggle with. Then he said something that has gotten my brain spinning. He said that we need to own our story. Own it, and accept it, and share it.
Now, I have had struggles in my past. Nothing earth shattering. No one thing that could be seen as huge flood of trauma that threatened to wash me away. No, my struggles were more of a constant rain of things that have added up over the years to become a tsunami of difficulty that came to be a flood of anxiety and depression over the last year and few months. The speaker went on to say that we should be willing to share these things, and how GOD has worked in them and thru them to shape us, and heal us, and grow us. And that if we do share, we are showing others a part of GOD's character that they may not have seen if not thru us.
I have seen His character... and His fingerprints... everywhere this year. Everywhere. In the sermon that spoke to me about the very thing I was struggling with. In the mid week devotion that rebuked me for my spiritual temper tantrum even while reassuring me that my God was always there for me, even in my disobedience. And the one that helped me see His call in my life. In the words of a friend that were just what I needed to hear in the middle of an especially dark day. In the words of a song, or a prayer, or an email that was like a balm to my sore heart. HE has shown me so clearly that HE is a God of love and mercy and grace, that HE cares so much for His children that He would bend down from His throne to place His fingerprints just where they were needed.
Some of His fingerprints I know were there just for me, like the time I was at an especially difficult appointment.See I have this friend who, when she can tell that I am really struggling, will look at me with this silly look and say "Cheeeese..." in a silly way that always makes me smile. On this day I was really fighting the anxiety, and while sitting in the waiting room I happened to look over at a bookshelf. Sitting on the shelf was a book titled "Who Moved My Cheese". I started to giggle, picturing my friend and her silly grin. GOD knew that that would make me smile and reduce my anxiety. He made sure that book was just where I would see it at the moment I most needed to be lifted up. It may seem like a little thing, but to me on that day it was what I needed to survive what was a real challenge to my spirit. He knew that and gave me a glimpse of His character.
He amazes me. His character humbles me. His love and mercy sustain me.