A few months ago, I read the fabulous book, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. When I began the book, I read merrily along until I stopped, frozen on a sentence on page 15. Here is what it said:
It is absolutely imperative at the outset that you come to terms with this simple yet life-changing truth: God is for you.
I read these words multiple times. Tears trickled down my cheeks because I recognized that I did not wholeheartedly believe that God was for me. Wow.
I mean, I know he is not against me (or do I?). And I have always believed from my skin to my soul that God loves me. Yet, isn’t this faulty theology? To think that He loves me, but is only kinda for me?
In turn, if I take this idea and transfer it to parenting, it doesn’t work. Here goes – as a mom, can I love my child and not be “for” my child? No way. And God is the greatest parent who gave us a book (or love letter), replete with declarations and acts of affection for His children.
” And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Matthew 11:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
So, I asked God, “If I know You love me, then why don’t I believe you are completely for me?”
Thus began an intense path of spiritual self-discovery. Here, I allowed my “good Christian” view of Kristin to peel open. I scrutinized a faith that was and is my foundation. I experienced deep authenticity in myself and with my Lord.
I realized that in the story of my life, I built up God barriers in my heart. And this is difficult to admit, there was and is resentment towards God – small pockets in my heart where I hold hurt. The two main pockets of struggle are people and prayer.
~People: I have been wounded. Deeply. By people. You too? Somewhere in me, a little lie cooked, it told me God wasn’t for me because of all the people pain I have experienced. Many loved ones in my life have proclaimed their love for me and led me to believe that they were for me, only to inflict pain. Subconsciously, I held sinful humans to the same standard as God. This is not biblical but it is typical. Can you relate?
Another reason for this struggle had to do with my wonky notion that if God was truly for me, He wouldn’t allow the hurt to continue. How many times have I read the book of Job, the Psalms, the stories of the early church, and (of course), Jesus? Yet here I was, knowing but not knowing that no human, no Christian, gets a special pass. A break, maybe? But not a pass.
~Prayer: Prayer is precious to me; it might be my first language. Nevertheless, I found prayer-holes that needed examination.
When I became a wife, then a mom, a flawed view embedded itself in my mind. At the time, I did not realize it was happening. I prayed downright biblical prayers over my family. But, when life went sideways with my husband or my kids, part of me felt surprised! Wasn’t life supposed to go as I prayed, not the opposite? When I shine a light here, I find that I often asked for things as a rule-following, fearful Christian. Here’s the deal -I do my part God, and then You do yours. Keep my family free of the big-ticket life struggles, please.
But He did not.
So, I buried my small resentments and covered up the holes.
An ache grew inside me until recognized what I was holding from God – my right to believe that He was not for me because my prayers were not answered “correctly”. I loudly declared the truth of my hurt to God (while at a park, in my car, as I waited for my son to finish football practice). In my Toyota, a wash of relief took hold, and I began to heal.
Still, I do not wholly understand prayer. However, I do know I need to yield to the Lord and keep asking, seeking, and knocking. Because the Bible tells me so. Not in a rule-following-God-is-my-Genie kind of way. But with a genuine Thy Will Be Done mindset.
Surrender is no joke.
I return to my original question: Is God for me? To be honest, I am still on the path. Yet, I am closer to shouting a resounding YES! then I was on the day I froze on page 15.
My friend, do you believe that God is for you? With self-examination and then, yes, forgiveness to God (as unchristian as that feels), comes healing. Join me and surrender your hidden pockets of pain. Let the freedom begin.
Let us say in faith, “God is for us!”
Blessed is the one who is not offended by God.
We open the secret places of our hearts to you, come on in. We surrender our understanding of how we think things “ought” to go. We yield any offense we hold towards You. May we wholeheartedly believe that You are for us.