Spiritual Growth in the Midst of Struggle

As I traverse a very challenging season of my life I am learning new things of myself and growing spiritually.  You see my Mother has Dementia and I have been on a journey that I would never have imagined a year ago.  But I have trusted in God and listened to that small voice as I watch in amazement at Gods hand in all of this.  So many times we see struggles in our life as just that a struggle.  We sometimes blame it on attacks of the enemy and yes that can be part of it, but most times we fail to realize that God is working in the good and the bad times.  It is in these seasons of struggle that we can grow the most and discover things about ourselves and also become the masterpiece that God created.

We will all face struggles and roadblocks at different times of our lives.  But we can grow closer to Father God during those times.  It is also a time of realizing the things in our selves that we must surrender to Jesus.  It can be extremely easy to place self-protection in your life, but as you do this you develop strongholds.  What I have learned is that many times we do not realize the strongholds that have developed in us.  Self protection can create pride, callousness, control, anger, to name a few.  The list can go on and on, but in the struggles we face choices because we have free will.  We can choose to focus on the struggle at hand or we can focus on God in the midst of the struggle.

I have chosen to face the struggle before me and include God in the middle of it.  For I can not do this journey alone, but I have the strength through Christ.  I am reminded of the journey that Joseph went through so that God could use him for greater things.  Joseph saw visions of things to come which made his brothers jealous.  They sold him into slavery, which I am sure was terrible.  But Joseph grew spiritually keeping his eyes on God in the midst of the struggle that he was in.  Joseph trusted God and knew that both the good and bad God the creator is in the middle of.   Joseph leaned into God during the times he was in slavery, and locked up.  Through that process God was able to mold Joseph into what he was created to do.  We then see how Joseph modeled forgiveness, grace and mercy with his brothers when they come to Egypt looking for food.  If anger would have been the driving force in Joseph’s life he would have locked them up or even something much worse, but no he shows forgiveness to them.  But he even takes it a step further and shows grace and mercy on them by showering them in kindness when they did not deserve it. Just as God does for each of us.

In this current season I have seen God doing amazing things in my life.  In the middle of legal struggles just to get guardianship of my Mother, God made the impossible possible.  I took all of my pain and struggles to the Father and I then would watch him bring peace in the middle of the chaos.  I would see people come into agreement that were fighting against me.  But I made the mistake of thinking that the battle was over after I moved my mother in with my husband and I.  That was a mistake, but I am now learning new things about myself in this process.

At first I was feeling overwhelmed and like the weight of the world was crashing in on me, everything seemed hopeless.  But I did the one thing that I know the best and I cried out to God, I told Papa how I was feeling.  What I realized is that as soon as I brought those feelings of foreboding into the light there was new peace in my heart.  One moment I felt like I was hanging onto the boat and ready to fall into a dark empty void, but when I spoke it out there was Jesus grabbing my hand and pulling me back in the boat.  I was not alone even though at that moment I was feeling completely alone.

This struggle with my Mothers Dementia is hard, and it will get harder, but God is revealing strongholds I have in my life through this process.  Years ago I learned about forgiveness so that I would even be able to open my home to my mother in such a time as this.  But now as I face frustration after frustration, I am realizing that I was carrying anger and control issues with me.  This has taken me on a journey of surrendering those to Jesus and I am finding new freedom in this process.  No it is not a complete one step process, but when you go to Gods word and you fill your heart and mind with worship for Father God, changes begin to happen.  As you verbally speak out and surrender your imperfections to Jesus you begin to feel lighter.  You begin to see your best friend Jesus there wanting to lighten the load for you.

When I told God I could not do this any longer and that I needed to know whether to move my Mother into a Memory care facility, I waited for an answer.  Then suddenly I am offered 15 hours a week for her to go to Adult Daycare and I hear Papa saying, “I heard you and this is what I have done for you”.   I had been waiting for the voice to say yes keep her in the home or no move her, instead Father God blessed me with time.

So as I am learning to embrace the struggles, I am growing closer to Father God.  I am reminded that he is the creator of all things.  I was created for something greater and I believe that this moment in this season God is preparing me for the greater things he wants to do through me in the next season.  Disease and illness is not from God, it is because we live in a fallen world.  I know that God did not cause my Mother to get Dementia.  I know that in this season she had clarity from God, so I could lead her to salvation.  I know that God is showing me the strongholds that need to be removed from my life. and I am learning not to make agreements with familiar spirits.

No matter the struggle that you face, God has given you everything you need for that moment.  For you have Christ in you when you are a believer and follower of Christ.  We have Christ in us!  Remember Jesus is the name above all names, so that means that fear, anger, judgement have to bow to Jesus.  Break off agreements you have made with the lies of the enemy and embrace the new being you have been created to be.  Feel the freedom of having the chains of slavery break away.  To have the inner walls torn down so that you can be covered by the love of God that is a shield of protection.  God has prepared a fortress for each of us, the walls are the love of God and that fortress is built on a solid rock of Jesus Christ.  We do not fight from a place of defeat, no Jesus has won the battle so take up the spiritual battle that is all around you.  Fight from the place of victory that we are in with Jesus.  We stand strong we do not retreat, instead we push the enemy back and we laugh in the face of our enemy.

Stand strong my fellow Christians, embrace your struggles and grow.  Allow Holy Spirit to identify and remove the strongholds of your life.  Jesus sent Holy Spirit to be our teacher, to provide wisdom and knowledge to us.  Seek and you will find the answers, they just might be different from what you were looking for.  In the end Gods way is always so much better than our way.

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