This little succulent plant is breathing new life into my space. It’s simple. Beautiful. And it’s reminding me to choose faith.
I tend to think of myself as someone who leans heavily on my faith. Quite certainly, it was faith more than anything else that sustained me in the darkest hours of my life — namely in the aftermath of becoming widowed at the age of 26. It was faith that sent me searching for greater purpose. It was faith that kept me talking to God, even as He allowed me to experience such deep pain. It was faith that anchored me even as I felt completely lost.
Faith has proven itself worthy.
And yet, I so easily fall into doubt. Into worry. Into anxious feelings about the direction of different things in my life — my career or finances or my father’s health or parenting or approval or Jordan’s safety. The list can surely go on. In most cases, my faith evades me when I feel like things in any of those categories aren’t happening within the time frame or in the manner that I’d like them to.
Faith has been with me a long time, but it still wavers.
This past Saturday, our church hosted a women’s luncheon that brought 50 women together to talk about faith. What it is, how we can have more of it, what it looks like when it confronts all of the day-to-day issues like the ones I rolled off.
While I often have a hand in planning things at our church, I was really grateful to attend this luncheon as a participant who could just soak up all of the goodness. There were so many women there with incredible stories who were generous and vulnerable enough to share them with the rest of us.
As I listened to the stories, many of which were still very unresolved — stories of surviving sexual abuse, big moves and career changes, abandonment, addiction, disappointment in marriage, depression and anxiety, compromise and failures — here’s what struck me most…
Sometimes faith looks like us taking a bold step and moving in the direction God wants us to go. But other times, perhaps even more frequently, faith looks like us stopping where we are, giving up control, and trusting that God is working His plans as we wait.
Now, this kind of faith, of course, requires more than saying to yourself, “Everything will be ok.” This kind of faith requires that you see God as a good father who loves you deeply. As one who has the wisdom to order the steps of your life much better than you do. As very present even when what you experience is uncomfortable or painful. And as the ultimate fulfillment even when circumstances aren’t the way you want them to be.
This is the kind of faith I want to grow in my life.
And here we come back to my succulent.
It was one of the centerpieces used to decorate the tables at the luncheon, and we were encouraged to take one home with us. As I tend to it and hopefully see it grow and thrive (people tell me it will be hard for even me to kill this one), it will remind me of all I learned on Saturday and that faith is worthwhile.
ShakirahOctober 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm
Jess, this is a beautiful and timely reminder that I needed today. I read somewhere that we should not rush past the “waiting rooms” of our lives. The in between is as, if not, more important than getting to the destination because so much is cultivated when we wait. I know waiting is unpopular, but God is teaching me something about what it looks like to live a surrendered life; to trust Him as eternally good (even when good looks different than what we imagine ;-) ) and that rest, being a form of His grace comes through patiently watching for Him to show up.
Thank you for your words. It’s only Noon and I’m already so blessed by this post.
Jessica RiceOctober 4, 2016 at 11:27 pm
So glad it was helpful, and thanks for sharing all of that goodness in your comment. Waiting is unpopular but so important. Love that and love you!
Ma RiceOctober 3, 2016 at 4:04 pm
Absolutely exquisite post – I so wish I could have attended this luncheon.
Jessica RiceOctober 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm
Thanks, Ma! You were certainly missed!
KimmieOctober 3, 2016 at 10:19 pm
This is so beautiful. I really needed this today and it always makes me feel stronger to read about someone else’s beliefs. Thank you so much for sharing.
Jessica RiceOctober 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm
So glad it was helpful. It’s beautiful how much strength we find in sharing — the luncheon and your comment remind me of that.
ChristinaOctober 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm
I find it so much easier to worry than surrender! Just this morning I was stressing over a million details I can’t control and at the very same time feeling the familiar tug to spend some time mediating on who God is and how able and faithful He is to take care of me. It’s a constant struggle to choose faith but the beauty is that God is so infinitely patient with us, and like you said – faith has proven itself worthy. Tx for the timely reminder :-)
Jessica RiceOctober 4, 2016 at 11:24 pm
Absolutely! Thank goodness for His patience and ability to control it all.