November 10, 2011
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
Almost three months ago, I sought shelter at a 30-day, temporary Christian shelter in Baltimore for women and children. Fresh out of a relationship with a Christian man and pregnant, I was mentally, spiritually and physically exhausted. At 39, I expected my life to be so different. I mean - I am a Christian, a college graduate, a social entrepreneur, an author, and a small business owner. I have traveled the world, launched organizations, helped make a difference in my community and accepted the call of discipleship on my life. How did I end up in this dark place? Why, Lord, am I in this dark season?
I could stick my head in the sand, wallow in self-pity and put all the blame on the baby’s father for rejecting me and the little life God blessed me to carry or I could place the blame on insensitive family members who I often felt were never available when I needed them most or I could even pass the blame onto “the system” for not working on my behalf. Yet, I know deep in my heart that I am where I am because of the decisions I made in my life. I accept the fact that although I love the Lord with all my heart, I did not trust in Him as I should have nor did I walk in full obedience to His Word. There are consequences for my actions and my inaction.
Four months ago, I made the decision to move back to Baltimore, MD from Savannah, GA to provide support to one of my sisters whose husband was seriously ill and to be in close vicinity to a man I thought I was going to marry. That decision humbled me especially after realizing that neither one of them wanted or needed me the way I thought. Through it all, I was forced to accept and learn some difficult and tough life lessons. I was forced to acknowledge and accept my own shortcomings as well as those who I choose to love. Things have definitely not turned out the way I planned. However, I can say that things have turned out the way God planned.
Through the ups and downs, through the misunderstandings, through the disappointments, through the anger, through the embarrassment, through the shame, through the miscarriage, through the depression, through the back pain, through the frustrations...through it all, I have learned to trust – I mean really trust – in God. I have learned to shine even in the face of adversity. I have learned to love even when I feel unloved. I have learned to accept people where they are, but most importantly I have learned to accept me for who I am – realizing that no matter what state or condition I am in that God will use me if I let Him.
My testimony that I would like to share with you is that God is a provider. No matter what you are going through. No matter what you have done. No matter what you didn’t do. No matter what! If you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and confess that HE is Lord over your life, HE will provide. The question is how much do you trust Him.
Do you trust Him just a little or a whole lot? Do you trust Him as long as you are in control? Do you trust Him as long as you can figure out a solution to your problems? Do trust Him as long as there is money in the bank? Do you trust Him as long as your relationships are fruitful? Do you trust Him as long as your book is selling? Do you trust Him for as long as you have a job or a viable business? Do you trust Him only for as long as you can maintain the front?
Can you trust God in blind faith? Can you trust Him even though you lost the house? Can you trust Him even when the job doesn’t come through? Can you trust Him in the sorrow of an untimely death? Can you trust Him when it looks like all hope is gone? Can you trust Him when it seems everything is going wrong in your life? Can you trust Him in the dark seasons?
The experiences I encountered in this dark season of my life helped me to realize that I was guilty of trusting God to the point of when I thought I needed to step in and take action to do things my way. This dark season was my breaking point. This year has become a life-changing year for me. A year where I learned how to trust God fully and rest in Him. It is a year where I learned to surrender fully to God. It is a year where I learned that my actions, my life, and all my decisions must be predicated on God's Word (The Holy Bible) – and His Word must be an active and daily part of my life and work – not just a book I hold in high esteem, but a strategic plan that guides my every thought, action and deed.
This year, I have come full circle in my walk as a woman of God. I may not have everything I want. However, I certainly have everything I need. I am blessed to live in a country where social services are available to provide emergency shelter, money for food, free cell phones, transportation and free Internet usage. I am blessed to live in a city where programs like the Karis Home, My Sister’s Place, People on the Move, and the Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns exist to offer hands-on support to people, like me, who need and want help.
I am blessed to have people like Jacinda, Lela, Robert, Kim, Cathy, the authors from CAOT, Melissa, Chaplin Smith, Elizabeth, Shantress, Denise, Chanel, “Grandma” a.k.a. Vanessa, “Ms. Pat,” “Ms. Toni,” “Ms. Shirley,” “Ms. Che,” “Ms. Debra,” Tanya, Qeyana, members of Calvary Baptist Church/Dundalk, Robin, Janel, Morning, Kevin, Alex, the staff of The Power Magazine, “Mrs. A.J.” and a host of other people (including relatives, friends and complete strangers) in my life who prayed me through and whose direct actions during my time of need demonstrated God's love - helping to nurture and heal my broken spirit back to wholeness. I also thank God for those friends and churches in Savannah whose love, hospitality, teaching and nurturing strengthened me for almost two years prior to my journey back home to Baltimore. I even thank God for those people in my life who I felt fell short of my expectations of them, and I thank God for revealing to me how I fell short of their expectations. I bless God for wisdom, revelation, favor, grace and growth.
I have to admit I prayed earnestly regarding the decision to share this testimony publicly. I struggled with how it would be received, and I obtained confirmation after attending a Bible study at my home church (Restoring Life International Church). I was reminded by my pastor during the study of how important it is for the saints of God to be real. As someone who is sometimes in the public light, I understand that people see me or a situation and base their perception on what their limited eyes allow them to see. To them, seeing is believing. In my season of darkness, God taught me that believing is seeing. He reminded me that mustard seed faith is all that is needed to turn any situation around. Yet, great faith – having the ability to walk or stand in blind belief in God - has the power to transform lives and communities.
Can you imagine living your life daily with a blind belief in God – trusting that He will provide and make a way in every situation? What is so remarkable is that God is so gracious and merciful that He will love us even when we doubt, waiver or fall short in our walk with Him. The Bible provides example after example of God’s faithfulness to believers. As a believer, I am as my pastor taught in Bible study a living testimony – living proof – of God’s love. I am living proof of His faithfulness. But it doesn't stop there; the buck doesn't stop with me. Hallelujah! You, too, are a living testimony - living proof - of God's love. You are living proof of His faithfulness.
If you are experiencing a season of darkness in your life, it might be difficult for you to see beyond the pain and to accept God's love. It may take time for you to learn that even now, you are precious to God. Even now, you have a destiny and a purpose. Even now, there is hope. Take hold of that revelation and cling to God. Seek out His face. Trust in Him. Don't give up! P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happens) and if nothing happens - change your prayer, but keep praying. Keep trusting in God. Keep reading His Word.
The Word of God encourages us to work out our faith in fear and trembling. This is a ready reminder that life will produce those moments where terror, dissention, fear and contrite spirits wreck havoc in our lives. Yet, God's indwelling spirit inside of us makes it possible for each of us to be steadfast and grounded in the promises of His Word. Life might knock us down, but it won't take us out if we use the Holy Bible as our sword and compass.
Excerpted from Speak Life: Psalms of Hope in a Season of Darkness, a collection of inspirational poems written by Lynn Pinder and scheduled for release in 2012