Only God

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“God revealed Himself to me so strongly at such a young age, and I never questioned it. I’m so grateful for His kindness to me in that way! To my earliest recollection, I knew with the deepest conviction that Jesus loved me. Without that faith, I don’t know what I would have done in the storms that would come later in my life.

“In 2015, I’d hit the seventh year of dealing with debilitating health issues. I was bedridden, depressed, and completely isolated. My faith and sense of purpose languished. Who was I, when disease had stripped away so much about myself? What was my worth as I am unable to work and connect? Slowly, I began getting further and further from the Lord whom I’d trusted for so much of my life.

“At this time, my husband and I were contemplating a move to a different state for his job. I was devastated. I realized that if we moved, I’d be walking away from everything familiar: family, friends, community—limply, I thought, ‘All that’s left would be God.’

“That pale consolation, ‘only God,’ was alarming to me. Once, I had such assurance in my faith, but now I had made my relationship with God a mere footnote.

“Broken and repentant, I opened my Bible for the first time in a year, and despite my faithlessness, He immediately met me and carried me through. When I look back now, I grieve that lost year. I could have been growing with the Lord and experiencing Him during those dark days.

“When we moved to Dallas, I would be going to church by myself for the first time in my life. I came to Watermark because I wanted a really big place where I could easily fly under the radar and disappear into the crowds, but I quickly realized that I would again be resisting the chance to grow with Him. I jumped into different ministries. I grew to love God’s Word and His people and encountered peace and joy in Him even as I walked through some of the hardest things I’d ever faced.

“Concurrently, the Lord was restoring me, granting me both physical and spiritual strength. It was incredible and deeply reassuring. I knew that God had me. For years, I had thought that chronic illness was my story, but I realized it was just a small part of what He was doing in my life.

“So many of the lessons forged in my past about faith and God have become the pillars that I stand on now – He is good, He is in control, He loves me, and I can trust Him. When the storms come and knock my feet from under me, these are what keep me rooted.

“In my experience, the miracle is not always God changing the circumstance, but God changing us, sustaining us so that we can be at peace in the circumstances we face. Sometimes, the way that God answers our prayers is by enabling us to suffer yet not be overcome.

“That belief really came under scrutiny this year. I spent most of 2023 homebound, acutely ill, and facing a lot of sorrow. After all I’d learned and experienced in God, why was I again stranded?

“I was angered to be stripped of what I wanted. Frankly, I believed I deserved better. I sat in a dark room and was confronted with a darkness within that could consume me. I felt revolted by my sin. I turned back to those pillars and chose again to relinquish my life to Him.

“If my purpose is to worship Him, then accepting my circumstances is how I can do that. If debilitation, pain, and limitation are His decision, I can live there in peace.

“I’m understanding that a life lived for the Lord isn’t measured by its impact on others but on its intimacy with Him. I am learning how to interact with the Lord in new ways. Instead of digesting full chapters from the Bible, I had to learn how to take just one verse, one prayer, and simmer there, getting to know God slowly and in a different way than before.

“I’ve often wondered, ‘What’s the point? How does this matter for anything? How can this honor or glorify Him?’ I still don’t know the answers, but I know that if I really want to follow Christ, I must be ready to submit to Him, not just when it’s hard but also when it’s hard and doesn’t make sense or when there is no assurance my circumstance will ever change.

“I’m currently not at the top of the mountain looking at the sunset, I am still clinging to the rocks and hanging on. I’m still wondering what suffering for His sake should look like. But for me, it means choosing not to be bitter when I think I have the right to be, choosing to worship, and remembering that this life is a moment, and our eternity is coming.

“Now, I think it’s possible to face solitude, sorrow, and pain without forfeiting peace, contentment, and life. How can that be? Only with God and His radiant, glorious grace.”