Your Perfect Circle

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, endures forever: forsake not the works of your own hands. Psalm 138:8 KJV2000

This has been on my heart for a while to write. I had been thinking of how my life has changed drastically in the last 3 years: lost friends, made some lifelong ones, finally adjusted to my life without my daddy, set plans in motion to move, moved nearly a 1000 miles away, started law school, got a new niece, made a vow to God to not cut my hair (as DIFFICULT as that is for me lol) and to honor my temple, gained new ministry opportunities, realized some of the gifts I have, finished my book and finally embraced me. One of the things that stood out the most for me was how God started moving people in and out of my life, which turned out to be the most painful part of the process.

When you are on your path to oneness with God, He will most definitely have you do some strange things. I cannot begin to tell you all the things God has had me do and a lot of them were uncomfortable. It hurt to not have some people on this journey with me, but it is all a part of trusting the process. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3, where we are told by Solomon that there is a time, a season for everything under the sun, and this most definitely includes relationships. Some friends I would not have imagined I would be without right now. At one point or another, I thought our relationships were covenant, forged in the fire of adversity to be lifelong. However, I was wrong. During that process, God has revealed to me that everyone was not my friend for the necessity of simply being my friend. No, they had become my friend for what I could do for them, or for what they saw in me, and how that thing could benefit them.

The pruning process is hard and painful. It’s much like removing a mole: depending on the method, you could be numbed to it and feel the pain afterwards, or you could be wide awake and feel it be snatched off of you, or you could be brave enough to do the callous thing yourself! I had to end some relationships because the person’s dependency on me was unhealthy and they honestly took more away from me than they added. Others were snatched from me by life and circumstance. Either way I was not happy–not happy to have to lose a friend, not happy to have to man up and do something that had long needed to be done, or simply not happy over having to step outside of my comfort zone.

I look at the scripture above and I think about this…God will perfect those things concerning me, even my choice of friends. I have some friends I have had for years and I see how God has grown us and matured us so our relationships could survive the test of time. I also see how He has used me and my walk to be an encouragement to others, even though it is very uncomfortable to be so open with some of the things I have gone through. But I realize yet again, He was just perfecting my circle, making sure those that are around me reinforce those same principles He wants me to reflect. I don’ t know if you have ever been in a fun house at the fair, with all the mirrors. But if you have been, and all the lights are on, have you ever noticed how bright the lights are in the part where the mirrors are arranged so that you see yourself in all the mirrors? Why is the light so bright? It is simple, yet complex: the mirrors reflect each other’s light. And so will your perfect circle will reflect your light. Maybe it’s time to check your circle, or turn on the light.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NASB

Is Your Faith Fireproof?

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV

I have had these scriptures posted on my door for several years now. But I did not truly understand what was being said in them until last year. Having gone through my ‘wilderness’ experience while living in Charleston, being tested in every area of my life, I honestly was mad and angry with God for allowing me to suffer so greatly. I simply could not understand why I had to go through all of those things that happened while I was in Charleston–in the midst of them. But since I have been gone, it has all been making sense.

My one desire was to finish college and grad school on time. I pushed myself so hard, working full-time at my co-op the summer of 2007 and writing two papers while applying for scholarships and the like. I was not going to allow my kidney disease to keep me from meeting that deadline. The following summer after graduation, it was all worth it. The long hours at school, the loans I took out to live alone…it was all worth it. But immediately after graduation, at my 23rd birthday celebration I was in severe pain all the while smiling through it. It was this that initiated my entering my wilderness experience. By now it should be common knowledge that my kidneys began to rapidly decline in function, which resulted in my kidney transplant. And all the while I was trying to get my finances in order to buy a townhouse and live normally…or so I thought.

2009, 2010, and 2011 brought trials of every area, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I couldn’t for the life of me understand what I had done to bring about God’s mighty hand against me, or why He allowed me to go through those things. I was angry with God. Why was I born, why into this family, why I had to suffer with these issues, with no one to talk to about it, with no one to help me, to suffer through some of the worst things–ALONE. All the while, I had these scriptures posted on my door, and I did not understand what they were saying to me. I was angry, but I kept praying for understanding. Of course, as God always does, after the tests and trials were over, I began to see and understand what He was doing.

In life, the one thing we can be assured of is that we will endure tests or ‘trials’ as referred to here. I felt so much like Job, like God what had I done to go through these things. It was after being delivered from a victim mentality and spirit of self-pity that I could see my own faults clearly and then I understood what was the purpose behind the trials. Be careful what you pray for…gosh that is the TRUTH! I prayed for God to use me and to make me more like Jesus, to fix me so that He could use me to help others and walk in my life’s calling–and as a result I had a whole lot of junk that needed to be removed from Him to be able to do those things.

I know now that it was the trials that helped to refine me (although lets be real here, I need more fixing lol). Trials expose you to God’s fire…and His fire will not burn you; instead fiery trials purify and prune you. They cause you to die to self so that everything in your life brings God the glory. It is the fire that purges you from old habits, attitudes, and behaviors. Think about it, most people can’t understand your transformation knowing you used to do this, that, and some other questionable things. It is only God’s power that can bring about a transformation in the midst of struggle and strife. It is only God that can fill those voids and make you whole.

I ask today is your faith fireproof for the following reasons:
1. Can you endure what seems like the lowest point of your life and still trust God?
2. Can you suffer through test after test after test without having any confirmation that God is speaking to you or working in your life?
3. Can you trust God enough to allow the process to be completed??? This means allowing His transformation of your life to come to completion, even if it means severing relationships, moving, and isolation.

I would like to think my faith is fireproof, but I know with every level of elevation, there are new trials and ‘new devils.’ I am trusting God to keep the temperature turned up so that I can be made more and more like Christ. So that may mean that some day I won’t do something I did everyday prior to that or I may not talk to a lifelong friend. But as long as it is a part of God’s tests and purification of me, it is worth it, knowing that I can rejoice at God’s revelation of His glory upon my life. Besides, I know my earthly parents dished out many a fiery ‘spanking’ to make me a better person…wouldn’t our Heavenly Father light the fire underneath us to make us better?

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:17-18 NIV