Restoring Our Womanhood

Scrap of Faith is a Christian Crafting Site dedicated to inspiring women in their faith and in their hobbies.

Each month a new theme will be posted, with verses to encourage, with challenges to inspirire you both in your faith and in your craft. We hope that you will jump on board the journey of Restoring your Womanhood and that God will use these challanges to draw us closer to Him and also give us a purpose in our roles.

We would love to hear from those who are following along so please leave a comment, and share a link to your blog :-) Also on the Scrap of Faith forum there is a weekly thread for encouraging each other through the journey.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Biggest Lesson God has taught Me - Beverley Warwick

God has taught me many lessons over the 34 and a half years of my life. Some were fairly simple to learn and some I'm still learning – let's face it, I'm a slow learner!

It's hard to pick 'one' as the biggest, but the truths in 1 Peter chapter 5 formed a very important lesson for me. One that served as a key turning point in my life.

Resist him (the devil), standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are under going the same kinds of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:9

I learned this lesson as a teenager and it's one that has stayed with me through many trials I've faced on my journey as an adult.

I was brought up in a Christian home. My parents took me to Church, taught me Bible verses and trained me in Christian things. I accepted the Lord Jesus into my heart as a young child and then 'recommitted' my life to God at every kids camp I went to thereafter – just to be sure I'd get into heaven!

As a teenager, however, I began to question the truths I had been taught. I started asking questions. Is God real? How can I be sure? I became depressed and started wondering about what would happen if I died. I reasoned that if God was real, then when I died I would go to heaven and if God didn't exist then dying would simply be the end of my life. Both options seemed better than dealing with the problems I was facing as a lonely teenager.

I was soon to discover that God certainly was real and interested in my life. I went to a weekend sports camp with my youth group where we not only played sport but got together to sing Christian songs and study the Bible. I found it impossible to stay in those meetings. My doubts of God's existence and my thoughts of suicide made me very uncomfortable to be in a place where everyone was talking about God.

My friend noticed this and arranged for us to talk privately with the camp speaker, Lew. I said nothing at all about what was bothering me, all I could do was cry. Lew opened his Bible and began reading the verses found in 1 Peter 5. He spoke about standing firm, about how others throughout the world have undergone the same kinds of sufferings. My heart was opened at this point as I began to understand that other people have also asked these questions.

He went on to explain that there comes a point in every persons life when they must accept for themselves the existence of God, the truth of Christ's love and the miracle of His death and resurrection. He explained that there must be a change in believing because your parents do, to believing because you know it to be true yourself.

I believe it was God speaking through this man. I hadn't said what was bothering me, yet what he was saying was exactly answering my thoughts. At that moment I knew without a doubt that God was real and I would stand firm in my faith. I was comforted by the next verse too...

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

God had called me and in his grace He, himself, would restore me and make me strong enough to deal with my teenage problems. As Lew prayed with us my tears flowed, not of intense sadness this time, but complete joy in knowing that God had restored my faith and he would help me to stand strong, firm and steadfast.

Since learning this lesson I have been comforted by these verses in many 'tough times.' Whatever the problem might be I know that I can stand firm in my faith. There is no need to waiver, to wonder how on earth I can get through another trial. I know that I am not alone – others throughout the world have had the same kinds of problems. If they got through it, then I'll get through it too. And I can claim the promise that God will himself restore me and make me strong, firm and steadfast once again.

And the awesome thing about this, is that God cares for all our problems. The big ones and the small ones. We can stand firm knowing that He cares that same whether our problem is a life-threatening one or simply a case of a hard to toilet train toddler!


The Journaling on my LO reads:

Precious and Loved

As I sit and ponder the biggest lesson God has taught me....I come back constantly to the incredibly long journey that He needed to take me on...the journey of Self Acceptance! Not just to read Scripture and know 'Head Knowledge' that I am acceptable and loved just as I am, but 'Heart Knowledge' in the very depths of my soul. I love both Psalm 139 and Isaiah 43. Both are Scriptures that God has imprinted on my heart. I am precious to Him and loved and am therefore acceptable to others, a person of great worth. Gennie 20.3.08

The Biggest Lesson God Has Tuaght Me.

When asked the question ‘What is the biggest lesson God has taught you?’, how do you respond? How do you choose just one? Or for that matter, the biggest one??? When faced with this dilemma recently I thought of some of the many lessons that God has taught me over the years I have walked with Him. I thought of ‘Keeping my peace…His peace’, of ‘patience’, of perseverance’, and of ‘trusting Him’. I thought of ‘learning how real and important prayer is’ and how I came to really understand ‘the truth of depending totally on Him for absolutely everything’. So many lessons, some easily learnt, others still being learnt over and over again.

There are so many lessons in life that God has taught me…but really there is no choice, no competition when asked ‘this’ question! By far the hardest and biggest of all lessons that God has needed to teach me is ‘Who I am in Christ’. To not only accept myself, but to accept that He created me with all my faults and failings, with my weaknesses and strengths because He KNEW me and He knew what I would pass through on this earth and what I would need to not just survive but to thrive as well.

God needed to teach me that I was lovely, loved and loveable. That I am His child and His vessel, use-able in other’s lives, and created for His workmanship, for His glory. That I am beautiful to Him on the inside and on the outside. That nothing I do (short of outright rejecting Him) can alter His love for me and who He created me to be.

Why was this such a hard lesson for me to learn? Well, hand up if you have ever seen a photo of yourself and thought ‘yuck’! Or, ‘I look terrible’. Hand up if you’ve ever NOT put your photo in a blog or an Avatar or on a Layout, just because you didn’t like the way it looked, or the way you looked in it! You felt that you were too fat or too thin, too wrinkled or too ugly. Too undeserving or too……….. (you fill in the gap)!

We have all struggled to some degree or other at some stage in our lives from a wrong view of who we are in Christ, a poor self image, a lack of confidence in who we are or how we fit into this world. There are so many reasons for this. A home life growing up where Christ was not the centre nor were His words taught and lived out. A place where there were a lot of the ‘right words’ and a lot of show, but behind closed doors a lot of ungodliness took place, (such as was the case for me). Or, maybe it was schoolyard bullying where you were told ‘It doesn’t matter’, Or worse, you were repeatedly told that ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’. Perhaps it was a marriage not built on Godly principles or an abusive relationship. Or maybe, it was just the constant barrage of media and advertising that tells you: ‘You’re not thin enough’, ‘You’re not beautiful enough’, you don’t have a big enough house, car, goods, accessories’. For some people the lies are slow and insidious, for others they are overwhelming, condemning and oppressive, if not depressive.

They are however, all lies, lies of the enemy, the evil one, Satan himself who ‘Prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’. (1 Peter 5:8) The ‘world’, of which Satan is the master, gives so many negative messages that it is hard for us to stand strong in the truths of what God says about us. But, listen to some of Psalm 139! ‘You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!’ Psalm 139:13-17

David is talking to God and acknowledges just how important he is to God. How much God loves Him and the ways in which this is revealed to him. It’s a beautiful example of a theme that appears all through Scripture. Our worth to God and how precious and loved we are by Him.

One of my all time favourite passages of Scripture is found in Isaiah 43. “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honoured, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Isaiah is giving a prophesy about God’s people who have been scattered, but whom He will reclaim because they, like us, are precious in His eyes and honoured and He loves them!

Learning the truth about who we are in Christ is hard for many, many people. Because of the abusive home life I came from, where secrets abounded and truth was unreality, it has taken years for God to penetrate the lies that had filled my life. It has been an enormous journey, a huge effort, a lot of hard work to re-train my brain and to re-order my thinking. But slowly, once God got me out of that situation, He (and eventually I) started the rebuilding process of putting a life back together based on His word and His truths. It has taken years and years and sometimes I still have to remind myself of the truth, but overall, I have learnt that I am special! I am a child of God, I am fearfully and wonderfully made AND I am precious and loved by God just the way I am. Not that I can or should stay as I am, but as I walk, day by day, with Jesus by my side, I am who He wants me to be and I continue to grow and change in Him, by the Grace of God!

The biggest lesson of my life has been to learn that I am (and you are too!) a child of God, precious, special, deeply loved by the creator of the whole universe! God is MY Father, My best Friend, My Saviour and My Lord. I pray that you will know these truths as reality in your lives too.

(For further reading, an excellent book on this subject is 'The lies we believe' by Dr Chris Thurman.)

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