If I had to choose one word that has really defined my life so far, it’s Trust. Learning that I really need to lean on God and not my own strength, or the strength of others.
The first time I was really challenged by this word was in 2009. I was discouraged, heartbroken, and frustrated. I was doing my best to keep going, despite the obstacles in front of me, but I was ready to throw in the towel.
I was on staff at a church just outside Toronto, and it was evident that my role as a female in ministry was difficult for others that were in leadership with me. I wasn’t invited to the same meetings the guys were and several things had been said about my inability to lead in certain ways because of my gender. I did my best to stay focused and continue to serve the students in our ministry, but I knew at my core I was becoming angry, bitter, and resentful.
Near the beginning of 2009 I found myself in Jeremiah 17. It was like the words jumped off the page when I read them,
“Cursed is the man who trust in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.” Jeremiah 17:5-6
I knew that’s what had happened to me. I had put my trust in people. Trusting that my pastor would give me opportunities and believing that my husband would stand up for me and defend me. I had made “flesh my strength.” When you really study that word “strength”, it means someone, a shoulder, that you lean on. I knew that the more I leaned on people and trusted in them to make a way for me, the more I became like a bush in the desert. I was dried up, brittle, and unable to yield fruit in my own life and in my ministry.
But the next part gave me hope. It said, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is in the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
That’s who I wanted to be. I wanted to be a person that no matter what season I was in, I wouldn’t be afraid or anxious because I was rooted next the source of life. I knew that if I chose to trust that God would take care of me, fight for me, defend me, and provide for me, that regardless of what the people around me were doing, my life could still be fruitful. That’s what I wanted.
I made a choice that day to trust. To trust that God is who He says He is in every season, no matter what my circumstance might look like. It’s not been the easiest journey, but I know that as long as I stay planted by the water, letting my roots go down deep, I’ll make it.
The writer of Proverbs knew what he was taking about when he wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
I don’t always understand. I don’t always know what to do. I don’t always feel like trusting, or even know how to at times; but I choose daily to Trust Him instead of leaning on my own understanding or on the strength of others. He can always hold me up when I lean on Him.
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