Hard and Holy Faith

Hanging-By-a-ThreadSome days, faith is easy. That’s because some days, faith is just there, untested, a kind of snuggly blanket that makes you feel good.

But some days– some days faith is the one thin string that is keeping you from plummeting down the sheer face of an unforgiving mountain. And some days, faith is the desperate prayer that when that thin string snaps, there will be a net at the bottom of that very long fall.

It is in this hard place that my mama heart hangs right now. This adjustment– from homeschooling to school buses, from leisurely mornings to early ones with lots of don’t forgets and hurry, pleases, from me being in control of how my kids spend their days and what they learn and where they sit and who they hang out with– this is a big adjustment, and it is hard.

It is hard to see my son struggling with all the big adjustments that come for every freshman in high school, made worse by the fact that every single part of going to school is a big adjustment.

And what it comes down to is, do I trust my Father?

Do I trust that His Word is true, not just for me, but for my children?

Do I trust that He is the God of beauty from ashes, the Giver of good and perfect gifts, the One who works all things together for good?

Do I trust that He goes with my children and watches over them, making a way for them, lifting them up when they stumble, just as He does for me?

Do I trust that it is the trying of my children’s faith that will produce patience, completeness, and maturity within them? That the easy road, that easy snuggly warm blanket of feel-good faith isĀ not what is best for my babies?

Today it took faith to send my kids out the door to walk to the bus stop. I’m not going to lie. What felt right to my mama heart was to clutch them to myself, to retie the apron strings, to cling desperately and keep them home.

When I started homeschooling, it took faith that God was going to teach me and help me do the hard work of educating my children, of spending all my days with them. And now, in a new season, it takes much greater faith to do the hard work of sending them away, of not being in control of everything, of believing that whatever happens to them, they are in the hands of a good and loving Father.

I say I believe God is good, that He is sovereign in my kids’ lives and has a plan for them that will end in beauty and glory. But if I fail to follow the way He shows me, I do not have faith. This is where James’ hard words– that faith without works is dead— have their meaning. Faith is living the hard and holy truth of God’s promises.

Today, that meant hugging my kids one last time and sending them out the door and down the front steps and knowing that they are not alone, for even one second. The God who sees me right now also sees R in his third period science class and G out at her morning recess. He cares for them so much more than I ever could.

Today, faith meant turning to the work of my day– hunkering down at the dining room table and digging into math and grammar with my middle son, trusting that this work is what I am meant to do today, that this work is just as good and worthwhile is teaching all three of them was last year.

Today, faith is a thin strand that is holding tight to a big and powerful God, a God who loves me and loves my kids. A God who loves you.

I don’t know what hard thing you are facing today, but I bet you’re facing a hard thing. Because life is hard, and we do not grow if we are not forced to push up through the hard and find the God whose glory waits on the other side. Sometimes we can’t see Him. Sometimes we catch only tiny glimpses. We must still look. We must still trust.

We must live and speak and make choices in a way that shouts from the rooftops– I believe that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He has promised.

This is faith, and just when it seems that thin string will break, we discover His hands have been holding us up all the time.

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