(We’re kicking off our guest post series today with a post from the wonderful Celeste! Definitely go check out her blog, especially if you like indepth character analysis, chatting about musicals or discussing her absolutely awesome works of historical fiction).
Hello, everyone! I hope you all are doing well, here at the end of the year. I want to say a quick but very heartfelt thank-you to Chelsea for asking me to do this post; the prompt is so wonderfully edifying to think about and I had a wonderful time writing it!
There are a few things you should know about me before we get into the post: I’m too stubborn for my own good, I’m prone to making the same mistakes over, and over, and over again, and I’m also frustratingly far from perfect.
Still, God is good, patient, and altogether so long-suffering.
Throughout 2018, God’s taught me so, so much and honestly, I’m still working on getting those lessons down right and following through; I’m sure I will have to continue working on these things for the rest of my life. The overarching theme, though, has been that I need to put all of my trust in God, without any reservations.
2018, for me, has been a pretty good year. I’ve been blessed with the freedom to worship and practice my religion freely, a good family, good friends, the ability to go to school, and a good job. Still, as with every year, there’s been tough things. What I’ve noticed, though, is that when I feel like I’m not in a good place, there’s one thing in common: I’m not keeping God as the center of my life–I’m trusting in other people and other things.
Trusting in God is something I’ve known is important since I was young. I was brought up singing the hymn:
“I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
Trusting only Thee.
Trusting Thee for full salvation
Great and free”
(The Lutheran Hymnal #428, stanza 1)
Still, here I am, almost out of my teenage years, and I still slip from this continually and very often, it takes something major to knock me on the head for me to collapse and realize, I’ve done it. Again. This constant failure can be heartbreaking but thankfully, God is good and patient and so, so forgiving.
A year ago now, I got Confirmed. Since my Confirmation, I’ve been more cognizant of my falterings and failings than ever before. We all have strong points and, unfortunately, we all have our low points. The piercing truth of Paul’s words in Romans 7:19 mean more to me than they ever have: “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” It can be so, so tough. I want to trust God completely, I want to keep him at the center of my life at all times but time and time again, I’m failing.
“I spent long years for thee
In weariness and woe
That an eternity
Of joy thou mightest know.
I spent long years for thee;
Hast thou spent one for Me?”
(TLH #405, stanza 2)
This hymn, “I Gave My Life For Thee” (TLH #405) always hits me so hard. It pounds into my head that I am a far cry from perfect and what Jesus did for me, I could never, ever, ever come close to accomplishing. And yet, in faith, I still must try. But my own human might is not enough to achieve that. I can say I want to work on living my life for God and putting him at the center of my life all I want, without God, though, I simply cannot do it. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). How true this is!
What I need more than anything in the world, is to trust in God and to have faith in Him and his goodness. “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28) is honestly such a comfort and it is so easy to see why it is a favorite of so many people. God’s shown me time and time again this year that I just need to trust Him–He knows what’s best for me. When I try to make those decisions, my judgment is always flawed. God’s never is.
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22) is the verse that my pastor specially selected for me last year at my Confirmation and I’ve tried desperately to cling to this verse and to live it out. It seems like such an easy thing to do, doesn’t it, to trust God completely, to hand over your burdens and let God sustain you? Still, somehow, it’s so hard. In the end, this is the main lesson I’ve learned from this year: trust in God.
Clearly, this is something for me to continue working on and work on it I will, by God’s grace. That’s the first step after all, to putting God at the center of my life and trusting Him in all aspects of this life He’s so graciously given me. I have to trust He will help me. God’s providence and goodness is so prevalent in everything going on. He watches out for His children and He answers prayers, even if that answer is a “No.” He knows what’s best, we just have to trust Him.
And so, in this upcoming year, I want to engrave in my heart the words of stanza 4 of hymn 422, “Savior, I Follow On”:
“Savior, I long to walk
Closer with Thee;
Led by Thy guiding hand,
Ever to be
Constantly near Thy side,
Quickened and purified,
Living for Him who died
Freely for me.”
Can we all give Celeste a big round of applause? I absolutely loved this post, and I hope you did too! Tell me, what’s something you struggle to trust God in? What has God been teaching you this year?