Sunday, September 29, 2013

To Blossom You Must Grow

Little did I know that as I flipped my Calendar to a new month, I was simultaneously turning a new page in the book of life. This month was to be a new adventure, an epic journey. Of course every week has it's ups and downs, its challenges and victorious moments. But September was going to be different. It was going to be hard. The small clue to this discovery sat in the top corner of my calendar--daring me to take on the challenge.

It read: "To blossom, you must grow." 

When I looked at that small quote on my calendar it hit me like a blast of icy air. If I was to blossom into the young woman God wants me to be, the older sister I desire to be, the daughter I pray I will become, and the friend a friend would want to have, I needed to grow. That was a tough realization because, you see, any experience I have had with growth has been hard.

At the age of fourteen, my arms and legs finally began to stretch out. The little, petite Katie I had always been began to grow at the rate of four inches a year. I still remember my legs aching and not being able to sleep yet feeling exhausted all the time. I thought I was dying, but in reality pain was occurring for growth to happen. 

Of course growth transpires in each of us in a variety of different ways. I want to learn and grow. I mean, unless you have reached perfection (and I feel I can safely assume that none of us reading this have), why stay the same? However, let's just say that this September I wasn’t quite prepared for the mental, physical, spiritual, and relational growth Jesus composed for me. 

To date, Pain has accompanied each area. So has TRUST. 

Why is it that just when I felt I was wholly trusting God He threw a big morph ball of confusion at me? Was I fooling myself by thinking I was trusting when I wasn't? Not necessarily. Now that I could trust Him with the little things it was time for a bigger test. This must be phase two. 

You see, Jesus wants to draw us closer to Him; closer and closer and closer until we see Him face to face. I should never stop seeking or learning more about Him. After all, Christ is infinite and we could never be able to grasp His endless love or boundless grace if we made it our one mission in this life. God does not want me to be content knowing Him a little bit. He wants to continue drawing me radically closer to Him. For this purpose, my Lord chose to show me I need Him desperately in very real ways.

The past few weeks I have felt like I keep getting pushed underwater and every time I surface to gasp for fresh air, I get shoved down again. First (it's kind of embarrassing) position on the volleyball team.

"Will you trust me, Katie, to decide your position?If your knee gets injured again? If you don't reach your goals?"

Then it's school.

"Katie, it's my plan that your degree has been lengthened. You're frustrated, but it's for a purpose."

My relationship with Daddy.

"So, you trust your Daddy with the little things. What about when he makes a decision you don't agree with? What about when I call you to wholly submit to a decision you see as 'astronomically large' you still believe I am leading and guiding him?" 

Lack of sleep.

"Are you still going to share MY love and be filled with MY Spirit when you are exhausted? Or are you going to give in to the flesh when the going gets tough?"

Relationships with my siblings.

Time-management pressures.

Stress. Because I’m stressed and I don’t want to be, which is so stressful!

Yeah, it's been a struggle, but here's the cool part. Jesus is revealing Himself to me in ways like never before, He is giving me opportunities that I have prayed for, He is strengthening my love for my family and opening my eyes to my shortcomings. After the storm of each trial there is peace, and Jesus ministers to my soul. Once I perceived God was allowing this difficult time because of His mercy, not His judgment, I could embrace the heat with open arms.    

My God, is truly and AWESOME God! He is drawing me to Himself and I am growing! Through the pain my life is stretching, molding, and as a person I am blossoming. Life with fire is powerful. It forces you to see what's really important and to cling to what really matters. True, I have enjoyed the sweet times when the sea is calm and my biggest worry is what I'll make for lunch. But there is so much passion, love, and bittersweet tears in the fire I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade the past few weeks. Jesus is there for each of us in the storms of our lives and He has a purpose. He does everything for a reason.

Are you trusting Him with your life? Have you submitted everything that you desire to control? It's scary. It's nerve-wracking. But it is powerful. God has chosen this moment to grow you into the person he wants you to become. Growth always comes with pain...

...but if you want to blossom, you must grow.