I was sitting on my front porch the other day, it was absolutely beautiful out. The sun was shining, the flowers are in full bloom, and you could hear the soft sounds of the trains breaking as they come into the city. I never thought this would be something I enjoyed, the melodic sounds of the city life that surrounds Clifton, but God changed my path and ideals a little over two years ago and this is now the life that I live and the life that I love.
Cincinnati has now been my official home for three years now. It has always been home really, but I never saw myself attached or wanting to stay here long-term. When I felt the call to go into ministry about four years ago, I assumed I would be literally anywhere other than my home town. Yet here I am, three years later, and I’ve seen more of the Lord in these last three years than any of the others that I have been walking with Him.
This ministry year has been tough, probably the hardest one yet, and I say that because if you have kept up with my journey to this point you know that support raising was a pretty difficult time for me. I have been through so many trials over the last few months, a lot of my desires were redirected, and most of what I wanted for myself over the last year was denied of me. A lot of this sounds super dramatic, but this was the biggest pruning year I have yet to experience. However, through it all, the Lord continued to pursue me relentlessly and showed me nothing but grace, mercy, and kindness.
Despite what this year turned out to be, the one thing the Lord keeps drawing me back to is the fact that we will never outgrow our need for Him. We all need the Lord, both Christians and non-Christians alike. If you are in a space in which you have not stepped into a personal relationship with Christ, I would love to talk to you more about what that looks like, but if you have placed your hope in the Almighty God, it simply means that you have acknowledged your need for Him. You have been made aware that sin separates you from union with the Lord and that everything you could ever want or need is found in the redemptive work of the cross and the resurrection.
Over this past year, I’ve tried something new with my prayer life. I decided to keep one constant and consistent prayer woven throughout: “Lord, make me more aware of You.” Within the answer to that prayer came more awareness of my need for Him, learning more of who He is, and knowing more of the victory that was granted to us through the cross and resurrection. I would say this year was actually the hardest since moving back, but what I’ve learned is far more rewarding. I’ve become more aware of my need for the sovereignty of the Lord. I’ve learned a little more of His character, specifically Jehovah Rapha: God our healer. And I’ve held my self-esteem closer to the identity given to us on the cross: as children who’ve been granted victory over death.
We have everything we could ever need in Christ. So why is it when we look at our lives, we see so much emptiness and void? I believe it is because we try to fill those desires and needs with things other than the work of Christ. The world tells us that literally everything other than Christ is what we need to feel more accomplished and fulfilled. The world tells us things like, “You will be satisfied when you achieve financial success”, “You will accomplished when you land the perfect job”, or that “You will feel complete when you find your soulmate”.
As believers, we need to learn to drown out the lies of the world and replace all of it with Truth. And learning that truth all starts by simply learning that we are infinitely and unconditionally loved. If we ignore the gospel and everything that was accomplished through it we miss out on the point of it all.
“The power to walk by faith in obedience is sourced in the grace of the gospel.” -Matt Chandler
We cannot fight this world, or even our own flesh, if we do not stand firm on the belief that victory was granted us through the blood of Jesus Christ. I say this all the time, but I believe it is SO important: We will never outgrow our need for the gospel.
So whatever season the Lord has you in, know this: all you could ever want or all you could ever need is found in Him and Him alone. Fall in love again with the one who loves you perfectly. Remind yourself of the sacrifice made so that you could receive such love. Walk boldly in confidence knowing that it is not YOUR strength or YOUR love for Him that sustains you, it is HIS love and HIS strength that sustains you.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
– John 15:5-8