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By Kelly Baker
Correspondent 

Not Your Typical Church Lady

In Part

 

October 31, 2019

You've heard the expression "opening a can of worms." It indicates that what you are about to do is going to be more complicated than it would appear. Sharing faith experiences can be a little like that because I've witnessed so many things that I'm not even sure where to begin unraveling them so that I can tell you about them.

It all works together, you see: faith, fearlessness, love, forgiveness, compassion and more. So to find where one ends and one begins is very difficult because they are intertwined – no beginning and no end, just infinite because God is infinite. So the parts you hear in these articles are just that – parts. There is simply not room for the whole. The Bible is the same way (no coincidence.) It is much bigger and there is more to it than just the book sitting on your shelf. The lives recorded in it have more to them and are much fuller than what man could ever possibly fit on a scroll, or in a book, or on a computer. What we read are only parts, but they are very good parts.

Let us begin then with this part from Jesus in Luke 12: "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."

Some people have a hard time not worrying, but I'm here to tell you, it's really unnecessary. There have been many, many times that I've gone off into the world with not a penny on me and not a crumb to eat. God has always provided. This isn't new, it's been happening to me for years. How does he provide, you ask? He just sends people to me with food. I don't ask for it and they have no idea that I need it- they just bring it. They've brought it to my house, they've brought it to wherever I work, sometimes they leave it in my car. So do I worry about what I'm going to eat? No. The possible downside to this is that I've grown to be very spontaneous about food. That means I don't plan too far ahead. If I invite you to eat with us, we're all going to be surprised together at what lands on the table. We have the food- I just don't spend too much time agonizing over the details of each meal.

Clothes have a way of finding me, too. Very seldom do I need to go shopping. I've got plenty to wear. God keeps sending me clothes. We humans tend to make things a lot harder than they need to be. We think we need things to be top notch or name brand. Worrying about our appearances takes up a lot of valuable time in our lives, time that could be spent on better things. I have learned to let it go because I have experienced firsthand God's grace in providing these things for me.

One cannot worry and have faith. Worry is you thinking you have control. Faith means stepping back and handing God control. So how does one come to have an unflinching, unshakeable faith? It's hard to put into words. You can't get until you give. You can't receive until you let go. You can't have until you have nothing. May I submit that it is a paradox? You must let go of everything. Everything. And Oh the testing. There will be testing and testing and testing. "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart" (Proverbs 17:3). My faith is not perfect, but God is. I've been tested repeatedly. Sometimes I pass and sometimes I have to take the test over again. It's a process. This is not meant to discourage but to encourage. If you are being tested, then you are in the process of being refined. You are being made into a better you with a stronger faith. Don't worry, just trust. This is a part of the whole.

I will leave you with the following expression of faith taken from the "Celtic Daily Prayer Book" from the Northumbria Community:

"Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day; and though I am poor, today I believe. Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day; and though I am weak, today I believe. Lord, You have always given peace for the coming day; and though of anxious heart, today I believe. Lord, You have always kept me safe in trials; and now, tried as I am, today I believe. Lord, You have always marked the road for the coming day; and though it may be hidden, today I believe. Lord, You have always lightened this darkness of mine; and though the night is here, today I believe. Lord, You have always spoken when the time was ripe; and though you be silent now, today I believe. Amen."

 

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