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When you decide to dedicate your life to Christ and choose to walk along the narrow path, leading you to become more and more like Christ, the journey can most often be painful. When you decide to follow Christ, you are choosing a life of pruning of your old selfish desires and choosing to give up control of your life, allowing him to lead, guide, and refine you. Choosing Christ means saying no to yourself and Yes to him, making him the center and focus of your life.

Spiritual growth is never an easy process. It brings you to your knees, purifies you, breaks strongholds and breaks you to the core of who you are. Its a process where you consciously have to say YES to him and no to your flesh because there are many times that things get so hard your flesh wants to give up and run. Spiritual growth requires that you stand firm in knowing who you are and to whom you belong because the enemy will come at you in all directions trying to take you down any which way he can.  Its a journey in which you doubt, cry out for God and ultimately reconstruct your life. Its a path most desire so they can mature in the Lord but as you trek through the dirt and mud of the painful wounds in your life, searching for a rhyme and a reason why you are in a season of darkness, you suddenly forget why you prayed for God to purify and prune your life, releasing all that has kept you from knowing HIM more and becoming more like HIM. You forget that God is in control and has your back and that in order to grow we sometimes need to be broken, weak and seeking him. You forget that after every downpour in your life that the sun rises and God shows up bigger and brighter than before and you forget that our God is bigger than any problem or circumstance we face and that in the end, the truth always prevails and HE always wins.

I know that is true for my life. I so often forget when I am in the midst of a storm, that my deepest desire of my heart, my ongoing daily prayer has been for the Lord to refine and purify my life so I could go out into the world and be a true reflection of him. I forget that in order to grow in Him, I need to go through some prickly thorny bushes in order to see His face and blueprint for my life. I so often want to take control of the situation and forget that He is in control, covering all things and that I just need to trust in him and have faith that he will see me and the situation through.

My husband often reminds me when I am completely broken and my soul is weeping with enormous grief that after every storm, God shows up with something so big that it brings me back to my knees but for a different reason. That after trials and hardships comes dancing and praise and it is so true. After each and every trial I have encountered, as hard and painful as it may have been, I was never taken out and I never died. In fact, I grew, persevered, I learned more about myself and ultimately I learned more about HIM and his unfailing love for me.

You see, in order to become more like him we have to go through some challenging and bumpy roads. Nowhere in the bible does it say when you accept the Lord into your life that your journey ahead would be smooth sailing. In fact the opposite is true because once you accept the Lord you have this big target on your back and the enemy sees you as a threat and will stop at nothing to try and destroy your path of Christlikeness.

I do not know what challenges you are facing, how broken your soul is or how dark your world may seem to be right now but what I do know is that after every trial comes triumph. That God loves you so deeply and passionately that HE will never let you drown and he promises never to give us more than we can handle. He promises never to leave you nor forsake you and he promises to lavish you with his love.  When you place your faith and trust in him, trust him and have faith he will carry you through whatever you are facing. He doesn’t play games and he isn’t a bargaining tool, he is real and although our ways are not always his ways, that does not mean he will leave you hanging out to dry. Seek him, allow him to come alongside of you and allow him to be your strength. Trials equal perseverance which in turn equals growth and more of God. Trust him to lead the way.

Isaiah 45:1-3 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: 2 I will go before you and will level the mountains[a]; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Isaiah 43:1-3 But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;