Monday, August 1, 2011

2011: A Year of Deepening

2011 has been a year of growing and deepening.

Last year was a traumatic year for me, searching my heart and discovering what I truly believed. I despaired of faith and life; I wondered why I existed; I doubted God's presence and forgiveness in my life; I was depressed and went through each day burdened; I questioned, "Is marriage worth it? Is family worth it? Is life worth it?"

During that time, I had written a quick email to my pastor which summed up the period of confusion in my life:

God must really be working on my heart in someway, because it's hurting! :) Please keep me in your prayers as I question everything about life and wonder if it's (i.e. Christianity, family,
marriage, life) really worth the struggle. I have never felt so distant from God, so [kind of] rebellious, and have never felt such a battle for my soul. I feel on the verge, at a crossroads, in a way. Oh well...I'll get through it, I guess.

My pastor responded with an email which made me cry, especially this part:

"It's all worth it, Taylor: life, faith, God, love, marriage...all of it. Even when you can't see the tremendous blessing for what it is, it is and will remain a blessing in this life preparing us for life everlasting. It is my prayer for you that one day you will know the love of God reflected in marriage. I am so proud of you and your purity stance. I was checking out your website a couple of months ago and I like the analogy you used about handing your one-day husband a broken heart in pieces and saying "here you go...I know it's all busted up...but it should still work somewhat." Wait for that true love and life that God has planned for you. It will be a bumpy ride at times, but its beauty - the love of family, spouse and friends that reflects God's love in Christ - has no equal.

"Keep that chin up. When you feel down, I want you to go find a family member or friend and do something nice for them. Life is what you make it, and God created a beautiful world for you to celebrate that in. Live each day in His shelter and trust and comfort and rest. When you lay your head down on the pillow each night, have no regrets about how your day was spent and be excited about what a new day will bring because of the God-given newness of each day.

"Smile Taylor. Life is worth it. You're worth it. You mean so much to God that Jesus died for you. How cool is that?"

Through the encouragement and patience of my parents, my pastor, and others, I began to creep out from the shadows of my despair and started claiming foundational Biblical truths to be my own, really solidifying my belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

A friend at the time sent me a lengthy letter of encouragement when I confided my struggles to her. In it she wrote:

"Every young person comes to a point (usually over a few years span, not usually just over a few days) where they question everything they’ve learned, needing to know what they believe and why. You have to make convictions your very own and founded on God’s Word, the Word of Truth. If you don’t, you’ll stray away from those who love you most, from God, from Truth, wavering and unstable in everything, not knowing between right and wrong, etc."

That was exactly what was going on in my life. Our family has witnessed the ages 17-18 to be extremely critical in shaping a young person's life, worldview, and faith.

This year, my 18-19th year, I am deepening in my relationship with the Lord. I came to fully know I truly believed in Him last year, and now I am beginning to really KNOW Him. I am trying to daily spend personal time in the Word (motivated by Loving the Lord's Summer Pursuit Challenge), and have been examining areas of compromise in my life. It has been a year of deepening of my faith.

It has been so evident I need time with my Lord every day. I am so much more at peace and more purposeful during my daily tasks when I start my day with Him. My vision is usually more focused and I am apt to respond to situations more calmly and respectfully. Of course, I haven't been faithfully reading my Bible first thing in the morning (sometimes it's at 1:00 at night because of a given day's circumstances!), but I am learning to yearn for the quiet time of prayer, reading, and journaling.

Well, that's not exactly what I was planning to write today! But I felt I needed to share past words of encouragement shared with me, and also what I am learning currently. Perhaps someone needs to hear the words above.

I have more to write, but it is time to get out lunch! (*Edit: I obviously drafted this earlier today.) Catch y'all later!

Lacheln!
Taylor

P.S. Speaking of growing/learning: two weeks ago I published my first Dreamweaver-built, totally-designed-by-me, HTML/CSS/Flash website and customized my first Wordpress blog for a client. THAT was a challenge, and my brain is still a little fried from spending entire days working on computer! But if you'd like to see the results of my amateur attempts at web designing, visit here: http://www.4hislove.com. :)

3 comments:

yankeegospelgirl said...

Wow Taylor, this is some pretty heavy stuff. Was there anything in particular that caused you to begin questioning everything? Because I know of people who have had their faith shaken through various atheist challenges, saying there's no reasonable foundation for Christianity. But it sounds like your struggles were less specifically traceable to a root cause.

Miss Taylor said...

I believe it was a build-up of many different things in my life - from trials we experienced as a family, to personal hidden sin, to pressure of responsibilities, to growing older, etc. etc.!

It was completely essential for me to go through that time of great searching and grounding in my faith. I have come out stronger for it, and while the early parts of 2010 were dark times for me, I am grateful for the vital lessons I learned (and am still learning!).

yankeegospelgirl said...

Well I can definitely see how all those things together could make for some dark times. Praise God that you emerged stronger from it all.