Photo of my own bible.
I'm sure many of you have personally walked through one thing or another that could be defined as a "crisis of faith."
Where everything that you say you believe, believe that you believe, and sing that you believe and even write that you believe - is put to the test.
And not just any testing mind you, but the kind of testing that can turn your hair grey and seem to take years off of your life. The kind where other people begin to take notice and choose to either walk away or simply stand on the sidelines of your life and judge you for it.
Then there are the chosen few who step in when the rest of the world steps out and we bow our heads and thank God for them.
Sometimes, these "crisis of faith" circumstances and situations can take years to pan out or work out.
Right. That kind of stuff.
The fire of life.
Where everything gets tested. Hearts. Motives. Friendships. Families. Faith and the like.
If I could describe the last five years for me personally and for our family, I could do it in two words.
The turning of the calendar page recently was incredibly emotional for me.
This marks five years of walking through the fire for us.
And when I say the fire, I am not referring to - we had some hard times and things were difficult for us
for a while but it all worked out in the end- kind of fire.
But I am referring to being marked to the point that you will never, ever be the same again in the most profound, humbling and heart changing ways.
I have personally walked through and survived much devastation in my life.
I've been transformed by it.
Completely humbled in every possible way by it.
And heart bent on helping others through it.
Marked from the destruction. Marked from the devastation of it all. Marked by the wounds that other people caused us in the middle of it all.
Marked by the loss and the sorrow and the grief of it all.
Because it is one thing to walk through the fire and have those who love you gather around.
It is another thing entirely to watch them walk away and to stand eyeball deep in a mess, you cannot for the life of you understand - and stand there for so much of it - alone.
The isolation and silence almost deafening.
The years of standing mostly alone, caused me to question God and ultimately chose to lean in to Him through the heartache and suffering.
And I am grateful.
Because the fire is where I learned the most.
The fire is where I learned the key to overcoming.
The fire is where I learned to magnify.
And maybe you are in the fire of your life.
Maybe you have walked through the loss of a job, a marriage, finances, a pregnancy, a child, or maybe a home that you loved.
The enemy wants you to take a magnifying glass and hold it up really close to everyone else you know and then he wants you to hold it closely to your own circumstances.
But the father wants you to take that magnifying glass off of your family and friends and hold it
over His word.
He wants you to magnify the truth.
He wants you to magnify Him.
Not your circumstances.
But how do we magnify when we are knee deep in ashes and the pages of destruction seem to be the end of our story?
How can we magnify a God who says in His word He will never leave us nor forsake us and yet we feel completely alone and abandoned by both God and man?
How can we magnify with songs and words of thanksgiving and praise when it literally hurts to breathe?
Here is my humble opinion.....
This is why it is called a sacrifice of praise beautiful friend.
It wouldn't be a sacrifice if it were easy.
The sacrifice is the pulling down and pouring forth of gratitude in spite of the sorrow.
It is a choice to continue to choose Him- to believe Him, over and above everything else.
Faith becomes a spiritual posture of choosing to worship Him- no matter what.
A choosing to believe that God is still good and that He is still for us and not against us- no matter what it looks like.
And no matter how often the enemy tries to magnify our circumstances.
It is the inner knowing deep down inside that the Maker of all things has purposed us and positioned us for great and beautiful things and that surely, the fire is just part of the plan.
I believe it is part of the great plan- learning how to magnify Him - no matter what.
After all, who are you going to reach out to for wisdom when you or someone you love is walking through devastation?
Someone who has been there.
Someone who knows in a way that only the fire storms of life can teach you.
Someone who knows how to magnify.
So many times, what we have walked through in life, has very little to do with us.
And usually a lot to do with His purpose. And His purpose is always His people.
From Genesis to Revelation - it's His people and His word and His truth.
The truth that is Jesus.
He is the way, the truth and the life.
He is the lifter of our heads during times of great trouble.
I am so thankful that I clung to Him during the years of firestorms.
By His grace, my faith if real. Proven authentic and genuine.
I do not know of a "Everything in my life is good- gospel."
I only know of a "He is good in all things- gospel."
And so His word teaches us. Instructs us in this way.
Psalm 34:3- Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Psalm 69:30- I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 70:4 - Let all those who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; And let those who love your salvation say continually, "Let God be magnified!"
I wanted to share with you all a very special video, that literally, wrecked me and unraveled me.
John Piper brings the truth and power at 3:24. Brace yourself.
I shared it on Facebook several weeks ago and tagged a few special friends in that post, hoping to encourage them. Beautiful Emily Ley recently wrote a post about a piece of her story that I think will bless you as well.
This is officially my new favorite song.
I hope it makes your heart burst wide open big time today.....