So you obeyed. You went to the altar and lay all your burdens there. You cried, you praised, you told God everything, including the words, “I surrender all.” You gave it to Him and felt yourself let go.

And then you turned around and went back to your seat, claiming victory.

And when you left church,

you still had to take insulin injections
your bank account was still nearing empty
your job inquiries were still unanswered
your womb was still barren
your husband still ignored you
your Mr. Right did not show up at the gym
your scale did not move downward
your prodigal did not come home
your loved one’s cancer kept growing
your dreams never felt further from coming true
you still felt weary, purposeless, and depressed
you were hit by a car
you were left
you lost control
you lost hope

Maybe things got worse. Or maybe, even worse than that sometimes, they stayed the same.

What good is it to feel victorious, or to believe in victory, if you still have not won anything?

Truth: as far as this world is concerned, as far as these life circumstances go, there isn’t any good to it.

I left it at the altar yesterday. And today, nothing has changed. Not even my outlook. In fact, I woke up, again, feeling like I didn’t even sleep, feeling discouraged and beaten down and unsure.

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My stressful or upsetting circumstances did not change overnight. They didn’t change while we were away last week, even though I had high hopes that ‘everything’ would be supernaturally solved while we were offline in the middle of the ocean (watching this beautiful sunset one week ago tonight). And they didn’t change any of the times during the last 2 months when I thought they would.

At least, not that I can see.

I know a lot of people who think faith is pointless and fruitless, and a lot of those people are Christians who, like me, get so dang discouraged sometimes that they truly cannot see the forest for the trees.

But my forest, I must remind myself, includes a wonderful marriage to my best friend, four healthy, happy kids – including two that ‘shouldn’t love me’ and two that ‘shouldn’t exist,’ a multitude of friends, an amazing church, a supportive family, a beautiful place to live (sunny and 75 on November 14!) enough to get by on for now, and – wait for it – SO much potential…

I think part of faith is counting the blessings…not focusing on the voids, or the loss of past blessings. I think part of faith is counting potential as a blessing. And I definitely know that part of faith is knowing that even though I can’t see anything changing, it IS changing, behind the scenes, in the heavenly realm, sight unseen…all things working together for my good.

So today, in spite of feeling like the gum on the bottom of a shoe, I chose to run (my version of it) more than 3 miles. I chose to praise. And rather than asking God in kind of a whiny, spoiled, overtired-preschooler voice to THROW ME A BONE, PLEASE, WOULDJA, GOD?,

I choose to ask Him for the whole thing.

Don’t just throw me a bone. Send me a filet mignon! Bless me BIG, God…because I want to show You off. Because I need a victory here. Because I need to be reminded that faith matters in a real way, in my life and my family. And because You love me, and that’s just what You do for Your kids. Please let me see the way Your hand is changing my circumstances, and please give me the grace to accept whatever they are.

Amen.

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