Hello new friends! My name is Jelise Ballon, and in case you missed the announcement last month, Crystal has graciously invited me to pop on over here to CrystalSutherland.org every once in a while and share some encouragement with you. I want to thank Crystal for inviting me to join all of you in this sacred space and for trusting me with continuing the message of hope and encouragement that is the heart of her ministry.
Crystal and I met about 18 months ago at a conference for Christian women writers and speakers. As you can guess, we connected instantly and soon discovered we shared a similar story and background from our childhood. But more importantly, we both shared the goal of encouraging women, and especially childhood sexual abuse survivors, as they journey toward the healing and freedom that can come through a relationship with Jesus Christ. You can read more about my personal story of abuse and journey to find healing here and here. Or you can catch-up with me any time over at www.neitherheightnordepth.com.
Today, I want to confess to you something I’m not very good at: having peace and trusting God when things are going good. Can you believe that? It sounds silly, I know. When things get really difficult or scary in my life I am quick to run to God and put my trust in Him to provide. But when things are good I often find myself holding my breath, waiting for the bottom to drop, because the goodness can’t possibly last. In a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy, I will start to poke holes, find things that are going wrong or could be better, or just simply things to complain about.
When you’ve been through a major trauma or tragedy in your life, it can be easy to doubt that goodness can be sustained or even believe that you deserve happiness. But God’s word gives us a different truth. In Ephesians 3:18-20, Paul tells us “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
Recently God blessed me with a new job, and chance to try a new career path, which was definitely an answer to prayers. But the new job has meant a number of changes in my life, not the least of which is a new commute and schedule. But instead of focusing on the gift of this answered prayer, I’ve been worried about all of the changes and how they’re impacting my family. I’ve worried that the fatigue I felt the first week was a sign that maybe I made the wrong choice, or I wasn’t cut-out for this new schedule. I’ve focused on all the things I don’t know or have lost, instead of all the things I bring to this job and all I’ve gained (and all this only in the first two weeks — eesh!).
But a few days ago God gave me a little reminder of the promise in Ephesians 3. I rushed out of my house to start the long commute to work. I was thinking about how tired I was, how cold it was, and how much traffic I might hit. But when I looked up, the world around me was glowing! It was 12 degrees that morning and a frost had covered the ground, but the sun was up and shining boldly and it reflected off the ice crystals that had formed over the tall grasses, the trees, and the homes I passed. Everything I saw had a magical feeling like it was dipped in liquid gold and sprinkled with diamonds! My breath was taken away as I looked around and saw the whole world glittering and sparkling before me; it felt like God had not just given me the gift of a new day, and a new job, but he had wrapped it in sparkling gold paper and put a giant jewel-encrusted bow on top.
This is what God does. He loves us so much, He not only provides for what we need, but gives us infinitely more than we might ask or think. His love is wider, longer, higher, and deeper than anything we can imagine. He thinks of every detail, and the blessings He bestows are not to be accepted tentatively, with fear or worry.
If we look for the problems, the worries, the negative, we will surely find it. But then, we may miss out on the glory of the abundance that God has given us! This is one of my goals for 2016, to boldly trust in God and the goodness of all He provides so I don’t miss out on the beauty of His love and generosity. Will you join me?
Read more from Jelise at www.neitherheightnordepth.com