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Faith's Transformative Journey

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my spiritual journey. Spanning 37+ years now, God’s transformation of my soul has been breath-taking. If I list out who I was when I started this journey and compare it to where I’m at today, it’s hard to believe I’m the same person. My failures, pain points, growth moments and victories all intertwine into this beautiful tapestry of God’s love.


I think of the early years of my journey, when I battled depression, addiction and crippling insecurity that manifested like a clinging vine into so many areas of my life. I was afraid of failing and afraid of succeeding. Wanting to make a difference in this world, but with no idea how. Believing in myself one moment, only to completely tear myself down the next. All the while struggling to connect with God on a meaningful level and believe in His definition of me.


During this season, I learned my faith was not just about the outcome, it was also about the journey.


“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.” –1 Peter 1:18

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.” –Proverbs 3:5-6


Path through the woods

I think of the next life chapter, punctuated by losing a nearly 20 year marriage to divorce. Of the fight to re-establish a career put on hold to raise kids, and all the financial struggles that came my way during that period. I was on my knees with worry, with fear and grief. Constantly making mistakes, yet constantly being brought back by the depth of love from a Creator I saw in a new light. Together, we battled my scarcity mindset, loneliness, parenting challenges, and ultimately my innermost tender areas that were damaged and needy. I continue to be blown away by all that God taught me during this season; hard-fought for lessons that I would never give back, even if I had to go through all of it again.


During this season, I learned that God’s love for me was indescribably deep, a penny dropped into the opening of his love that has yet to reach the bottom.


“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” –Ephesians 17b-19


Yet as remarkable as that chapter of my life was, penned with love by the Holy Spirit, I am in the midst of yet another great story. I struggle to put it all in words yet, it’s so new and fresh. It’s still evolving, like a tender, young plant newly breaking through the earth, just beginning to stretch its leaves toward the sky. The best I can do is to describe the thoughts and emotions that swirl about me full of whispers of wisdom and caresses of grace.


I am brilliantly aware of all the ways I’ve failed. It’s humbling, how far my heart can wander. Yet I see the hand of God moving through every single failure, every wrong turn. That I am never alone, continually being turned into something more radiant and beautiful through each of those experiences. I know that with a certainty so deep, it seeps through my very bones and reverberates through my soul. And with that knowing comes the patient resolve to embrace the refining fires of trial and challenge with a profound, peaceful trust. I don’t just know that God has me. I know that I know God has me.


But the biggest awakening in my soul right now is a new understanding of the power of prayer. It sounds so basic, I know. Haven’t we all heard or read about how crucial prayer is? Certainly it’s not a new practice for me. I’ve understood it’s transformative power, along with the power of God’s word, for a long while now.


The best way I can describe it is to say that I am grasping in a new way the enormity of what prayer can do. My faith is stretched far beyond my capacity; my ability to endure and stay centered in hope has long been exhausted. Left with nothing to hold onto but the Lord himself, I'm calling out to Jesus for miracles of transformation and emotional strength he alone can provide.


The more I reach the end of me, the more I see how powerful God is when I bring it to him in prayer (whatever “it” happens to be). Lately, I sit back somewhat in awe at the transformation of the lives around me. Of old wounds that some said could never change finding healing and turning into beauty. Of recent wounds healed so swiftly. But most especially, the realization that so many of the worries I carry are not meant to be carried at all; rather they are to be surrendered in prayer to the one who “works all things for the good” (Romans 8:28)


Behind me, I see the doors that closed, which felt so hard and so wounding at the time, only to become blessings in disguise. Whether big blessings or small, they’ve all mattered.


I see how hurt can strangle people, depriving them of breath. Because I’ve been there, too. It allows me to respond with compassion and thoughtfulness even if I’m being lashed out at because I know what it means to feel like I can’t emotionally breathe; I know I can be the needed oxygen or the one who pulls the rope tighter. And that when I fail, God still knows how to pick up the pieces.


In this season I am learning that when I entrust my life to Jesus in prayer, my burdens are easy, and my yoke is light.


“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7


stars over water and land

I know these musings are simply the beginning scratches, a skimming above the surface the Lord is calling me to plumb together with him. With eyes wide open, I am beginning the decent once again into faith's transformative journey.


For Further Thought

Where are you at on your spiritual journey? What is God trying to speak into your life right now? Moments of reflection are important, allowing us to both celebrate personal growth moments and to seek potential points of growth.


Making space for reflection can happen anywhere. Honestly, some of my best prayer times and breakthroughs have occurred while driving around town! It’s less about the where and more about the why: reflection and prayer allow us to see the hand of our loving Creator at work in our lives.


The Apostle Paul says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).


If you want to experience the transformation, you must take off the veil. Our eyes naturally become clouded with too much busyness, glazed with stress and fatigue. Our vision narrows when anger and strife get a good grip on us. And even when we’re mourning, the veil of grief must come off periodically to let in the light of God’s goodness so we don’t lose heart.


This week, make the space to look back, reflect on the moment, and gaze ahead through the lens of faith. See what God might be trying to reveal or celebrate in you. Then make a point of acknowledging and embracing that revelation, however small or big. Because yes—God is moving for your good right now, even in this very moment!


Prayer

Lord, my good Shepherd, you lead me so well. I’m not sure where I’m headed or even why all too often, but for you the path is straight and clear. Praise you for your goodness, Lord! Praise you for never giving up on me, even when I give up on myself. And most of all, thank you for your divine providence. You alone know my comings and goings, watching over me with a love so profound it melts my heart. Help me to experience more of you and less of me, Papa. Amen.


To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to invite her to speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.

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