Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1(NIV)

If I were to look into my future several years ago, I certainly would not have seen what I am today.  When my first marriage ended, I had a baby, two jobs, a trailer and endless bills inherited from the divorce.  Being a single mother was not in my plan.  But that’s what I was and I was determined to make the best of it.  My daughter and I were “two women of the 90s” and as long as we had each other, we had everything.  For 16 years it was just the two of us.  We laughed and cried together and we ate a lot of macaroni and cheese.

Back then, I would have assured you that I would never leave the security of my environment and that I would never re-marry.  I had everything under control.  Then I met the One who would ultimately become the love of my life and would turn my whole world upside down.  Yes, Jesus came into my life.  We took it slow for a long time.  After all, I was a woman of the 90s and there was no room for anyone except my little pumpkin.  And following a failed marriage and some really bad dates, I was not going to jump into a relationship.  Over the years Jesus taught me how I should be living my life.  He helped me learn how to say “no” and how to accept “no” for an answer.  He helped me raise my daughter, got me out of many scrapes, and gave me discernment and wisdom to prevent me from repeating mistakes.  And I think that sometimes He allowed me to make the same mistake twice to be sure I learned my lesson.  He was always home when I called Him and always available to talk.  He taught me that I could trust Him; even when I felt like I could trust no one, He would never let me down.  Little by little, as I let Him get closer to me, my wall of self protection began to dissolve. 

Then, one day, my little pumpkin reached adolescence.  The typical mother/daughter conflicts began over friends and curfews, boys and the car, household chores and rules, and just “whatever”.  It was during this time Jesus shared His sense of humor with me.  He told me to give Him my pumpkin.  I refused.  No one could have my baby.  I brought her into this world, and by golly, I was the only one who could take care of her.  But as she got older and more and more independent, I knew in my heart that Jesus was the only One who could give me the help I needed.  When I finally called on Him, it was His hands that reached for her.  Peace was restored to our house and although she and I still had some tense moments, I had a better sense of direction on how to handle them.  Putting my child into Hands I couldn’t see was the first real step of faith I took on my walk with Jesus. 

My faith has grown significantly since then.  God has called me to do some pretty scary things – like public speaking and playing the piano in church – two things that have terrified me in the past.  He once told me to stop dating someone for no apparent reason.  I later learned that with that person, I was headed down a very dangerous road.  Three years ago He put me to (what I thought at the time was) the ultimate test of faith and told me to get married.  But not just to anyone – to a pastor of all people!  Yes, God has quite a sense of humor. 

God calls us to do some seemingly crazy things.  Sometimes I think that the crazier the idea, the more sure I am that it’s coming from God.  God does not want us to carry dead weight that doesn’t or no longer serves His purposes.  He wants us to remove obstacles from our lives that take up room for Him to work within us and help us grow for His glory.  In John 15:1-2, Jesus tells us:  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (NIV)  Pruning our lives, as a gardener prunes the vines, allows God’s nutrients to feed what is important so that we can produce more fruit.  Producing fruit allows us to receive the abundant blessings and grace God so freely gives to us.

But we must remember that when we receive a call from God, whether seemingly practical or impractical, it requires prayer and discernment.  Answering God’s call requires trust, obedience, and genuine faith to step out of our comfort zones and into a place of uncertainty.  We can think with our heads, but we have to hear with our heart.  My favorite description of faith is found in the song, “That’s What Faith Must Be”, by Contemporary Christian singer and songwriter, Michael Card:

To hear with my heart
To see with my soul
To be guided by a hand I cannot hold
To trust in a way that I cannot see
That’s what faith must be

I have never regretted answering God’s calls, including marrying a pastor!  When God calls you to do something that you or others may question or even oppose, how will you respond?  Will you take that step of faith and trust God to work out the details?