God alone knows exactly what you and I must endure in order to form His character in us. It is in our trials that God refines us and removes our impurities. Like refined gold, when we pass through our trials, people will see His perfect reflection in us. – Wendy Blight
It was one of those father/ daughter, complete-the-prompt journals I was gifted on my 18th birthday. Covered in cheesy butterflies and wildflowers, I cared little about the appearance and instead focused on every letter scrawled in his familiar, poetic hand-writing. Repeatedly, came an inner tug at reading this simple sentence: If I could give you anything in the world I would give you: Faith, because with faith you can move mountains.
Faith? Really? How sweet and airy, dad. A Christian since four, didn’t I already have faith? Why not give me happiness, or financial success, or a house at the beach? Just faith?
Oh, how naive my young, 18-year old perspective was as it shrugged off the deeper meaning of translating my dad’s ever-famous phrase, Enjoy the Journey, to being about faith. After all, I’d grown up in a Christian home, was studying at a Christian university, and passionate about following Christ; my motives pure, and life until then, so incredibly easy. Faith was a misread byproduct of affirmation from others, not a sole dependency on Jesus. Why risk putting my entire trust in the unseen, when I was doing just great on my own, thank you very much.
Fourteen years later, and more than a decade of being married to an adorable middle school pastor, I’ve journeyed low pits, high peaks, and everything in-between and I’m finding faith is not once-learned, but a continual faith journey. I’m learning He does not waste one moment, conversation, dream, or person. When I release my plans, and grasp an identity rooted in Him, my faith is renewed. As an embracer of upclycing, I trust He is making something better than the original with each of our stories, and so I passionately pursue beauty in the everyday, whether it be relationships, grief, parenting, home design, baking, or being.
Now, I clutch the journal close, my heart understanding the draw towards his faith gift. Ironically, what was ungraspable then, has since become a word I live, breathe, drink in, and from. If not for the process of upcycling my faith, of Enjoying the Journey, and inspiring others to see theirs in a freedom-seeking perspective, I may still wonder the same thought I did at 18; it’s just faith.
No, friends, it ain’t just faith. Faith, through life’s sharp twists and joyful ascents, is clinging, resting, and bravely obeying the Father with a hands-open-wide voracity, knowing I’m enough simply as I am. As we learn to trust our Creator, recognizing how He pursues, frees, and restores us, our faith is magnified. He takes our current circumstance, repurposes them with an eternal perspective, and hands them back to us, in His perfect timing. More than ever, I’m finding that by “giving” me faith, my earthly father was preparing my heart to crave my Creator in a way that happiness, or riches, or beach cottages cannot.
I invite you on this upcycling journey, but I caution you; it’s not for the faint of heart. If you want to coast through life, or survive one day to the next, well, I’ve been there. Be my guest. Abundance lacks. The truth is that your life is exquisite, one to be gobbled up, sipped, and savored. It does not mean it’s perfect, but the contrary. Each of us will endure pain, loss, rejection, as well as crazy joy, awe, and passion. When we find our identity in a faith-offering Creator, He fills in those cracks and corners with details otherwise unseen in the process.
What if we don’t have to look back and see His handiwork after the fact? What if we are ever-present to acknowledge God at work in the moment? What if we have faith that can move mountains in the shade, in the parenting frustrations, in the identity crises, as well as in the we-just-had-a-baby or in the I-landed-my-dream-job? Our responsibility is to simply trust, to put one foot in front of the other, and let Him transform what we believe is already good, into Enjoying the Journey toward an abundant, upcycled faith.
How do you perceive faith? What has life thrown your way that has challenged or grown it recently? Where is God upcycling beauty from broken pieces? I’d love to hear from you.
~ Bekah Jane