I placed one foot in front of the other, grateful the library staircase was long. Each step was a crossing over from everyday life of a nursing baby and school drop-offs and work emails into a few hours of writing. Once inside, my feet took me on autopilot to my spot on the second floor, the window that looked across the commons onto the chapel with the cross.
But first I had to walk between bookshelves.
Rows of books written by people who believed enough in the topics at hand that they gave hours of life to pound out the words. It was a repeated daily passage into the physical, emotional and spiritual space of writing down my story. I walked through the aisles, past the authors who had gone before me, trusting if they could do it, I could too.
Once at my desk with a view, my laptop out and my coffee waiting to be finished, I read an email. From my mother-in-law, a seasoned writer, who sent me almost daily encouragements as I tried to type my soul out, story by story, line by line, word by word. Her email included a blog post written by the writer for which she and I shared an admiration: Donald Miller. She loved his emphasis on story and I admired his honesty. This particular post was entitled The Best Writing Advice I’ve Ever Received. And this writer who I admired oh so much simply said he was divinely nudged with the phrase, “Love your reader.”
Love. Your. Reader.
You, who I pictured sitting across that library table from me sharing some coffee and conversation. You, a willing listener to hear the details of my own journey, deserved to be loved as I told them. I loved through the particulars that I thought you needed to hear. The ones that talked of a broken heart as a girl, searching for significance in all the places a girl would, of a young woman falling in love and the fear in it, and midnight marriage prayers only a few years later. Of motherhood and all of its expectations and waves of emotion that I wasn’t prepared for. I told of the questions, the doubts because I wanted you to know you are not alone. I wanted to love you.
And how interesting this phrasing – Love your reader – when the whole premise of my story is love. Three burning questions that get to the core of who we are: Am I lovable? Am I loved? Am I loving? When I consider what truly defines me, it is Love. The Love Giver, who gave his very self on the cross. Who CHOSE to take on the worst of the world in order to heal it. To heal us.
His reason: Because I loved you.
For God is love.
And yet so much of my journey is confusing that love. Is looking for validation that yes, I am lovable, and that please, please love me kind of ask, and the failing after failing of loving the people around me well. Only when I look at The Artist’s truth and ask Am I lovable? Am I loved? Am I loving? do I get a proper sense of my worth. He tells me his Grace covers it all. I don’t have to be everything, or enough, he is enough. I can rest in his pure and generous love. The Artist’s Daughter.
I had it all in my heart as it was now my turn to pound out those words.
Because I believed in the topic at hand, that Grace is given and it is enough.
Because I loved you.
Alexandra Kuykendall works at MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) where she encourages mothers of young children to keep growing as they take on their new mothering identity. She is a regular contributor and consulting editor to MomSense magazine, Connections magazine, and the MOPS blog. A frequent speaker for MOPS, Alexandra has been featured on Good Morning America. As the mother of four young children, she continues to refine her mothering identity. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their daughters.
Alex is also the author of The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir, a book full of short, moving episodes that transport readers into her life that included a childhood in Europe, a spiritual conversion marked more by questions than answers, a courtship in the midst of a call to be with troubled teens, marriage and motherhood – and always, always, the question of identity. Through her personal journey, women will discover their own path to understanding the shape of their lives and a deeper sense of God’s intimate presence within it.
Today we’re excited to give away FIVE copies of The Artist’s Daughter! To be entered to win a copy, leave a comment telling us about something you’ve learned since beginning your faith journey. Winners will be chosen randomly and announced on Friday.
How wonderful! Let’s see…. Something I have learned through my journey into faith. There are countless things that I have discovered about love, discipline, and hope. But two that stick out because one was as early as yesterday. Forgiveness, of others and of self brings a whole new sense of wholeness. And finally dependence, knowing I am not alone. Knowing no matter who seems to busy…… I can lean on The Lord and he will be there for me.
Amy Kelly says
In my journey, I have learned that God is the hero of my story. God is the best friend who will stay up late at night and let me vent or cry about my day. God is the father who will love me unconditionally, hold me, cheer with me, and be by my side through good and bad. My relationships with people will come and go. They will leave me wanting, and often discouraged. But when I put my faith and trust in Him, He will be there in the midst of my day. God is so good!! Blessings!
Martha Smith says
Thank you for sharing Alexandra, “The Artist’s Daughter”.
My journey as a child of God knowing Jesus as my Savior since the age of 8, however, always knowing about Jesus. One aspect right now (currently) I am in a wheelchair, rheumatoid arthritis, and this has brought a new dimension to my life. I find I have “no title” as a hospital chaplain, or as a teacher, mentor, or children’s therapist. I had to give that up. The pain is too much, the mobility is impossible. And yet, for oh my well, too long, I thought, it is finished. I am finished. I have absolutely nothing to give now that I am at home. Then I looked into my heart and new the needs and heard the needs of those around me, some people I knew, others I had never met. Prayer, I can pray. So I have been on a prayer journey for the last five years or more. It is not about me, as the phrase goes. It is about Jesus and His love for me and others. His salvation (all it entails) so rich and free. Thanks for listening. I will pull from the reservoir of His Joy, as I give and all the while giving Him the Glory. No title, that is not true. I am a child of the King ! So loved, I am His beloved. love, Martha Smith Psalm 138:8
I began my journey about 20 years ago, and during the last 2 decades, I can guarantee that there were many moments, some of them months and years long, where I did not seem to be on God’s path at all. I look back now and see that each step got me here, and the doubt of why stops.
If I had to list only one thing I have learned, although there have been many, the one most important thing would be trust. Trust that I am being watched over. Trust that I am being guided. Trust that each and every thing I go through is part of my grand plan. Trust is Faith.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
That goes against everything in us sometimes doesn’t it? Trust? I will work on that too.
I feel I learn something new every. Single. Day. On my faith journey. And just when I think I’ve finally got it figured out, well, you know…lol!
Coming to God and His Word EVERY day is the best way for me to stay renewed and encouraged – simple, but true!
we need to make it a practice to look into the eyes of Jesus. In His eyes, we see a whole new picture of ourselves–our identity, our life, and our challenges. the picture is filled with redemption, hope, and power and can restore us at every opportunity.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Great image. I will use it. I can only imagine what his face looks like when it is looking into mine. Thank you Christine.
Growing up as a christian I believed that if I could check off things in the “do/don’t do” boxes that I was good. For example do your devotional, don’t curse….and the list goes on and on. I was living my life as a Pharisee, following rules. Thankfully during college God put some people in my life who really loved on me and showed me that it is all about relationship with Jesus. We ourselves will never be able to check all the boxes in our lives. This is something I still struggle with but it is a daily giving over of my life and seeking Christ and knowing Him better.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
I sometimes wonder if that is a developmental phase of our faith (and maybe even our age). I know I went through it. It protected me from some potentially harmful decisions for sure. But I too had to grow into the relationship and letting go of the shoulds.
I am SO not in control!
Through my journey I have learned to have deep down trust that God is for me and not against me! While I have know this in my head for most of my life, it has been in the past couple of years that this truth worked on my heart – God is for me, no matter what the circumstances or disappointments of life. And if He is for me, who can be against me?
Amy Lanham says
I’m still learning, but one of the greatest lessons I have learned is sometimes God has bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves. This has forced me out of my comfort zone many times, but has brought me a lot of joy.
Cindy Rhudy says
Share one thing I have learned on my faith journey? One? How do I select one, when each one has been so critical to my growth, my transformation, into the woman God has designed me to be? This one thing seems to be foundational to all the others, however. I need him. I NEED HIM! I NEED HIM! I NEED HIM! I NEED HIM! Yes, there was a time I thought all I had to do was believe in him. I thought I could do the rest on my own. Now I know I can’t think right, I can’t act right, I can’t even love right, without His help. And I am finding that with practice, I need him more, not less. I get better at needing him. The more I need him, the better off I am.
I am so much more selfish than I ever imagined (thank you to some great roommates and an incredible husband for putting up with me!). I truly need God to get me out of myself.
There is always more for God to teach me. When I think I “know it all,” He reaches down, shows me my pride, and graces me with more…more of HIm
Sarah B. says
I’ve learned that God is faithful, even when we aren’t or when the circumstances seem hopeless. And that is why I can trust Him!
I have learned that God is faithful… no matter what! I have failed Him many times, but He has never failed me. He is always here, always loving, faithful in the details of life.
Lorraine M says
One of the biggest things for me is trusting… trusting…. when life brings many changes and sometimes disappointments and sadness, Trusting that God is at work and sees the whole picture, even when I cant and it doesn’t seem to make sense.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Shelley mentioned trust in an earlier comment. Oh. It’s. So. Hard. Especially in those sad times.
I have learned God is the most powerful creative and loving source who wants us to succeed through humility, patience, and service. When I have strayed from the path through selfish ambition, pride, and impatience, my plans fall apart and I am left with nothing except God’s forgiveness. When I have the courage to proceed as a servant offering my gifts through God’s plan, I am abundantly rewarded.
I am learning that dependence ain’t so bad, because when it comes to dependence it is all about who you depend upon. Learning to lean and glimpsing the Jesus that I lean upon – it’s a breathtaking journey!
Jennifer r says
That even though I may doubt my worth at times, I am the daughter of The King. It was my birthright before I was even breathed into life.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
miss honey says
that it’s not about me……..
Jane @ See Jane Learn says
37 years-that’s how long my “official” faith journey has been going on, although I’m sure God was working on my heart even before I invited him in back in high school… God has been reminding me lately how vital it is to speak life-giving words of encouragement and to be on guard not to let my talk turn to accidental gossip.
Your book sounds great Alexandra! I love MOPS and have had the joy of being a mentor for 8+ years. If we lived in Colorado I’d want to work there too!
Shawn Bensley says
Something I’ve learned over the years with Jesus, love others and give them grace.
I have learned that I can try to control everything around me and heap frustrations on my head or I can pray and trust the Lord. And Jesus never ceases to amaze me.
It’s simple yet so easy to get off focus: “All of life is all about Jesus.” When I remember this, everything else falls into place, into His plan, into the rhythm God created for me
Helen G. says
I’ve learned that God is Faithful, and that his grace and mercy is what keeps me from falling through the traps of regrets and guilt. I’ve also learned that a lifestyle of praise and thanksgiving can really save me from anger and frustration. Even today, when I found myself irritated and frustrated at my young children, I started to mentally go through all the things I am thankful for, as well as praising God for sending his son Jesus to die for my sin… the same sin that was causing me to fall into the trap of anger. I found that if I choose to live in that trap, I’m slapping Jesus in the face and neglecting His sacrifice on the cross for me. Oh, what grace!
Just one thing? Well, I guess that’s good – nothing much is coming to mind, but that’s probably due to the pressure! Actually, not too long ago we were studying David in Sunday School & it occurred to me that God was teaching me thru my own solitude – what I thought was an unpleasant circumstance to be gotten out of He could use for good.
My journey started a long time ago as a teenager, but I am amazed how God continually lifts the veils and shows me just how much I still don’t know. What he has never failed to show me is His love and mercy though I *still* try to run away from him. Every time my heart is revealed for what it is Jesus takes it and tells me, “You are loved, forgiven, clean, beautiful.” Ultimately I am finally getting that this life is not about me, it’s about HIM. Thirty-ish years of walking with him and it is finally starting to sink in. This is God’s story.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Our stories are intertwined with God’s story. You are so right. This is God’s story.
I am His chosen and my life is full of His amazing ‘grace’ !!
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Yes Anne, you are chosen.
Sarah Caldwell says
What a great, yet loaded question! 🙂 I’ve learned so much…I’m not in control, and I don’t have to feel I’m a failure if a certain Christian denomination feels too abrasive and judgmental – I simply have to focus on Jesus, His Word, His leading, and know HE’s the only one I aim to please. 🙂 (Meet you briefly at the coffee machine at the Jumping Tandem retreat Alexandra 🙂 I would love to read your book -it sounds amazing!
Alexandra Kuykendall says
I just looked you up so I could see a face. Yes I remember. Great to “e-meet” you again (as you say on your site). Thanks for the message here.
The greatest thing I have learned (that probably required the most amount of pain) is that God is not concerned about our following the rules so much as He is with our hearts. He wants a relationship with us above all is. We seem to think we can judge everyone around us for not following God’s Laws but there is a bigger picture He wants each of us to see. He wants eternity with us!
Robin at Recess says
I’ve learned that the journey is a lifelong one, that the answers are present but I have to be open to them, and that even in my imperfection God loves me.
I have learned that no matter how many times I fail, he is ALWAYS there for me. Waiting, loving, full of grace.
I have learned (sometimes rather painfully) that my relationship with the Lord is so precious that I need to work on it EVERY DAY. (Much like our human relationships), but our relationship with God should take precedence because it’s THE most important relationship we will ever have, (and should therefore be treated as such).
Susan Miller says
The biggest and most important lesson I have learned throughout my faith journey is that I am worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of respect, worthy of grace…..simply worth.
I feel at once very grateful but also frustrated that I am so far into my parenting journey and am only just now beginning to figure some things out…primarily the freedom that Christ gives me from having to please others all of the time. Thankfully, the journey isn’t over yet and God isn’t done withdrew me yet either. Looking forward to what He has in store…
kathy cleaver says
The important thing for me to continue to understand is to trust in God completely. Our journey continues throughout all the pain, frustration and heartache, but we always know we are being directed by Him. He will not fail us.
Gina Lind says
I’ve learned that God loves me! I understand the depth of his love more and more all the time. I am still learning patience:)
The past year has been a whirlwind. 2 surgeries, a 4th child and a big move. When I tell people the details, they can’t imagine how we did it. I tell them we did it together, my husband and I. I’ve come to understand that ‘we’ was not just my husband and I. God guided us, protected our health and well being, kept us at peace with all the changes. I have more Faith in our Heavenly Father now more than ever.
I recently finished The Aritists Daughter. I recieved it at my first ever MOPS meeting. I could not put it down! Everything she writes about I’ve experienced in one way or another. She gives a voice to my inner voice. I was shocked how well she knew me.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Rhonda, I’m sure I know you because we are one in the same, us moms. There are some things that are just universal.
renee tjapkes says
I (hope) I have learned that when I think I know it all, I know nothing, and that I need to turn to God for wisdom and answers. Because He is the Truth.
Karolyn Polo says
I have learned that in the midst of the everyday fray, I must constantly look for His Banner of Love in order to know where I am. If it is far away, then perhaps I have strayed too far. If it is close and clear, then I know I am on the right track. Of course, this is just an analogy, but I happen to love word pictures to describe my spirit journey. His banner over me is Love!
I have learned that God is always faithful, but often times there will be questions that I may not see the answers to, I just have to trust Him.
Ida Pahus says
Something I have learned is to trust God completely, that He has everything in control. I may not understand everything right now, but one day I will. There is a bigger purpose and a bigger picture I can`t see, but God knows what He is doing!
I have learned that I will keep learning and growing until I see my Father. That he tests me because he loves me and is molding me into who he wants me to be. And that his love is bigger and greater than anything. And I am learning that I should trust him, learning to rely on him, and learning to seek him and his kingdom.
Kris M. says
When times are hard or prayers are answered differently than I hope, I remind myself that God loves me and wants the best for me. It is hard to see through the pain, but it helps to think of how much I love my daughter and how much more God loves me.
In my journey, God has taught me that He alone is STRONG and GOOD. We can trust Him with our life and times. His plans are better!
Jeanine Conner says
I am just learning who I am at 42, about to be 43 in a week. I was always whoever everybody else wanted me to be. The reliable friend, the obedient daughter, the caretaker, the people pleaser. After severe burnout I had to ask myself the hard question. Am I being honest with myself and the people around me? I wasn’t. I had to change or risk losing myself forever if I chose the fear over change. It is a continuous work in progress but I am leaning on God and trusting in Him. His LOVE never fails though I do. I lost my marriage in the process but I know I am finally being authentically me.
Oh, I would be thrilled to read this book! I’ve learned a great deal about perspective and how God shapes what we see and when we see it… if only we remember to lean on him for the best views!
This sounds like a book that would inspire to love others that are hurting, something I love to do! Thank you for a great post and a chance to win!
Recently, God has been showing me the depth and strength of His love. That no matter what I do or fail to do, He always loves and accepts me. And in His love I am always safe. That is where He wants me to remain and rest — in His love. From there, He can and will work in and through me. When I totally let go and trust in His love.
At this point, I need reminders often, but I am encouraged that I am finally understanding that He truly is about relationship and not performance.
Sounds like an interesting book. Aren’t we all as women especially struggling to be accepted, to be loved? Are we good enough, will that person like me, like what I’ve done? And yet miss the most important One we should be excited about loving and having only His acceptance and pleasure be enough. Two places God has been convicting me of this year is that He is enough, I don’t have to strive, work, pour myself into and try so hard to earn his grace. I daily have to remind myself that I don’t have to try so hard–why do I forget that so easily? And the second is that self sufficient pride that I am better, my sin isn’t that bad and I can do it all on my own, not needing anyone, much less a God who longs for me to depend on Him.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Dawn, we do think we need to be enough. It’s exhausting isn’t it? I struggle with this every day. Trying to remember I don’t need to be everything, he is everything.
The journey is made up of lots of small steps! And lots of small steps in the same (right or wrong) direction gets you further than you realize!
I have learned that anguish and joy can coexist.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
That’s the beauty of the cross.
Have learned that it is helpful for me to be in community w/many believers, even if it is via skype or internet because i live in an isolated place.
I learned that with Christ in me, I don’t always have to be strong–He will be strong for me.
Patty Muich says
I have learned that if I cannot love a person…. I ask God to love them through me and before you know it you learn to love them. God has helped me more than once this way. 🙂
Melissa Douthart says
Something I’ve learned with my faith is that there will always be more questions – more doubts – more un-explanations. The closer I get to God, the blurier the lines I had put around Him become. I have realized that faith is exactly that – faith. I may never know the answers. No, I WON’T know the answers to all of my questions – all of life’s questions, but that does not negate that God is God and that He does not change. It’s merely my view of Him that changes as I see He is so much more than I could ever have imagined.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Something that I learned since I started walking with God is that it is ok not to be right or do the right things. It’s ok to make messes and spill things. I realize we live in a world where the pressure to perfect is always put on people. To be perfect in everything. Yet learning the I serve a God who helps me recognize that it’s Him who has all things together helps me…. Well breath :). Thank you God!!
Kristi Brokaw says
This made me cry. I loved reading The Artist’s Daughter. Something that amazed me is that the parts that spoke to me the most were not the same parts that spoke to my friends. I love picturing you loving us through all of those parts, different chapters and passages for different readers. Thank you.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Kristi, we met face to face only weeks after I turned in the final manuscript. I was emotionally exhausted and I know you were too for different reasons. I trusted that God would guide the readers to the stories and the stories to the readers if that makes sense. I did write it for you. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Susan G says
I’ve learned that you never stop learning. I’ve known the Lord for almost 48 years now, and you just keep walking ‘forward’, reading the Word, growing in knowledge and wisdom, while keeping your eyes fixed on Him. It is a ‘journey’!
Thanks the opportunity to win this book! I’ve wanted to read it ever since I read the excerpt several months ago.
Traci Beeson says
Oh gosh, SO many things I could answer this question with.. Yet the one that keeps resounding in my head, beating through my heart, is the thing He’s teaching me right here, right now. In this moment, as all of the things I want most in life appear impossible to obtain, as I’ve been waiting for two years (and much longer for some other things) and am s.t.i.l.l. waiting, still hoping for my heart’s desire(s), still feeling aimless and useless, He continues to whisper, “Wait. Hope. Trust. I am enough for you right now.”
And how true it is, how right and how good and how faithful HE is, always.
So those are the words I must share, above all else right now: wait, hope, trust. KEEP waiting, hoping, and trusting (Psalm 37), and rest in the fact that HE is enough. He is ALL. <3
Rachel H says
I have learned to try to keep my focus on what has eternal value. To not get so caught up in the here and now stuff of every day life that I miss opportunities to invest in eternity.
Diana C says
Something I am currently learning and feel like I learn at different levels is to trust God. I find that the more trust I put in him, the more he reveals himself and allows me to know Him. Through different life stages and events, this experience of trusting Him changes but the purpose is always to shape me more into the person He wants me to be and allows me to receive his love.
One thing I’ve learned in my faith journey is that I need God’s grace every day. It sounds kind of silly, but for a long time I pegged grace as something necessary only for salvation; after that, I thought, I was on my own, needing to work hard, be disciplined, and “do my devotions” to live a holy life. But in reality, I need God’s grace every single day, and all of my good works amount to nothing more than dirty rags. I need a Savior every day of my life.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Me too. With my kids. With my husband. With my own internal dialogue. Stop. Breathe. Grace.
Carrie L says
The further in my walk in faith I go the more I realize I can’t do it on my own. The stronger I feel in faith the more I lean on Him. I’m finding that even the simplest of everyday decisions are better made with Him as my companion.
Katie S says
I have learned that God’s timing is perfect. I am that girl that always wanted to be a mom. My goal after high school was to get married and have kids. God’s plan for me has been much different than what I imagined for myself. I didn’t marry until age 31, and now at age 35, I am pregnant with my first child. The pregnancy was a surprise but so, so welcomed as an answer to prayer! It is God affirming His plan in my life, that His ways are trustworthy, that He is trustworthy. What an adventure!
Mary M says
I’ve learned that it’s never too late to begin walking in a new direction to fulfill the call God has on my life. – I’m back to school at age 50! – God’s grace and mercy are more than enough to see me through.
Thant I am loveable ALWAYS to my audience of ONE…………….no matter what I look like, what I have done,how I feel or think,etc. Thank YOU GOD for TRUE love that NEVER EVER ends!
Alexandra Kuykendall says
I’ll give another Amen to that.
Over the 47 years I have been a committed Christian (I was 30 when it became clear), I find it difficult to articulate what I have learned about His love and gentle guidance and the light of His word. I give Him all the praise and glory for everything I have learned, and I live a life based on one particular verse now, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”. I Thessalonians 5:18
Rebecca McMaster says
HE IS always there, loving me…….healing me , transforming me, and HE does all things well, even though I can’t always see at the time, learned to trust……deeper
I am slowly learning to accept grace, and I find myself asking similar questions as the three you write about.
When I look back at this year in particular, I laugh because His ways are higher and better than mine.
I have learned that my faith journey is really one step at a time. And to love my own story.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
I love that Katie. Love your own story. Do it. It inspires us all to do the same.
Barbara King says
In my faith journey I have learned so much from the women of the Bible. I have learned from them that God looks at the condition of my heart not all of the inadequacies that I seem to see and focus on.
Melanie Grace says
Proverbs 3:5-6 everyday!!!!!!!
Just today, I was struck by something on Ann Voskamp’s blog – that fear comes from the belief that God’s love ends. For me, rooting out fear is the biggest part of my current faith journey. Also, as I get older, I am continually reminded that faith is a journey of a lifetime, and that I need to be patient as I listen for God’s call in my life.
My faith journey – has been a long, wonderful, hard, frustrating, joyful, hopeful, faithful and painful. When I think over the years since I accepted Christ as my savior there have been so many things to learn and still much to learn. I accepted Jesus over 30 years ago, but I never read my bible from start to finish until I started last year and hope to finish next year. It has been such an exhilarating journey. I always read parts and learned about what God has in store for me, but by actually reading the bible from the beginning, I have learned how much God loves me no matter what. The last 15 years have really been challenging, but I see God’s hand in my journey the whole way and in this season on my life, he wants me to just learn more about him, be still and know that I am God, I know he will direct my path for the next stage in my life and I am learning to be content in that.
Sandy Potts says
I am continually grateful for God’s grace: His giving me what I do not deserve!
There are a lot of things I’ve been learning since I first began my faith journey. But the one thing that really overflows in my heart is knowing that I’m loved by someone so wonderful words would fail to describe Him. It’s realising that nothing in this world could ever separate me from His Love as His Word so rightly gives me this assurance.
Marinalva Sickler says
I’m enjoying the writing of a storybook on my deceased husband, Paul Sickler. His childhood stories are so touching that I am delighted and soothed by them. Your journey will enrich my soul as well.
lisa van der Plas says
Well I’ve learned so much that it’s hard to put it into a nutshell. To me It’s all about being transformed into HIS image, by his strength, not ours. We just need to be willing to follow and be obedient in the everyday nity gritty, to keep our hearts open to God’s loving voice, to trust and be faithful, even when we don’t understand…to keep looking up and out of ourselves, and keep looking to Jesus… to come to Him everyday.
My big challenge this moment and what ‘s holding me back is to be “first reconciled to my brother ” (Mat. 5:23-24). The secret lies in our own attitude. We must be willing to look at our own sin and confess that, while giving up the right to ourselves. My challenge & lesson for today is going to be to write a letter, to say that i’m sorry and to ask forgiveness for the pain I have caused my brother. I don’t know how he will respond, and that doesn’t matter…what matters is that i am willing to be responsible for my own sin…I guess if i had to sum it all up in one sentence, it would read, We do our best & God will do the rest!
Beth Williams says
What an inspiring post–not just about writing, but about loving, being loved and the love of Jesus.
I have learned many many things in my years as a Christian. One that stands out is to see Jesus for who He really is. Our church does communion each week. We start with a meditation read, a song, prayer and then the communion is brought to you. During that time you are to bow your head and contemplate what Jesus did at Calvary. I have seen his bloodied body and at times have broken out in prayer. It is my time to seek forgiveness for my weakness during the week.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
Thank you Beth.
I’m thankful for the Lord’s abundant grace, love, and mercy that is new every morning and count on the fact that he is faithful and cannot deny himself. I’m asking the Lord to help me and learning to be better at extending that very same grace, love, and mercy to my husband, kids, friends, and any who come in my path that are battered by life and the effects of their bad choices. Don’t we all need some grace, love, and mercy? Yes, bad choices do have consequences but how many times do I fail to extend grace or mercy in a situation that may be the turning point in a life?
Michele Morin says
Prayer. I keep coming back to this as the backbone of everything I do and everything I learn about God and the faith-life. I just don’t do enough praying.
I’m learning how much God is in the details of my life and that He loves me more than I can imagine! Thanks be to God…..
God has taught me many, many things. But I think the one I come back to most frequently is that He uses the broken things to fix the broken things. That no matter how badly I screw things up or how badly broken I feel I am, He will use these hurt, ugly, tender places to bring healing to other people. And in turn their hurt, ugly, tender places will bring healing to me. God is good. 🙂
I have learned and excepted through my faith journey that everyone is at a different place. This was hard for me when I was growing up as I had a friend that went to a Christian school and I was at a public school. I always felt as though I was behind. As I have changed and grown I have realized that we are all at different points along this journey called LIFE!
My faith journey has taught me that I am loving. I know that IS within me. I also believe that I am lovable, but still struggle with the worthiness, so also continue to scoff at really being loved…all in all, just because, by anyone, including my God. I can praise Him, love Him and do works in His name. I can pray with others, for others and encourage them to know His love for them. It’s as if I don’t deserve it, and so I frustrate even my own self sometimes. The truth is, in quiet moments, watching the sun rise or the moon set on the hills, I feel His presence and am so grateful, I can easily morph into a puddle of emotion. then life rears it’s head and I cannot see past any of it any more. This is honest, this is hard. But this is teaching me to grow. Thank you.
Alexandra Kuykendall says
I know those moments. Where God feels closer than in the daily go to work, do the dishes kind of thing. And then it doesn’t last. I so understand.
Kristy Byers says
Thank you so much for your words. They gave me purpose, encouragement and love today. I so needed that.
Beautiful post. Over the years, something I have learned in my faith journey is realizing my relationship with Jesus is the most important thing to me, and embracing my faith as my own. It has been hard even when I am surrounded by a good environment to set aside time for me and Jesus. But it is so good to do because that is where my relationship with him grows.
I’ve learned that even when I am surrounded by the fog (which we all hate), that God is also God in the fog. When I lift my face and yearn to see above the fog but can’t, He is in the fog with me. And He will sustain me until the fog lifts again. And after.
Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve learned that being able to trust God in everything is the greatest blessing and that it brings such peace. Since I know He is working all things together for good, I can thank Him and trust Him even in the hard times.
In my journey of faith, I have learned to “never say never” to God. He always has a way of bringing that “never” around in my life, and, thank Him, use it to mature and bless me. There have been people I thought I would “never” see eye to eye with, who then become my closest friends . Even the godly man I married was a bit of a “never”! I have learned now to be honest with the Lord, but not put limitations on how He works in my life. (As if I could ever really limit God!) 😉
Karen Lyons says
I have learned to pray pray pray…..listen and wait…prayer is not just asking God for things but to carefully wait for His answer.
I have learned – and am still learning – that God has given me unique gifts that he’s given no one else. I don’t need to try to be someone else, I just need to let God use ME the way he made me. It’s a hard lesson, one that I’m still figuring out daily, but it’s freeing. I don’t have to bee all things to my church, I just have to serve in the ways God has gifted me. I don’t have to parent my children the way other moms do; I just have to be faithful to serve God in parenting the two unique kids I have in the way that best fits our family. My voice, as a writer, doesn’t have to be any certain way. It just has to be mine.
I’ve learned that spending time with God in the Bible is how He renews my mind daily. I need Him every day, and I can tell when I haven’t spent time with Him.
I’ve learned that a faith journey is just that: a journey. We can’t race to the finish line and then bask in the glow of completion and success. We are always traveling: running, walking and sometimes crawling through our faith journey.
That God still loves and cares for me, despite my stupid choices, personality weaknesses and own lack of grace with others…
Jenny B. says
Well, I guess I’ve learned that there is a new chance every morning to start again. Also, that praising God in the midst of a bad situation is the best choice of all.
I am learning that questions are OK, which sometimes generates more questions:)
God’s timing is perfect! No amount of pushing or pulling on a situation will change His perfect time. It is a lesson I have to keep relearning, thank goodness God is great and has a sense of humor.
Heidi Fuller says
I was walking through the factory I work in one day a few months ago and was struck with the phrase, “I just need you to love me… though I’m not sure I know what that means.” This led me, naturally, to spend some time soaking in 1 Cor 13… trying to get a more biblical perspective on how (or why?) God loves us. You are completely correct that it all comes down to love, and the sooner we learn to move on from our own neediness… to accept the love that is poured out on us… the sooner we can begin to effectively and powerfully love others. That “stray” though led to this: http://www.thewordspoken.org/2013/08/16/how-to-love-1-cor-13/
Lisa Muck says
God is faithful!
Janet Stowell says
I recently saw a quotation attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer that resonates with me. He referred to the Christian life as one filled, not with a list of do’s and don’t’s, but with a sincere seeking for God’s will in order to obey it.
I have learned that God’s Word is ever-new. No matter how many times I study a passage, God is faithful to teach me something new, convict me of some sin, or comfort me in just the way my heart needed.
nancy steinke says
I am relearning to trust God after some rough years
I am learning that ALL is grace, and that I need to extend grace to others (usually by giving up any expectation of my own perceived ‘rights’).
What I am learning through my faith journey is that it is in the hardest times. The lonely nights. The dark days that He seems the closest. That trusting Him means not knowing the answers. Or the outcome. Or even the next step. He gives grace for the moment.
Donna Swicegood says
I have learned that from the beginning to the end of this journey of life I have been called to LEAN ENTIRELY upon my Father . I have found that there is not and never shall be any righteousness of my own to give me a place at His table. i am learning to depend upon HIM for everything that is required to make me acceptable in His sight. I am growing in my belief that I am loved with an EVERLASTING love that is not dependent upon my deserving, but is given to me from the hand of my Father who loved me before I even knew I needed to be loved .
Through my journey I have learned next to love, grace is the next greatest gift! How can I not show grace when The Lord gives me grace everyday even when I do not deserve it! I must give myself grace and others grace.
Kim B says
That’s God’s timing & God’s plans are SO much better then my own!
The thing I’ve learned (and seem to need to keep relearning!) is that God loves us too much to leave us where we’re at. He has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives. And while He doesn’t *need* us to do his work here on earth, He delights in working through us to bring heaven to earth. His love pursues us (closing doors, opening windows, putting certain people on our path), nudging us in the direction that will lead to purpose-full growth. But as someone once mentioned to me, God will never force us to do what we do not want to do. He is a gentleman first and foremost. Like a true gentleman, He will hold the door for you. Just don’t miss the opportunity to pass through before it closes.
In my faith journey I am learning that being in God’s waiting room is an o.k. place to be and that God wants His best for my life. Also I am learning to be obedeint in this waiting room!
L. Ellen says
In my faith journey, one thing that I come back to when I am confused or dealing with trials is Isaiah 55 where it says:
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
It tells me that even though I am frustrated by circumstances and can’t figure out how good is going to come out of a situation, God does know, and He is sovereign. I don’t HAVE to know.
In my faith journey through this life, I have learned that my heavenly Father loves me
more than I will ever be able to understand, and that He will never leave me or forsake
me. He is constantly abiding…He has been with me through all of life’s moments,
the good days and the difficult days, and I need to trust Him with each day that I live.
I have had a problem learning to trust, but He is trustworthy.
With all that we as moms, daughters and wife’s go through I know we can all depend on only the One true comforter in our spiritual walk, God. He can bring us through anything even when it’s hard to understand why in the midst of our busy lives. A favorite verse of mine is Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Tere C. says
I’ve learned that in the event of sheer wickedness and tragedy , the Lord has me in his loving hands providing light through a path of understanding and forgiveness. He provides me with unbelievable strength when I open my heart to Him. He provides me with all the tools and the people connections that I need to move forward in this life through difficult times. He allows me to see as a child again and trust the world in the ways I should be trusting the world he so lovingly created. That is what I’ve learned since I restarted my faith journey.
I am just beginning my journey… I am learning to respect myself, to trust myself and that I am enough as I am right now…the journey has just begun…scarry and yet freeing…
I have learned that His love never fails, His grace is always enough, and that I will never be good enough and that is okay.
Today marks 12 years since our oldest son at 22 went to be with Jesus. Many hard lessons have been learned but most of all – God is always faithful. God is who He says He is, God can do what He says He can do, I am who God says I am, I can do all things through Christ, Gods Word is alive and active in me – even though now still separated from my husband – God is at work in me and my marriage. No matter what happens, I will still trust Him.
Grateful for many blessings that include another wonderful son, DIL, and 2 beautiful granddaughters.
Dorothy Ruppert says
I have learned that God’s grace is sufficient; His power is made perfect in my weakness. I have spent 44 years advocating for those who suffer from brain disorders and those who walk alongside them. My journey began when we adopted our daughter who experienced bipolar disorder. She died 4 years ago and then God called me to raise her 2 children who also have brain disorders. My two books, “God Placed Her in My Path” and “Sixty Days of Grace,” testify to God’s ever-present grace to me as I walked this journey. When I am weak, He is strong and His grace always sustains me.
Our little everyday failures and victories, as well as our BIG failures and victories are all part of a bigger picture and God’s plan for our life, even if we can’t seem to put all the pieces together right now. We have to trust that if we are living for Him, he is directing our paths.
You’ll never be “there” until you get to Heaven. If you think you’ve arrived you’re actually in big trouble!
I love the name of this book, it speaks to what I’ve been contemplating and learning of how God is so creative and as we are made in His image we are creative too. I’m still learning how He wants me to use the artistic gifts He has given me, I just want to glorify Him.
I’ve learned that there are “seasons” in my life–times that certain activities need to be put on hold and others when they will be allowed. When I try to push and do those things “out of season” I learn lessons the hard way.
Thank you so much for your posts, for letting God speak through you.
One thing I’ve learned (am learning) is that God’s love for me is truly unconditional…I can’t make Him love me more or less; His love doesn’t depend on my behavior. There’s absolutely no way I can earn it…or sin so much that He’ll stop loving me!
Mary T says
I have always believed that my Creator and Lord loves me, but when I begin to have self doubt about my worthiness, I remember that my worth is in His eyes! I am confident in Christ! Because He loves me!
Valerie Hohenberger says
How can I name just one of the MANY things that I have learned on my faith journey???? One thing that keeps coming up lately is that it is not about me, it is not about me, IT.IS.NOT.ABOUT.ME!!!! I would love to win a copy of your book and when I finish with it I will donate it to my church’s library for others to enjoy.
I’ve learned that God is still on His throne, seeing all and allowing everything happening into my life – whether I feel him with me or not. Sometimes, it’s a lot to walk through, but I believe it in my core today.
Trust. I’ve learned trust. With Him. With others. With myself.
This book looks fascinating and I can’t wait to read it. I’m currently reading “Proof of Heaven” and am looking for more spiritual guidance as I head into 2014. 2013 has taken me on an unbelievable faith odyssey-to call it a journey does not give the process the respect it needs 🙂 Currently I’m reading the story my 86 year old Father is writing about his own life and pondering how to tell my Mother’s story (she is in her end years). These are daunting tasks-ones I do not feel worthy to accomplish. However I trust that my Father has put me exactly where I am for His excellent purposes. My goal for 2014 is to move closer in conversation with Him and learn to simply trust and let go as I help steward my parents through their last years.
Thank you for loving your readers. This is the direction of all great literature.