Working Through Spiritual Growing Pains to Enjoy the Reward
It’s been a freeing and exciting year. The Lord gave me a few months of rest this summer; the ability to celebrate the newness of abundant life again, and I enjoyed every minute of discovering the extent of my new boundaries.
God blessed my husband, Michael, and I with the ability to travel to the west coast to visit family, enjoy going to cottages to spend time with my parents, nephews, and niece, celebrate big birthdays for my parents in fun ways, and then travelled to the east coast to celebrate my brother-in-law’s wedding to his sweet wife.
Much of this year held the exciting preparations and build up to launch the Warrior in Training Bible study and soon to be our first women’s Warrior Weekend! Days have been spent preparing each of these, and I am in such awe and gratitude to the Lord for all the people He has provided who’ve been involved with bringing these two resources to life for you.
There have been wonderful opportunities to share with women and youth at various churches as well, and interview beautiful people on the podcast.
From my healing, the Lord also allowed me to begin exercising again; something I’ve desired for years is now, once again, a reality.
Most recently, I had the privilege of attending a business conference for Michael’s work. It was an excellent experience getting to network and hear how others have built their businesses, and the advice and encouragement they offered Michael.
God finished the last pages of the chapter from the concussion, infertility, and early stages of this ministry, and has begun a new one. As I turned the page to the new chapter, I was filled with awe for all the Lord has done and is doing.
With every new stage of development comes growing pains. Think of your childhood development. There were leg cramps, hormonal adjustments, the awkward look stage, the challenge of figuring out your independence, etc. These growing pains don’t stop when you become an adult. There’s the adjustments of moving into a new home, a different job, relationship, possible marriage and parenting, overcoming an illness, etc. Your holistic self is affected.
The Lord had challenged me to meet with a group of people who have similar interest for the long-range vision of this ministry. To be honest, I held off for a few months. He had originally given me this order back in the spring, but I let fear and insecurity stand in the way. Finally, in the middle of September, we gathered. It was such a relief! The Lord gave peace and blessed the time we had together.
It was exciting to see development taking place for the vision the Lord gave me fifteen years ago. It was small, but it was tangible. Shortly after the meeting, the growing pains began.
God began to stretch me beyond the comforts in which I was living. Dreaming about something is one thing. Trying to bring it to life is something entirely different. Suddenly I was faced with pursuing something I actually knew very little about. Some of the team started to bring ideas to me of things to pray about and process.
While seeking the Lord’s answers, I felt like I was unravelling. The Bible study launch wasn’t successful, in my opinion, so I started into these growing pains with great discouragement. The enemy threw an arsenal of lies at me saying, “I should quit. I’m a failure. No one sees value in what I’m trying to do for them. I’m not helping anyone. This ministry will never amount to anything. This is too hard. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ll never be able to do what God has planned,” etc. I knew these were lies and others confirmed that for me as well. But the cut of emotions the discouragement brought was hard to want to keep going. And yet, I reminded myself each time of God’s truth. Through prayer and crying out to the Lord, He opened my eyes many times to see where He was working and the ways He was directing my steps.
There’s a saying I reminded myself of many times – if the enemy is attacking, that means God is about to do something great! Any advancement in launching the Bible Study and working on the overall vision for this ministry has been met with the enemy’s resistance. It can get quite wearisome at times. But it’s worth it, because nothing is more special than seeing and experiencing God at work.
Have you been in this kind of situation before? You’re working hard at something. You’re excited to see it develop, but each time you make headway, something happens to seemingly set you back? Discouragement sets in and you try whatever you can to keep going? How do you overcome the discouragement in order to persevere toward the victory?
It’s all about perspective in Jesus. Yes, the answer seems to always be, Jesus, but it’s true. Hear me out.
While working on the greater ministry vision aspects, I was called to return to my, “why.” Why does God want this ministry to exist? What is the main priority? How is He directing me to see this into reality? Typically, I rush through this process. I feel like I know the answers, so I quickly flush them out and move on. The person who was helping me with this assignment didn’t let me do that. She sent me back to the drawing board to refine my thoughts. Deeply pondering all of this has made me feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. What is my ministry’s identity? Do I really know? Which sends me into further questioning – what is my purpose in all of this?
One morning while praying for God’s help with this, He brought the idea of growing pains to mind. “Rachel, switch your perspective.” This whole time, I had seen the Lord working through conversations and ideas. He was giving me the right steps He wanted me to take. I had seen this, but I let the fog of discouragement and fear hold me back from fully embracing this process until He revealed what was going on. Though the emotions were still there, switching my perspective to put more focus on what God was doing rather than my fear of the unknowns gave me greater strength to persevere, and more clarity to move forward. He gave me the answers. By faith, it was now time to put them into action.
It’s okay to ask tough questions and feel uncomfortable in the process.
It’s okay to grieve the change of disappointments of what you had expected to happen and losing the comforts of what you had known to do.
It’s not okay, however, to stay there.
Growing pains are uncomfortable. They bring excitement for something new to come and grief of leaving behind where you were. Yet, you and I both know that when you make it through the growing pains, there is a wonderful sweet spot where you can relish in the moments of maturity God has given you. This also helps you grow in faith as a child of God.
Don’t try to rush through or skip the process. Get uncomfortable. Ask for help. Process the tough questions and the unknowns. Be willing to learn. And ask the Lord to give you His perspective choosing His will over your own. Then celebrate the growth He has brought about for you.