Fortitude

I recently heard a sermon entitled "It's Not Coming Easy, but It's Coming." It was an amazing sermon and just what I needed to hear to move me out of a state of stagnant stillness and lethargy to one of excited hope and expectancy.

It has been several months since I have written a blog. During this time, I have been coming to terms with ending a decade-long relationship. This relationship was extremely important to me-one that I was prepared to be in for the rest of my life. Needless to say, I put everything that I had into making sure it was going to last. It was heart-wrenching to discover that after pouring so much into the relationship, there were secrets, lies, and deception that ultimately caused it to end. The past several months have been peppered with a lot of pain and what ifs. My days consisted of going to work, coming home, and then going to bed. Going to bed was my way of escaping the pain; however, it was only temporary because when I awoke the next morning, the pain was still there.


A by-product of ending a relationship is self-doubt. You wonder if you are good enough, pretty enough, and smart enough. I felt insecure and was burdened with guilt and shame. In addition to this, I didn't think that I should continue to focus on my blog or do anything related to sharing Jesus with others. I knew that the enemy wanted to keep me bound in pain because this would distract me from focusing on God and my purpose. As the days passed, I began to really seek God for healing and restoration. I surrendered to Him and asked that He comfort and inundate me with His love and healing. As I prayed and studied God's Word, He reminded me that all I had to do was give my pain to Him and He would help me through it. Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28-30 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


One of the points in the sermon: "It's Not Coming Easy, but It's Coming" was the word "Fortitude." Fortitude is defined as courage in pain or adversity. Fortitude allows us to remain steady in the face of trials. Sometimes we experience difficulties because God is trying to show us what He has put inside of us, which is a spirit of victory and overcoming. We should not allow our broken moments break our dreams; they should be a springboard into something much greater. In the midst of our trials, we must continue forward-we keep praying, we keep preaching, we keep ministering, we keep doing what God has called us to do. We don't allow anyone or anything to derail us from serving the purposes of God. I believe that it takes fortitude to look deep within ourselves to pull out the good, the bad, and the ugly and to then decide how to grow from life's disappointments. I recently began reading Divine Disruption-Holding on to Faith When Life Breaks Your Heart by Tony Evans and his children. There was a question asked in the book: "Are you serving the purposes of God?" The author then went on to say, " No matter what challenges we face in our family, ministry, career, or personal life, we are here to serve the purposes of God. Through thick and thin, drought and flood, good times and bad, even though there's opposition, even though things may not be working out the way we had hoped and planned, we have one goal in this short life we live on earth-Do Not Lose Focus. Serve the Purposes of God!" This truly resonated with me. As I reflected upon the sermon and book, I began to change my perspective. Instead of continually focusing on my pain, I began to wonder if the beak-up was God saying to me that I needed to readjust my focus. How much time had I dedicated to the relationship? How much time had I spent trying to figure out what went wrong? How much time had I spent trying to fix what was beyond repair? How much time had I remained in place in which I knew God was calling me out of? How much time had I spent not focusing on God and His purpose for my life? Was this God's way of causing me to refocus and give Him my undivided intentionality and attention?


Listening to the sermon confirmed for me that when I began to surrender to God, I began to see a change in my attitude and confidence. My actions, my thoughts, and my prayers were no longer filled with confusion and uncertainty, but with courageous power. I am reminded of Romans 8:28"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." There is a purpose behind the pain. I praise God for the transformation that I see in myself each new day. The memories that were once extremely painful, no longer cause me to wander off in teary-eyed nostalgia. Instead of starting each day sad and despondent, I am now waking up feeling happy and hopeful. As Christians, we shouldn't allow failures or obstacles to define us. I allowed the breakup and subsequent emotions to overwhelmingly dictate my self image and my purpose. I began to tell myself that I was a failure and unlovable. After spending years in a relationship only to have it end so calamitously made me question my self worth and all that I knew God had put inside of me. Unquestionably, I knew that this was an attack of the enemy. This was his way of trying to knock me off course- his way of trying to prevent me from staying focused on God. To prevail against this attack I have to trust God, redefine how I see myself, and walk in the purpose for which I was created. I have to see myself as God does. I was made by God and I am loved by Him: "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."-Psalm 139:14


The more I seek God and align my will with His will, the more peace I have. There are still times in which I feel a little sad, but now those times are far and in between. This is because my hope is in Jesus. I trust Him with my future, my purpose, my destiny. This ordeal has taught me that I must not allow anything to distract me so that I am no longer giving God my best nor doing what He has called me to do. When faced with opposition or trials, we must have fortitude-the courage to move on in the midst of adversity. I am excited about what God has in store for me and I thank Him for the healing that is occurring and will continue to occur. I thank Him for His love, His peace, and His power.


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