It's been a week since Valentine's Day, and whether you celebrated with your spouse, a friend, with family, or alone - it was an important day to really step back and think about love and our relationships. But while most people were focusing on the relationships they have with other people, I wanted to take some time to focus on the most important relationship we can have - our relationship with God.
The concept of knowing God on a personal level and having a true relationship with Him seems so abstract that it seems impossible to ever understand. We get stuck in this rut of just going through the motions - a quick prayer here and there and daydreaming through the church sermon. I know this because I've lived in it (and still do sometimes).
I grew up in church, my parents taking me and my sisters every time the doors opened (and I'll always be thankful for that because it developed such a strong Christian foundation for my life), but through adulthood I've found myself just going through the "Christian motions" more times than I'd like to admit. It wasn't until recently (after years of struggling with infertility) that I found myself on my knees and truly calling out to God - for hope, help, peace, patience... all of it.
I had a void that needed filling, and the relationship I needed to be the strongest at that time was the relationship I had been neglecting the most. It was then I realized that nothing in my life would ever be complete and truly fulfilling until I had a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God. There have been some pretty dark days, but none so dark that God's light doesn't shine through and pick me up - and I truly believe that's because I've taken the time to really grow my relationship with Him and bring it back to life.
What we put in is what we get out - and ever since I turned back to God and started focusing on my relationship with Him, my life has become abundantly more full. No, I'm not pregnant yet - but now it's about so much more than that. It has become more about a loving relationship with the only one who can truly provide me with true happiness. My womb is still empty but my void has been filled. It was God that I needed all along.
Do I still get sad and upset? Yes. Do I still have days of anger and frustration? Yes. But those days are now a whole lot better knowing that I have hope in God's timing and a plan that is much bigger than me - because I've felt it. I've felt His love and His mercy in my darkest moments.
Maybe you're looking for that same peace and hope today - a transformation because you're tired of standing still. So where do you start? What do you do? Based on my experience, here are five ways on how you can grow and rekindle your relationship with God:
1. Surrender - You have to let it all go and trust God. Surrender your fears, questions, and feelings of uncertainty. To have a true relationship with God, you can't be in control. So let your guard down and surrender. There are great things waiting when you finally let go and let God!
2. Forgive yourself - Part of letting go is getting rid of all your burdens and forgiving yourself. Don't beat yourself up about the fact that you haven't been praying enough or great at following God's word - He forgives you and is happy that you're here now... ready to take on the next step of having a relationship with Him.
3. Think about your testimony - Thinking about your life in a testimonial way really helps you to connect more with God because you know that what you're going through is a all part of a greater plan. My preacher recently said this - "God doesn't waste your pain" - and it really stuck out to me. Our pain is part of our testimony, and our testimony is a reflection of our relationship with God and what he's done and is doing in our lives.
4. Make time - Just like with any relationship, you have to commit to it and make time for it. Your relationship will not grow if you're not present in it! You have to spend time with God daily - through prayer, studying His word and learning scripture. My days have been 100 times better since I've been setting aside time to really be with God - to be still and know Him. It will deepen your relationship with Him more than anything!
5. Get involved - You have to have a team! A team of believers that are on the same path as you - seeking God. This is where the church comes in. It's been a long time since I was involved in a church and going on a regular basis, but this year we joined a church here and Nashville and it's been life changing. Being surrounded by people who love God (and you) really helps to strengthen your relationship with God because you truly see His love pouring from other people.
Please know that I am not claiming to know it all, and I still find myself striving to have a better relationship with God every day! I hate admitting that it took something like infertility to make me want to rekindle my relationship with God. But I am being honest - with you, myself, and God.
Sometimes He takes us through trials to bring us closer to Him, and that's where I am today... working to make my relationship with God stronger, to truly know Him on a deeper level - rather than just going through the motions.
Where are you today? If you feel a lot like me, I'd love to hear! Or if you think you have a great relationship with God, I'd love to hear more about your experience and what you've learned through it! Thanks so much for reading!
Photos | Catherine Truman
cow hide rug, old, similar here | white slipcovered dining chairs | white curtains | table runner | white tee (so comfy and only $18!) | gray scarf, old, similar here