It is such a bittersweet and beautiful thing when you close the final pages of a wonderful book. Even more so when that book has been a devotion God placed in your path to revive all that was wintery and sleeping inside.
The Faith Dare started as a shrug off.... an 'I don't need that, I have faith' sort of sentiment. But it beckoned me. I felt cold inside. I missed the little town where my faith was labored over and birthed. I missed the quiet places and beautiful vantage points of the spot I now think of as 'home'. I missed the close hours with God in the midst of His creation and I longed desperately to have them back.... but I didn't know how or where to start.
Don't get me wrong, my faith has remained strong and moving... but I felt like something was missing. Remembering all those times in our small town, in our big house, seeing that beautiful lake, breathing in the fresh air and the spirit lifting view... it left a hole no longer having that. But if God is omnipresent it shouldn't matter if I was in small town Montana or a booming metropolis.... it shouldn't make a bit of difference if I was in a remote desert or a tropical rainforest. So How.Do.I.Get.It? How do I get that awe-inspiring, heart-stirring, faith-lifting presence I use to find weekly, if not daily, through the peace which visually washed over me where I once was?
The Faith Dare reminded me. My 30 days of challenges (though it took me two months!!!) reminded me of the truth in God's Word: I am a sojourner. I am here to glorify him... not myself. My heart and thoughts just needed a bit of repositioning. Author Debbie Alsdorf says it best in her wrap-up chapter when she encourages us to install a new security system: JOY, and to remove the previous system of fear, worry and doubt. My apprehensions weren't just a need to fast of my self-focused tenancies (I want to be there, I knew more peace when....) but in the re-focus on God I also realized I had to let go of my apprehensions, my fears and worries and doubts in my current situation. Mrs. Alsdorf goes on to break it down like this:
What is going wrong in your life today? Look up.
What is your greatest current challenge? Look up.
What is hurting your feelings? Look up.
What is breaking your heart? Look up.
What is causing you pain? Look up.
Your life is no longer your own. Your life is not random. It is hidden in Christ. You are protected, shielded, cared for, provided for... by Christ. You are covered by his faithfulness and power. To look up, focus your attention on what is biblically true rather than on what you are feeling.
As I read these closing words, I realized the scope of this Faith Dare journey I had been on.... I saw how each challenge, each session had pulled me out, dusted me off, and warmed me to the spring of life. I was reminded and renewed in the Hope and focus of Jesus Christ. I found my vantage points and beauty looking up rather than out or in and the view has truly revived me.
In the moment of stress, pain or doubt...stop. Choose.... look up! Look to Him! Choose to believe. It starts as a choice, when repeated becomes a new habit, and over time becomes an art.
What is "IT"... I couldn't sum it up in a simple sentence or paragraph if I tried because it was every part of this wonderful Dare I choose to take. It has been reflected on this site for the past two months and I am certain it will continue to light many more posts. For lack of better words to describe IT, I can only say, you will just have to take the Faith Dare and find out.... be transformed for yourself!!!
I made the choice, and I am going to keep making the choice, to look up! To let His presence melt the winters of life as I focus on Him and welcome the spring.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
- Colossians 3:1-3
I pray you would know the warmth of spring to melt away the winters of life.... to look up and see the Son who brings true light and warmth and a vantage point beyond description!
Photo Credit: My sweet friend Laurie Ag of Paws up Bakery snapped these amazing shots this winter. The setting: Flathead Lake and a small town where we lived and served the Lord for more than 12 years. Used with permission,