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DianneBarkerBy Dianne Barker

It’s Dianne Barker with reflections on growing pains.

Looking back, many of us recall stages of awkwardness as we left childhood for adolescence and then adulthood, each phase bringing growth and change. After a few stumbles, we got our footing and moved ahead, walking in confidence.

The process is much like our faith journey—stages and stumbles as we learn and grow. I’m thinking of 2 Peter 3:18. “Grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah)…” (The Amplified Bible).

A desire to know the Lord better began simmering in my heart after I left a successful journalism career to stay home with my two children. I’d given my life to Christ as a child and grew up loving him and desiring to serve him.

But this new chapter of life—motherhood—exposed needs I didn’t know I had. Wisdom. Patience. Gentleness. Self-control. My inadequacies sent me to the Lord with an unquenchable thirst.

While the children settled down for a nap in the afternoons, I spent that time with God. My “tent of meeting” was a chair in the living room next to a basket filled with “tools.” Bible, daily devotional book, notepad, and pen.

Later, I moved to an actual closet that I shared with the hot-water heater. There was just enough room for a tiny desk. I had to scoot in, pulling a chair behind me, and shut the door. There was something about closing the door that seemed to shut out the world. In that special place I experienced assorted growing pains.

Using my Bible’s concordance, I did word studies related to needs in my life: feelings of inferiority and low esteem; fear and worry; anger and bitterness; negative thinking; discouragement.

I began memorizing Bible promises. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…” (2 Chronicles 16:9). “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

An amazing thing happened. I started believing God! Nothing is too hard for him!

I wondered how it would impact my life if I simply tried to practice the words of Jesus. Reading through the Gospels, I paid close attention to the red-letter print.

Studying the Psalms, I noted every reference to “I cry, God hears.” Desiring a better grasp of biblical history, I found an NIV Chronological Bible captivating. Even knowing what happened next, I could hardly put it down.

Because of circumstances in my life, I sometimes went to my prayer closet feeling desolate. Always I left renewed and filled with hope.

The more I studied, the greater my thirst. I wasn’t just “reading the Bible.” I was meeting with the Lord…getting to know him. I was growing in knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And that changed me.

Some walked into this new year whole and confident. Others stumbled in bleeding and ravaged from life’s daily stuff. What will the year bring? We may have some growing pains. But rest assured our loving Lord will pour out his goodness in amazing ways.

Stay thirsty! Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38).

*Unless noted, references from NIV.

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

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