In November 2005, I was asked to share a faith story in the Women's Journey of Faith magazine. I'll share the published format with you here. I may have saved the longer, unedited version earlier with you in another post.
You can also check out other Faith Stories from the Women's Journey of Faith website at www.wjof.com/FaithStories
Being a Child of God
Story by Lisa Braun
As a child, I felt as if I didn't fit in my family. When my parents were away I would search for adoption papers so I could find my real family. I had six older siblings, born in six years, and I came along four years later. My siblings were close to each other and shared many hardships growing up, but I felt apart from them.
It wasn't easy growing up in my family; we all left home at a very young age. My mother has a mental illness, which we never really understood. Many wonderful relatives cared for us because my mother was unable to, and I thank God for them. Unfortunately, we were not taught to respect one another, and I am ashamed of how I treated my mother. I was bitter toward my parents and siblings, but God had a purpose in each of our lives.
Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” I have had a problem understanding how all things can work together for good. Bad things happen which we don't understand and frustration results, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-term good. Through all these things I have learned to trust God. Even a small faith is enough for God to move, but He has brought me to greater faith over the years, and has moved mountains in my life.
God has taught me to accept the differences between me and my siblings and to love and pray for them, but God also has a larger family in mind for me: His family of believers. I have been spiritually adopted into the family of God. I am amazed at His Master Plan, which is far greater than I can ever imagine
God does not promise that life will be easy when we live for Him. The Bible teaches that the more we live for Christ, the more hardships we may endure, but the more blessings we will receive as well. Wounds take time to heal, but God uses those wounds to create a more beautiful person. When I rebel against the pain, God reminds me that life is not about me. Sometimes the pruning He does in my life is for the benefit of others, and I am only an instrument of purpose that God is using.
I am often reminded of the story of Joseph in the Bible. His family didn't accept him and he experienced much pain, but God had a wonderful and far-reaching plan in mind for him. Joseph relied on God's strength to get him through the tough times, and because of this trust, Joseph became better instead of bitter. To see the tests in our lives as blessings is truly a gift from God.
In spite of my many bad choices, my blindness to His goodness, and my extreme selfishness at times, God has been faithful in fulfilling His purpose in me. It has not been easy to forgive myself for the mistakes I've made, but when I have drawn on His forgiving mercy, He has helped me and taught me to forgive myself and others on a continual basis. The enemy wants me to give up, but God promises never to test me beyond what I can bear. When I try to live in my own strength, I fail, but when I ask God for His strength, He and I are victorious. God's plan and purpose is always best. He sees the whole picture, the puzzle already put together, and each day can be exciting as I discover where the next piece fits
Why would I not trust God and rely on His faithfulness when He promises to complete a good work in me? He knows the experiences I must go through to mold me into the person He wants me to be, and to work me into His perfect purpose and plan. My greatest desire and daily prayer is that God would fulfill His will in my life. My faith journey is to seek His purpose for me.