Monday Mention + Resilience and Loss Question and Discussion

@katievandykephoto

Today, I want to do something a bit different for my Monday Mention segment, because something has been weighing on my mind, and I would love your insight.

As you ponder my questions, you might consider a few inspirations for my train of thought, which I hope can double as my shout-out today, for they are truly inspirational:

  1. God of Affliction — A Post by Precious One of Imago Dei
  2. Smile — A Post by Deborah Marie of Great Is God’s Faithfulness
  3. A Swing — A Poem by C.D. Anders of The Unnecessary Blog
  4. The Secret Ingredient to Overcoming Fear and Embracing Joy — A Post by Carly Newberg of Believing Beautiful
  5. O’ Lord — A Song by Lauren Daigle

Fighting My Greatest Fear

For the first 5 years of my marriage, I prayed nearly every night that God would let my husband and I die together — preferably of old age, holding hands like the cute couple in The Notebook.

I almost feel like I have it too good, like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always struggled with bouts of separation anxiety like this. I used to eagerly await Mom and Dad with the babysitter, sincerely afraid they would wreck in traffic one day and not come home.

In fact, all of my friends can attest that I’m largely a homebody, and I think this is why💡.

I feel like pieces of my heart go with my loved ones wherever they are. I want to be with them, and make the most of the time I have with them.

If I’m honest, I also want to ensure that I’m included in the party should a horrible accident occur…

I don’t fear death.

I fear loss, and being left behind.

A New Prayer

When I began my journey of self-discovery, my prayer started to change:

Please, God, make me equal 
to the adversity
I will face in this life.
If I lose them,
give me resilience,
and faith to go on.
Help me find meaning
beyond family,
though I cherish them
with all of my heart.

It’s new ground for me, and I keep telling God, I’m not ready yet. I wonder if I will ever be. But I want to live in faith, not fear.

So, I have two questions to pose to you, dear reader:

#1: How do you, personally, develop resiliency?

I have one answer to this myself: gratitude and presence. If we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, we miss so much.

My dietitian taught me recently that body positivity and self-love often get confused with loving every part of yourself; in reality, it’s about recognizing that, while there may be things you don’t like about yourself, there are also things that you love, or things to be grateful for.

True body positivity is about acknowledging each of these, and respecting your body as a whole.

Life is innately designed in much the same way. There will always be bad mixed in with the good, but we have to learn to respect the journey as a whole, and be grateful.

I’m not perfect at looking at the world this way, but I feel stronger for the attempt.

#2: How do you stay rooted in your faith and deeper meaning?

I’m going to be very vulnerable with you for a moment. Faith is a soul-searching process for me, not a given.

I grew up learning about Jesus. I’ve always done “the checklist”. But, by virtue of that, I’ve never had “the moment”. Rather, my faith is a product of many small, but undeniable, moments. God has answered my prayers more times than I can count!

I know Jesus lives. I know He suffers when I suffer. And I know He has a plan.

Yet, in some ways, that belief is more faith than it is knowledge. That’s why they call it faith, right?

So, what I’m really asking is, how do you know that your faith with stand up to the test when the time comes? That you won’t dismiss it as merely wishful thinking?

How do you choose faith over fear?

Here’s to God answering our prayers through one another.

❤ Jenny

41 thoughts on “Monday Mention + Resilience and Loss Question and Discussion

  1. Jenny, these are all legit fears, questions, doubts and concerns. I wish I had a cookie cutter answer, hearing people simple say believe doesn’t always work. For me, faith in Abba has come through severe testing. I grew up in church, I too did the “list” and felt all would work out well..but faith has to be tested; it has to be tried. This is the only way it builds the proverbial muscles and reveals to us where we are in God, for He already knows our heart…we are the ones who don’t. The more I’ve been tested is the more I had to decide whether I would trust Him, or not. By choosing to trust Him I was exercising hope and resilience developed. I got to see faith in action i.e. the evidence of things hoped for and not seen manifesting either the way I anticipated, or more than expected (Ephesians 3:20). I also discovered His love for me is great so no matter what happened, it would truly work out for my good. By the way, thank you for the shout out 🥰.
    Love Deandra
    Ps: The command “fear not” has been said to us over 144 times in the world. Fear is real…but our Daddy is “realer” and able and wants to assuage all fears. We have to turn it over and surrender to “whatever”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend ❤ . You make a great point. My husband advised me in much the same way. He lost his mother too young, and he knows she is still there in spirit. Sometimes faith must first be tried.

      I love what you say about our Father in Heaven being "realer" too. Truly beautiful. I need to learn to surrender. Thank you and may God always continue to bless you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awwww, I’m sorry to hear that about your hubby Jenny. I can’t imagine what that loss is like, at all.

        Let me leave you with these verses that keep “shaving” away at me:

        “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
        ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

        Have a wonderfully blessed day.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Graceful.

    Truly, our walk with God is really “a walk” – series of processes all in a bid to make us. And going through all of the stretch moments we develop the strength we ourselves might not even know we ever had when facing situations on the long run.

    Also understanding His ways that “it is God at work in us” would help us see past ourselves more often than ever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love what you say: “it is God at work in us”. What a beautiful mantra. I am going to try to remember that. And maybe we are truly stronger than we know. Thank you, dear friend ❤

      Like

  3. I’m going to get a little long-winded so I apologize for that. You have a good article here and I’m just adding some thoughts (though not necessarily to the two questions). Here goes:

    Whenever I read or hear things like this I’m always drawn back to the man with the child who had a mute spirit. I always go back to that story because his prayer to Jesus is everything we seek to ask God about these things and can’t seem to find the words: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:11). Even if I’ve shared that passage to death, I’ll still keep sharing it.

    People often confuse faith for a feeling and if we lack the feeling, we feel we are no longer Christians. We can’t make the decision to believe because we are altogether sinful; sinful from conception (Psalm 51:5), sinful in all thoughts and deeds (Genesis 6:5), and sinful in general (Romans 3:10-18 and the OT cross references; also see Romans 3:23). That is what we have to offer God. That is our faith apart from Him. The context of of the familiar passage “for with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27) is that the disciples asked Him who could be saved. The words that start 10:27 are “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men is is impossible, but not with God . . .'” which leads to that familiar passage. And keeping with Mark’s gospel account, let’s not forget 2:17, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

    Paul shared many of the struggles we do: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:18-19). In his first letter to Timothy he called himself the “chief of sinners” (1:15). There are numerous passages along those lines. It seems helpless and out of our hands when we feel those feelings of inadequacy or a lack of faith. But thank God those things don’t come from us because we would fail every time!

    The best thing about that previous passage is the lead-up to it: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1:15). Look at John 3:16–it is the most well known gospel message for a reason. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The gospel imperative given to the Philippian jailer was “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Faith always comes from the Lord. He calls us to believe. He works the faith in our hearts.

    It may sound like a shocking statement but a weak faith is still faith. You are right to pray for strength in it and for the other things you pray for. He hears your prayers. He always answers prayers (some from previous generations say He does so in three ways: Yes, No, or Not yet.) Isaiah foretold Christ and His many deeds. Chapter 43:11 is just beautiful and comforting: “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.” In other words, when we have weak faith, He will not break us. When we have weak faith, He will not quench that fire. One of my favorite passages in all of scripture is Ephesians 2:1-10 and specifically verse 8. Verses 1-3 explain the sin that is in us and that is so prevalent in the world. Verse 4 is the “BUT” that carries the reader into the good news found in verses 4-10. But verse 8, in all of its gospel comfort, reads: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

    He has done it all: He saved us through Christ, works faith in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, has given us His word for all aspects of our lives, and so on. This is all summed up nicely in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We can turn to His word in our moments of weakness and He has the answers for us. He works out the problems. Even when we are at our weakest, we can pray, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” and He will not cut you down; He hears you. He provides.

    God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a beautiful teaching, friend. You provide many wonderful scriptures for study that I can’t wait to dig into. I especially love Mark 9:11 as a prayer of faith.

      Your message reminds me of a class I took once. We were discussing grace. The teacher emphasized growing in grace (2 Peter 3: 18), and that Jesus will always help us get there, not merely after the fact. It is as you say, none of it comes from us.

      Thinking about this in the context of faith fills me with hope.

      Thank you deeply for sharing ❤️. God bless you, as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These are such good questions. Thank you for the authentic post.
    At church this past Sabbath our pastor spoke about resilience. He spoke of his gratitude for growing up in a Christian home with stories about how God is IN our lives. He is surviving the aftermath of the Camp Fire by holding on to faith. Knowing that God is with him. His next door neighbor in not a believer. She is surviving the aftermath of the Camp Fire by holding on to anger. Anger at the fire, anger at PG & E, anger at the clean up process, etc. While his faith allows him to experience moments of joy and happiness in the midst of his sadness and struggle her anger does not allow for either. I hold on to faith because I don’t want the alternative. I have 3 little kids, I hold on to faith because it’s what I want for them to see. How my children survive the aftermath of the Camp Fire is, in part, up to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing from the thick of it, dear friend ❤️. I love your answer. I think many people assume the alternative is easier, but truly where would we be without faith?

      I also love that your children are part of that motivation for you, are we giving them the best possible footing for the future that we can?

      Beautiful. God bless 😇.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very insightful post Jenny, really gets one thinking.
    To the first question, I try to live in the Now, in that there’s always gratitude and little worry over what could be. Also God did not create us with a spirit of fear, so any fear is not of God and unwelcome. No matter how insignificant the fear is, I’d accept the awareness of it and overcome it with this knowledge.
    To the second one, faith comes with reasoning for me. Whereas faith is not science, the principles should be of sound reasoning, and not be contradictory. When one doesn’t understand something but they decide to believe all the same, they’d always be in doubt and hence faith gets shaken once in a while. Jesus did not fall for the devil’s temptations because he knew what is true. When we are sure of something, either through experience or because there’s no way it could not be, we cannot be shaken in it.
    To open myself bare here too, I’ve grown up loving Jesus Christ as in the Bible, but I couldn’t bring myself to love God because the God projected in the old testament seemed the very contrast of Jesus, who is the love of God manifest. Friends tried to call several instances to prove to me of God’s love, but couldn’t really provide any meaningful answers to the instances I site for the lack of love. On my self discovery journey, I allowed myself to read from materials other than the Bible, in these materials I understood the love of God, and then it leads me back to the Bible where I see Jesus talk about God’s love in those same terms. In that knowledge I’ve known peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautiful thoughts, Judith ❤️. I love your focus on living in the now and shedding unwelcome fear. I try to do that as well, but it is definitely a work in progress 😊.

      I’ve been blessed to always know God to be a loving God, but I would absolutely consider that a faith-trying journey. And you are right, there are many sources of joy out there.

      Thank you truly for sharing, friend 💕. God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. David’s faith stood the test against Goliath because he remembered how God came through for him against the lion and the bear. By experiencing God’s help step by step, our faith is strengthened.

    We also need to give ourselves grace when we falter because Jesus does.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I love this example, thank you big brother ❤️. Remembering His hand in our lives, and holding to that, and giving ourselves grace. Grace is how I get myself through the day! God bless, friend 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I know my faith will stand up to the test 100% of the time when I choose to do things God’s way. My hope is in HIM! I know He is faithful and true to His Word! He never backs down on His promises, and He honors obedience. Trust and Obey!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is deep Jenny. I occasionally have these type of fears come up. What if an accident happens? What if he fall? A lot of what ifs…I am learning to rebuke fear and hold fast to God’s word. I always remember Job when fear creeps up. The things job feared the most happened to him. I remember job all the time and my brain gets recalibrated..haaa..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Jenny, you echo many of the things we all seem to go through as humans.
    I was brought up in God’s ways, so somehow I always loved and trusted him, truly I do not struggle with the concept of Him at all. I do however tend to forget what he is capable of doing and often tries to do his work for him.
    I have been so blessed have seen his hand at work in my life many times over, so now I completely know He is there, that He completely loves me and that He knows me by name.
    I tell my children of my experiences in the hope that they will love and trust him in the same ways I do, based on the fact that I am their mother and would never lie to them especially about something so important.
    In 1997 I had heart surgery and I have seen God move mightily in my life so many times and in so many ways.
    I do quite a bit of my communion with Him when I am driving alone and when I go off in to nature I am off to seek His presence.
    I love so many biblical verses that serve me as needed… but for me the simplicity of Jesus saying in;
    John 14:2-3 — In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

    3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

    This means everything to me, I can feel his love for us in the simplicity of it, like a parent consoling and loving a child.
    Hope this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is completely beautiful, Pene’ ❤️. Thank you so much. I love that you share your faith and testimony with your children. I think we all gain deeper faith as we share it! That’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing here. I also love the scripture you share- trusting in Jesus to take is where we need to go. God bless you in all of your trials, and thank you for your example, friend.

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  10. My faith is not in a religion or a concept or a doctrine or religious practice. My faith is in a person with whom I am in an intimate relationship. He knows me and I know him. We talk. We communicate with each other. We do things together. He tells me what he is thinking. I share with him what is on my mind and heart. He cares about me and I care about him. I am interested in what interests him. I feel what he feels. And, I am learning to know his heart and his thoughts, too.

    My faith in him has been tested and tried many times. Early on in my walk of faith, there were times when I didn’t do so well at passing the test, but he helped me, and he got me through. There was a period of time when I failed miserably, too, but he waited patiently for me to come to my senses, and to return to him as my only Lord. But, though I would not recommend that, going through that, and coming out of it safely, has really helped to strengthen my faith.

    Many times since then my faith has gone through severe tests, and the Lord has strengthened me and brought me through. So, I know I will make it through the Big One because I know that God can see me through if I just rest in him and follow his lead and if I do not give way to fear. My faith is not in myself and in my own abilities, but it rests in God, and I know he will not fail me, but he will give me all I need when I need it to endure whatever he allows to come into my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a beautiful testimony, Sue ❤ . It is rooted in your relationship with Jesus. This reminds me of something I heard once and try to hold on to. There was a woman who was blind since 10 years old, and her nephew asked her, "Doesn't that ever make you angry?". She responded, "Who would I be angry with, God is in it WITH ME?" I love that. Thank you for stopping by today, and God bless!

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  12. This part of your prayer really resonated with me…“Help me find meaning beyond family, though I cherish them with all of my heart.”

    I’ve noticed in life that it’s easy for people to become so wrapped up in their own family or friend circle that they forget to be aware of those around them who may need to hear a kind word or may need the comfort of a listening ear. We need to ask God to keep us aware of opportunities to share His love. Thanks Jenny, much needed post! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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