Walking With Child Like Faith| By Bethany Anding

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. Homes were flooded, and trees were knocked down on lawns.

This was a rough time for me, not because of the disaster taking place in New Orleans, but the disaster taking place in my family. My parents were separated. I did not really understand what was going on. I just knew it was bad. I knew deep down that things were going to get better; I just was not sure when.

Christmas of 2005 – I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad called my mom saying he wanted to see us for Christmas, and that he would cover her airfare. So, we packed up and went back home to New Orleans for the holidays. I remember my dad giving me a big hug Christmas night. As I was hugging him, I could feel his throat tighten up because he was crying, due to losing me and my mom. This was the moment that I knew in my heart of hearts that my dad genuinely loved us.

After Christmas, I stayed with my dad, and my mom went back to North Carolina. A few days after my mom left, my dad told me to get in the car because he had a “big, big Christmas present” waiting for me. Trustfully, I got in the car, and we drove to the airport.  

“Why are we at the airport?” I asked my dad.“You’ll see!’ He responded.

So, we got out and waited inside the airport until I saw my mom coming up the escalator with all her bags. I knew at that moment that all my prayers about my parents reconciling had been answered. I was ecstatic and on the verge of crying.

The point of me telling this story was to show an example of child like faith. Children believe what they are told. Sometimes it is good while other times, not so much. Regardless, as people grow, they begin to build walls in their hearts, blocking things the Holy Spirit may have for us, because it may seem “illogical” or “unreasonable”. 

Now the obvious question would be “Where do the walls come from?” 

Well, when we are hurt by others, the devil likes to put thoughts in our minds such as “they just want to hurt you, you should never talk to them again!”

If one chooses to believe the lie, they build an imaginary wall in their mind. Eventually, as the process repeats itself, these walls turn into a prison that holds the person who built it captive.  Not only does it trap them, it locks people out who want to love and minister to them. It also prevents God from doing a work in them. It blocks the wounded person from receiving healing from God that they need.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting arguments that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)

This means that we must shut down the lies of the enemy by fighting with the weapons of our warfare (meaning the sword of the spirit, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and so on). I believe it is very important to hold up the shield of faith when the enemy tries to argue that God is wrong, or that He does not love everyone unconditionally, that some are loved, and some are not. The enemy wants everyone to believe that because one is going through a rough situation, they are no longer worthy to be in the presence of God. 

This is where practicing faith comes in.  When people choose to not look at their circumstances, and choose to believe the promises of God, that is when the walls come down.

When the walls that were created from a place of hurt come down, the hardened heart created long ago by the enemy can then be healed by God. Once the wounds are healed, a pure heart of flesh remains, where there was once a heart of stone.

I will conclude with a word that was given to me in a rough season. I went up for an altar call one day, and a pastor came up to me and told me he saw me in a field of flowers as a little girl in a white dress. I was holding hands with Jesus and dancing with Him in the field. He confirmed something in me that I was questioning. He proceeded to tell me that I was not a reject or an outcast, that I was God’s girl. That day a healing took place in me. Strongholds were broken, and I caught a glimpse of that childlike faith I had lost sight of so long ago. It was almost as if God took all my broken pieces and put me back together the way I am supposed to be. When I am in a rough season and questioning my faith, I always look back to that day. The day God restored me.

His Daughter| By Gabby Jones

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 (NIV)

When things have been taken from you, and you lose yourself, what do you do? Who do you turn to? Who do you become?

Many of us go through seasons that rock us to our core. When we lose someone or something, we forget how we operated before tragedy struck. Who we are can get so wrapped up into a person or idea that once they are gone, we become different people to compensate for the pain.

We are not meant to operate like this. When we come to the end of ourselves, that is where God begins. 

Growing up, I never had any major identity issues. Usually my identity was based on the group of friends I hung around at that time, but it rarely changed until I got saved. When God stole my heart, my identity was in Him, and it was simple; I was His daughter. Anything I did or said after that usually reflected the fact that I was the precious daughter of the most High. Once I planted my roots in that identity, God began overflowing my life with unique gifts and seasons.

After years of operating and training in the gifts God had given me, I started to lose that simple ‘daughter’ handle and picked up other identities that were given to me by friends, mentors, and pastors. These other identities were never negative, but they piled up and gave me the sense that if I did not continue to be the person I was to everyone, then who was I? God was still using me and training me, but I became so wrapped up in the idea that I was doing all of this work for people, that I forgot that it was being done for God. 

During the season that I was depressed, I still pushed myself to continue to be there for people and do many things, but I became exhausted. Month by month, I stopped serving in different areas and ultimately stopped leading at my church’s college ministry. I stopped using the gifts God gave me, and I let the sun set on the things I used to do for people, myself, and God.

Now that I am no longer depressed, I am still in a season where even thinking about doing the things I used to do for people makes me completely exhausted. I do miss how outgoing and extremely loving I used to be, but now I feel like people need to take a ticket just to hang out with me. 

Lately, I have not been embracing the woman I am now, but I am steadily trying to cling onto everything I was a few years ago. I recently spoke to one of my mentors, and she opened my eyes to realize that I do not remember who I was before all of the gifts, the tasks, and the positions I was put in.

Before God placed me in those different seasons, I was first and foremost HIS daughter. When I sit and worship, pray, or simply wake up in the morning, I am His daughter first before any other label.

After this stunning realization, I began to ask God to strip away any and everything from me that was not of Him, everything I tried to hold on to, and everything that tried to hold on to me. I wanted it to be just me and Him; Father and daughter; back to the beginning.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:4‭-‬5 (NIV)

This is not a one-time prayer, and you have to face it everyday.

Before you go out into the world today, tomorrow, and every day, pray for God to remind you that you are His before you are anyone else’s.

The title of being HIS child will triumph over any president, king, or CEO. Whatever season you are in, cling to the hope that God does not just see you as you are. He sees you as His precious child, and there is nothing you can do or will be that will change His mind otherwise. 

You are His child.

I am His daughter.