Here I am, 32 years old with my last ten years a series of highs and lows. In the worldly sense I have not much to show for my life so far. I have no children, no career success story, no ownership of property, no fancy car. I have not much to show in my outer life, for the inner journey I have travelled.
Something very special though has been growing, like a seed to a tree on the inside of me. Something of great value. A seed of life has been growing. As I have chosen to pick up my bible and read, as I have chosen to pray and as I have chosen to worship, an intimacy with my Heavenly Father has grown, which now all of a sudden has burst into a time of prolific growth; of hearing his voice, of blooming colourful flowers and songs of joy.
Has my journey been easy, you ask? At this point I would be tempted to swear and say something much like ‘hell no! It has been the opposite’. But did not Jesus say in His word that it would be a narrow road that leads to life, and few would find it.
I have wrestled with God, as we all should at some point. I have had to wrestle, and my faith has been genuinely tested. My life has been challenging. I have had to wrestle with every promise I have ever believed from God’s word and held dear. Through the last ten years I endured sickness, failure, infertility, brokenness, sorrow, disappointment and anxiety. Through the fires of affliction, I held onto Jesus. I wrestled with Him, but somehow I held on. Even in my anger, I did not let go of Him.
To some people, my life may seem like a picture of failure and brokenness. But through God’s eyes my life is beautiful and precious. Thanks to His love, I now see my battle scars as victory marks because through it all, I clung to Jesus and that is worth celebrating. Through Jesus’ eyes, all my pain has led me deeper into His love so I have learnt to see even my pain as useful. Through everything that has been thrown at me in my life so far, I have chosen to journey it all with God; the good, the bad and the ugly.
My inspiration has sometimes come from reading the Psalms, as King David certainly was real, had his highs and lows but seemed determined to keep pursuing God and strengthening himself in the Lord, despite his circumstances. King David, who sinned against God and went through some hectic stuff, kept coming back to God. King David knew how to worship but it also seems that he knew how to give himself permission to wrestle with God. When God appointed David to be King, we learn in 1 Samuel chapter 13, verse 14 that the Lord chose David to be King because he was a man after his own heart. I believe that God does not condemn us for asking questions, or wrestling and genuinely trying to understand his ways. A relationship has to be real and a relationship with God is no different in that respect.
Wrestling with God
I believe wrestling with God is healthy; we can wrestle as much and as long as we need. Through the wrestling and our own digging into God’s Word, we grow muscles. Without the wild terrains to journey through, we do not develop these muscles. Without testing, our faith cannot be refined and come forth as gold.
God once said to me this,‘I do not make mistakes. I know when an eagle is ready - when their feathers have been strengthened for flight. Like a butterfly needs to fight their way out of a cocoon so you need to learn how to fight. Without the limitations of your faith and endurance tested, you cannot learn to fly to your full potential. You must wrestle child, for without a fight you will not have the strength for flight.’
Growing into our faith and Sonship
My journey has taught me some precious truths and given me a strong conviction that we all need to take responsibility for our own faith and walk. We need to own our faith, and not just proclaim God without believing him. If we truly believe that God has grafted us into his family then we need to do the journey to understand and realise we are loved.
Sonship - growing into the knowledge that we are loved, and growing in maturity in Christ is a big deal. The important thing though, is that in the wrestling, the fires and our seasons of deep challenge, that we don’t let go. Even if like me, you need to cling to Jesus with every fibre of your being as you know that He is the only one keeping you going, it is ok...just don’t let go of Him. There are great blessings for those who don’t let go and who overcome.
My testimony is that thankfully after many years, He is now bringing me forth as gold with a new understanding of how he has loved me and been with me through each and every heartache and affliction. He is continuing to bring me deep into encounter with His heart, His love and His presence. He has taught me how to hear his voice and He brought me through the valleys to a beautiful place of breakthroughs. My peace is growing, from every word I receive from my Father God and He is bringing me into my restoration, healing and a harvest season. Something special though that I get to keep forever is my knowing that I was faithful to Jesus through all the hard times. No one can ever take that away from me.
The word of God says that,“those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them,” Psalm chapter 126, verses 5-6 (NIV).
I believe that from His great love, Yahweh is decreeing His vindication, justice, restoration and his joy over us who have held on through the fires. He has promised us that he will rebuild our walls and bring about his good plans.
“Oh storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels and make your foundations of lapis lazuli. I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems, and your walls of precious stones”Isaiah chapter 54, verses 11-12(NLT).
So hold on dear friends, the rewards are real for those who cling to Jesus and to His word. As you worship and pray, know that you are watering the seed of life and watering will eventually lead to beautiful flowers, good fruit and the leaves of healing for the nations. You will be known for your joy, as your trees will burst into colours, flowers and songs. He is rebuilding you and you will reap all that you have sown in faith.
Liana Monaghan is a creative soul living on the coast of South Australia. Along with her artist husband Justin and two others, she is currently exploring what it means to live in creative community centred on Jesus. Liana sings, writes songs, works as a nanny and is passionate about worship and prayer. Liana and Justin fellowship at Tree of Life Church.
Liana is a passionate and creative soul, living in South Australia and married to her artist husband of 12 years, Justin. Liana is an early childhood educator and also writes, sings, occasionally dances, loves nature, is a psalmist and runs a women's ministry.