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Faith: Even When Things Don’t Go My Way

By Melanie Mechsner
In Formed
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My birth mother gave me up for adoption.

Ouch. That still stings, and I am old enough – let’s just say over 30 – to grasp that it was and still IS the Lord’s plan for my life. Being adopted is all I’ve ever known, yet I still have a longing to meet my birth mother. I think that’s mainly because part of me feels unwanted, given up and not enough for her and I want to prove her wrong and show her what she missed out on. I have a HUGE lifeline of family, friends and colleagues that I know would do anything for me in a heartbeat and yet, because I was given up once, I still feel not good enough for them and that I don’t deserve them. My thought is that if I didn’t deserve my birth mother’s love, why would I deserve theirs? Man, am I wrong!

We all have that internal desire to be good enough, to impress, to be successful, but unfortunately, I have realized a lot of that desire comes from sin and from the idea that knowing God and being loved by Him isn’t enough.

If I truly believe that God’s plan for my life was to be adopted by wonderful, loving parents all along then why question if I am good enough for them? Why question God’s plans and therefore my faith in Him?

Here’s why: I’ve always thought that something must have been wrong with me and I wasn’t what my birth mom wanted. And then I would question why God would allow her to have me just so I could be rejected.

But God…God worked a miracle by giving my birth mother a desire to have me and not abort me, and then he orchestrated a beautiful adoption by an amazing couple.

I find comfort in knowing that I am chosen by God and I firmly believe that my birth mother kept me alive because it was God’s plan. So why can’t my faith always keep up?

As Christians, we are not promised a life without suffering, loneliness, doubt or fear, but somewhere along the way, we came up with the idea that God would protect us from those things. And when he doesn’t show up, our faith doesn’t either. But what I have learned in life is that it’s actually those things that help strengthen my faith, because I see less of myself and more of God, so that suffering, loneliness, doubt and fear not only strengthen my faith but helps others also.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

Suffering does not destroy faith, it refines your faith.

Suffering in my life looks like depression and anxiety. I got post-partum depression after my first child and it just never really went away. It makes my life hard, my marriage hard, and parenting hard. I have had to do WAY more work on myself than I ever imagined or wanted to. During that work, which is ongoing, I have had to rely on God to guide me, to carry me, and to feed truth to my soul when depression feeds lies. I have to lean on God a lot these days, playing my “Jesus music ” to get me out of a funk and looking hard past the filter of sadness and numbness for joyous moments. Each time I lean on God, I experience him more, and my faith becomes a little bit stronger. Paul’s faith is inspiring to me, because he was able to write from prison “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

Loneliness does not destroy faith, it challenges your faith.

Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Loneliness is a feeling in which you can be surrounded by people and still feel left out and disconnected. Jesus knew what it was to have His friends deny, disappoint and abandon him. Knowing he would experience separation from his father, Jesus still chose to take on our sin so we would never have to experience that separation. He even called out to his father in a heart-rending cry: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:45) When we feel lonely, we can remember that Jesus experienced even greater loneliness, and He lives today, ready to help us challenge and confront the feelings we experience of being alone, growing our faith and trust in him.

Doubt does not destroy faith, it strengthens your faith.

Will God provide what I need? Am I doing the right thing? Am I truly forgiven for my sins? If God is love, then why is there so much suffering in the world? How do I know God is real?

Any of this sound familiar? Any other questions of doubt that come to mind? Doubt is asking questions and seeking answers. God can handle our doubt and isn’t surprised by it. He delights in sharing himself with us, so when you seek answers and still have questions, allow yourself to recognize that your faith is growing. You are giving God an opening to show you something different, to stretch your faith. Lean into the doubt.

Fear does not destroy faith, it confronts your faith.

I am currently wrestling with the fear to contact who I think is my birth mother. My husband, Chris thinks he found her on Facebook. And yet, it has been almost a year since he found her and I have done nothing. After being given up at birth and then being told by the adoption agency she didn’t want to meet me just three years ago, I now need to face the fear of feeling rejected for the third time. Even if that happens, I won’t be alone and I won’t be unloved, because there is a God who also chose me as his daughter and loves me no matter what. My faith grows each time I choose to believe a truth about who God is.

All that to say, sometimes things go my way, and sometimes they don’t. But I can have faith in God because he hasn’t changed – he is always there with arms wide open. I’m enough because I have him, and he will always be enough.

FORMED

God is calling us, the people of Irving Bible Church, to become a multi-ethnic movement of missionary disciples, formed in the way of Jesus for the sake of the world.

We want to be a transformed people who experience vibrant spiritual growth together. We want the Spirit of God to shape us more and more into the likeness of Jesus as we follow him.

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