Devotional Diary: Building My Fortress of Faith

I have many friends who are looking at 2014 with heavy hearts and deep anxiety, as they face life-changing circumstances that will open long dark tunnels leading to:

“What now?”                          

“How can I?”                           

“Why this?”                       

“Where do I go next?” 

These turns take on sharp corners that can lacerate wounds and suffocate hearts…

A friend admitting her precious son involuntarily into a residential facility for the next nine months.

Another friend facing this New Year as a single parent, putting the broken pieces of her shattered family back together.

Another friend with an empty womb, counting down her final days of hope that there will ever be a miracle in the making.

Another friend desperate for deliverance from the pain and rejection of her husband’s family.

Another friend marching forward right beside her ailing husband,  who is suffering an incurable disease.

Many friends facing this New Year with the loss of a loved one, torn from their lives too soon.

So many beloved wounded soldiers coming back with broken bodies and torn spirits.

Families whose homes are twisted in mangled pieces of debris from monstrous storms.

How many will be facing another year of hunger and the relentless search for relief and refuge?

There will be diagnoses, lay offs, conflicts and crises of all kinds. ..

The list just goes on and on.

But this Devotion isn’t just for those that are suffering hardships now.  It’s for all of us, when

Because life in this world is uncertain, unpredictable and unreliable.  Crisis can happen in an instant.  Devastation can spill right around the bend, and our lives can immediately dive down into depths of despair we never knew existed.

I keep hearing these words…

“Do you trust Me?”

I believe those are God’s Words that echo in my heart.  And I believe those words are intended for us all.  Whether we are withered and worn or empowered and strong.  I wonder how many of us trust Him.

My trust often seems to be conditional.  When life deteriorates, so do I.  There have been times when my faith has failed, and my brokenness prevailed.

I often ride the waves quite perfectly.  High and mighty here… crashing down there.  Holding on here…letting go there.  Standing tall here…falling low there.

Over and over again.

Anyone else?

I’ve had a good round of faith with trusting God for a while now, and yet how can I boast?  I have only endured temporary uncertainty and pain in the recent year.  But in past years, there were many dark nights screaming out to God while my daughter was choking for air over and over again.  You didn’t see me completely collapsing in despair, holding my crying newborn while admitting my two year old in the hospital.  You didn’t witness my relentless anger and agonizing admonishment of our God, over and over again…

Crashing down…letting go…falling low.

When you’re worn down to nothing.  Can you hear Him say, Do you trust me?”

What’s your answer?

I would like to start this New Year building enough blocks of faith to withstand the next storm that comes my way.  I believe it’s the greatest ‘investment’ I can give myself.

Truly trusting God.

Build your faith.                  Devotional Diary Do You Trust Me

So when the storm hits you…

You can answer that question with confidence, clarity and consistency.

His Promises never change.

We do.

So as His Question lingers on in my heart…

I will use this year to work toward the answer. 

I will build my fortress of faith~

So I will be safe and secure in the One and only Hope I can cling to if the wind should start to blow.

Would you join me?

Luke 6:48

New International Version (NIV)

48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

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  1. says

    Well…I like the idea of a fortress, because it seems kind of like Superman, which I’m quite sure is missing your point entirely.

    Trust is a tricky one. My faith often seems altogether too predicated on whether or not I get my own way. Which I know is really sucky, and yet, and yet…I know that the thing I want is Good. And I can’t in a million years believe that He would WANT to deny me it.

    So I’m stuck.

    • says

      Well YOU think it is good… but here’s the truth. He knows what lies ahead for you- He knows what is good, you THINK you know what is good. He knows you better than YOU know you. He knows what you can handle and what is BEST for you better than YOU know what you can handle and what is best you. There is a lot of assumption on your part of what you believe to be the best plan for you- but BUT BUT BUT!!! There’s this Creator of the Universe that knows better- and has the perfect plan for you… you just don’t trust that He does, now do you? Your feelings are guiding your faith… I know, I’ve been there many many times. (I hope this is making sense…I know how devastating this is for you.)

      All in love, sweet one. All in love…

      • says

        I see where you’re coming from.

        But seeing as this is something He specifically wants for people. All His children. I find it hard to believe that He’s up there with a magnifying glass, like a kid atop an anthill, cracking His knuckles and gleefully denying me.

        I have to believe that this mess is *somehow* a result of human error, of free will. Even if, in the end, it’s my own, for saying “I will”…

        He allows free will. And the consequences of the same cannot always be mitigated. And I’m sure He hurts with me on this…it’s not punishment or teaching or some cosmic lesson I need to learn.

        • says

          Perhaps you are absolutely positively right. And yet, I alone- a mere mortal, can identify about one hundred horrific events that COULD go wrong as any of us can imagine. You just don’t know- perhaps if you were pregnant, you would get sick with something you had no idea pregnancy would induce- and you passed. There’s one. I have 99 more….

          It’s kinda like being late for an important appointment and realizing you missed a terrible fatal crash because you were running late- therefore it was a blessing in disguise- you were pissed about being late, but now realize that your life was spared because of it.

          Yes? You don’t know. You may never know. hence, trust. He is either protecting you from something horrible, or preventing you from a pain that is worse… perhaps? The options are endless really….

          And although it is an agonizing journey for you- I find some comfort in believing and trusting that He knows exactly what He is doing. His Hand is on you. Always.

  2. says

    Faith is a practice, better worked on before the crisis hits, so that it’s there for us when we need it. I think it’s also important to remember that very few situations are truly a crisis. Maybe just a crisis in our heads? And when that kind of crisis hits, I just call YOU. xo

    • says

      Oh you CRACK me up! CALL CALL CALL!!! I love us so much, I just want to climb through this screen and pummel you with hugs and kisses!!!

      I really love how you said that SO perfectly!! SO many hardships are battled within us all… SO TRUE!!

      And yes- like all things, if we practice it over and over again, it becomes who we are. Faith can actually be a HABIT. 🙂

      (At least I have one good habit! lol)

  3. says

    Amen SSSF!!! I know everyone has their struggles right now but we need to keep our eyes on him & our faith strong. I can’t remember what band it is but you know I dig music & immediatelyas I was reading I began hearing the song “Praise you in this storm” go youtube it, it is an awesome soul shaking song, it fits this post! I will praisw him through this storm, my faith is strong! Amen, SSSF. XO. ~A~

    • says

      And girlfriend, you have had a STORM in your life!!! You are literally a walking testimony and I believe God has such mighty plans for YOU SSSF!!

      I will never stop being in AWE of your triumph over tragedy. You will always amaze me.

      Now to go find that song!!!

  4. says

    I like the idea of building up a fortress of faith. I think trust is key. I’ve found, as I get older, that I have more trust. I guess it comes with experience. Things usually happen the way they should. Sometimes just not the way I initially thought they should.

    • says

      Isn’t it true that the older we get, the easier it is to have peace about things? I find I am still a ‘fighter’ but this growing surrender and stillness within is taking residence in my heart. One of the beautiful things about aging!! While some of us (me) starts to dwindle on the exterior, our interior comes alive with more light and depth and peace… pretty cool really. 🙂

  5. says

    Building blocks of faith so we can withstand future storms – I really like that, Chris. I feel so blessed to be where I am right now, but who knows what the future will bring. It’s easier to have faith when the going is good; building a fortress is such a wise idea for when the going is rough.

    • says

      I am so glad you like that idea, Dana. It’s funny how we can let our faith just kinda lay low during those beautiful peaceful times when we don’t think we “need Him”… oh but the price we pay when we are blindsided with adversity and we have little to cling to!

      Hardships happen. (Ooooh!I like that.) Lets prepare our hearts in hopes that our faith will help us while we weather whatever storm arises.

  6. Tammy says

    I think of every hurting soul going into 2014 hoping for a better year. My own junk is mostly of my own making. Even in this, I know my Father has a plan for me, a plan to give me hope and a future. I simply have to LET Him…the hard part.
    Sending prayers on behalf of re hurting.

    • says

      I do know one thing for SURE- that God is using you in a MIGHTY WAY, sweet WPB. You have a beauty and a light that resonates so bright and so deep, that people’s hearts are lifted STRAIGHT up to Him through you. Yes. Truth.

      I swear I love you SO HARD!!! Joy- tears-laughter-love-faith-doubts-brokenness… all of it wrapped up in the most precious friendship I know. MWUAH!

  7. says

    My heart aches for those that are struggling and I pray that they find peace in Him. I don’t believe that God punishes us but I have to wonder why some events happen. All I can do is pray and keep the faith. No other choice because there is a reason. I’m for Building Faith in 2014. That’s what keeps us going.
    Thanks for this great post to remind us of our faith.

    • says

      Yeah- I know all too well what you mean Manal. And I know KNOW you are living through some relentless heartache and hardships right now at this moment. Why God allows things to happen, is the question I constantly ask as well.

      Someday, there will be no brokenness in this world. I long for that day.

  8. says

    As much heartache as I have had over the years, I do totally trust God, because somehow he always lifts me up and is there in those moments when I do need him. Don’t know if that makes sense, but I do believe not only because I am Catholic and religion has taught me so, but something in my heart as well as taught me to believe, too. Happy Sunday Chris and truly what a wonderful post to start my Sunday off right!! 🙂

    • says

      Oh how I LOVE LOVE LOVE your faith Janine!!!!!! What a true testimony to trusting God amidst the hardships and adversity and seeing HIS deep abiding love in YOU and HIS beautiful devotion to caring for you!! Oh sweet friend, your words give me so much joy. Thank you SO much for sharing such a powerful and gorgeous faith story. It touches my heart in so many ways. 🙂 XOXO

  9. Candice says

    Thanks for this great reminder to daily build up our faith to be prepared in Him…I sometimes role play the most devastating things possible in my head, in some likely warped way to prepare myself to trust in Him no matter what…even if one of my children or my husband is taken from me….could I still find trust and peace or would I sink in the sand of despair, doubt, and anger. I’m trying to prepare for the former so my soul is prepared for ANYTHING based in trust of Him. xoxo

    • says

      AMEN to THAT Sister!!! Funny, I go down that same road… and pray I will have the same response. Are we related or something? lol 😉

      Lets continue to build our faith together, and pray for each other to have a strong fortress if God forbid something happens… okay sis?

      Love you so much. SO grateful we share this walk together!!

  10. says

    I’m with Ilene – so many crises are in my head. You do make me feel better too! I do love the idea of building this fortress of trust – I really do. And I’m a bit confused along the way, but not disbelieving.

    • says

      It surely isn’t a cut and dry thing, is it? Lots of ‘grey stuff’- murkiness and questions… I get that Tamara. I do. And God WANTS us to question and ask for answers. He knows exactly where you are… and He is more than willing to meet you there, sweet friend! He is already there, with you every step of your journey…

  11. says

    Faith and trust are such personal things, I think, based on past experiences and where we are spiritually at present. I also belief faith and trust are ever-moving, growing with the ebb and flow of things life brings our way. As I spend the final days of my 53 years here on earth, reflecting and preparing to turn 54, I know that the secret things (things I don’t understand) truly belong to God and the more I learn from the school of life and hard knocks, the less I know. Therefore, I trust.

    • says

      I find that as we get older, we start to become less ‘fidgety’ and ‘stubborn’ in our walk. Yes? There is this slow burning peace that is settling in for me as well. You said it beautifully my friend. Allowing the ebb and flow… and trusting that what I don’t know, He knows. There is true peace in that truth.

  12. says

    Trust is hard – especially when bad things happen. Fortunately, I have never and anything really horrible happen in my life. I can only hope that if/when it does, my faith will be strong enough to sustain me. I definitely think trust is the foundation of faith.

  13. says

    Beautiful post Chris. It can be so difficult to keep the faith as they say when things are so hard around you, but that is the time it is most necessary. Thinking of your friends and wishing them peace and strength this year.-Ashley

    • says

      Thanks so much Ashley! There are people in painful circumstances everywhere… and it is a constant reminder to me that anything can happen at ANY time. Are we prepared to truly rely and trust that God’s got this? I’m not sure if I can answer that question with a resounding YES. Who can?

  14. says

    ““O’ Yes,
    I’ve been screaming & Crying ceaselessly out to God for a while now…

    I finally surrendered. Let go…

    How Liberating. How Freeing.

    I trust Him. I believe in Him.

    Or I would have perished completely 3 years ago.

    Great Post. xx

    • says

      Oh how I LOVE your words, your precious testimony to where you have been and how you have been able to surrender and trust in Him!! I am so deeply touched by your relentless faith, and honored that you shared it here. XO

  15. says

    My problem isn’t faith so much as it is that I want to be in charge. And I know some people would think “oh, but if you have faith then that wouldn’t be a problem.” Not exactly. I believe 100% that God knows what is best for me, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to tell Him what I think is best. That’s where I get into trouble.

    • says

      Oh girlfriend, that’s where we ALL get into trouble!!! 🙂

      You just shared the root of every barrier to God. Our control and pride and selfishness, is a constant source of conflict in allowing us to trust in God. It is truly the “Human Condition”- and Lord knows I fight it all the time!!

  16. says

    Your words are so inspiring.

    I know I have a hard time trusting sometimes when I’m going through something bad. Or honestly, I get an attitude because I KNOW God could fix whatever it is that I’m going through- so my attitude tends to suck if He doesn’t fix it. I know this isn’t how I should be thinking- just being honest!

    • says

      You are saying what EVERYONE thinks and does during those hardships!! I can’t tell you how many times my attitude has SUCKED because I want God to change the circumstance, and I KNOW He has the power to!! That’s when trusting is the hardest, I know.

      BUT- that is our truest test, yes? Do we trust in the Lord of the universe that He knows Best? Big picture thinking always helps me a little, for what it’s worth! His Perspective is SO different than ours… and although we sometimes hate what we are going through, I/we must trust that He will carry us through and in the end, make it good.

  17. says

    Am I horrible in saying that I WANT TO TRUST so so much, but? I mean, what if I don’t all the way? Is that a message for me to do more HERE so I don’t have to. or one that I need to let go? I don’t have the ultimate trust. I mean. I almost do, but I’m so scared if something happens to me – what about my baby boy??? Sorry to be a downer…

    • says

      DON’T BE SORRY!!!! You speak the heart of EVERYONE!!! Oh Kristi- there are times I can’t handle the idea of being taken away from my kids if God FORBID something happens to me. Oh, we could go down that road of what ifs and wind us up into a frenzy of despair!!!

      I honestly trust God the most when I go “there”- because quite frankly, I can’t handle all of those “what ifs”- so I find comfort in believing that He can.

  18. says

    When I was growing up, we had a collection of books about Bible stories (my dad is a pastor) and the one about building on sand was one of my favorite stories!

    Reading these comments, I realize it is hard for people to give over control to God. Why do bad things happen to good people? My mom was one of my best teachers; she believed she was a kinder, more empathetic person after she was diagnosed with cancer at 40. So why did she have to die? I don’t know. But what I don’t know, God does know. And I have to trust Him. 🙂

    • says

      Oh Ginny! My heart just sank as I read your precious words!! Oh, how hard it is to trust that God was in something so horrible as taking your mom so early!!! I have no words, just compassion and love for your wounded heart sweet friend. I pray God embraces your heart with His Love every day, and every moment that you miss her…

      It breaks my heart that you have to live your life without her here on earth.

      You will have eternity to spend with your mom… And in the meantime, I am SURE she is your angel watching over you.

  19. says

    Hey Chris!!! Oh I’ve missed hanging out here with you my friend!! So glad to be back to blogging after my 2 1/2 week break! Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a blessed 2014! I can always count on you Chris to be a beacon of light to those who are suffering. Thank you for taking on the call that all of us Christians should be doing…interceding and standing in the gap for others! Love you my sweet friend and I’ll be joining you in building my fortress of faith this year! Why, because I’ll need it, but most of all I want to please Him! Love you lady! <3

    • says

      I MISSED YOU TOO!!!!! SOOOO MUCH!!! I am so glad you are BACK, sweet friend!!!

      I pray God uses me, my words… my message. They are His, aren’t they? Here’s to more of US and GOD and all that His Glorious Love holds in 2014!!

  20. says

    Ilene put it perfectly. I think its better to have faith before the crisis hits. There is a crisis brewing here and we’re all going to be calling on our faith.

    • says

      Oh Michelle! I will be praying for whatever is going on, and as you enter the crisis- hold strong to your faith. He is in it- even when we can’t see Him. Prayin’ you though, my friend!!

  21. says

    Such a powerful post! I have trust in God as well, though it can be trying during tough parts of our lives. However, I think that’s when we must trust God the most.

    • says

      Sometimes those are the easiest moments to just let go and let God- when we have nothing left in us. It reminds me of the drowning victim who can’t be saved until he goes limp- When we fight too hard to survive, we can’t let Him save us.

      SO glad you stopped by and shared, Melissa!!

  22. says

    Of course I will join you! I need to remember to answer, “Yes! I trust you” when things happen that send me spiraling out of control. I love that when I start to feel myself slipping, I can come here or text you and just like that, my faith feels stronger.

    • says

      AW!!!!! I absolutely am SO honored I help you in any way, sweet friend!!! It’s so hard to withstand those ‘storms’- I know… I really believe God uses friends to help build our faith and or fortitude! SO grateful for that!

  23. says

    My dad needed surgery before Christmas. I was on the phone with my mom and I asked her if she was scared. She said, “No, I trust in God and I know that He has a plan. Whatever happens, we will be ok.”
    My problem is that I know that to be true, but that still doesn’t mean that I want to go through those trials. I understand that God has plans to mold us and shape us, but what if I don’t want to be molded and shaped right now?!
    I told her is wasn’t a crisis of faith. It was just selfish immaturity that I didn’t want to let go of.
    And in the end my dad’s surgery went well and he is recovering nicely.

    • says

      Who DOESN’T have “selfish immaturity”??? Well, I suppose your mom! HA! But oh Rabia- you are SO not alone, my friend.

      I don’t think I ever want to be molded and shaped by adversity… lets face it- the trials suck. BUT- oh the afterward. That’s where I find SOOOO much fulfillment in seeing how God used the circumstance for good. And yes, as much as we HATE it- we do end up coming out of each storm better molded and shaped and more like your mom. 🙂

  24. says

    This is exactly what it all comes down too. It will never be the circumstance that we can control. We really have no control at all…but just trusting that Our God is big enough to handle it…whatever it may be.

  25. says

    It is so easy for me to be complacent when things are easy or going well. The moment something goes wrong, however…. I’m all over the “Dear Lord…” I most certainly need to work on that. I trust him but I definitely haven’t built a fortress.

    • says

      It’s never something that is on people’s radar until crisis hits- and then BAM. I want to be prepared and know my strength will be empowered by my faith without a doubt. I believe that takes a lot of time and energy, much like anything else you want a good hold on!

      I hope you can find your ‘bricks’ to build your fortress Stephanie! It will be a good thing… and Lord knows, there will be a storm of some kind at some time to withstand.

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