"God has given me freedom to choose. Yet, what a tragedy if I resented or resisted His refining touch. What enormous loss if it were ever refused. My growth would be severely stunted, and God's exciting plan for my life would be tragically thwarted because of my foolish stubbornness and fear of what He might really require of me. That choice would produce a very empty and lonely life. Thank God He waited patiently for my heart to choose life.....abundant life!" [Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Five: CREATED TO BEAR FRUIT...Chapter Three: Developing Character] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
God can, and does turn chaos into stability and peace. But, He will only do it with our permission and open invitation to enter and "clean house" within our restless souls. Unexpected circumstances, trials and other life-changes will shape our character--who we are--in two ways: we will become a stronger person or we will hide from a world which has caused us heartache and pain. As is always the case, the choice is ours.
Every single day God wants to grow us. There is not a moment that goes by in which He cannot work in and through us. Embracing this truth excites me--now. I am at a point in my journey where I can look back to the accident and the ensuing years of chaos with clearer eyes. Tears don't blur my vision anymore.
Those earlier years were extremely difficult and so many times I wondered how I would cope with the future ahead of me. What did it hold for someone with a permanent brain injury? But God withholds the future from us and I'm so glad He does. It would be like longing for Heaven so much that I forget to live each moment of each day with gratitude for all I have.....right now. THIS is where God has placed me, not to be miserable, but to trust Him and His ultimate plan and purpose for my life. To live my days praising Him for every gift of goodness, not matter how big... or how small.
Walking through my own valleys of doubt, fear, frustration, heartache and vulnerability enables me to recognize the heavy heart of someone else more readily. Development of a strong character does not just empower us with courage and inner strength, it also produces an overflowing heart of compassion.
I frequently ask my Heavenly Father to remove the one-sided mirror of self-focus. This dramatically changes my perspective and empowers me to "be there" with ears that hear, eyes that see and a heart that safeguards confidences. I have always been a trusted confidant with wide-open ears and a tightly closed mouth and God is continuing to cultivate that part of my character.
Through the process He is providing opportunities galore for me to focus on others. I am learning to recognize a certain tone of voice when someone responds to the question, "How are you?" He is teaching me to "sense" a need to ask if I can pray for something specific if someone mentions they are going through a rough time. He is growing me so much in my understanding of the importance to make time to really take time to reach out to others--to really hear what is being said.
Character defines us. God wants us to become everything He has planned for us to be, not in a self-focused way, but in a way that opens arms and hearts to the world around us. An outward focus honours Him and blesses others--it offers encouragement, hope and support. It says, "You are not alone in this--let's walk the journey together." As we share His strength, His comfort, His faithfulness and His love the chaos within us diminishes and our souls are washed with His immeasurable peace.
I yearn for God to mould and shape me to become the woman He desires me to be. I want to bear fruit that is lasting and that requires courage and patience as I continually seek to be refined in character and bring honour to Him with my life. And that makes every single day exciting!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
Galatians 5:22,23a NIV
Blessings on your journey~~Kathie
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