From Striving to Thriving

How does one traverse from solely breathing to soulfully living?

Long ago and far away, there lived a divorced mom.

This story is one of her total revolution-

from striving to thriving.

I know, I know- it seems impossible, but it’s true.

That mama- her heart was scarred and her spirit was torn. The perfect dream life had arrived, only to be ripped from her hands. Her new goal was survival. Her new life held difficult choices; some of which were unwisely made. But her old soul begged for reprieve from the delicate balance of the many hats she wore, especially the one of “working mother.”

Not just working mother, but working mother to a special needs child- a beautiful girl with a charming voice who lit up any room into which she walked.

Working moms have time only for things that must be accomplished- yet somehow this mom made time for her girl. And somehow she managed to make time for church. Probably because her own parents had taken her almost from the moment she was born. While Sunday could have been a rest and catch-up-on-the-house day, it was, instead, a quest for truth and peace.

The strife in her soul was vicious. The kind that keeps you awake at night. The kind that makes you do things you wish you could undo and say things you wish you had swallowed.

She didn’t understand how God could let bad things happen to good people. She had grown up in a Christian home, attended Christian school, and graduated from Christian college. Didn’t God see all the good she had done?

She didn’t perceive how people change- how they say they feel and believe one way, yet every action they made was contrary to their own statements. Why do people change? Why do they make such huge mistakes?

She really didn’t comprehend how those who say they love Christ were unable to show His love. Weren’t they supposed to help a sister up instead of passing by on the other side?

And she began to search for answers to those questions. After exploring her community and searching online, she found herself pouring over the pages of her worn Bible all over again- but this time was different.

She was no longer a girl who was checking off her Bible reading for the day because that was the right thing to do.

She was searching for an answer to the strife. An answer that would move her soul from striving to thriving.

She didn’t pray because that’s what she had been taught to do her entire life.

She prayed because her heart knew no other course to open the windows of mercy from Heaven she so desperately needed.

And through His Word and her prayers, God met the single mama all over again.

This time she got it- His ginormous, indescribable love for her.

She began to trust Him once more. Oh she had never stopped trusting Him for salvation and the gift of Heaven. But this time, she trusted Him for the gift of each day of life on earth. Her heart began to grasp, little by little, minute by minute, spent in His Word, that:

God doesn’t want a religious experience for me; He wants a personal relationship with me.

experience

And that is how the single, divorced mama to a special needs child transformed

from striving to thriving…

She’s the one who, many years later, outlined that list of 12 Bible Verses for when you feel like giving up…

and the one who stopped asking God where He was in all the mess and started asking God to reveal Himself to her.

And yes, she’s the same one who, just last week, wrote:

God wants to give us something far greater than the gift of an answer. He wants to give us Himself.

Redeemed by God’s grace

and revolutionized for His glory,

That Mom

This post was inspired by Casting Crowns new album “Thrive”-available January 28th. Learn more about what it means to Thrive at facebook.com/castingcrowns

 

 

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15 Comments

  1. Living this right now. And finding the same things. God has met me in the darkest places.

  2. isaac chitibwi says:

    Thank God for all your testimonies guys. My soul is uplifted its amazing how people can go through so much and still remain faithful to God.

  3. I pray that God keeps blessing you with everything that you do Rachel, as His blessing word says, be fruitful and multiply. May your life and everything you do be fruitful and multiply. My mother raised me as a working single mom, and it was her decision to stay single. God was the husband that she needed and God was the father that I needed (and still is). And because of His grace we survived in this world, as He always provided everything we needed.

  4. I was not a single mom, but we had adopted a daughter with special needs, one of them being Fetal Alcohol Effects, now it would be know by Alcohol Related Neurological Disorder. She also never bonded with us, so we had so many issues from not bonding, no trust of anyone. My husband’s head was in the sand, and thought I was crazy. For many years, I desperately prayed for healing, and prayed to understand grace. I did not understand the deep, deep, love of the Father, and knew I was saved, but did not understand daily grace, love that does not end. Because I did not understand this, I could not give this love to my daughter of unconditional love with the crazy, testing, and ultimately damaging behavior. It took our family hitting bottom and me not caring anymore what anyone thought, and just being numb for a few months, and fearful for my daughter and her scary behavior. Then a dear friend showed me how to be in the Word. The Word became REAL and I found grace in action, and mercy. I slowly came out of that pit. I am still learning grace. We don’t have a lot of contact with my daughter, per her choice. She asked us to adopt two of her children, and the Lord made it as clear as day to adopt her two tiny boys. It has been three years now. I understand grace so much better now, and can give more grace to the boys. It is not easy being a parent again in my 50’s, and with all of the big mistakes I made the first time around. Some days are better than others. But, I keep going back to what the Lord told me three years ago, “I will give you everything you need to raise these boys” Materially, we are amazed, and emotionally, spiritually, and physically, I have to go to the Lord to get this. Time wise some days are better than others.

    1. Oh Joanne! May His mercy and grace continue to surround you. Thank you for being a part of our community here. We love you!

  5. What a sweet reminder this morning as I read your words and embraced your truth of how God does not just give us an answer but gives us himself. My heart screamed for you as you searched for the “why” and rejoiced with you when God found you and met you in your place of struggle. As a single mama myself, I can rejoice that God always redeems with grace. Blessings, Rachel!!!

  6. Rachel, I can relate so much to this post – I’m in that valley right now but on the way out with God’s help. I’ve especially wondered about the ones who pass by on the other side, but don’t bother with that anymore. Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. My quest for 2014 is defeating strongholds.

    I am going to see Casting Crowns next month in Buffalo. Can’t wait!

    1. oh that is awesome on all points!! Have a wonderful time. They are fabulous- met them a few years ago backstage in Dayton. 🙂

  7. Rachel,
    Thank you for sharing this. Tears are flowing as I am reading this, this is my life now except I have a little boy with some special needs (nothing compared to your daughter) & have not yet started back to work; however, that is in my future. I feel everything that you wrote about. After many years of not getting pregnant, I finally found my Prince Charming & got pregnant without any fertility treatments. It was all in God’s timing! I knew that God had put me on this path to meeting him & finally having the family that I have always dreamed of. Now, he has ripped our family apart, devastated me, has done & said things that I would have never believed if you told that he would. Staying awake re-living moments wishing you had done this or said that or hadn’t said that. Begging to keep your family together. Starting an ugly custody battle. You can only find any kind of peace & comfort in God’s word, knowing Jesus is holding you up when you cannot hold yourself up and hearing the laughter of your sweet child. Actually had a few hours of peace & joy today without this horrible mess infecting all of my time. Thank you God for your mercy!
    Rachel you are an amazing woman & you inspire me all the time. I have felt a connection to you since I first saw a prayer or post on Pinterest of yours. Now, you are also part of my life. Thank you!

    1. Oh Gina! God is gracious. He sees you, hears you and loves you. I’m so blessed that God gives me small glimpses of helping others along life’s journey and yet my heart aches for you and your pain. May Jesus continue to be your strength. Snuggle up in the Father’s arms, Gina. He alone answers prayer. I entered your name in my prayer journal tonight.

  8. Heather P says:

    God’s love is amazing! He wraps us up and holds us close when we need it. He sends us reminders to chase after Him even when it seems all is against us!
    Thank you for the reminders!

  9. Oh Rachel! I loved this post…so many similarities in our lives yet it is in our darkest deepest despair that God enters our weary saddened hearts and over time as we begin to really know Him and love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength…He lifts us up higher than we ever could have dreamed…instead of just believing in Him, we believe Him! and we Believe all of the promises He made to us in His Holy Word, the Bible! Praise Jesus!

    1. Praise Jesus!! Love how God brought you to this little corner of cyberspace to unite two hearts in a way only God can weave. Thanks for your ever encouragement!

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