thankfulness, trials, & tire treads

hi friends.

It has been more than a hot minute since I have published a blog post. There have been so many times when I have thought about writing, but sometimes the words just fail to come. I go through these times where I have things to say but don’t know how to say them. Surprising because I talk all the time. But other than those times, I have just been really really busy. Its really no excuse, but sometimes life gets in the way. Honestly my life has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride since the last time I wrote in January. But that roller coaster is kind of what brings me to the advice I have to offer in this post.

You see I have this thought. Or maybe a few thoughts. About Jesus and life.

But in order for me to get there, we have to start back in January.

At the end of last year , I went through some tough stuff. Some not pretty stuff. And after that I spent about a month of hardcore healing time with Jesus. It was one of the most filling times I have experienced. It was painful and there were things I had to face that I didn't want to, but in the end I was immensely thankful for what God did in me.

I was in the greatest place I had ever been with Jesus. My relationship with the Lord was thriving and full. Isn’t it ironic that we avoid going through seasons of pain, but it is after those and through those when we are closest to Him? So there I was happy, free, and full. Shortly after He blessed me with an amazing group of friends, who loved Him just as much as I do. Many other blessings followed. He was answering prayers I had prayed for so long. He was giving me things that I desired. He was delivering peace after a hard season. He was so so present.

And I was insanely thankful. I was spending intentional time with Him daily. I was living my life to yield fruits of the spirit. I was working on kindness, gentleness, love, patience and peace. And I was seeing the evidence of them in my life. I was seeing my spirit thrive. I was truly embracing and loving the heart and mind that were me. I was truly happy. So full of joy and life because of Him.

And the good times continued. He was still being constant in deliverance from my previous season. He was continuing to bless me with more than I could ever ask for.

But somehow, I forgot to play my role in all of it. There was no specific incident, time, or day. But for some reason…. I stopped. I spent less and less time with Him. Things were going so great and I was still thankful. Believe me I thought about how thankful I was constantly, about how happy i was. But the act of my thanksgiving slowly fizzled. What I mean by this is that I neglected to be intentional about my relationship and thanks towards my heavenly father. My time spent in His word happened farther and farther apart. My prayers became surface level and just something to check off the to do list before I went to bed.

In the midst of enjoying everything that had been given to me, I forgot the giver himself.

And I still didn’t even notice that I had forgotten Him. Things were still going great. I was still super happy. Life was good. But the problem is during all of that time without Him, I wasn’t prepared for when things weren’t so great. I hadn’t been cultivating my relationship with him, so when it did come time for me to come down from my mountaintop, I wasn't prepared for the valley. We were so so far apart that not only was I in a valley, but I was in a valley and far from my comforter.

When we stop acting on our thankfulness, we forget why we were ever thankful. We grow apart from Him. And then when things aren't going so great, we are lost.

The other night I was driving around after a really bad storm. The roads were slick and it was dark. I was rushing to get somewhere. I noticed that I felt the constant struggle of my tires sliding against the pavement. You see, I really really needed new tires. They were past their breaking point. They were very hard to keep under control when the weather wasn't so great. It got me thinking. I hadn't taken very good care of my tires. They probably would have lasted longer and at least been a little more stable when the roads weren't perfect if I had taken better care of them. I had definitely roughed them up with the way I drive. I drive fast, accelerate quickly, stop even quicker. But maybe, just maybe.. if I had taken better care of them, then they would have helped me better in my time of need. Their endurance would have lasted longer. Instead of slipping and sliding around, they would have done the job they were prepared for. They wouldn't have reached an uncontrollable moment, where there was no longer anything I could do but start over with a new pair.

And of course my little writer brain started to run even deeper into this thought. Aren’t my tires a lot like my relationship with Jesus. You see if I had treated my tires with care, then they would have been there when I really needed them in the rain. Yes eventually, I would have needed new tires but not so soon. But this is exactly what we do to Jesus. When he gives us something shiny and brand new we forget him. When life is good we spend less time caring and nurturing our relationship with him. We let our relationship with him wear away through the decisions we make, just like the tread on our tires. We feel like we don’t need our tire treads to be on point since its not raining yet. Just like our relationship with God can be put on the back burner when we aren't in a storm. Then when we reach our storms we are out of control because we have neglected him for so long.We arent stable. And then we risk the possibility of a big crash or accident. something as simple as a rain shower in our life can turn into an enormous tragedy. All because we have neglected to take care of our metaphorical tires.

If we had spent time with Him in the good maybe that loss, failure, or heartbreak wouldn't hit us so hard. Yes, we would still experience pain… but we would be closer to our comforter before it hit. So that when it hit, we would have less length to run before reaching his arms.

Im trying to embrace this thought. I want to have a close relationship with Jesus in the good and the bad. I want to have full and I mean FULL dependance on him. Im tired of this fabricated trust many of us as christians claim to have in Him. Claiming we trust Him with our lives, but only giving Him part of our hearts. Im ready to praise Him every second of the good and every second of the bad. Every second. This is how we act upon our thankfulness. Prayer, devotion to absorbing His word, and constant recognition of his grace and mercy in our lives. That is how we act on our thankfulness. By being present with him in EVERY season. Thankfulness… the key to joy and fullness in Him.

so take care of your tires. your real ones and your metaphorical ones.

Until next time,

Steph