Meet my friend and among the 1st who joined serving the Lord through Interior Inspirations, sweet Ashley Lancaster! She is happily married to her wonderful husband Kurt, and they have 3 young, precious children: Evy, Liam and Lynley. She has been fascinated with decorating, design and architecture from the age of 9, and studied interior design at Baylor University and Mississippi College. She also coordinates the women’s events for her home church of Lynwood Baptist Church. One thing Ashley strongly believes is this – “That ANY home is beautiful when the Lord lives there!” For the next several Inspiration posts, Ashley will be inspiring and encouraging us in an area of our life we all experience – “Trials.” James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” not, “IF you meet trials of various kinds.” Trials are a matter of when, not if, in the life of a believer. Ashley will be writing from personal experiences in helping us understand more in how to live transformed through our trials.
I don’t like talking about hard stuff.
Does anyone, really? Do we really enjoy sitting in our brokenness, dealing with our deepest pain? I would venture to say that we almost do everything we can to run from it; to hide from it. Sometimes we even keep constant noise and activity around us to prevent us from being alone with our own thoughts. I know I have – and that’s saying a lot, because as an introverted person, I normally crave quietness and time alone.
There are things that happen in life that are obviously categorized as a trial: persecution, a devastating loss, an illness. Those are easy to spot and identify. But more often, I believe we live in a state of trial in the “little” areas and circumstances. This can actually be more dangerous, in the sense that it’s easier to ignore for a period of time. The snowball effect can be just as damaging (maybe even more damaging) if left unattended.
Did you know that the word “trial” is not just defined as a period of trying or testing? It is also defined as “. . .a distressed or painful state.”
I have absolutely been in a distressed and painful state, but I was really good at trying to never let it show. This past year, I have come face to face with my struggle with anxiety. I am incredibly thankful to God that He is ever patient and loving with me, and as I walked through a journey of facing my hard stuff, He was so tender and walked every step of that with me.
I chose to stop living in a prison of the mind (anxiousness, paranoia, fear of what people thought of me) and start doing the work I knew was necessary. It was one of the best decisions of my life!
As I begin this series, discussing the concept of transforming through struggle and what that looked like for me, I feel it’s important to note that this is my personal experience. Yours will probably be totally different, and it’s important to keep that in mind. I have also never taken any medication to aid with anxiety, but I know many people that do, and it has truly been a tool God has used to tremendously help in their healing. Please don’t be afraid to seek the help of a licensed (preferably Christian) professional who can help walk you through those steps if necessary.
So starting out, I encourage you to ask yourself the hard question:
What is your problem?
Do you feel angry?
Paranoid about what others think?
Are you battling addiction in some way?
Do you have a spirit of self-condemnation?
Do you feel you don’t deserve love?
Pray and simply ask God to illuminate your deepest struggles. Ask Him to bring them to the forefront so that in HIS power, you can begin to transform. It’s HARD to go there (believe me!), but I can attest that it’s worth it to live in freedom! When you’re willing to go there (to confront those hard places), the Lord has been waiting for you the whole time.
A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!””
Mark 1:40-41 NLT
This is what Jesus did for me. His healing power has saved my life. He is compassionate and His heart is ALWAYS willing! I hope you will journey with me through these next several days as I share with you how we can live a life that is “Transforming Through Trials.”