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Firm in Faith

In November, I wrote about church hunting after moving. By the time that post was published, the hubs and I had decided on a church. It’s tiny (fewer than 50 people, I’d guess) and turns just a year old this month. Given our previous churches, it’s definitely not the church I would have expected we’d fall in love with. But God knew what He was doing when He brought us into that middle school.

You see, the hubs and I have been searching for friends ever since we moved to Maryland. We’ve made friends at work, of course, but we’ve been searching for the same type of community we had at school through our church and through campus ministry when we were undergraduates. We’ve been searching for a solid small group with whom we can eat dinner and then dive into the Word, and after two and a half years, we have that again. And it has been amazing.

I have never doubted that God knows what He is doing.

I’ve always trusted that He knows what is right and best for us. And a part of me always knew that we wouldn’t stay that close to DC forever. Waiting for the green light to move east to Annapolis was excruciating, but He brought us though. And now, with this fellowship and community, I finally feel at home.

If last year taught me anything, it’s that life is uncertain. I avoided cancer with timely surgery. I took a promotion I didn’t really want and consequently quit my job a few months later. My sweet dog passed away out of nowhere. I snagged my dream job (at this point in my career). We moved again. We rescued an extremely difficult dog (a sanctifying process, indeed). I suffered from a bout of severe, crippling anxiety and decided to go back to counseling. My best friend got married. We ran away to Mexico for a week.

And over and over and over again, God proved to me His goodness and the sufficiency of His grace.

I cried a lot last year. More than the year before, which was unexpected. But God has an infinite supply of Puffs Plus Lotion, and the warmth of His embrace doesn’t fade away.

One of the reasons I knew we found our church is the first day we went, the pastor began a 26-week series in Isaiah. Immediately, I told myself I was in. Thankfully, the hubs was in, too. In Isaiah 7, the wicked King Ahaz is afraid of his enemies who are planning to strike, but the Lord says through Isaiah that Ahaz has nothing to fear; his enemies are nothing and do not have the Lord. God says, “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all” (verse 9).

I pray that in 2018 (and beyond), I would be firm in faith, trusting the only One who is certain in the midst of uncertainties. And I pray that for you, too.

 

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Natalie Liounis

Natalie Liounis

Natalie is a ginger and lover of Jesus, dogs, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, cooking, and hockey. She lives in Annapolis with her husband and dog, and she coordinates the writing center at a small community college on Maryland's eastern shore. In other words, her dreams have come true.
Natalie Liounis

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5 Comments

  1. Diane on January 10, 2018 at 10:28 AM

    So much can happen in a year, right? Firm in faith or not firm at all – such a mantra to live by. Thanks, Natalie, for letting us be part of your praying audience as you navigated that tough year. Of all that I know at this advanced age, faith in God’s faithfulness that rekindles and rebuilds and keeps us true is the only thing that we can be certain of.

  2. Sarah Robinson on January 10, 2018 at 3:08 PM

    Your experience, strength and hope are true gifts for the new year. Our faithful God designed us to be expectant. I’m glad to hear you’ve crossed into a new journey with new friends. I’m praying your same prayer for my middle daughter and her husband, who are new to Manhattan. They too long to find true friends, and it takes time. We visited their Central Park residence over Christmas, and attended their small church (maybe 200 people.)
    Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Jen on January 12, 2018 at 2:37 PM

    I love Isaiah, too. And this verse always makes me think of “You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

    I’m happy you and Andrew are settling into your new home so well and you’re making those important friendships. God is good!

  4. Gretchen Hanna on January 15, 2018 at 9:53 AM

    Natalie! What an amazing post. I’m so glad you’re “home” after such a tumultuous year. Those godly relationships are everything in keeping us encouraged and strengthened in our own walk. Grateful that the warmth of His embrace never fades away. xo

  5. Cole // Cole Smith Writes on January 16, 2018 at 6:34 AM

    Natalie, I remember one of your poignant previous posts and am so happy this is a better season. And how ’bout Annapolis? So beautiful! (But how do you drive on those historic side streets…seriously. Looking for tips, ha!) I’ll bet that Isaiah study is so interesting!

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