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A year ago, I found myself at a major crossroads in my faith journey.  I began to seriously entertain life questions that I had been grappling with for years.  Why wasn’t the promise of abundant living found in the Bible a living reality to me?  Was it Biblically correct to embrace faith-filled suffering?  If so, could my suffering prove to be God’s “BLUEPRINT” for me to develop a deeper sense of felt joy?  Is redemption revealed through suffering?

Revelation of God’s Goodness

Captivated by the very possibility that God could bring about a depth of joy through my suffering, I began to feel comforted.  A newly discovered sense of HOPE was taking root in my heart.  Gradually, my human will was being postured to “KNOWING” what Father God had in store for my life.  Never once did I fathom that my decision to fully surrender my will to His blueprint, could lead to a revelation of the Goodness of God! 

Hoping Without Knowing

I began my intentional journey of not knowing, but hoping, by yielding my control to understand.  I practiced being gracious to myself as the process of surrender beckoned me to come closer to God.  I realized that the questions I had grappled with for so long; were actually the very longings of my soul hungering to know God as my Father.  God wants me to know Him through and through.  He is deeply concerned for me and cares immeasurably for me.  His commitment to conform me into the very likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29) is the very cry of His heart.  Knowing this leads me to the very reservoir of God’s goodness and mercy towards me.

Gaining Victory

Redemption was revealed to me when I surrendered to the unknown destination of faith my major life experiences of journeying through and gaining victory over many years of manic depression and trichotillomania (an impulse control disorder characterized by compulsive hair-pulling).  It is a true reflection of the very real and felt presence of Father God’s manifested goodness towards a once deeply broken, in spirit, me.  His goodness graces me with deep love, compassion, and empathy towards countless victims of painful childhoods.  It goes beyond my sake and comfort in life and allows me to reach others.  Through my journey God helps me to  give a voice to the voiceless victim, who longs to be released from the deep fear of exposure and rejection.

Running the Race of Life

Father God’s goodness galvanized my understanding of what it means to be His beloved daughter.  It frees me of my own limited human comprehension of a father’s love shown to his biological daughter.  God’s goodness teaches me the inward truth that I too, with all my human frailties, am forever dependent on the gift of free-flowing Grace of His heart. It is available to assist me when I fall short of drawing life and courage from being in His Presence.  As I embrace that Grace, I am, in part, mastering His art of defining the joy that was set before Him, in the aftermath of His death on the Cross, for you and I.  In joy and in suffering, I can now run the race of life with confidence.  “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV).  

Celebrating the Journey

With great expectancy in my “faith journey,” I no longer view my life as a moment by moment sorting through of painful memories, dead promises, and endless looping questions. I am on an infinite symbolic journey on Highway Psalm 27, always keeping my mind’s eye on Exit v.13. This way, despite every road I have traveled down, I can now celebrate my life journey, and travel free of the cares of this life. With a full heart I say: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13 NIV). 

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Maryann L. Hayles is the Co-founder and Managing Partner, Inner Healing for The Center for Emotional and Spiritual Development - Website is www.emotionalspiritualcenter.org. Email address is mhayles@emotionalspiritualcenter.org.  She oversees the Emotional and Spiritual Health segment for Christ Church Women's Ministry.  Maryann is a passionate follower of the lover of her soul - Jesus Christ and delights in seeing broken people healed, restored and fulfill their God-given destiny. She is the proud wife, of 11 years, to Rupert A. Hayles, Jr.

photo credit: paul bica via photopincc

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