a bloodied, beautiful faith

a bloodied, beautiful faith

And to think, I almost didn’t publish the previous post. Why? Well, I was a bit weepy and pitiful while writing it, and I learned a long time ago that strong emotion isn’t always the best leader when it comes to reasoned thinking. In this case, I think, perhaps, strong emotion served my words well… dutifully came alongside to punctuate a reality with which most of us can resonate—

That growing, forward-moving faith is often accompanied by our struggles, our questions, and our confusion.

Some of you may not agree; some of you hold to the idea that strong faith never wrestles with fears and doubts. That faith leaves little wiggle room for any amount of compromise. That faith has no room for imperfection or disorder. If that’s you, then I’m mostly OK with your take on faith; that is, as long as you don’t force that kind of understanding on me. Why?

Because I have walked a different road than you. My faith is what it is, as strong as it is, because of years of rough terrain and dark nights of the soul when a battle for understanding was the only way for me to push through in order to take hold of higher understanding. Faith, for me, isn’t a neatly wrapped package that can be quickly assimilated into my way of doing life. Faith, for me, is a messy, beautiful gift from God, wrapped in the witness of a bloody, beautiful cross. The “wrestling” that took place at Calvary is proof-positive that pain is often attached to faith’s cultivation.

This doesn’t mean that we ask for pain, desire the worst of life’s struggles so that we might further deepen our faith. It simply means that we can embrace them as they come, because we know that with our testing comes the very real possibility that we will emerge from that season with fuller understanding, stronger convictions, and deeper belief. The fierce determination of our hearts to hear from God on the matter of our pain is a holy and righteous pressing through. And friends, whenever we hear from God on the matter of our anything, we are never closer to his heart than in those moments.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12).

Paul correctly identifies the struggle of our faith. It’s a fight—the Greek word Agonizomai meaning “to enter a contest; contend in gymnastic games; to contend with adversaries; fight; struggle with difficulties and dangers; to endeavor with strenuous zeal; strive; to obtain something.” 

This is the language of a willing agony… a desire to contend for something worth contending for… faith in God. A bowing to the struggle believing that a stronger faith will emerge because of it. A faith that all can be well with our souls in this moment and in the days to come. A faith that understands our beginnings originate and our endings culminate with Jesus—the Author and Perfector of all faith journeys (Hebrews 12:2). A faith that believes the struggles we’re currently working through are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Cor. 4:17).   

Faith is a life-long process, friends. If we were going to receive the fullness of our faith in the beginning days of our salvation, then there would be little room for further spiritual maturation. We’d simply hold it all and, more than likely be a know-it-all. And knowing it all isn’t in keeping with the tenets of Scripture. There is One and only One who exists on our side of eternity who knows it all, and I’m not him. Neither are you. Therefore, we concede our ignorance to God and say to him with all the passion and fervency of Mark 9:24:

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

That is the prayer of my heart in this season of struggle. That my faith, already well-anchored within the soil of my heart, would continue to grow and flourish in order to root out the weeds of faithlessness that still reside alongside. It’s the most honest petition of my heart right now, because I don’t want to get to the other side of this cancer journey with a fragmented faith. I want to get there with the bloodied, beautiful wounds of grace that have allowed me heaven’s understanding in regards to my suffering.

I willingly take this wounding because I believe in its merits. As I’ve written before and believe more firmly now than in my before, “cancer will not be my undoing; rather cancer will be the threshold of my emerging.” That threshold begins and ends at the feet of Jesus, and my emerging? Well, as it comes, I move from dimming darkness into the marvelous witness of his glorious light, bursting forth with the firmest faith allowed a fleshly frame.

Accordingly, here’s to the fight of faith, good pilgrims, and here’s to bowing and bleeding and willingly agonizing it through until it finishes me home, and I stand before my Jesus complete. And here’s to you, faith-filled or faith-lacking ones; may the truth of our Father’s witness—his love for you and his contending for you—be the underpinning of your quest for more faith today. Be not weary in your suffering, your struggles and your strains. Our Father understands, and at his feet, grace remains.

Always… grace remains.

Peace for the journey,

 post signature

PS: My final chemo is postponed until Wednesday of this week due to weather conditions. I appreciate your continuing prayers as I finish this portion of my journey and move onto the healing days ahead. Look for a video post to benchmark the “crossing over.” Shalom.

PS: My final chemo is postponed until Wednesday of this week due to weather conditions. I appreciate your continuing prayers as I finish this portion of my journey and move onto the healing days ahead. Look for a video post to benchmark the “crossing over.” Shalom.

38 Responses to a bloodied, beautiful faith

  1. All I can say is Amen. Not that I like the journey at times but knowing I can trust that nothing happens that isn't for my good and that doesn't pass through His hands first helps.

  2. Oh I'm so happy I get to be the first comment this time. I totally agree with your take on the nature of faith…I know it from my own experience. Just like we'd never know the thrill of the mountaintop if we'd never been in the valley, if we'd never had our faith stretched and tested fiercely would we ever begin to know the heights of love and depths of peace that God provides for the journey? Looking forward to the next video, and praying you through this week and the coming days of healing!

  3. This was beautiful. I love how you are sharing your heart through this journey, one step at a time.

    I agree. Faith isn't always easy. There are not always clear cut answers and i have traveled roads in my life that have been far from smooth, many times it has been hard to see and follow God's light. BUT I know by grace He is there through it all; the good, the bad and the ugly. So even when my head says "there is no way He is there when you are dealing with THIS" my heart still manages to say "Oh yes He is and He understands."

    Praying for you.

    I hate it for some reason my computer won't allow me to watch your videos lately.

  4. This is beautiful, and so true. My post today is on a similar topic, but nowhere near as beautifully said. The only way to become more like Him is to struggle your way there. I honestly believe it doesn't work any other way.

    Bless you my friend. Praying for Wednesday.

  5. Will be praying for you, beautiful one. Your words are a true witness to all of us. The heavy burdens some bare make the petty ones seem senseless. God is in control of it all. I pray for a quick recovery from these chemo treatments, and hope the next journey will be an easier one. Love to all.

  6. Again, I am right there with you on this. My faith journey has also been long and oh soo difficult at times and full of my weaknesses and human frailities. But without these hard times, and difficult seasons and valleys, how much less we would appreciate the mountain tops. He has been faithful ALWAYS irregardless of my emotional circumstances and how grateful I am. Praying as always, Debbie

  7. Elaine,
    You know my feelings on this. Thank you for validating them for me. Blessings! And Celebrate on Weds!!!! Thank you for so honestly sharing this journey with us.

  8. Oh yes, I agree. Our faith grows because of our struggles. So many of the giants of our faith prove it to be so. God esteems our growing faith in the midst of our struggles and doubts.

    Beautiful post, Elaine. Continuing to faithfully pray for you and your family.

  9. Elaine,
    I have been so out of touch and just read your last post. All I can say is "Wow!" Your soul may burn with refining fire and your flesh may feel weary and beaten, but your words sear with the power of the Holy Spirit. I have no words to add that can even do justice to yours.


    I'm praying for you, my friend, and hoping that your final chemo is celebrated with much fanfare!

    Love and prayers,

  10. I'm right there with you…having faith, but praying for more faith. It is quite a journey, this life we are on, isn't it? Thanks be to Jesus that He is with us, holding our hand and leading us forward. I am praising God that as I seek to know Him more, He graciously draws me closer…ever learning and maturing in my faith. My prayers continue to be with you, Elaine.

    Living for Him, Joan

  11. me too!!… AMEN from this corner!
    I don't think I've ever learned a deep lesson about God on the top of the mountain, except JOY to be there! The depths of faith come in the strugles and trials, when we see with our own eyes that He is already there, stays with us, and leads us through… faithfully and fully.

    This one deserves a second AMEN Elaine!!

    Your 'other side' is coming, and with what we have heard from you on THIS side and IN THE MIDST of… I can only imagine what the other side will be! 🙂

    Love you!

  12. What a wonderful and passionate description of faith Elaine… Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    When people endure situations such as yours, they either gravitate towards their faith, or revolt against it. You, Dear Lady, are what I consider a Faith Warrior and I never questioned that you'd earn your Purple Heart.

    I love your statement "I want to get there with the bloodied, beautiful wounds of grace that have allowed me heaven’s understanding in regards to my suffering."

    A very poignant perspective. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

    Have a Blessed Day.

  13. I am always glad to get a glimpse of your honest heart–broken and lifted up in love. Transformation is a beautiful thing to watch. And you were gorgeous before cancer! But witnessing how you are letting God shape you through this, Faith Elaine, is breathtakingly beautiful. Just like you.Praying for WEdnesday. And every day after.

  14. One day we will be astounded and amazed at the benefit we will receive from this neck of our journey. When I am feeling as if these times will never end….I remember that what I am willing to go through now will benefit those who will touch my life.
    And like the disciples….I pray that we will remember the honor of being "beaten down" for His names sake.
    Your heart and testimony are already bringing great glory to His name. He looks beautiful in you girl. 🙂

  15. Always, grace remains! Praising GOD for your beautiful witness. May His healing touch be ever so strong on your whole body, even as your faith is perfected.

  16. All I have to do is look back over the Biblical giants, then scan the many historical role models, as well as people in my own life that I consider godly powerhouses to know that no one – nada, zilch, zip – escapes the searing pain of sanctification. I'm probably way out of line here, but I'm guessing if they have, they're in denial. I've known plenty of folks that believe "stuffing" their feelings is the same thing as faith. Sad.

    Love you girl. Preach it!


  17. What a beautiful picture of you. You actually look like the picture of health smiling up, conspicuously hiding the missing glory on your head. Radiant! Victorious.

    I love that you call your last treatment coming Wednesday the crossing over. I likened Mike's chemo treatments to the taking of the cities in the promised land by Israel, finally, beginning with Jericho. With each treatment, crazy things Israel was to do worked in God's hands to reclaim real estate for God. In our case, it was poison in Mike's body.

    So happy for you as your chemo journey comes to a close and healing begins. Your promised land lies just on the other side.

    Rest and blessings to you.

  18. For me, I believe faith is the ability to keep pressing on and pressing through every moment of our lives, especially the agonizing, painful, frustrating times…pressing on through the fear, putting one foot in front of the other, moving closer to God with every step in the journey.

    I may stumble and fall from time to time, but as long as I keep moving closer to God and seeking Him in this journey of life, my faith will grow stronger.

    Great post, friend! I enjoyed talking with you this evening.

    Love you…

  19. Oh, I love that, Elaine — "at His feet, grace remains". How I need His grace every single day. How thankful I am for it. And oh how I agree, faith is a fight. So glad we don't have to do battle alone…

  20. Dawn, for the record, the picture of me was taken when I did my photo shoot for the book… I just like it so much, the way the light is reflected in my eyes. I purposefully cropped out my hair, as I don't have any in this season. This helped me see myself in a different "light."

  21. I just love the title of this post. It pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? I've always been a struggler in my faith. Yes, I have times when my heart sits sure and strong – but more often, I feel embattled by fears and worries and doubts. However, as you said, there is always grace – and I have never lost that quiet voice inside that whispers, "I AM HERE."

    I am so encouraged by your words – in the middle of your terrible struggle against cancer. YOU strengthen my faith – because in spite of your difficulties, you STAND.

    Thank you for your sharing, Elaine.


    (Will be praying for you on Wednesday)

  22. Great Post!! I, like Sharon, sometimes struggle with my faith…not that I don't believe, but I just allow situations to cloud it…does that make sense? Yet, deep down, I know that God is always there…always!

    Praying all goes well for you on Wednesday!


  23. Elaine,
    Thank you for your message on my Blog and for your uplifting post. Like you, I am a woman of huge faith. Even though I am devastated and heart broken, I know James' death is not about my losing him, but about my embracing & trusting in God.

    I have a small rock on my desk with Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding for He will make your path straight." I believe that just as I believe your struggle and my struggle, in some way, will bring strength to those who come after us.

    We're both so blessed to know not only God's love for us, but the wonderful men He sent into our lives, starting with His precious Son.

    I pray for your continued healing and that we come to know one another better.

    In Him,
    Brenda Coffee

  24. So thankful that you are sharing your heart with us…even in these dark hard days! Help my unbelief! My constant prayer!

  25. AMEN.

    Wondering if it has cleared enough down there weather-wise for your final treatment TODAY? I'll be praying for you & looking forward to the video.

  26. Think of you often and continue to lift you in prayer, Elaine!

    I rejoice and find great encouragement and comfort in the certainty that He loves us beyond measure and never stops leading us through and to the other side of difficult times and empowers us with His precious grace for the journey and grows us up in faith!

    So glad you're about finished with your chemo and look forward to your video.

    Hugs and Blessings!

  27. Oh sweet sister, keep fighting the good fight. Forward moving, ever deepening, holding firm that shield, yielding to Him through the questions of it all, knowing that above all….your faith is more precious than gold. How beautiful you are!

    Praying for you today as you come to the end of this part of the journey. Praying for you in the days to come as your body continues healing.

    Much love to you today and always,

  28. Thank you for the deep cup of faith this morning, Elaine.

    Faith is a living, growing entity, and I stand waiting for my next growth spurt.

    Praising God for what He's doing through yours.

    Praying as you round the last lap of your chemo marathon, that you feel His healing breeze against your face.

    Love you friend.

  29. I love your take on faith. It is so real and and one I know from times of wrestling through a season of rough terrain. I have had you in prayers my dear friend even thought I haven't made it here as often as I wanted.


  30. Elaine,

    Your post speaks to the growing of one's faith all the more out of the pains we endure and that endurance comes by His grace…

    "Always grace remains…" Amen to that Elaine!

    Praying for you as you continue this journey with the LORD's Hand on you. Praying for your upcoming final chemo as well…


    Blessings and peace!

  31. He contends for us and his grace always remains…and you are right-fighting for faith isn't always a pretty sight. But in the end we come forth as gold!

  32. "It simply means that we can embrace them as they come, because we know that with our testing comes the very real possibility that we will emerge from that season with fuller understanding, stronger convictions, and deeper belief."

    This is me. Never wanting to have NOT experienced a fuller understanding, stronger convictions, and deeper belief… and so having embraced that which has tried to be the end of me.

    Praying for you, precious one.

  33. I just want to say once again: I am thankful for as well as in awe of your truth in blogging. Thank you for this faithful chronicle of your struggles and our God's faithful provision. He is sufficent and He is good! Blessings to you, friend, as you persevere in the good fight!

  34. Let me just say that "strong emotion" & "reasoned thinking" don't even belong in the same mindset, much less sentence – LOL! You are beautiful, Elaine. You share your heart and your soul with us. I told a friend recently that I would share my body LONG before I ever trusted someone with my heart again. Doesn't say too much for me that I would do that, but it seemed to rock him to his foundation. We ALL carry hurts and doubts, dear friend. Jesus is the rock upon which we stand. Please read my post "My Well". I think you of all people will "get" what I was saying there. Much love ~ Merana

error: Content is protected !!