As we’re heading into Fall, Jamie and I have kicked into full “Mantour Conference” preparation mode. One of this year’s jobs is updating the playlist for the background music that plays at the conference. Yeah, it was time to put away the DC Talk and Petra and check out some new music. We took a poll on social media asking for suggestions and started listening.
On our search for new tunes, Jamie came across a song by the Newsboys and said, “‘Des, listen to this. What do you think?”
As I listened, it pierced my heart because I could identify with EVERY SINGLE WORD.
It was like they’d lived my 2021—they saw inside of my thoughts when I was searching the deepest caverns of my soul.
You see, 2021 has been a tough year for our family. In addition to the crazy things happening all around the world, our little world changed this year.
Medical crisis. Financial difficulties. Unexpected life changes all brought me to the place over the summer where I had to ask myself some of the questions they asked in this song.
“Who will I be when trouble comes calling for me?”
“Will I live the way I believe when I’m backed up against the wall?”
“What kind of heart do I have in my chest? Does it beat for my Savior or just for my flesh?”
“What will I do in the moment when everything falls?”
Long story short: In 2021, God has been leading us through a challenging and difficult time. He allowed some things to happen that I didn’t choose. I don’t like it. And there are times when it frightens me to the very core of my being.
Along the way, I’ve faced a choice: continue following God through on this hard road or step out of God’s will and try to fix things on my own.
There wasn’t a third option: God’s will for my life right now is hard. Will I submit or find my own path? This was the choice I had to make.
“What kind of person did I want to be?”
“Was I committed to You or committed to me?”
“What will I do in the moment when everything falls?”
Late at night, in the quiet moments of the morning, through lots of prayer and too many tears, a decision had to be made. Was I in or out? Did I really mean I’d follow Jesus through anything or anything but this?
Why am I sharing all of this? Well, it certainly isn’t to make myself look good because it doesn’t. Instead, I’m sharing it because I know I’m not alone. I know there are many today who are walking through real struggles. You love Jesus, you want to follow Him…but you never expected things would be this hard. You didn’t expect to face this struggle. You want to be a person of faith, but you never imagined God would ask you to trust Him for THIS.
I get it. I know how you feel. The specifics of our circumstances or situations may be different, but the feelings and questions remain the same.
Although many people want to throw easy answers and simple solutions to your problem, deep inside, you know there’s only one choice to make: Are you going to follow Jesus through the waters or walk away and try to find dry ground?
Today, I want to encourage you to make the choice that I’ve made: Stand.
Keep following Jesus.
Keep trusting God.
Keep being faithful to God’s Word.
Live it. Obey it and trust that even when it’s hard, even when it doesn’t make sense, even when you have no promise or guarantee that God is going to do a miracle and change your circumstances, you will keep following Him.
I guess the reason this song hit me so hard is because it was the real-time, real-life choice that I’ve had to make again. I will stand.
I’m going to stand in a world that’s breakin’
Stand for a truth unchangin’
I’m not ashamed I’ve considered the cost
I’ll stand right here at the foot of the cross
I love those last two lines: I’ve considered the cost, and I’m standing here at the foot of the cross.
Seriously, near the end of an extremely difficult year, this song is my anthem!
Yes, it’s been hard. It’s been more unbelievably difficult than I ever imagined it would be when God gave me the word “strong” going into 2021. (I don’t even want a ‘word of the year’ for 2022!)
But through it all, I’ve made my decision.
This is where I stand, and this is who I am.
To quote a few older songs (because I really love them best),
“I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back,” and
“Through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God….I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.”
Am I still living in a difficult circumstance?
Do I expect it to change?
But here’s what also hasn’t changed: my resolve.
I will do whatever it takes to follow Jesus. As this 2022 Mantour theme says, “I am ride or die for Jesus.”
No matter what, I am determined to follow Jesus, submit to God’s will, and dedicate all of my life to living for Him.
Today, if you are going through a difficult time, I have two challenges for you.
First, listen to this new song by the Newsboys. Listen with your heart and let it inspire you to accept the more important challenge to resolve inside of yourself that NO MATTER WHAT, you will be faithful to God, to His Word, and following His will for your life.
Even when it’s hard.
Even when His path for your life isn’t one you would have chosen.
Even with it’s hard to trust and fear sets in and reminds you, “You could do a better job directing your life than God does.”
Remember: that was the same line the enemy spoke to Eve in the Garden. It’s been leading people into trouble ever since.
Choose that you will reject it.
Dare to be brave and follow Jesus.
Dare to trust God.
Spend some time searching your heart, asking the tough questions, and then decide that no matter what, you are committed to following Jesus.
You won’t give up
You won’t give in
Even if it takes all that I am
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.