“Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.”
The Humiliating Incident:
I admit I felt humiliated. During lunch, at a writer’s conference, I sat across from an agent respected in the field of Christian publishing. My turn to pitch my book, I wrung my hands under the table.
“It’s a memoir,” I said.
Immediately, he rolled his eyes, sat back, and crossed his arms. Ignoring his reaction, I told him my story, ending with my own breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy.
He shrugged “Who cares?” he said.
My mouth dropped open. My only friend at the table reached for my hand and squeezed, encouraging me to engage. I leaned forward. “Anyone who’s had cancer will care.”
“All I’m saying is if we ask everyone in this room who has an amazing testimony, to stand, there won’t be anyone sitting. Christian Memoir doesn’t sell.” Then he went on to the next person, before explaining some of the amazing fictional books he’s sold to major publishers.
Wow! When the imagination of man becomes more profitable than a true story about God, we are in trouble as a church. I can’t help but wonder how God feels about that? I’d love to stop here and organize a protest, but that’s not the focus of my article today.
Later, after hearing his words “who cares?” more loudly in my ears than the instructors from the writing classes I took, I gave up, and crossed the wooden bridge that connected me to my hotel room. I felt defeated and humiliated, for sharing something so personal to not only this agent, but a table of mostly strangers. Furthermore, making it worse was all the sympathetic looks I received from around the table.
Maybe, I spent so much time writing something that wouldn’t matter after all. Was I wasting my time? I thought. My eyes teared. My breast throbbed. I needed the solace of my bed.
At that moment, the sun splattered light through the trees and comforted me in its warmth. I stopped my musings to thank God for providing the wooden bridge, that connected my hotel room standing on the back side of campus, to the rest of the buildings. I’d heard others talk of the days there was no bridge, a time when they lugged their rolling book bags up and down the steep steps only to fall into bed exhausted and sore at the end of a conference day.
At the time, I felt physically weak—only four weeks after my double mastectomy surgery and still wearing my surgical bra. My doctor expressed her concern about me attending the conference, but seeing my determination, she prescribed me some pain meds and instructed me on what not to do, including lifting and climbing.
So, when the sun pooled over the wood planks, I felt gratitude for the bridge and expressed that to God. It was then, His still small voice invaded my thoughts…
“I will provide your bridge.”
Huh? I stopped walking while others passed me.
“Just as I provided this bridge, I will provide the bridge to publication. Don’t trust in man. Do the work; when it is ready, I’ll be the bridge.”
When I entered my room, I journaled His promise.
Previously, I’d met a woman at the conference, whose joy bubbled over. We stayed up late one night eating ice cream, and I shared my story with her. She smiled and injected “Hallelujah!” in all the glory parts.
On the last day of the conference, she rushed into the auditorium, thrust a paper in my hand and told me, “God gave me a Word last night for you.”
Now, I admit here, at the time I was a bit skeptical of people who said they’d received a Word—because if it’s about me, wouldn’t I receive it? I’ve since changed my mind but also sharpened my discernment.
I tucked her note into my purse before hugging her goodbye. On the plane veering south, I pulled it out.
In large cursive, scribbled fast across a frayed, spiral sheet, she’d written,
“Your memoir is a gift. God gave you this gift to share with the world and will touch many—especially women. God will provide the path to publication….”
When God gives you a Word, you can camp on it.
God gave me confirmation (through her), that what He impressed on my heart on the bridge that afternoon was a promise. A promise I needed to invest my time on.
Has God given you a promise that you’re starting to lose hope in?
With the world, “seeing is believing,” but with God, we believe so we can see.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
The Phases of Faith:
I may be wrong—I’m no theologian—but I believe faith has phases, and at any time in our lives we are in one.
1. The Mixing/ Kneading Phase
The first, being an elementary faith, is still dependent on feelings. The Father allows ingredients to come into our lives to bring our faith into fruition. We may lose a job, so He can prove He’s trustworthy. This ingredient grows our faith in God’s provision. The next financial scare we have, we’ll have more trust in Him.
We could have a health crisis that God heals us from, and as we maneuver life and face another health issue, we will be less reluctant to hand it off to the Father.
Being a fragile faith, it requires kneading by the Father’s hands, to shape our faith into a form that will allow it grow.
Complete transparency here, it’s apparent when looking at my life I’ve needed a lot of kneading. How about you?
2. The Resting Phase
The second phase is when God stops kneading and adding ingredients for a season. We’ve learned not to base our beliefs on how we feel about our circumstances. We are warmly blanketed in His grace. We rest in Him. This is when we use the faith we’ve gained to build others up. We desire to know God and spend time learning His Word. We are probably starting to understand that calling the Father has placed on our lives. We are learning His voice and growing in discernment.
3. The Firming Phase
The third phase of faith is when we are placed in the dark, hot oven. We now believe in God’s promises even when everything around us tells us not to. We walk in the Spirit and view the world outside our own flesh. The purpose of this phase is to test our hearts and perfect our faith.
It is a place that will determine if our faith rises and solidifies enough to nourish someone else, or if we fall and deflate—which will send us back to the mixing bowl. The most difficult place to be, in the Christian walk, is where God holds back in answering our prayers or providing immediate rescue to test our hearts.
Will we stray if things aren’t going our way?
“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Deuteronomy 8:2 (ESV)
Identifying a Strong Faith:
Have you ever met someone with a solid faith? In my experience their faith grew from tremendous hardships. It’s these Christians whose lives seems to exude joy, have a love for others and the Father, have peace, are grateful for the hard times as well as the easy, and exclaim His goodness no matter what their circumstances are. The hard baked exemplify the complete opposite behavior and attitude from what’s expected of the flesh. It’s miraculous and not explainable, but without all the kneading, resting, and baking by the Father, they wouldn’t have gained this ability to produce something nutritious. Frankly, that’s what we are called to do—nourish others. So, we must be prepared to do it.
Where Are You?
Have you identified where you are in your faith?
Or where you’d like to be?
If you feel as if you’re in a hot oven, remember…even if God seems silent, He’s in that dark place with you.
Speaking of Book:
Regarding my book I’m clinging to this promise right now.
“For you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35 (ESV)
Please note I’ve decided for a season to adjust my priorities by pouring my time and energy into getting my book completed. Due to this and the fact most of our writers are going through a difficult season right now, there may not be a weekly blog post for a few months. Once my book is finished, we will resume a more regular posting schedule. Thank you for understanding and hanging in there with us.
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House. She lives with her husband Jay and three of their four children in Orlando, Florida. When she’s not working on the blog, Tammy’s writing a memoir, painting canvases, or playing with her six-year-old daughter Bella, on a farm in the sticks of Georgia. If you’d like to contact Tammy directly feel free to reach her through the contact page.