Faith, Perspective

When Faith Doesn’t Solve Everything

Lilacs not quite opened up yet . . . symbolic of how we are before we begin to believe in Jesus

Guest Blogger: Beth Vogt

***For the first three weeks in May, I want to introduce you to three author friends. They have books that have just released, and each of them has wisdom they’ll share in their posts that guided their stories. I am including links to their books, should you want to learn more. And no, I’m not earning anything from sharing them. I just want you to get to know these authors. Enjoy!***

Some friendships are for a season, and some last a lifetime. Beth Vogt is a life-friend. We’ve walked many seasons together. She was the first person I shared with that God had given me a story. Instead of telling me to wait until my sons were older, she encouraged me to write it. And, she directed me to helpful resources to learn how to write a novel. She’s an encourager, a truth-speaker, an amazing author, and one of the most authentic people I know. I am so pleased to share her words here today. Please help me welcome Beth Vogt!

Last week’s winner of The Joy of Falling is: Anita Ojeda! Please contact me within the next week to receive your book.

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I was 21 years old when I embraced living by faith, instead of living by the familiar structure of my religious upbringing. 

I’m thankful my parents taught me to believe in God. But I’m even more grateful my then-future husband told me how important his faith was to him. I’ll admit that, at the time, I wondered why he talked so much about Jesus and the Bible. Both topics are a bit extreme for me—especially since we were on our second date.

Understanding that faith was more relationship than rituals altered my life. Hope began to seep into the parched corners of my soul and expanded who I thought I could be. 

A peony flower budding but not open

But this shift in my spiritual perspective also created problems for me, which was something I hadn’t expected. Wasn’t this life change a good thing? Something that would provide me peace? 

Instead, I found myself at odds with my family. My parents and siblings weren’t happy with my new-found faith or my choice to no longer attend the church I’d attended for years. Some friends didn’t understand, either. 

I was also uncomfortable around other believers – ones who knew all the right words to say, all the songs woven through church services, all the right behaviors at Bible study. 

Bible Study? I didn’t even own a Bible, much less know how to easily flip back and forth between different sections or how to quote various verses.

Why was something so good … something true and freeing … complicating my life? 

A peony flower just beginning to open

The words to that old hymn about once being lost, but now I’m found were all twisted up. Off key.

It was as if I’d been rescued, only to be left in unfamiliar territory, with no map and no flashlight.

I didn’t want to go back to who I was before. What I once believed. The question was, what would help me move forward?

I had to remember the catalyst for the change.

To remember my newfound faith was a relationship . . .  me, in a relationship with God. And while I wanted faith to be easy and for it to make my life easier too, I needed to accept that, just like every other relationship in my life, this one would take time and effort. 

I also needed to understand all relationships are complicated. I’d transferred some of my old ideas of God into our new relationship. I needed to let God, not other people, tell me who He was. I needed to let God tell me what He wanted from me, rather than looking for a bunch of “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it” rules.

A peony flower in full bloom

Most of all, I had to realize my newfound faith offered me grace when I struggled with not getting it right. Strength when I struggled with these problems . . . and the truth that it never guaranteed me I wouldn’t have problems in the future. 

I didn’t have to be perfect – I could just be me. Faith doesn’t solve everything – and sometimes it complicates things. But my relationship with God also helps me know Who to turn to when circumstances don’t go the way I plan, whether it be something as simple as not feeling included in a particular social setting to having to practice social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lilacs in full bloom

God is there for the small stuff and the big stuff. He doesn’t promise that knowing Him will solve everything in my life, but He does promise me that He’ll walk with me through every circumstance I ever face.

What about you? What was an adjustment you had to make when you began to believe in Jesus? What’s one thing you learned after you began to believe in Him?

Click to Tweet: I had to realize my newfound faith offered me grace when I struggled with not getting it right.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory, Anita Ojeda, and #RaRaLinkup

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers.

How can you choose what is right for you when your decision will break the heart of someone you love?

Having abandoned her childhood dream years ago, Johanna Thatcher knows what she wants from life. Discovering that her fiancé was cheating on her only convinces Johanna it’s best to maintain control and protect her heart.

Despite years of distance and friction, Johanna and her sisters, Jillian and Payton, have moved from a truce toward a fragile friendship. But then Johanna reveals she has the one thing Jillian wants most and may never have―and Johanna doesn’t want it. As Johanna wrestles with a choice that will change her life and her relationships with her sisters forever, the cracks in Jillian’s marriage and faith deepen. Through it all, the Thatcher sisters must decide once and for all what it means to be family.

Connect with Beth:

To purchase The Best We’ve Been, click here

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40 thoughts on “When Faith Doesn’t Solve Everything”

  1. I told him that I followed Christ
    and was a child of grace;
    when he laughed he got a right
    hook into his face.
    Should I not have hit the bloke?
    Should I have been, maybe, kind?
    Perhaps, but when the b****** spoke,
    something let go in my mind.
    I picked him up from off the floor,
    wiped blood from off his chin,
    and told him the newfound score:
    the Christian’s gonna win.
    I gave him this good parting tip:
    Jesus used a braided whip.

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    1. Andrew, my friend, how good to see you here, starting off the conversation as only you can. And yes, there is more than one way to respond to others. I’ve share heated words, but over the years, I’ve chosen the “be ready with an answer” path spoken of in 1 Peter 3:15.

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  2. Thank you, Beth, for sharing your story–and I also can remember the point in life at which I realized that faith was not going to solve everything and pave the path to a flawless life.
    It’s a lesson I return to whenever the wheels come off, so thanks for the refresher course today!

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    1. It’s so true, Michele, that we have to remember, again and again, that faith doesn’t pave the path to a flawless life. (Love how you worded that.)

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  3. Such a good post. “I had to realize my newfound faith offered me grace when I struggled with not getting it right.” We may not get it right all the time, and I am so grateful His grace is offered to me, time and time again. He’s there in the struggle and by His grace, He grows our faith. Amazing journey we get to have with Him!

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    1. Joanne: One of the amazing things about our faith journey is his faithfulness to us. All the time. Every day. No matter our responses. His love for us is unconditional, even though sometimes we add conditions.

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  4. I didn’t grow up religious. Quite the opposite. But when I accepted Jesus and began to live like it because knowing him changed my worldview, I lost my friends. It turns out a life of faith is also a good filter, and anyway, I made new friends. Friends full of love.
    Thanks for sharing. I was thinking it strange that I don’t hear these stories much anymore. But then again, we’re all quarantined so…

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    1. Dalyn, one of the things I’ve enjoyed as an author is re-examining my own story. All of it — the beginning, middle … and where I’m headed. The parts I’ve loved and the parts I’ve wanted to forget. And then I weave it into my fiction. Yes, even how faith doesn’t solve everything. That’s woven into my Thatcher Sisters Series. Who knows what will come in my next book?

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  5. We have faith, but our journey doesn’t end there. We are called to share that faith and to show God’s love to others. Relying on self was my “go to” before I learned to rely on God. There is comfort in relying on Him.

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    1. MIMIONLIFE: My go-to phrase used to be, “Just give me a minute and I’ll figure out how to fix this” — whatever “this” was. I’m so glad I finally figured out that wasn’t my role. Fixing things wasn’t my responsibility.

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  6. You must have a beautiful garden. Your flowers are amazing! And l couldn’t imagine not being able to walk with God through every peak and valley of life!

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    1. My husband and I take walks and I often photographs flowers along the way. My family did plant a hummingbird garden for me — a combined birthday and Mother’s Day gift. And the peonies? They are in my front yard.

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  7. Thank you dear Jeanne and Beth for this beautiful post. I enjoyed learning more about you two. Yes, I had to make some huge relationship adjustments after I trusted in Jesus in my early twenties. I’m grateful for the people who prayed for me to find my way to faith. And my oh my am I enjoying your latest book, dear Beth.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

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    1. Wendy, hello my friend. I always enjoying hearing about others’ faith journeys, wherever they may be. And thank you for those encouraging words about The Best We’ve Been.

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  8. Isn’t it wonderful that we do not have to perfect – or have it all figured out – in order to have a sweet, personal relationship with the Lord. And it just keeps getting sweeter! This was a post so many can relate to…thanks for sharing. I will pass it on!

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    1. Jennifer: Honestly, I tripped over the perfection trap at first, but realized I wouldn’t achieve it. It was such a source of frustration — and a mask, too, that I tried to hide behind.

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  9. “And while I wanted faith to be easy and for it to make my life easier too, I needed to accept that, just like every other relationship in my life, this one would take time and effort.” Your words that it can be complicated like all our other relationships resonated with me so much too, today! But He is never changing and faithful. And thankful for the changes He is making within me. Lovely post.

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    1. Lynn: I’m glad you were encouraged by the post. And understanding that God offers us a relationship, one where we grow closer to Him over time, makes such a difference.

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  10. I’m learning to trust and obey is still the only way to be happy in Jesus. Thanks for sharing, Jeanne and Beth. Many blessings to you!

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  11. I love your thoughts on faith as a relationship. Yes, relationships do evolve and grow. My faith today is not what it was when I was 20 or even 40. Thank goodness! God never changes, but we do. Jeanne and Beth, thank you for sharing your words with me this morning. Very encouraging!

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    1. Laurie: I’m thankful our relationship with God changes. And that we change. That our understanding of who He is, who we are, deepens.

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  12. Love this. We all have to make our own special relationship with God. It’s natural and real that way.

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  13. Thank you for sharing part of your hope-filled story, Beth. I could especially identify with not letting others tell us who God is. We grew up in a church that made us see God as always ready to cut us off into hell with His sword of judgment, but I’m so grateful God has rescued us from that way of thinking and taught us He is love and He is approachable. Your series on the Thatcher series sounds so interesting. I just discovered they’re in our library system. 🙂 This new one is on order. I figured I’d start with the first of the series, so I requested it. I’m so tickled that our library now contacts us and we can make an appointment to pick up books on hold outside under the eaves. 🙂 Love and blessings to both of you!

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    1. Trudy: I hope you enjoy meeting the Thatcher Sisters. I love how your library has adapted to the COVID-19 situation. We all have to learn to be flexible.

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    1. I’m so glad you were encouraged by Beth’s words! You’re so right. A relationship with God definitely takes time and effort, just like other relationships. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  14. It’s so easy to forget that relationships take time and investment–whether they’re with our spouse or with God. Without those two key elements, we don’t really have much.

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  15. Thank you, Jeanne for introducing us to your friend …
    Thank you, Beth, for making your story available to God to heal others. While God has allowed me to forgive the participants in my story, including myself, I struggle to tell it. It seems there is a pressing deep within my soul. BUT, I buck it. I struggle against it. My fighting often surfaces as cynicism. Old demons peak around the corner and lure me back into the valley that took me five decades to overcome. Thank you for reminding me that our stories as His. He is the Author and Perfecter. What a blessing to get to know you.

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    1. Heidi, I’m so glad you got to meet Beth. It seems like God allows us to tell our stories at different times. And perhaps, as He walks us further into healing, we’re able to share more deeply from our lives. Yes, our stories are His. Thank goodness the Lord is the author and not someone/something else!

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  16. Thank you Beth for sharing here today. I resonated with how you found your faith to be more than rituals when you found a relationship with God. My story is similar. Everything changed when I learned that God loves me for who I am and does not require rules and rituals.

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  17. Beth and Jeanne, I became a believer at a very young age, but it wasn’t until my mid 20s that I really started to understand that being a Christian was less about following all the rules and so much more about a relationship with a Person who saw me and knew me and loved me. What a difference that’s made in my life! I’m looking forward to reading the final book in the Thatcher Sisters series … 🙂

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  18. A life friend is a true gift, a rarity. Thank you for sharing yours with us, Jeanne.

    My friends are starting to depart for their heavenly home, one by one. I’m reminded to treasure the ones God has continued to grace me with here on this earth.

    Bless you both …

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  19. Beth, I enjoyed this honest and vulnerable post. Love how you knew to focus on your relationship with God, even complicated. This painted real imagery for me: The words to that old hymn about once being lost, but now I’m found were all twisted up. Off key.”

    While my mother took my twin sister and me to church when we were little, my dad was out of our lives. When he came back wanting to rekindle a relationship with us, he was an atheist, telling us at nine-years-old there wasn’t a God. So when I accepted Christ at sixteen, my sister too, I began to pray for my dad. It was hard to see with faith vision he would be found. And both us girls married ministers. Then, sixteen years later, my dad believed in God and accepted Christ. Ever since, I never give up praying for a family member.

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