Refine Me

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)

Do you ever pray dangerous prayers? You know, telling God you will accept whatever He allows into your life, no matter what the cost? Do you ever say them through clenched teeth while trying to remain relaxed?

That’s how I’ve had to pray those prayers lately. They are at the deepest level of my heart’s cry to God, but at different times of my life they’re more difficult to utter.

I often look at my life as “before” and “after”. I think many people do, especially when they’ve gone through a major medical diagnosis. It’s life “before the diagnosis” or “after the diagnosis”. It could be “before the heart attack” or “after the heart attack”. They are life-changing events that have altered your life and maybe even you, as a person.

I actually have two before and afters. One was the day our son was diagnosed with cancer and the other was the day he died, three months later. I divide my life into “before Alex” and “after Alex” …meaning “before my life turned upside down” and “after the greatest loss of my life”. They just both happen to include our son’s life.

When Alex was life-flighted to the Children’s Hospital and while he was being treated, my faith (and I dare say my husband’s faith) was the strongest it had ever been. I had no doubt Jesus existed…He was so present in our daily circumstances. I remember clinging to His Word with all of my might…as if He was talking to us (which He was). Our marriage was the strongest it had been to that date…eight years in. Besides the fact of actually losing our son, ironically, we were at the best place in our lives. We knew what truly mattered to us. It was the most honest, truthful, gut-wrenchingly real, and mostly peaceful time of our lives. During that time, as much as I had prayed for God to heal Alex on earth, I really just wanted God to use us…to refine us…to help us grow however He saw fit. I trusted Him with everything I had to give. Even my second born son.

Fast forward quite a few years. My faith is still strong. My trust in God is there (mostly-more on that later). I acknowledge Him as my Lord and Savior. I long to see Him face-to-face. But somehow over the years, those dangerous prayers have become harder to say.

I now know what it’s like to live without a major piece of my heart.

I now know what it’s like to bury my mother.

I now know what it’s like to watch my husband lose his hero.

I now know what it’s like when families can be torn into pieces.

I now know the grief of watching your child grow up, mature, and move on with his life (which I did NOT expect to be so difficult!), not needing you everyday anymore.

I now know so much more hurt than I ever thought I would.

I thought I had met my pain quota until I realized there isn’t one. Just because one of our boys had cancer and died, didn’t mean God wouldn’t allow other health crises to come into our other sons’ lives…because He did. More than once. I believe it was part of His refining process with me.

He knows what I want control over the most: my children. He knows what I struggle with and He continues to show me that I need to hand them over to Him. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes many times a day. This is where He continues to refine me, mold me, and make me into who He wants me to be.

If He wants me to offer them up as my sacrifice, then I need to do it. If He calls me to surrender (which He does), then I need to continue doing it. I know the process isn’t always easy. It can be downright heartbreaking, as it was when I offered Him Alex. The end result though…the result of having your layers peeled away one after another…getting down to the depths of who you are in Christ? It’s so worth it. I promise you. Despite the sometimes painful process, being at the end of yourself…where all you see is Jesus….is worth it.

Dear Jesus, I want to be refined by you. I want You in the innermost places of my heart, cleaning out the areas I’ve tried to hide from You. I want You, Jesus. I want more of You and less of me. I want you to test the genuineness of my faith. I want You to mold me into who You want me to be…no matter what it takes. I want You to be able to look at me and see Your reflection. I know it might hurt, as it has in the past, but give me strength to survive it. Give me Your strength, comfort, and peace, reminding me that this is the process it takes to become more like You. I’m offering it all to You now, Jesus. Meet me where I am…and take me where You want me to be. Help me trust You more and more, as I have before. I want my life to honor You and bring You glory…revealing only You. In Your Precious and Holy Name, I pray, Amen.

If music speaks to you like it does to me, here’s a beautiful song to listen to as you ask Him to use your life. It’s called “Refiner” by Maverick City Music. (Obviously…I own no rights to this song or video.)










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