I recently went to a church program and the theme was about fortifying your faith. I had not really thought about faith fortification much before but that theme resonated with me.
James chapter 1 verses 2-4 says Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Here are a few definitions listed for faith according to Merriam Webster. a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust.
Here’s what Merriam-Webster had to say about fortify.
Fortify- to strengthen (a place) by building military defenses (such as walls, trenches, etc.)
: To make (someone or something) stronger
: To make (yourself) feel stronger or less fearful
I was saved at an early age. If memory serves me correctly, I was about 8. I was then baptized with my grandmother. Learning about faith, hearing about faith, singing about faith, reading about faith, being a person of faith has been just about a part of my entire life. Growing up in a faith-filled home with faithful family, I was faith full. So I knew all about faith, how to have it, what it meant and what to do, or so I thought. I had lived most of my life with a “less than fortified” faith. I had faith but I also never had any major challenges to my faith.
That all changed in 2006. The year that my life changed forever. What happened next started the faith fortification process. Faith is good but faith tested and tried is the way to fortified faith.
We went into the year with excitement; we had purchased our first home! I was carrying our first child who was due to be born in March of that year. However, mid-January things started to go downhill. After months of trying to find the cause of her symptoms, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. I was her biggest cheerleader and did my best to make sure she had what she needed to conquer cancer. February rolled around and my friends and family gave me a baby shower one Saturday. By Monday evening, I noticed that the baby wasn’t moving as much as he usually did. After arriving at the hospital, we learned our baby had no heartbeat. He had died inside me. The doctor told me I would have to deliver the baby, and a day and half later I did, after almost 36 weeks of pregnancy. It was a truly complicated, complex and emotionally wrenching experience to say the least. I along with much of my family prayed and believed and had faith that our baby, little Walter Eron Collins, would be resurrected. Surely, if Jesus could do it for Lazarus, He could do it for us.
I began to heal physically before I did emotionally and my mother and I were trying to take care of each other with the help of family and friends. She was well into chemo now and the symptoms of her cancer along with the side effects of the chemotherapy were really weighing her down. Nevertheless, she continued to persevere and keep the faith. Spring turned to summer and summer to fall. We were making trips to the cancer center almost every day. Late October, mom was admitted to the hospital. She had started to decline and was very weak. Once again we claimed healing. We had been claiming it all along. We prayed without ceasing and had faith that God would heal her. She didn’t make it back home. That November she passed away at only 48 years old. We were devastated. I didn’t know if we’d make it through it all.
After all this my “less than fortified” faith was in the toilet. It was shattered. I felt like God had failed me again. I was so sad, angry, and hurt. I thought “God, you’ve already taken my baby, now you take my mom too.” I started to question everything I believed. I was so broken. I couldn’t believe the God I’d known and been exposed too would allow all this to happen. I’d seen miracles happen! I’d witnessed healing! But it didn’t happen where my mom and son were concerned. What was happening? I didn’t know then, what I realized later, that my faith was being fortified. My very foundation was shaken. I was angry with God but through it all I never left Him, though I felt like He’d left me.
This journey has been one of ups and downs and has been a significant challenge. I’ve had to daily defeat the attacks of the enemy as I continue to repair my faith walk while trying to be an example to others as well. God has been gracious to me on this journey and step by step my faith is being recovered, my faith is being fortified. I’m experiencing less and less doubt. I’m once again becoming more confident in the promises of God. I truly know what it means when people say “if He doesn’t do it, it wasn’t because He couldn’t…” I had to gird myself in the word. When the enemy would allow a negative thought to come in my mind, I had to counter it with a positive one, usually a scripture.
So now I’ve come to a point where I really know what faith is. I know what it means to have a faith walk. What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) The devil tried to take my confidence! The devil tried to encase me in doubt! The devil tried to counter all the teachings, hopes and word that had been given to me through the years! But God! God wouldn’t let it be!
This is the way you fortify your faith. Use your storm; don’t let the storm use you! Turn the test into a testimony! Stand on the promises of God no matter how dark the night. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. I know that pleasing God is the only way to get to heaven so I have to have faith. Faith must be nurtured. Faith must be fortified.
Thank You for faith and thank You for faith fortifying experiences that draw us closer to You and help us to know You more intimately. Thank You for doing what is best for me even when I don’t realize it or understand it. Help us to remain faithful to You no matter the circumstance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Faith-filled ladies, I EMPOWER you to see challenges and obstacles for what they are…opportunities to fortify or strengthen your faith. I EMPOWER you to keep your faith no matter how difficult the test or trial. I EMPOWER you to count it all joy! You will be victorious in the end! To God be the glory!
Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church in Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.