My husband and I have just gone through an incredibly difficult trial. We faced losing our security and possibly our home. I know that many of you have faced similar trials; The kind of thing where your stomach is in knots constantly and you have to will your body to continue on. I can hear you thinking, “Been there, done that!”
It is not as if we haven’t faced incredible challenges before. A few years ago our teenage son ran away from home. Following that, our daughter had to have brain surgery. Oh, and then our eight year-old was diagnosed with Asperger’s (a mild form of autism). Yeah, it happens and each time, in the end, things turned out alright. We dealt, cope and adjusted. God was faithful through it all.
This was different though. We were weary from about five years of difficult things and we barely had the strength to go through something else. We felt sad, exhausted, and angry that this was happening. Our anger was at God and doubt that He would pull us through crept into our thoughts.
This situation was an exercise in trust. We had to put our trust in the Lord even though things may turn out badly. As our children watched us struggle with this, I pray that we were able to teach them how to trust.
1. We looked at past experiences. When our son left home, we could not imagine that things would ever be all right again. Now five years later, he has his life together, graduated from college with a degree in music and is a vital part of our family. He has grown from his mistakes and we have from ours. He is stronger as a person and stronger in his faith, and yet, if you had asked me five years ago why we were all suffering so, I could not have told you. In retrospect, those trials were necessary to bring us to where we are now.
2. We consoled ourselves with the understanding that God’s plans don’t always look like we want them to. When our daughter had to face brain surgery (focused on the top of her spine), we knew there was a chance she could lose some functioning, not be able to play sports or even become paralyzed. Along the way, we understood that if God closed those doors to her, it would be to help her focus on something else He needed her to do. As it was, she grew enormously as a person through her surgery and recovery. She learned to value life even more and has become a strong pro-life advocate. This may have been the Lord’s plan all along.
3. Bad things can still happen and we must accept that. Some people have a strong peace even if difficult times, not me. I had to find acceptance. It is a wonderful thing, it helps us to not dwell on all the bad, but move forward to control the things we can.
4. We recognized fear as a tool of evil. As the struggles grew harder we came to see that we could not control our circumstances, but we could control our reaction to it. When I became afraid I would say, “Get thee behind me, Satan. God has a plan and I will not give in to fear.”
Our trust was well-placed and our situation stabilized. We will be okay, but who knows what the future will hold. As I said to my husband the other night, “Hold my hand, close your eyes…. We’ll trust the Lord and LEAP!”