We all have them – situations that happened to us that could have easily made us bitter against God and others. We wonder why God has allowed it into our lives, and then we make a choice. We’re going to become bitter about it, or we’re going to let God use it to make us better. Maybe it’s not in your past. Maybe it’s your present – you’re going through it right now! We’re all different. God has allowed different trials into each of our lives, and they serve a purpose. We need to learn to allow them they make us better, which in turn will bring glory and honor to God.
"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;" - Philippians 1:12
For quite some time now I’ve been contemplating/praying about sharing my story with you. I've been trying to decide if it's too personal, and do I really want everyone to know? But, there have been so many times I've been encouraged and blessed by others sharing their testimony, and I felt it was time to share mine. You might already know about it, but there’s still quite a few of you who don’t. My purpose in this is not to make anyone feel sorry for me, but rather to encourage you and say, “Look at what God did in my life! This trial wasn’t fun, it wasn’t comfortable, but it changed my life!”
"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." - 2 Corinthians 1:4
If you asked me what I wanted to do when I ‘grew up’, my answer would be (and still is) to get married and have a family. It’s been a dream of mine. Seven years ago, that dream almost became a reality.
We had known each other most of our lives, but because of our age difference we never spent any time with each other. That all changed the summer I graduated high school. We started hanging out more and getting to know each other. That fall he moved for a ministry opportunity, but not without asking my dad’s permission to get to know me better. We were officially a couple. Over the next several months our relationship grew and before I knew it he came home for a surprise visit, I went back with him to visit his new home, and we became engaged! I quickly became busy planning a July wedding, but then things started changing. He moved back home, the wedding was postponed, and he was different. Several months went by and we weren’t any closer to setting a new wedding date and I was beginning to feel like something was wrong. When he was younger he had gotten into trouble with drugs and alcohol, but had gotten victory over it. Was his past starting to show up again? I certainly had my suspicions, but I couldn’t accuse without evidence. So I started praying – asking the Lord that if something was going on to bring it out into the light. About a week later I was waiting for him to come over and he called. Instead of saying he was running late and would be there soon, he began to tell me that he had gone back to his old lifestyle. I felt like my heart had been ripped out. The following day he came over to sit down with my parents and I, where we called off the engagement but also told him we still loved him and offered our support for him to get his life back on track. We continued to stay in communication for a little while as I was hoping he would get some help, but I soon felt the Lord’s leading to cut ties with him. If he was going to get help, it needed to be for himself and the Lord and not for anyone else. That was the last time I talked to him.
For the next year I struggled. I cried…A LOT. It was a really low point in my life. But it was in my weakness Christ's strength was magnified. He became my rock. I had a lot of spiritual struggles during this time, but I knew that Christ was the answer and I had to keep going back to Him. Little by little, day by day, I was getting stronger. Christ was changing me.
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
I often say that it was about a year before I got back to the normal me, but in reality I never did. I came out of that storm a new person. I was stronger in my faith and had a new zeal for serving the Lord. Something that might not have happened if it wasn't for this time in my life. So you see, even though I would never wish this on anyone, I can honestly say I'm thankful for it, because it was for my good and for His glory!
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28
"Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God's greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by." - Charles Spurgeon