Suffering is inevitable! It’s not a matter of “if” we will suffer, but “when”. As believers, how we handle these moments gives us the opportunity to portray God’s character and grace!
Our struggles don’t define who we are! What defines us is how we choose to respond, how we cope, how we gracefully love ourselves and those around us when all we want to do is crumble and fall!! So, how do we struggle well?
I personally, struggle, a lot.
Here’s what I’ve been struggling and battling with the most this year. The odds of our first IUI working were incredibly slim, BUT it did work and there’s a reason for that. Why did God plan for us to have a miscarriage and then two more failed IUI’s? I DO NOT KNOW! Why do people suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, cancer, a broken marriage, loss of a child, abuse? Why do people struggle with being a good parent, holding a good job, or just being a good human being? I DO NOT KNOW! What I do know, is that God is control. He DOES KNOW and that’s where my hope comes from! So in the meantime, I will lean on Him and believe that His perfect plan is falling into place for us.
After our miscarriage, I had several people say, “It probably would’ve been easier if it just hadn’t worked.” I honestly thought the same exact thing myself. We would’ve been spared so much heartache! I know and understand now that it is all part of God’s perfect plan. He knew it was going to happen long before I ever existed. We don’t get to write our story, God already has! I have never questioned my faith in God, but I would be lying if I said I have never questioned God’s plan. The past month or so, I have really tried to dig deeper into God’s Word for guidance, and I want to share some of the encouragement that I’ve found. This is my faith, this is part of my journey. (I will probably ramble, so please forgive me)
Posting my first blog post was a little scary, it made me anxious, and I felt super vulnerable! But man, I am so glad I did. I was overwhelmed with your response! Your messages, comments and texts were so empowering! Many of you shared very personal stories of your struggles and faith! We all may suffer in different ways, but many of the emotions we experience are the same!
When do we seek God the most? Always in times of suffering and need! God allows us to suffer because He wants us to seek Him! This was a wow moment for me this past week!! I know I’m guilty of seeking God the most when I’m hurting! Our struggles are part of our faith journey, God’s plan. There is SOOOO much unknown in this fertility process! As hard as it is, mentally, physically and emotionally, it has changed me in a big way!! It’s so hard not being able to see the big picture, the end result, but this is what develops our faith. In Hebrews 11:39-40 it says, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what they had been promised. God had planned something BETTER for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m praising Jesus that His ways are not my ways!! There’s no telling where we would be if our lives unfolded according to OUR plan!! Scary thought! God has an incredible plan in store for us, and it will all become clear in the end. The question is, will we be okay in the meantime? Will we be okay with the closed doors, missed opportunities, the heartache that we experience along the way? We are okay and will continue to be, because we are sheltered in the arms of God!
In Romans, Paul tells us to expect suffering here on earth and to even rejoice in it. God uses trials to produce perseverance, character and hope. He doesn’t waste our suffering! He uses it for our good if we simply let Him. We will suffer on earth, but that’s not the end of the story! Isaiah 53:11 “After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied…” One day, if you are a believer, we will live in a perfect place (Rev 21:1-4), but until then we can have peace knowing that our hope is found in Christ!
“Your story isn’t an autobiography either. Your story is a biography of wisdom and grace written by another. Every turn He writes into your story is right. Every twist of the plot is for the best. Every new character or unexpected event is a tool of His grace. Each new chapter advances his purpose. “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right.” Hosea 14:9 It is almost a gross understatement to say that God’s wars are better. How could it not be? He is infinite in wisdom and grace! (Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies)
I love what Zechariah 4:10 says! “Do not despise the small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Also, Philippians 1:6 “Being confident, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God is telling us to relax, He has it all under control!! He will not leave anything UNDONE!! He promises us that! It blows my mind that God’s incredible plan began before I was conceived! This whole fertility process may be the hardest struggle of our lives so far, but it’s not the first. I am witness to the fact that God works in mysterious ways and works everything out for His good! I can testify that His plan is perfect!!
God desires for us to lay all of burdens at His feet. 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I know it’s way easier said than done! I have to be brutally honest with you, this past weekend was SUPER hard and emotionally exhausting for me. I struggled!! I usually blame it on the hormones, because lets face it, mine are super jacked up!! There are times I feel like a stranger in my own body! Also, our appointment with my doctor this coming Friday is looming over my head. An appointment I prayed would never come, but is now here. We will be discussing IVF. There have been a couple of times this weekend when I got super offended by dumb comments people have made. Comments not even directly associated with what I’m going through, and I know they were not meant to be offensive. Everyone who knows me, knows this is not normal for me. I feel like it’s the devil attacking me, and trying to get me to “write my own story.” Well, the devil will not win, EVER!! I’m reminded in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Wow, such a comfort knowing that I don’t have to worry! There are soooo many verses I could share, but I know I’ve already gotten preachy!
I do want to leave you with this though…
When Nicholas and I moved off to be travel nurses, I hated it at first! I wanted to come home! It was super hard. I cried almost everyday for two months, but one day I decided I had to choose to be happy. I found an incredible amount of comfort in 1 Peter, and I will be revisiting it a lot throughout my blog I’m sure! The first chapter is my favorite, and I will be sharing that in my next post, but 1 Peter 3:14-15 is so appropriate for this post! It says, “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts, set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” It is my prayer that God speaks through me and uses me, that the hope I have found in Him is evident through my words and actions.
My sister shared a text from a friend who read my first post. I do not know this person and they do not know me, but we are sister’s in Christ. She said that she was encouraged by my hope and faith, and that it touched her heart. She felt filled with the Holy Spirit after reading. She has her own personal struggles, and I am praying and believing that she will be healed!
This is the EXACT reason I felt God was leading me to share! We all struggle. Most of you reading are believers. I feel like God desires for us to be transparent so that we can encourage and uplift one another! Your stories have really touched me! I encourage you to not bury your pain! There’s so many people who are experiencing the same emotions you are! We need to support one another!
If I had to go through all of this to witness to one person, to encourage one heart, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!!
I will share this verse a hundred times again because I believe it with my whole heart! Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in His time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” We can not even begin to fathom His plan!! For now, while we are watching our story (that He has written) unfold, we will enjoy the ride because He is parting waters and moving mountains that we don’t even see!! We are blessed, and I pray we are a blessing to all of you!
There are still days when I have no idea how to pray. He reminds me to “be still”, and I just pray that His will be done. God knows our hearts. He knows our needs. He will provide. It may not be in our timing, but in the meantime, we patiently wait with hopeful hearts! “This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.” We have blessed assurance from our Heavenly Father! What else could we possibly need?
Friday is a big day for us! My heart and soul have been so restless, and I am overwhelmed, but I’m not scared!! I find my peace in Christ alone!! I ask that you specifically pray that God prepares our hearts and our minds, so that we really understand and grasp what’s ahead!! Pray that God would also prepare me physically for what my body is about to endure! Thankfully, I love my doctors, and I completely trust them to guide us in the right direction!
I know a lot of you, like me, find a lot of comfort in music! I came across Hilary Scott’s new worship cd last week, and all I can say is wow!! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I wish I could gift it to everyone!