Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to Deal with Life's Trials

One of my favorite songs by Ginny Owens is "If You Want Me To" because she wrote about how God doesn't promise an easy life, but He does promise to be there with us as we "go through the valley." Recently, I went through a life altering event and when I heard this song pop up on my play list today I was again praising God for being there with me as I experienced it.

I've had this incredible response from people who have read my story and were encouraged by God's faithfulness and could then see Him in their own story. With that said, I wanted to share how life's trials can strengthen you, your relationship with your family and friends, and most importantly with God. He is, after all, in control of it all, even the calamities. Answering the "why?" question will not always happen, because God's plan for our lives is beyond our own understanding, but it does help put things into perspective and glorify a God who is worthy of praise and we know we can trust HIM FULLY because He is unchanging!

If you read the story of Job, or read about King David's life, or the Israelites enslaved by the Egyptians, or any number of books and stories in the Bible you will find that through trials in life 1. God was glorified. 2. God is in control. 3. God was there with them. etc. etc. Notice how none of this revolves around us? The Bible is GOD CENTERED. So if these people of the past endured trials of various kinds with God shouldn't we do the same? Instead of cursing Him, or dwelling on the "why?" shouldn't we lean on HIM? He is stronger than we will ever be... ever.

How do you do that? Well, this is how I did it..
  • Pray - The Psalms are an excellent example of how to do this. I relied on Psalm 143:8 after my experience and during my recovery:
    "Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."
  • Worship Him through Song - The song by Ginny Owens is a perfect example of this. Even though I've had this song memorized since high school, listening to it again today blew me away. Which is why I was inspired to write this blog entry in the first place!
    "The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear.
    And I don't know the reason why you brought me here.
    But just because you love me the way that you do,
    I'm gonna walk through the valley, if you want me to.
    Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step,
    and I'm clinging to the promise you're not through with me yet.
    So with all of these trials bring me closer to you
    and I will go through the fire if you want me too.
    It may not be the way I would've chosen,
    when you lead me through a world that's not my home.
    But you never said it would be easy.
    You only said I'll never leave you alone.
    So when the whole word turns against me
    and I'm all by myself
    and I can't hear you answer my cries for help.
    I'll remember the suffering your love put you through
    and I will go through the valley if you want me to."
  • Read His Word - We were asked if we wanted "assistance" of the counseling kind while we were still in the hospital. They had counselors in place for those who experience emergency situations like our own, or who go through postpartum depression. Don't get me wrong, those counselors have their place, but my response was this, "No thank you, I have the Bible for that!" The Bible is the only true source of truth we have in this world! Where else would I find answers to life's burning questions? God's knowledge far surpasses my own and He put the Bible here for us to read so we could gain SOME of His wisdom. So when I'm down, it's honestly one of the first places I want to go. If you read my blog about God's sovereignty you'll find how reading my Bible changed for me after my postpartum hemorrhaging experience. We almost lost our daughter - with every contraction her heart rate would drop dramatically - and afterwards I found myself obsessively checking on her. How did I deal with that? Through prayer and God's word. I knew I needed to trust HIM, he's in control anyway! When Paul was writing to the church in Rome, who was being persecuted by one of the worst Christian haters in history - Nero, a Roman Emperor, there's one verse I absolutely love and serves as a great reminder that no matter what life throws at us we cannot be seperated from the love of Jesus Christ,
    "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39
  • Let Others Help You - God blessed me with amazing friends and family. Through this entire process I've learned that I have quite the support group!  My family bought us a new bed, our church family provided us with meals, more people than I can possibly count have offered prayers, flowers, chocolate, phone calls, messages of support, you name it, we got it. I'm so thankful for all of it and I know there will be a time when God will ask me to "pay it forward...." So take advantage. God put these people in your life for a reason. Call them, ask them for help, don't try to be strong by yourself. If you need help, the people who love you will gladly give it.
  • Talk about it. Write about it. Get it out! - I found that talking about what happened with my family and especially with my husband helped me understand each event and see God at work through it all. It amazed me, when Kyle would mention something that happened, I would say, "Isn't it amazing how God worked that out?!" I also wrote about it here because writing is like therapy for me. Keeping it bottled up and brooding over it is not healthy. When you're ready, go to those people who God blessed you with, and talk about it. It's like a weight lifted off your shoulders; that's how I felt anyway.

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