Last summer I received a message from a dear friend of mine asking if I’d be willing to come speak at their women’s retreat. It was to be held this past weekend and I truly struggled with my decision. While I love to write, I am not nearly as comfortable speaking. However, I’ve also learned that God is served best by me forgetting myself and being willing to say yes. So I said I would come.
When they assigned me the topic of “Joy Amidst Trials”, I immediately asked myself, “Well…but what do I know about that?” I’ve never been like the Godly couple I know who lost two sons in an airplane accident, or like my childhood friend whose six-year-old boy has cancer. I’ve never had an unfaithful husband or a child that leaves home without looking back.
My trials have been small ones compared to these, yet they are unique to my life and they are the ones God has chosen for me.
How I choose to react to these trials – whether small or gigantic – affects everything in my life.
Should we choose to react negatively, it can change a heart of gold to a heart of bitterness, break up marriages, and it even has the potential to turn others away from following Christ.
So how can we come through trials with a heart of joy?
Last September, I was struggling deeply with the due date of our baby that had died due to miscarriage the previous February. And at the same time I was trying to study this topic. It felt as though Satan was hounding me with doubts and fears.
At one point, it so overwhelmed me that I remember crying out to a friend, “How can I go teach this if I can’t even live it?”
Her reply surprised me, “Maybe that’s who they need to hear it from.”
Several weeks later, I was contacted again that the women’s retreat was cancelled due to some conflicts and I would not be going. So my notes got stuffed in my drawer, but they’ve never been far from my thoughts. Nagging me, that maybe I should get them out again.
So while I do not have all the answers, I am willing to share some of the things I jotted down which have helped me cope through multiple miscarriages, Lowell’s near-fatal accident and recovery, tighter finances than we’d ever experienced, and other trials God has seen fit to put me through.
This will be done as a little mini series with the our next one being on this question: what is joy and is it possible to have it in the middle of a heart-wrenching trial? Maybe together, we can learn this thing called “Joy Amidst Trials.”