Have you ever had a time where you feel like you were being beaten over the head with a life lesson? That was me the last week or so, and I feel like I am still piecing it together. It has come at me from so many different places though, I felt like I had to share.
During Sunday service our visiting pastor was preaching on Hebrews 12:4-11.
In summary, he discussed that hardships in life could be for several reasons, but the two he talked about were: 1.) sin you have in your life 2.) discipline from God.
Basically, these verses talk about how parents who love their kids offer them discipline so they will grow up to be humans most of us could stand to be around, and God also disciplines us to make us more Christ-like. (Hmmmm)
Then this afternoon I read an article discussing a blog post by Maralee Bradley @ amusingmaralee.com.
She was discussing her struggle with infertility and it said “I wanted a story that would make perfect sense in hindsight. I would sit in my fertility time-out, learn my lesson, and then God would give me what I wanted-pregnancy and a baby. Everyone would see exactly why it happened the way it did.”
But she said she believes that the purpose of her struggle was “refining my character and conforming me to the image of Christ.”
She says she created an idol out of fertility. She measured her self worth by it believing it was her purpose in life.
This made me think about our house –not the Little House in the Hill. The house we refer to as The Country Club House AKA our dream home.
(Best living room EVER!)
For years I had been in search of this ideal home in my mind that I had made it an idol of sorts. I think it became a bench mark for me that once we found our house we had arrived. Arrived where? I’m not sure…but somewhere good.
A place of success and ultra happiness. It was a fixer upper of sorts, but it was an amazing home. Nine months after we moved in we were moving to another state.
It hurt…more than hurt. I knew then that it meant too much. God had plans for us, and I needed to follow with my whole heart. There was no room to leave a piece of me in a house on Country Club Drive.
Maralee Bradley went on to say that “discovering the answer, the cure, the comfort was Jesus.” Finally she reveals “If we’re conformed more to the image of Christ, all the suffering will be worthwhile.” Sounds familiar, huh? Kind of like Hebrews on Sunday!
That sent me further back to last week. We were talking in my women’s bible study about struggles and of course, Job was brought up. Can you talk about a struggle without mentioning Job?
For anyone not familiar, Job was a man in the Bible who was described as a perfect servant of God. He also had a pretty sweet life- richly blessed. Then one day he loses everything: his livestock are gone, his kids die, his wife walks out, and his body becomes covered in boils. That word just sounds gross…boils.
Anyway, of course he is devastated. But he doesn’t turn away from God.
His three friends come to comfort him but after about a week even they are asking him what did you do to cause the wrath of God to come down on you? You better repent!
But Job insists he didn’t do anything to deserve this.
He was right…he didn’t.
He remained faithful and God gives him 2 times the livestock back and more children and a very long life where he gets to see generations of his family.
So where am I going with this? I think sometimes we struggle to find a purpose in our suffering. Sometimes it might be revealed and sometimes (like Job) we may never know.
Maybe when Job entered Heaven, God explained to him the reason he had to suffer, but to our knowledge he never knew.
I never ask “why” when it comes to Afton’s struggles. Truly I don’t. I might feel a little twinge of jealousy when I see 3 year olds doing things she can’t or have a longing for her to be able to join in.
But if I ask “why me” then I have to be prepared to answer “then who“. Then who is more equip to be her mother? Who is more prepared to walk this road? Then who could love her more? Then who would fight harder?
I am the exact perfect person to be her mother, and I know that because God chose me.
Whatever struggle you are in, God chose you because you are the only one who can do it. He will help you and provide whatever provisions you need to make it through.
A funny thing happened to me. I went to attend a MOPS meeting (Mother’s of Preschoolers).
I had never been, but I am a very social person. I need friends and the last year with Afton has made it difficult for me to get out and meet people so I decided I had to go.
I am rarely uncomfortable in public situations. I walked into this meeting with Afton and something just hit me. You don’t belong here! How will you explain her odd behavior? When is the appropriate time to explain?
Things like that.
I was literally fighting back tears. This has never happened to me before. I considered leaving, but decided to stay.
Somewhere during the time I was filling out paperwork and trying not to cry, another mom joined my table.
We began to talk and for the sake of keeping this from achieving a full novel I will just say she was as surprised to discover my daughter had epilepsy as I was to hear her husband suffered as well.
(I saw this 🔝 on Farmgirlpaints Instagram.)
It was obvious to both of us that God had met us there at this meeting and placed us at the table together. We needed each other.
And so you see, God goes before us. He will meet you wherever that dark place is and he will provide what you need.
Maybe your dark place is not a table at a mom’s meeting and you need much more than a friend.
Trust me…I too have been in darker places.
But wherever you are and whatever you need, God will meet you there if you ask. If you surrender.
Lastly, I am going to say sure…look for purpose in the struggle. You wouldn’t want to miss something God is trying to show you.
Seek God out!
I would just be cautious not to consume ourselves with seeing the perfectly woven plan.
God doesn’t work on our time table and that plan may never be revealed to us this side of Heaven.
His plan is perfect.
His plan is greater.
Trusting this is why it is called Faith. 💜