I know Thanksgiving has passed but in the days leading up to the holiday when we are supposed to talk about all the things we are grateful for God really impressed on me how important my trials are as well as the blessings and victories. What good is it to only be thankful for the positive things or the times when life is easy?
When God got me thinking about trials and thankfulness he brought me to this verse in 2 Corinthians. I was preparing my post for the weekly devotional series and it was one of the four promises to choose from. I almost picked it but decided to go with the verse from Isaiah instead because of the Christmas season. But I couldn't leave this verse alone because it is so incredibly relevant to my story.
It's been almost five years since I experienced back to back miscarriages. One happened the day after Christmas in 2011 and the other was in the spring of 2012. We had been trying for baby number three for some time with no results. I saw the faint line on Christmas morning and had to use all my strength to hide my excitement from family that we were with celebrating the holiday. Two days later I started bleeding. The second happened after I went in for my 8 week appointment and we couldn't find a heartbeat. It was crushing and an incredibly difficult time.
I could have hid. I could have withdrawn. I could have decided that clearly God wasn't going to answer my prayers for another baby and given up. But instead I sought him out. I poured myself into the scriptures, especially the Psalms, and cried out to him for comfort. The more I spent time with God the more peace he gave me over the whole ordeal.
Then purpose came. Unfortunately, one friend after another experienced losses as well. I hated that they had to know the pain of losing a child as we had. But because of that pain I could now tell my story and what helped me. Let them know that grieving is okay, talking is okay, being quiet is okay. Let them know they are not alone and that if they needed to just scream and sob that I was a safe person to be around during that time. The knowledge that someone has been there and understands can be enough to keep going.
The trials we endure are not for nothing. There is a purpose, often greater than what we could ever understand, for all we go through. Losing two babies has given me a platform that, although I never wanted, I can use to reach other hurting people. I'm thankful that God saw me through and that he is using my story for something greater. He can use your story, too.
I would place a fairly large guess that you have persevered during a tough time. That you experienced hardship, sickness, or other trial and have come through the other side. Or maybe you are still going through it. God can use your story. It's okay if you didn't have complete composure during the entire ordeal. How could you? When life falls apart around us we are going to feel crushed. We are going to weep, wail, and feel defeated. The victory comes in turning to God and letting him bring restoration and peace.
Maybe you've experienced the loss of a pregnancy or child. Or your marriage started falling apart. Financial issues piled up until there was no end in sight. Severe illness. Injuries. Death of a loved one. Betrayal. Abuse. Infertility. Addiction. The list goes on. God can use all of these things for good. In the way he comforts you during those times you can comfort others. Your story can be a testimony of his grace and love. Even helping one person know they are not alone and that they can find comfort in God because of you sharing your story can make a huge impact.
And most of all, be thankful no matter what. There is always something to be thankful for. Keep praying and thanking God for even the most basic of blessings. He will see you through your troubles and bring you peace.
What trials has God brought you through? How do you seek God when life seems to be falling apart around you? How can you bring comfort to someone else today?
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