Give thanks for suffering...

Seems strange right? Give thanks for suffering? Who would want to do that?

Me...

Let me explain.

When I was young I learned that life wasn’t always easy. I was a bit thin and pale and was quickly made fun of being called albino girl, chicken legs, etc. Of course that hurt. But, it made me realize that life wasn’t always kind. I would lay in my bed at night and talk to God. A God I hardly knew. One that I created characteristics about in my mind. He was a kind person, compassionate, and loving. I would picture Him seated on a throne and me bowing down at His feet pouring my heart out to Him. I would ask for forgiveness for the bad things I did. He would reach down and take my hand and lift me up from bowing at His feet and say, “Come my child” and He would seat me on His lap and hug me. I would bury my face in His chest and cry in amazement of such a loving, caring God. He would smile.

Since those childhood days, I lost track of Him for a while. I grew up. I forgot about our nightly talks. I met my husband and we were busy getting to know one another, getting married, and then having Hunter. It was after this that I began to wonder about Him again. 

 My pregnancy was high risk and there was a chance that I wouldn’t be able to carry him due to my frailty at the time. I would pray about it. I did go preterm labor, but it was able to be stopped and I ended up having him on time. Ryan and I began to wonder more about God after I got sick after Hunter was born. We were saved and baptized together in 99. Soon after, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis which is an incurable neuromuscular disease. I had a treatment for it that went bad and I was hospitalized for 10 days in pure agony wondering why God didn’t take me out of my misery. I wanted to be delivered from the pain either by death or by it being relieved. I begged God everyday and He didn’t seem to hear me. Finally, one day I woke up and the pain was graciously gone. It was then I started to learn that there is grace in suffering.

My life has had it’s share. I was sexually abused as a child, made fun of, left out, in pain, sick, rejected by my biological dad, had to deal with the pain of my step-dad being killed, dealt with cancer, surgery, and recovery, have the threat of losing my sight someday, had yet another failed treatment for my MG, and I am presently dealing with the progression of the disease with several issues that go with that. But each trial made me stronger and refined me. They taught me a very important lesson in forgiveness. I was able to forgive my abusers with God’s grace. He had molded me, shaped me, and refined me for just such a thing. 

Through all these trials I learned to grow closer to the God I had pictured when I was a child. I had developed an intimate relationship with Him. Over the years of suffering, He had strengthened me and He continues to. He is shaping my character for eternity. He draws me unto Himself through suffering, our relationship has deepened, and He has allowed me to be an encouragement to others through my suffering. I give thanks for suffering because of those things.

New trials and new heartache come every year. It’s not easy. In fact it can be downright hard. But, God has been right there with me, holding me on His lap and letting me cry into His chest. What a wonderful, compassionate, loving, kind God we serve! And there is a day, when my time has come to an end here, I will get to see Him face to face and be able to bow at His feet. 


 

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