In my last post I talked about how I became a Christian and dedicated my life to Christ. I mentioned that there were highs and lows along the journey. I didn’t go into detail, but I would say that one of the harder things I’ve been through came towards the beginning of my college career. Even though I had been a dedicated Christian up to that point, I feel that going through this difficulty definitely strengthened my relationship with God as well as made it more real, more mine.
I guess before that point it could easily be said that I was always taught what to believe and my family believed the same way, so in a way it was my family’s faith. I do believe I made the decision for myself, but when you are going through a tough time, your true faith tends to come out more and it becomes more real to you. It was in that low, helpless place of pain that I realized I needed God more than anything and anyone.
“Happily Ever After”
Starting college was an exciting time and of course full of life lessons. I began dating someone my freshman year after going on a date with him during the summer before school started. Things went well with us and I quickly fell for him.
I remember being with some other girlfriends of mine and we were discussing marriage. Two of the girls said they wanted to wait until after they graduated to get married. My other friend and I said we would get married during college if we met the right guy. When you’re young, sometimes you just can’t wait to start your “happily ever after.” The funny thing is that the two girls who said they wanted to wait ended up getting married during college while my friend and I ended up getting married later. This is just another example of how our time is not always God’s time.
Moving along with my relationship, there was quickly talk about marriage. I remember being so excited and happy at the thought that I had already met my future husband and my “happily ever after” was coming soon! By the end of the school year my life was pretty much school and my boyfriend. He took up much of my time and I began to really idolize this relationship. He proposed to me and of course I said, “Yes!” Things were happening the way I had planned.
Looking back, I think a big mistake I made concerning this relationship and time of my life was feeling so in control of life and my future. I had it all planned out. I would be happily married and a music teacher, at least until we had children, and then I could stay home with the kids once they came around. We would live happily ever after. That is the dream, right? But what if that isn’t God’s dream? What if God has so much more planned for my life than I ever had imagined?
Praying for His Will, Not Mine
During that time, I kept a prayer journal. I prayed about our relationship and future plans and asked that God would bless me in all the ways I thought He should. Then, for reasons I can’t explain, my prayers started to change. Maybe I saw some signs that this was not the relationship God wanted for me. I began to pray that God’s will would be done, not mine. Even though I really still wanted all those things. Maybe the Spirit began to work on my heart to prepare me for what lay ahead. Only a couple of months after we were engaged, we broke up. I was absolutely devastated. My world felt like it was crashing down around me. I no longer had any idea what God had in front of me.
These were the moments that all I could feel was pain, like the rain would never stop pouring on me. But in the rain, I was brought to my knees, begging God to help me. I knew I had nothing but Him. God was my first true love and He was the only one who could help me through this downpour. I remember being on my knees, even on my face, crying out to Him.
Navigating through the Storm
During this time, a good friend of mine called me to tell me what he had learned from the Psalms. He told me it was ok to tell God what I was feeling, even all the bad and painful thoughts. He shared with me some of the lament Psalms and showed me how David had cried out to God in the same way with honest feelings. I poured out my soul to God in lament. Never had I ever been drawn so close to God as I was when I was at my lowest, trying to navigate the storm.
O Lord, God of my salvation,I cry out day and night before you.Let my prayer come before you;incline your ear to my cry!For my soul is full of troubles,and my life draws near to Sheol.Psalm 88:1-3
I wish I could say that clinging to God in that time made all my pain go away quickly, but it didn’t. I remember struggling for months afterwards. However, during this time of rain, God blessed me and molded me into the person He wanted me to be. He was working to lead me in the direction He wanted me to go.
The Blessing in the Rain
During my sophomore year, some friends told me about a summer singing campaign to Germany that they had participated in the year before. It sounded like a really great opportunity for spreading God’s love, travelling the world to enjoy God’s creation, and of course I loved the singing aspect. I quickly committed myself to going the following summer. It was so exciting! I felt a purpose and like this was God’s providence at this time of my life.
As you may have read from my post about my passion for mission work, God used this time in my life to set me on a very specific path which led to my growth in faith and love of God. I became passionate for God’s work around the world. This led me out of the comfort of being in control of every aspect of my life and into a trust that God was in control of all things!
Eventually, I truly believe that God used this painful part of my life to prepare me for so many wonderful things, including a man of God who would later become my husband. Even though the pain was deep and difficult to go through, I’m grateful that I went through those things. It helped mold and form me into the Christian woman that I am today.
A Prayer for You
If you are going through difficult times right now, I want you to know that God is still here with you and he is using every painful moment to mold you into the person He wants you to be! Hang on and I pray that you will soon see the blessings! Please let us know if we can pray for you.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Sometimes life is so painful and hard. We don’t always understand why we go through such hard times. The one thing we know is that you are Lord and you are greater than all things! You are our comforter and healer and can take our brokenness and make it whole again, even better than we could have ever imagined! Lord, I pray that during the storms we will remember that you are with us and will hold on to our faith that you will bring the sun after the rain. Thank you for holding us in your hands.
It’s in Jesus’ precious name that we pray,
How has God used your difficult times in life to ultimately bless you?
Below is the song I got my post title from. It’s called “Blessings” by Laura Story.