“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.”
There have been many times in my life when I have said to myself “man if I could only do it all over.” Lately I have been convicted by this thought. My feelings of regret & resentment have been shedding. I have been able to step back and see how God DID give me the experiences I wanted just not in the order or time I thought I was suppose to have them.
God has the POWER to rewrite something negative in our story into something that is good. Do you believe that? I get it, when you are in these moments they are HEART WRENCHING and the pain is DEEP. Then God in his glory redeems them. He gives you a new opportunity or experience, that if you had not had the pain from the past, you would NOT have the perspective to appreciate the present. God does not just use our suffering so we can help others. He uses it to show US in our OWN circumstances HIS GLORY through BLESSINGS he eventually gives to us!
Story #1 I have mentioned in previous posts of the difficulty I had in college. On every level. For a long time all I felt was REGRET & RESENTMENT related to this time of my life. It left a negative stamp in my story. Every time I looked back I felt broken. So much hype leading up to college. Dreams of being independent, in control and having the time of my life were a bust. Dreams of a healthy community and life long friends fell flat. But God has been tugging on my heart and telling me, “I did give you that, just not when YOU were looking for it to happen.”
Take Two. After college God supplied it ALL. In one of my FIRST CLASSES, in grad school he began a healing process in me through ONE person. That one person invited me to her church. That one church provided a HOME. It provided a community where I was loved and felt like I belonged. I received mentorship, counsel, and had more fun than I could count on both hands. It was like God was giddy with excitement and he literally JUMPED on the first opportunity to give me something I desired more than anything. Acceptance, unconditional love, community and identity.
God also used this ONE friend as the avenue I would meet my husband 3 years later. God did NOT forget me. He is so so good. God can use anyone or anything to orchestrate his plans.
Story #2 My husband and I were married 2 years and decided we wanted to start a family. We struggled to conceive our first child for over a year. For us that year was DARK individually and as a couple. Every month that we saw negative on the pregnancy test was devastating. Then in July 2013 we saw our first positive!
Our pregnancy was healthy. Delivery was long but “typical” for your first. After 16 hours of labor we had our first healthy child.
3 weeks into having our daughter I knew something was wrong. I started to feel my anxiety RISE quickly into panic. Every day felt like torture as my daughter cried and was inconsolable. I was a first time mom with a newborn. Is she just colic? Am I just overreacting? I called the police in a state of panic. Once the ambulance got to our house and the EMT personnel came in I told them what my concerns were. They asked in return “is she your first baby?” Feeling stupid and defeated I said “yes.” From then on they disregarded me and my daughter. I was just a new mom with some “normal anxiety” they didn’t even check all of her vitals.
Fast forward into the evening. Things did not get better. It was not just my anxiety. After taking her to the pediatrician that same night, she tested positive for a UTI. This was the tip of the ICEBERG. After being admitted to the hospital with our 3 week old she had her urine tested again, vials of blood drawn, and then a spinal tap. The verdict. She went “septic” from an infection that was in her blood. The cause from a condition we did not know she had called Kidney Reflux.
During the 11 grueling days we were at the hospital I was told countless times “it is so good that you caught this when you did,” “this little girl has one of the worst kinds of bacteria possible..” Ultimately, if we did not catch what we did when we did we could have lost our first baby. Instead I quickly lost my sanity. In that hospital room I left parts of me that I was unable to gain back for years.
Take Two. During the next year. I went into Therapy (again) and went on medication. I swore to myself I would NOT have any more babies. I 100% was angry. In fact I enjoyed feeling angry versus the alternative of anxiety. I resented AND blamed God. I even DARED to tell God, “have I not I suffered enough from my past!?” I FEARED greatly what could potentially happen to another baby AND my mental state.
God, however, in HIS perfect timing had more in store. Through HIS patience and grace he gave me what were the desires of my heart. During the next 4 years, and two more steps of faith, we conceived our 2nd baby in 2015 and 3rd baby in 2017 both after ONE attempt, NOT A YEAR. I was able to experience what it was like to have a happy healthy newborn and a happier and healthier me. I got to soak in MORE joy with my 2nd and 3rd babies, knowing what I had experienced before.
These are just two stories in my life that God as been allowing me to see through different lenses. Areas that were hurtful and painful in VERY different ways. Areas that I stamped with regret and resentment but God stamps REDEEMED! He is NOT done with my story yet or yours, Amen!
What story is God redeeming for you? Maybe you are currently suffering and enduring a very painful experience. Be encouraged. Even if you cannot see IT yet, God is moving, and he cannot wait to turn around your story for HIS glory.
God help us to see your goodness in our lives! Thank you for holding us in your hands. Please listen to the song below.