There are no magical words I could say to you that will make the trial that you’re enduring disappear or cause the process to move along any faster. I wish I could, but I know that much like my own seasons of endurance, it’s necessary for your character.
If you’ve followed any part of my journey at all, know that just a couple years back I hit an ultimate low and had to rebuild my entire life again. I relocated, let go of my house, navigated being a single mom for the first time and completely started over. Initially, I never really put thought into what I had to do to get to a place of wholeness again. I just knew that I had to keep moving forward. It was the worst and the best experience that ever happened to me. I may have never known what I was capable of pressing through and my faith grew at levels I may have never known without it.
It’s uncomfortable. Right now your life may be playing out in a way you never wished for. And you want out. Not even just out of your situation but out of the muck that’s weighing your soul down. Out of the haze that’s keeping you from seeing your purpose and leaving you to the prison of your doubts and insecurities. And how can anyone blame you? Our natural survival instincts tell us to avoid pain and discomfort at all costs. To automatically look at ourselves in defect when things go wrong.
But we do serve a God of purpose and pain is a part of the journey. Many times it’s much bigger than us, but He never wastes a hurt. He never wastes a season- even the darkest. In fact, He will restore you and your greatest ministry just may arise from this pit. I’m a witness.
“After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
That being said, I have a few truths I’d like to transfer from my heart to yours in this season.
Don’t confuse a season with a lifetime.
Sometimes without thinking, we project our current trial into the future and become secretly convinced that we will never recover from this place. You will. You will not always be where you are now. Things will not always look the way they do now and it will all work together in due time. There will come a day when you’re looking back on these moments and benefit from the lessons it taught you. Seasons change and even this trial has an expiration date. So what do you do in the meantime? You face the discomfort and you don’t let it define you. You identify what you’re feeling but you separate your feelings from your identity.
You might feel like a failure, but that doesn’t make you one.
You might feel like this has disqualified you, but if anything it’s only equipping and maturing you to have the ability to carry more.
You might feel like you have hit a dead end in your life, but God is in the resurrection business and specializes in reviving stories like yours for His glory; He will use you to touch others like you.
Remember, the struggle is a part of the story and yours is no surprise to God. We make the stumble a part of the dance. Trust that this is not the end, but the start of a real work God is about to do in you. Because let’s face it, God only does real. Not the fake fluff that inspires us but leads to no transformation of our souls or the souls around us. No, you will be a real woman.
The way out is through.
It’s the truth we don’t want to hear. There is no off button. I know you want to snap your fingers and be on the other side of your trial but the process is necessary.
Have you ever cooked something in the microwave and while it looked ready and warm on the outside, the inside was cold, hard and unfinished. Well, that’s what it’s like when you rush a process or never take the time to let some understanding settle in. You come out premature and shallow. You miss the gem of wisdom to be gained from this fire and forfeit true growth. You really need to be in the oven. The core of your heart and your character needs to be cultivated for the changing season you’re about to enter. It’s true, you can evolve into a greater woman from this. Sometimes you first need to take the time to go through a natural grieving process to recovery and let that understanding of your reality sink in. Grief isn’t just associated with physical death. It can be any form of loss we experience in our lives. Death of a relationship, a job, a vision, a hope. And what is the process of healthy grief?
We’re in denial and shock and many times go numb. We’re caught off guard and too overwhelmed to fully wrap our heads around the fire we’ve just entered. Denial is our survival instincts way of coping with the situation when we can only handle so much.
We’re upset, angry, frustrated. We’re frustrated with the other person, with ourselves, maybe even with our faith in God. As denial begins to subside our emotions start to surface. Anger is the secondary emotion to our hurt. This is the pivotal moment where we either become bitter and distant or sit back and become a student of our situation so we can become better.
We start bargaining.
If only I was more like this…
If only I had never done this…
If only my life was like this…
If only, if only, if only…
We make a weaker defense to try to regain control.
We mourn. The fullness of the situation we’re facing settles in. We withdraw into ourselves. We find ourselves truly in the battle of doubts. Either we’re going to be determined by our emotions or hold onto faith, who God is and His provision over us.
We accept it. And this is a stage we must reach if we’re going to move forward. Understanding the reality of what you’re facing and deciding to move forward in spite of it.
“Okay, this is happening. And it sucks that this is happening. But you know what, there is still a purpose over my life and I pray that God will use this to help me reach the souls of those just like me.”
So I walk through all of this to say, it’s okay to go into the oven and grieve through the process so that you can move forward from a place of redemption to action. We don’t want to just look good on the outside but be uncooked, hurt, bitter and void on the inside. Don’t just go through it. Grow through it. The process is necessary.
You will be refined.
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold…” 1 Peter 1:7
It is the trials that have matured my faith and my perspective more than anything. Why? Because this is where your faith is applied. Your strength is applied. Your understanding is applied. Every inspirational word you read or got up to this moment was really nothing more than head knowledge. It is the applied experience in this trial that works the Word into your life and stretches your spiritual muscles. It’s the trial where God breaks us down to rebuild and shape us into the woman He’s calling us to be. But it all depends on if we’re going to turn to Him in faith or turn into ourselves with a bitter hopelessness.
I truly believe that God will let you fall, but no further than your knees- where you’re in the perfect position to pray and meet Him in the midst. He will let you go into the fire but for a purpose, not for you to perish.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
God fully plans on doing a work through you, but it will begin with a real work in you. We will either be the women who are taken by the fire or made in the fire.
Be the woman who is made in the fire.
My 7 Day Anxiety Detox E-Series is Here!
(Click the photo for more details and to start receiving devotionals today.)
Each day, for the next week, you will receive a devotional on what the scriptures say about combatting anxiety. These devotionals also integrate practical self-help therapies from the Cognitive Behavioral perspective to make it useful for you. It’s great to be inspired but it’s helpful when you can apply it. So you will have real tools for real life.