Lately, I’ve been thinking back to all the struggles that I’ve been through in my life…not as a means of going back into the past but as a means of seeing how far God has brought me. For many years, I have thought of my life as a journey that will eventually take me to the top of the staircase to heaven…where I will no longer face any more pain or heartache in my life.
Over the years, I have come to see that this staircase that I’m slowly climbing can be easy at times, while at other times, the steps can be difficult to step up to. Sometimes the steps can be right before me, while other steps may seem steep; to the place, where I am looking up to the next step. But I have truly found that no matter how steep some of these steps may appear to be; God is more than able to give me a helping hand, up to the next step.
In James 4:10, we read… “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” One thing I’ve come to see through time; is that God cannot lift us up to the next step in life, until we are willing to let go of the things we are attempting to do…to get there on our own. I remember a time, when my circumstances had overwhelmed me…to the place, where I had felt as though I was stuck on a steep step and as I looked up to the next step; I had myself convinced that I would never make it and because I trusted in myself and believed my own words, I remained on that step for quite some time. Once I was able to see what was happening; that is when I began to humble myself and allow God to step in and gently lift me to the next step.
I believe, from my own experiences; that life is never going to be easy as a Christian but when we are willing to turn away from our own thoughts…plans and ideas; that is when we will truly begin to see a powerful God step in and do a mighty work within us.
Today, you may feel as though your problem has put you on the steepest step ever. You may be looking up…wondering how you are going to make it up to the next step. The best thing I have found; is to not look up and allow the next step to overwhelm you but rather, look up to a God, who is more than able to come and rescue you from these difficult steps that are too steep for you to climb on your own.
One thing that I have come to see throughout my life, with my disabilities; is that they can make a person feel, as if they are in a world of their own…a world, where life is seen in a much different way.
I remember a time…as a young teenager, when our church youth group was going to be having a camping outing under the stars…and an after dark scavenger hunt. Since I was no longer able to run and do as others my age, I felt a little apprehensive about going…but I finally decided to try it.
As we approached the place where we would be camping, I actually was glad that I chose to come; but later that night, as we had our scavenger hunt in the woods; that became a different story.
At first, everything was great, as my friends and I walked in the dark through the woods; but then someone came to tell everyone, where the next find was, on the hunt and from there everyone ran off and left me in the middle of a strange wooded area, with no flashlight or anything. As I stood in the dark, I began to feel as if I would never make it out of these woods, which only led to tears. As I began to cry…I know without doubt that God had heard my cry…as within a few minutes, I began to see flashlights going back and forth behind me…and as the light got closer, I came to see that it was my younger brother and his friend. When they found out what had happened…they put their arms around me and led me safely out.
In Psalm 120:1, we read… “In my trouble I cried to the LORD, and He answered me.” One thing I learned from that experience; was that God had never left my side. He knew my heart and what I was feeling and He kept guard over me, until He safely brought me out of that awful experience…and one thing I know…He will do the same for you!
After facing many years of surgeries and pain; I was now facing more pain, with a leg that just wasn’t doing well; so the doctors sent me to a pain clinic and I was placed on a whole list of drugs. The one thing I didn’t like about this, was that I couldn’t think straight…and most of all, I couldn’t seem to connect clearly with God through my writings; so after a while of being on the medications; I went back and discussed a plan to come off of all the medications. It was now going to be God completely; that I would lean on, to see me through the hard days of chronic pain.
Never did I know that this would be so difficult to do; but one thing God taught me, was to take it one day at a time and for each day that passed; that would take me one step further… to a time, when I would be totally free from these controlling medications.
In Matthew 6:34 we read…“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
To some…coming off of medications may not seem like a lesson that can be learned…or a time, when new growth could take place…but it was for me because God taught me to not think about what I may have to face the next day…or even how long it would last; but to just focus on the moment and know that as each moment passed; then these moments would also lead me to a better life…free from something that only longed to control me…and even more, these difficult times taught me how to lean on God completely.
We all have our own struggles in life…some easier…and some very difficult to face; but when we can take life one day at a time; then God will walk us through these very overwhelming and trying moments in our lives…I know!!
As I’m sitting here today…tired and in pain; my heart is taking hold of a song, titled… “No One Ever Cared for Me like Jesus”…and here are a few of the lyrics… “I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus, since I found in Him a friend so strong and true. I would tell you how
He changed my life completely; He did something no other friend could do. No one ever cared for me like Jesus; there's no other friend so kind as He. No one else could take the sin and darkness from me; O how much He cares for me.”
One thing I can say for sure; is that this song is my life…for Jesus has truly been a friend…so strong and true. This friend of mine truly changed my life around 360 degrees and He did it in a way that no one else could ever begin to do. I have come to see…especially through the past few years; that no one has or could ever care for me like Jesus! Praise Him!
In Psalm 55:22, we read… “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” One thing I remember…while facing a lot of difficult times in my life; were the moments, when I focused more deeply on what my circumstances were doing to me, rather than what God longed to do through these troubling times in my life. If we could just let go of what’s troubling us and fall humbly into the arms of God; we would truly come to see how He is more than capable of holding us up during the weak moments.
After coming out of so much in my life; I have come to truly seek God’s loving care each day. When something is bothering me…or pain is racking my body; I know that I have a God that will hold me close in His arms and help me through the moments that just seem to be almost impossible to get through.
No matter what you may be facing today, just know that God is there for you! He longs so much to hold you close and reassure you that everything will be alright; so just let go of everything that is troubling you and let God take over, from where you left off…and I’m sure that you will come to see that no one could ever care for you like Jesus!
I remember many times in my life, when the rain fell within the heart…to the place, where I thought I’d never experience the sunshine again. As one surgery led to many others, I began to see life, as though there would be no end, to what I was facing at the time.
As I continued to walk through the long and difficult moments of pain and deep heartache…a day did come, when God took me by the hand and walked me out of the darkness and once more allowed me to experience sunshine…deep within the heart.
One thing we must remember; is that no matter how hard it’s raining within the heart…it won’t last forever…because a time does come, when the rain clouds move on and the sun peaks through once more.
If we could only see these difficult moments in our lives, as seasons…seasons, where the rain falls, as a means of producing new growth within our lives; then we would be able to live with the hope that the sun will shine again.
In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, we read… “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
I have come to see within my own life; that even though the rain did fall…and even though there were many dreary days to face…days that were surrounded by pain and heartache…the things that I have now taken hold of are everlasting, while keeping me strong in God!
After walking down many paths of pain and heartache; I have come to see that what I have gone through for so many years is really nothing…compared to the eternal glory that awaits me.
I remember many times in my life, when I felt as if the pain, surgeries and depression would never find their end. In fact, I began to feel as if that would be my lot in life…just to suffer and feel so hopelessly defeated; but God showed me one day; that my thoughts were aiming in the wrong direction. I had become so focused on everything that was going wrong; that I never was able to see the good that could come through those difficult moments.
In Romans 8:18, we read… “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later.” If we were to take, what we feel is to be the worst life ever and put these moments on a scale, with life eternal on the other side of the scale; then I’m sure that life eternal would far outweigh the worst of what we have been through in this life.
You know…I think that we tend to become so consumed, in how much we have had to face in this life; that we actually allow these thoughts to lead us further into a hopeless life of despair. Just think of it…the more we list off the problems that we’ve had to face…the higher the stack of problems become, until our plate is so overflowing; that we can’t see anything that could ever compare to the awful moments that we have already had to walk through in this life.
Each day, we need to focus on what is awaiting us, rather than what has already happened behind us…and when we choose to press on, rather than walk back into moments of past despair…that is what will help, to keep hope alive within us.
I have come to see that the moments of the past, have now become an anchor to hold tightly to, while facing other difficult storms in my life. When we can look back and see how God stepped into a moment that seemed to be filled with no hope; to straighten a path that at one time had been mangled by adversity; then these become the moments that bring hope back into our lives, while we are waiting for God to finish working on the needs we have at this present time.
In Psalm 27:13, we read… “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” One thing I have truly come to see…through all I have walked through in this life; is that God will continue to work in our lives…just as He did at other times and this is one thing that helps me…reflecting on God’s faithfulness.
I also believe that when we choose to walk in God’s footsteps and remain in sync with Him, while letting Him lead us into whatever He desires for the moment…rather than attempting to make everything work on our own; then we will begin to see how God can work in ways that we never had expected. We must remember that the God we serve isn’t a god that works once in a while but He’s a God that continually works for our good, even though we may not fully understand His reasoning at the time.
No matter what you are facing today and no matter how long the trial has lasted; just know that God is there…working in the background, to give you His best. Take a moment right now and reflect on a time in your life, when God stepped into a difficult situation and freed you for good and these thoughts and feelings will help you to see that God can once more step in again and relieve you, from whatever you may be facing at this time. Also… remember one more thing…when we allow God to do His work…in His time; then we will once more come to see that God has not forgotten us but He’s been at work…working to fix what has been broken in our lives.
Lately, I have been listening to a song; titled “The Climb”…and boy does it ever refer to the journey I’ve been on with God, for many years! One thing I have truly come to see; is that these mountains that stand before us, are not meant to block us from pressing on with God; but they are actually meant to learn from…as we climb over them.
So many times, we are in a hurry to just get over these mountains and reach the other side…where the pain and deep heartache will once more become a thing of the past; but that’s not always the way God works.
I remember many times, while facing one surgery after another…where I would beg God to stop everything that was happening to me. All I wanted was to get over these awful, steep and very tiring mountains and discover something better than what I was experiencing at the time; but God showed me that this was just not in His plan. In fact…I often refer to these mountains in my life, as a spiritual boot camp…a time, when God was not only working on strengthening me; but also molding me, into just what He desired for my life…and I’ll have to tell you; these moments of being remolded into something different, made the climb even more steep and difficult at times.
In Psalm 34:19, we read… “The good man does not escape all troubles—he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one.” No matter what God allowed within my life…and no matter how difficult and tiring it seemed at the time; I did come to see, as I leaned on Him…that He would be there, to help me get over the steep and difficult terrain.
No matter what you are going through…or no matter what you may face in life; don’t look at these moments…as though God has abandoned you and left you on the mountain alone; but instead…seek Him through the climb and let Him teach you the things that will help you to come out of this time, in a much better way…a way that will truly reflect Him!
As a young girl, I remember singing the song… “Jesus Loves Me”…and even at this age in my life, I love the words that say… “Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.”
We all face weaknesses in our lives…some more than others. In my own life, I have experienced many moments of weakness…brought about by a dysfunctional home life and sexual abuse…but one thing I found out over time; is that just because we endure moments of weakness; that doesn’t mean that God is a defeated god, within our lives. In fact, I have come to see that He takes the weakness…brought about by some deep embedded problem and He takes it and uses these weaknesses to make us stronger in Him.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read… “And he said unto me,” My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” In other words…what was meant to defeat God’s plan…and our lives; has now become used by God, to strengthen us and bring honor and glory to His holy name.
Just because you are facing difficult times that seem to have no end; doesn’t mean that you have been taken to a place of total defeat; but rather, it’s one of the greatest opportunities, to become stronger…even stronger; then before the problem first entered your life.
Never allow Satan to convince you that there is no way out…and that you will remain in these moments of weakness; but rather, lift your head up to the heavens and anticipate God’s next move…as He takes your weakness and turns it around, into something stronger…something that can cause you to rise above the despair in your life!
Today, as I do a fast rewind of my life, I see many moments that I never thought I’d get through…moments that not only endured pain but the deepest heartache anyone could ever imagine. You know…moments like these can truly attempt to convince us that the problem is just too powerful for God to bring us out of.
I remember a time, when I felt as if I was in a deep, dark wilderness of despair. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself in a place that made me feel, as if I was in a dark forest, with moss hanging from the trees. No matter what I tried to do…it seemed as if I would always return back to the place, where I first began…and now I know why. It was because I was trying to figure my own way out, rather than allowing God to lead the way.
After going around in circles for the longest time, I began to let go and cry out to God…and He came to me…as though to say…”Diane, if you will let me be your sunlight by day and your moonlight by night; then I will show you the way out of this awful place.” As I continued to do, as I felt He was placing on my heart to do…a time did come, when I began to see the light of a new day…and from there…God and I journeyed to a high mountain peak, where He allowed me to look down and see how far He had brought me.
In my office, I have a beautiful picture of Jesus and on the picture are these words… “I will take you through the wilderness…I will take you through the storms; but if you trust me, the victory will be yours.” Those words were given to me by God…way back in 1991 and now, I sit here totally free.
No matter how lost you may feel in life…and no matter how hopeless life may seem…I’m here to tell you today…that there is a way out; but first, you must be willing to follow God’s path, rather than your own…for your own chosen path won’t lead you anywhere, except for into more problems. Instead…take hold of God’s hand…the One who truly knows the way out of your wilderness and I know that with time, you too will once more see the light, of a brand new day!