Monday, November 12, 2018
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Does Your Journey Have a Message?
I have been thinking a lot recently how God seems to allow people to go through certain trials so they can be of help to others. I see it all the time in biographies. It is certainly true in my own life.
For instance, I can pray for friends with prodigal children but, except for the usual discipline that occurs with raising children, my two have given me very little trouble. Both my son and daughter also married people that I enjoy being around.
However, I can easily empathize with someone who has mental health issues in their family. Whether a spouse, a child, or themselves... it has been a part of my life for a very long time and this past summer, close friends and family knew that my husband was experiencing the worst symptoms of mania that I have ever seen him go through. While depression is difficult to watch, mania is frightening to those who care for a person for they can pose a danger to themselves and others.
For awhile this summer, we didn't know what would happen, contingency plans were made, and a lot of time was spent in prayer. Thankfully, all is much better and it seems as if the worse is over. My husband's symptoms may be a result of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. We know that a lot of people who served in Vietnam were exposed and that the permanent side affects include what he experiences.
I can look back and see how God prepared me for this specific journey so if I were to be asked if given the opportunity, would I choose a different trial... I would say definitely not. I truly believe that God allows situations in our life that, as we walk through them throughout our life, become the message we will leave behind.
I recently wrote about the trials of my years before marriage and I am sure that... combined with those later... are the reason I have chosen to look for the Beauty. I have long been attracted to that which is considered Beautiful in life. Not necessarily expensive or sparkly or rare... but that which highlights God's Beauty and how He made us.
Rest assured, there were plenty of people along the way who had never met Christians such as us with a love of great literature, art, making delicious meals, who lit a candle just for the cozy affect, and seeing our home as a blank canvas for creating a harbor in the storms of life. (Now you know why I like Sally Clarkson and her family so much!)
When I look back, I realize that it was going through the trials we did as a family that made us spiritually stronger in general and brought about the good attributes of my kids as they grew. When life is dark at times, one must search for Light to keep growing and in that search... roots grow deep.
That is also why we must give grace to our younger selves and to those we care about. Mostly we need to give grace back to God, who provides it in the first place. If we are holding on to a grudge against God for those things He has allowed in our lives to happen, then we can never use those experiences to His Glory.
Does your life have a message that will bring grace and peace to another? Look at your journey. See what He has brought you through and the lessons learned along the way. Your message is found in your darkest days. I don't believe God ever wastes one of our trials if we ask Him for wisdom.
When the healing doesn't happen or the progress is slow. When the prodigal takes time to return. When the relationship remains difficult and the road is rocky. When it took awhile for dreams to be fulfilled or... if the answer to prayer was completely unlike you expected. Most of the time people just need to know they are not alone in their suffering.
Your journey doesn't provide all the answers but it can lead one to Jesus, who does. I'm convinced that someday when we meet Him, we can look back and understand everything we have been through. Except I doubt once we look upon Him, anything else will matter.