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Can we find blessings in our struggles?
In my life, like yours, I have overcome obstacles and suffered many losses; jobs, friends and family, and the loss of an unborn child. These have been markers in my life, and turning points in my faith. I have worked through my struggles to grow closer to God and to grab ahold of his healing during times of sorrow.
James 1:2-4, NKJV, says,
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Seeing it written, removed from pain and trials, it seems easy. When you are in the midst of things, it can feel impossible, overwhelming even, as there will never be joy again.
When faced with despair, there were things I did to help me find my way back to my joy.
Keep focused on the blessings…
Philippians 4:8, NKJV, says,
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
In times of trials, and suffering, I work to remember to focus on the blessings, the things that are good in my life.
Keep a routine…
As much as possible, I try to keep my schedule and routine the same. There is comfort in the familiar, and it can help everyone get through. Be careful not to throw yourself into your work to forget the pain. Instead, use the familiar and the routine (even a lighter version of it), to help yourself through the grieving process that comes with pain and trials.
Turn to family and friends…
Trusted family and friends are your allies during times of trials and sorrow. These are the people who will give you respite when needed, allow you a moment to grieve or help you pick yourself up and continue on. Times of difficulty are times to come together, not push apart.
Counseling may be an answer too…
If your trials and sorrows are great, seeking out a counselor who supports your beliefs is important to help you get your thoughts in order and work through any decisions that may need to be made. It can also help you through the grieving process, which can come in any difficult situation.
Give it time…
My favorite quote is from the new Cinderella movie… “pain turns to memory.” For some things, the pain never goes away, but there does come a point when it is bearable to remember and even find joy again in the memories of things that we have suffered through. This takes time, and we cannot do it alone. We do it through God, who gives us the strength to seek the blessings and endure the trials and pain of life.
Look back…And see the hand of God…
When you come out of a trial or feel like you can breathe again after the initial pain, reflect back and see where God has touched your lives, used you to touch the lives of others, and count the blessings that have come out of the difficulties you have endured. In II Corinthians 12:10, NKJV, it is written,
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.