Challenge: Read 1 Peter 4:12-13 "Do not be surprised at the painful things you are now suffering. These things are testing your faith." (ICB) In your own words, describe the testing you are going through today in your life. How is it testing and strengthening your faith?
Response: My main tests are being single and childless. I never thought that I would survive four years of singleness. But, I am approaching four years this June and I am thankful because God proved to me that, with Him, I can survive. I will be alright. I thought the depression of being alone might kill me when I was younger. It was that thought that twisted my mind into thinking that getting married very young was a good idea. If I took the opportunity then to get married, I wouldn’t have to ever be alone again. But, because I didn’t listen to God, I experienced an even more painful loneliness. I experienced feeling alone while in a relationship, a marriage. The heartache is even more brutal when you are alone and attached at the same time. Morally, it is wrong to seek comfort in another person while you are married, so you either have to continue to battle loneliness and become a young divorcee (which was the ultimate failure in my book at the time) or commit adultery. I did the latter. I am not proud of it and it led to even more pain because not only was I being rejected by my husband, the man who I sought for comfort also rejected me because he lost respect for me. How could either of them respect me when I didn’t even respect myself? All of this was the result of me not wanting to be alone. Nevertheless, praise God that I realized that I am never alone. The loneliness that made me cry to myself to sleep at times is the very thing that pushes me into the arms of the Master.
When I was younger, I didn’t want children. As a child, I didn’t get along with other children, and I felt my time was better spent on achieving my goals. So, when I had a pregnancy scare at eighteen, I prayed, “God, I would rather not be pregnant now and never have children, than to be a teen mother.” Unmarried, teenage mothers were looked down upon. I was one of the people looking down upon them, and now, I was the one who might be in their shoes. At eighteen, it seemed like a harmless prayer because I didn’t want kids and I never thought that I would. When I got married, for the few months that we were happy, I could see myself having my husband’s babies and we weren’t trying to get pregnant, but we weren’t not trying either. I am grateful that I didn’t have his child and I know that there were a lot of prayers from people who loved me and saw what I could not see that help that to happen. I have had several health issues that are threats to my fertility and every year when I see the doctor, I get a little nudge that I might want to think about when I am going to start a family because I am running out time before I am high risk. But I am not even dating anyone, let alone married. And, I do not want children by myself. I want a family. I want a husband and then children, which is what I wanted when I was younger, but I went about it in all kinds of wrong ways. That subconscious prayer haunts me and tests me every time I start feeling my maternal instincts. Did God listen to that prayer or did He realize I was being ridiculous? I have asked for forgiveness and I have to believe that He has forgiven me for the sin and the request. So, now I wait on a husband on a child. Whether it happens or not, He is still God. He still knows what is best for me. I believe that my desire to love children has helped me grow into a better aunt and a patient teacher. And, should I have children, I have learned lessons from watching other parents for such a long time, that though I am sure I will still make mistakes, maybe they will be few. I have asked God to take the desires to be married and have children away from me several times. I say, “God, if it’s never going to happen, I am fine with that plan for my life, but please take the desires away.” They haven’t gone anywhere, so these trials are testing and strengthening my faith. I have to believe that God’s Word is true when it says that if I delight in Him, He will give me the desires of my heart. The more time I am without a husband and children who may break my focus, the more time I can dedicate to God; the more I can learn to delight myself in Him constantly and consistently, so that my family will be an addition to my abundant life not a substitution for God’s presence in my life.
Challenge: Read 2 Corinthians 6:6 (NLT) "We have proved ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, our sincere love, and the power of the Holy Spirit." This verse lists the qualities God wants to create in us through storms that come our way. Which ones are present in your life? Which ones is He trying to produce in you today? Are you willing to let Him do so?
Response: The qualities that these storms have produces in my life are purity. I am not inclined to mess up on that again. I have made the mistake enough times to know that God does not bless disobedience. I have developed an understanding of who God is, how God loves and what God wants from His children. I very much feel the power of the Holy Spirit working in my life and being a Comforter and a Guide. I have grown more patient, but I can still grow in that area. I am a kind-hearted person, I have learned how to be softer and gentler, but I do still have a short fuse that contradicts with what is actually in my heart. I am willing to let God continue the work that He has started and I know that He will finish. His Word tells me so. I know that when He knows I am ready, He will move me forward to the next step in my life. Ms. EV