A long time ago someone very wise told me that if I sat in a huge circle with all the people I knew and put everyone’s problems in the middle I would gladly take my own from the pile. Very early in Katie’s life that theory rang loud and clear. She was only 4 days old and I was released from the hospital, we had to leave our tiny baby hooked to a million wires and go home. I couldn’t think of anything worse. How can I leave my baby here, I’m supposed to be rocking her in her bedroom tonight. And then as we went to visit Katie before leaving, the NICU was closed…one of the precious babies, half Katie’s size, had died. In comparison to what this poor family had to endure my troubles were nothing.
This has become a coping mechanism of mine. When life seems to be knocking me down before I can even stand up, it helps to know I am not alone. Everyone has problems and it may seem cruel to cling to the thought that someone else has got it worse, but I think this is how God helps me put my life into perspective. When we stay focused on our own situation we can drown in self-pity, but when we look outside, our sympathy can be put to better use.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Another example occurred just last week, I was upset because Katie has just not been feeling great this summer. We were in the middle of a mini storm…she was sleeping a lot more than usual, very agitated all the time, refusing to eat anything by mouth and that day she had hurled buckets in the car. There was vomit in every crevasse of her car seat. Yes, so gross! I was in a very ill mood, to say the least. Then Andy told me his story of the day, he had called 911! What? As he was leaving a hospital for work an older couple was trying to walk to their car, the man fell and hit his head really hard, and the wife was so upset because he had just had hip surgery. In that moment, it hit me, that poor couple was probably feeling 10 times the hopelessness that I was. It snapped me out of my pity party and I asked God to bless them. My problems were not so bad anymore.
God equips each of us for our own trials not our neighbor’s trial. When you think about someone else’s problems they can seem impossible, “That poor older lady, I can’t imagine not being able to take care of my husband, and after the months it probably took for him to heal from surgery and he may be right back in the hospital, she must feel hopeless!”. But God has given her what she needs to deal with this trial in her life, and it is so for each and every one of us.
“Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
His love is ALWAYS enough. The trials in life are not fair, so we think. But when we look at it from God’s perspective maybe they are blessings. God wants us to turn to Him during our trials, not to rely on the things of this earth. He doesn’t want us to take the easy way out just to escape our pain, instead He wants us to bring that pain to Him and rely on His love to get us through. And when we do this our relationship becomes stronger and He pours grace over us. There is no doubt that my life with Katie has brought me closer to God, I could not take care of her without His constant power.
We often see people who go through tragedies turn their pain into a way to help others. John Walsh comes to mind, his son Adam was kidnapped and he dedicated the rest of his life to searching for missing children. On a much smaller scale this is what I hope to do with my blog, if I can use some of our trials to show others they are not alone, I feel better.
God always turns pain into good if we follow His will. When we look back on our lives we can see the times He was preparing us for our trials. He was teaching us to endure pain, but also training us to transform it into His good. So when things get tough I try to look outside and count the many blessings on the inside. With His guidance I have turned my biggest struggle into my amazing purpose in life.