A few weeks ago, God took care of a situation and answered a prayer of mine that I have been praying about for a year now. I still find myself stopping in gratitude as I go throughout my day and taking a moment to thank God for providing and protecting me and my family. I don’t want to take these sweet moments for granted, because I have come a long way from when I started praying for this situation.
There were a lot of dark, hard days last year, especially going into the fall and winter months, that left me wondering if I would ever feel happy or whole again. I couldn’t make sense of the situation and I was left feeling hurt and confused. But even on the toughest days, I trusted that God was going to take care of me even if things didn’t play out the way I wanted them to.
During that season of waiting and praying I learned a lot. I learned that sometimes God lets us go through difficult situations in life, not because He doesn’t care about us but because He wants us to learn and grow from our trials. And He also wants us to learn to lean on and trust Him, not just in the good times, but in the bad.
If God would have answered my prayer in the way I wanted last year when I turned to Him, I wouldn’t have grown in grace and strength the way I have. I would have wanted all of my problems to disappear right then and there, instead of doing the ugly, messy work of healing. I would have missed out on valuable lessons and learning what areas of my life needed growth. I can see all of that now that I’ve come through it, but God knew what I needed all along.
This picture was taken at the beginning of July this year. I will never forget this evening. About a month prior to this I came to God in boldness and desperation, telling Him that I couldn’t go on much longer with this situation the way it was. I needed Him to move for me in a mighty way, and remove some things from my life that only He could.
While I had been praying for a year about this season I was in, I realized that my faith hadn’t been what it needed to be. I was still trying to hold on too tightly and control things myself. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to fully surrender my situation to God and trust that, no matter what, He was going to fight my battles, that I was was able to release everything into His hands.
A month after that, when this picture was taken in July, a new chapter was beginning to unfold in this season of my life. I was finally starting to see prayers being answered. I went on a walk by myself that sweet July evening, and as I walked the same paths I always do on Liberty University’s campus, I found myself feeling a deep deep gratitude for all of God’s goodness, His mercies, and protection during this incredibly difficult season I had been walking through.
I couldn’t help but smile as I walked and looked at the gorgeous sunset. I had this overwhelming sense of peace. Peace that things were indeed going to be okay. I heard God telling me “See, I told you I was going to take care of you. Trust me and let me handle this.”.
As the sky burned with deep colors of orange and red as the sun began to set, I felt the need to stop my walk and sit in the prayer garden for awhile to pray. Yes, I had been thinking all of these thoughts of gratitude to God, but I knew He wanted me to take a moment to stop, turn my music off, and just be still in His presence. So I did.
I sat and reflected on all I had been through the past year, and how through it all God had carried me through. I would never choose to walk that path again, but I could see how God had used all of it for my good. As I sat in stillness, I prayed for God’s protection, no matter how the situation was to unfold, and asked that He would help me to trust Him, even when it is difficult.
As I got up from the prayer garden and continued on my walk, I couldn’t help but feel that all of campus and nature was humming and singing praises and peace along with me. The campus was quiet but it also felt so beautiful and alive, I haven’t felt that there in a long time. I smiled as I walked, and felt a bit lighter and more confident. I even saw a mama deer and her two little fawns. I had the urge to look up the meaning of a deer encounter right away and read that “a deer encounter can represent unconditional love, gentleness, peace, and to trust in your inner wisdom and intuition.” I thought that was perfect and very much described what I was feeling in the moment.
I share all of this as encouragement to anyone who is going through a difficult season right now. Know that even in the darkest times God is with you and He hears your prayers. Our prayers might not always be answered the way that we think they should be, but remember that God’s timing is perfect and His ways are better than ours.
I have definitely seen God’s hand in my life and how He has provided for me and my family, but none have been so evident to me than in this difficult season I have walked through. I believe that I have walked through the darkness and come out on the other side and now have the empathy and experience to help others that are walking through similar seasons of life. What a beautiful thing to come out of so much pain!
This has been on my heart recently and I felt led to share. I hope that if you are going through a difficult season you find hope and encouragement to keep pressing on!