I watched my friend, Patricia, struggle through more than twenty years of a difficult marriage. Her husband left three times during the two decades—once before their three children were born, and twice after. They lived through nineteen different homes in multiple cities, revolving jobs, rumored affairs, cycles of financial plenty followed by financial deficiency. Eventually, after twenty-three years, Rodney packed his bags for the last time and left. The divorce was final the following year. That long chapter was over.
I don’t like to struggle, and I don’t like to see my friends struggle. I like for life to be easy. I want all my friends to love me all the time, I want my husband to agree with my every decision, I want my bosses to think every idea is brilliant, and I want God to answer my every prayer with a check mark.
But in truth, deep down I know that an easy life will never produce a strong woman who trusts in God with all her heart…and that’s who I really want to be. Click & Tweet!
One night Jesus was praying on a mountain while His disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. He looked down and saw that the disciples were straining with the oars, struggling with the wind, and bailing water over the edge. But He wasn’t worried.
Jesus calmly walked on the water, got in the boat, and commanded the winds and the waves to settle down. And they obeyed. And the disciples were amazed.
Jesus could have simply spoken to the wind and waves from the mountaintop. After all, He was already talking with His Father. But He didn’t. He allowed the disciples to struggle. More important than relieving their straining was strengthening their faith. They needed to know who He was, not just what He did. If He had stopped the struggle while they were in the middle of it, they might have never known that He was the One who controls it all. A different perspective. A different point of view.
James wrote: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4 NIV). I wonder what life would be like if I truly did consider trials pure joy?
One day I asked Patricia if she regretted marrying her ex-husband, and her answer was stunningly beautiful. “If I had not married him, I would not have the strong faith that I have today. If life had been easy, I think I would have a flabby faith that could maybe quote Scripture but not necessarily believe it. I would have grown spiritually sloppy rather than spiritually strong.
“Because I had to depend on God to provide for me and my children, especially emotionally, I know God as my Provider. Because I had to depend on God’s love for me when I didn’t get it from my husband, I know the depths of His love for me. Because I had to stand on God’s Word when the world around me was falling apart, I know the Rock on which my feet are planted. Had I not gone through those difficult years, I would not have the trust in God that I have today. He gives me life. He is my life.”
We’ve all been hurt by life and struggled in some form or fashion; no one is immune to suffering. But rather than view the pain as our burden to bear, what if we considered it a gift for growing? Healing on the other side of heartbreak is not simply returning to how we were before but becoming better than we would have been without it—someone stronger, someone wiser, someone gentler. And that’s something we all want.
Father, thank You for the struggles that have made me stronger. I know there are so many lessons I would have never learned in comfort and ease. Help me to look for the lessons in the hardships of life and grow in the grace You give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one struggle you’ve experienced that has made you stronger?
Leave a comment and let’s share.
We’ve all got parts of our stories that we’d like to tear out or mark out of the narrative. I’ve got them. You’ve got them. But what if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories? What if the worst parts could become the most powerful tools that God uses in the life of others? I know that they can. Check out my book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, and let’s learn how together!
Click here for a FREE download of 55 Verses of How God Transforms Our Lives and Redeems Our Stories.
Being married and having a blended family of adults. There are no boundaries in our relationship. It seems as if he walked out of his first marriage want ours to be a carbon copy of his other marriage.. Thank God for his peace and love
I have been struggling with fear and anxiety for awhile and sleepless nights. By constantly praying and having strong faith in God through Jesus I am healing day by day. So grateful to God and I had my first good night of rest last night because of God, through Jesus
I too struggle with the very things! God is more than able! Amen!
My struggle was after leaving my now ex husband after years of appalling abuse with just my handbag bag. I felt guilty, ashamed and not worthy. God however, brought people into my life who shared Bible study and prayers with me and my faith was strengthened. Now 8 years later, I am strong, live without fear and live loved. God is my ROCK, on Him I rebuilt me.
Thank you for sharing this story. I so identify. I know the heartache cause by heartbreak. The suffering which broke me open for Jesus to come in and pour his healing into me. That pain that shattered me and would not allow me to stand but instead brought me to my knees so that I may seek help from my Lord and Savior.
They say the Lord doesn’t give us more than we can handle, I know this isn’t true. He gave me more than I can handle so I seek him and lean on him.
My pain and suffering has strengthened me physically, emotionally and spiritually because I now know the true strength of God in my life and I no longer walk alone. God bless your ministry
Rosa, you wouldn’t be here today if God gave you more than you could handle, the fact that your pain and suffering made you better is a prove that Gods word is true and that He will never give us more than we could handle, certainly not, let God be true and every man a liar.
What a beautiful God we have to never leave nor forsake us! Remember dear friends there is ALWAYS beauty in the ashes, you just have to look!
Beautiful!! And so true!! Thank you for bringing this out so clearly and honestly!! Even in the valley(trials), God is good!! I’m so thankful for the valleys in my life! They are the times that God was the most real!! Amen!
I believe when I found my husband was seeking women and I found out it was something that I was so hurt that I feel to my knees asking God why!, if it hadn’t been for that I don’t think I would had truly been a renewed Christian that 2am morning in my bathroom floor. I was sick from grief. I was on my knees begging with Jesus to show me the way. Although the path wasn’t easy and still isn’t. It all happened in 2010 and I know it made me stronger.! My faith grew and continues to grow everyday. Our marriage has not been perfect and the intimacy still hasn’t been regained as it was before. But Jesus hold my hand and still holds my hands and I found true intimacy with Jesus and I know I was wonderfully fearfully made and love by him.
So humble & beautiful of a story❣️🙌🏼I’m praying you both do the things that show you care. It’s a choice, you don’t always like them:) worship God 1st. All will work out & romance follows worship not the other way around
I never put two and two together till I read this this morning. In our 3rd year of marriage my husband had an affair . Left me for a day I forgave him and that was the year I accepted Jesus as my savior we remained married with a lot of ups for 47 years when he passed away . My faith got me through every one . Seven years before he passed he accepted Jesus as his savior we had a good life . I don’t know Where I’d be With out my faith and thank God I won’t ever have too know.
Love this. Quick question? When Jesus calms the storm He had been sleeping in the boat with the disciples and they woke Him up. Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25. I never heard about Him being on the mountaintop. Do you have a reference. Thanks
In Matthew 14:23 he was on the mountaintop when the waves were against them…storm.
Ok. I don’t see Him calming the wind and waves in this story. I see Him walking out on the water. I agree He can calm the storms whether He’s in the boat or the mountaintop but anytime I’ve read about Him calming the wind and waves it was when He was asleep in the boat and the disciples had to wake Him. Thanks for your response.
As I’ve read through these replies, I’ve read the scriptures. Jesus calmed the storm After they got into the boat together. I had not thought very hard about that. They walked on the waves, in the storm, together. It puts more perspective on the story. It adds another layer to what Sharon said. I am encouraged by that.
Sorry I misread. I now see you talking about walking in the water. Thanks
I was hospitalized twice for depression. The depression was the absolute worse thing I’ve ever gone through. I was married to an alcoholic for 32 years when he asked for a divorce. I am now married to a wonderful man who hasn’t drank for 40 years. I’m retired and could never have imagined my life as great as it is now. I’m extremely grateful for everything I went through, to get me where I am today. God is so good. So many y to ones you can’t see the good until your through it. Have a blessed day!
Fell to my knees to rededicate my life to Jesus when my husband of 39 years left for a day in 2020. Found out late last year about his hidden pornography addiction and (?) unfaithfulness…(?) he left again 6 mo ago. Since then I have had to trust and rely on God more intensely than ever before. We are in Christian counseling weekly. Actually have a session today. I am choosing to wait on the Lord and praying for a miracle for my husband to repent and choose Christ. I am slowly beginning to really believe that God will care for me and bless me no matter what. Thank you Sharon. Your emails always come at just the right time.
The struggles I have experienced that made me stronger are raising my son without his father.
I have been in relationship with two men who have alcohol and drug addictions, as well as seeking relationship with unfaithful men.
I prayed God close doors and he did, leading me to lean on his truth and showing me these relationships will never fulfill my life.
I am still believing for a good healthy relationship or marriage, but believing I am content single as well.
Sharon, I appreciate each and every email I receive from you but this one really touched my heart. I am so very thankful for my salvation and the love of God I feel each and every day. He watches over me and those I love so tenderly and so completely.
I pray God’s care touches you in a special way today.
In Christ’s Love,
I had an affair 12 years ago. Six years ago I finally confessed my sin to my husband not knowing if he would forgive me or walk out on me. All I knew was that God prompted my heart to confess my sin; I felt so much peace in my confession. Here we are 6 years later, still a work in progress but my husband didn’t leave me. I pray everyday that he has truly forgiven me in the way Christ has forgiven me. I have never been more in love with my Savior and I am putting him as the center of my marriage every single day. Being on the other side of my sin, I feel blessed to have walked through the fire to get to this side of peace.
12 years ago I had an affair, 6 years ago I confessed my sin to my husband. I could not have spoken my sin without feeling God’s promise of peace if I let my sin go. I did feel immediate peace even though I had no idea if my husband would leave me or forgive me. Here we are 6 years later, still together and still working on our marriage. Some days the road is tougher than other days but now I put God before all things and keep Him @ the center of my marriage. I pray daily that my husband has forgiven me the way Christ has and I pray that my marriage will not be torn apart. I can say that I feel blessed to have walked through the fire to be able to find my peace. I see how this confession has also softened my husbands heart not only to me but to wanting to know more about God. I know He will continue to use this to heal our hearts our wounds and create a more beautiful marriage wrapped in Gods love.
I have severe depression, anxiety, CPTSD and panic attacks. I am in a financial crisis, not bc of covid, I was already there. I was the sole caregiver to my mother for 10 years until her death. I have no family. I have never been so here alone. But God has taught me lessons in the dark I could never have learned in the light. When everything shatters around you, you learn Who is there. You learn what is important. I used to live in a warm home with food, gas for my car, medial care. Now I live in a cold house and don’t always have the other things. But I am blessed. Bc when I reach up to God, I KNOW He is there. Always. That matters most of all.
May the Lord richly repay your devotion to your mother, sister!!
Gods faithfulness in my life is worthy of praise and worship. I was divorced 20 years ago from an abusive husband. I walked away from the Lord and went astray,but God in His unfailing Love drew me back to Him. He brought me a man who waited 7 years for me to commit to him we have now been married 10 years. God has done an amazing restoration of my heart and my mind. He has blessed me with a Christ family that encourages and stands in the Frontline with me when trials come. I know what abundant living is and its not riches like the world tells us. I’ve been freed from many fears, I know now that God’s faithfulness was ever present, even when I walked away. If anyone hasn’t given the opportunity for God to change your life, I challenge you to let Him in and allow His love to cover you. Surrender to Him, you won’t regret it.
The passing of my husband nearly two years ago has definitely made me stronger, to depend on the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit more than I ever have before. I hate to think where I would be on this journey without my faith!
Thank you for sharing this story. God had me stay in a marriage similar to your friends for 32 years until my ex divorced me. Lately I have struggled with thoughts questioning my decision to stay and fight for my marriage, but I can testify in agreement with your friend that God used it for the good to draw me to strong faith and confidence in Him.
I remember when my husband left me, I was feeling fearful and alone. But in the midst of thinking what ami going to do, in my spirit I heard the Lord say, Do you know how much I love you? And I knew in that moment that He would be with me to see me through whatever came my way! I wasn’t afraid any more. And He has always been with me through every trial that has come. Jesus has become my best Friend!
My greatest struggle was watching my husband’s battle with ALL leukemia & bone marrow transplant. It was the hardest thing to go through but I found myself on my knees at the alter, everyday in the hospitals chapel. There is where I found my greatest blessing, my faith. We lived in the hospital for 4 months that year. And I can tell you, the Lord carried me when I didn’t have strength left!! I now cherish this time because out of the suffering came the greatest faith-filled blessings. Thank you Lord Jesus 🙏🙏
Indeed .A GREAT READ. Thanks So Much.
My life parallels Patricias almost to a T. My ex only left once but after 34 years of mental abuse.
Recently he sweet talked me back into his life only to totally crush my heart again.
I clung to my faith the first time and will again.💗🙏
James 1: :2-4 Is my strength.
During Covid I had 5 family members in the hospital. My mom and grandma passed away. My younger sister was in ICU but made it out of the hospital with my other sister and brother in law. This has strengthened my faith and I know God is in control. A lot of things have happened with inheritance and having to sell property. It didn’t work like we were thinking it should but after the fact we see God was moving us in a certain direction for a reason. I am learning if I just pray and follow Him, the BIG PICTURE is so much better than the little picture I was wanting. Now, we find out my husband has cancer in his left kidney and because the Lord had a different plan than ours we are financially able to go through this when my husband can’t work. We would have never been able to if we had done things the way we wanted. God is our great Provider!!!
My struggle was with my marriage. I had no idea what a marriage was all about. I had no examples of a good marriage. My husband and I grew further apart. He started treating me more like his child than his wife. When he passed away, I reflected on where we went wrong and learned what not to do in a relationship. If God intends for me to get married again, He will be the center of our marriage.
Losing a 32 year marriage,
Abandoned in a country not my own .
Struggling to make it work, But God !
Has showed me he will supply.
The opening paragraph of this could have been written about me. I recently made the excruciating decision that I can’t continue with this one sided marriage after what will be 28 years (in April) and 4 kids. My faith has been growing and although I’m never sure I hear Gods voice I am desperately trying to listen and follow the path he has laid out for me. Thank you for the reminder that in the struggle he will guide us.
There are a few I was left by my first husband when our daughter was 4 months old. He has PTSD from war. But most recently my father was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. And that has been super hard on me. But I will say it has had me on my knees everyday. And I’m grateful for this time with God. Our relationship has been so much stronger . And for that I am thankful and grateful. And I pray that I get even closer to him.
Yes, we all are weathering different storms in our lives.
As for me, I can whole-heartedly thank God, for all my
on going struggles. It made me hunger and thirst passionately for our ABBA. It made me desperately NEED HIM. I cannot live without our FATHER ALMIGHTY.
My utmost desire is to glorify HIM in ALL areas of my life and I am excitedly awaiting for that day.
Oh, ABBA, be glorified….
The Holy Spirit is so perfect in knowing exactly what Word of encouragement we need. Today He did it again when I read this blog. A reminder that we really are more alike than we are different. The same Father, the same Holy Spirit, the same Jesus is keeping us all. I’m so thankful He is the same, He doesn’t change, His words are trustworthy. We can trust Him with our Heart. Even when tears come experience with Him reminds me they won’t stay.
COVID and moving across the country are definitely hard things I have faced that God used to make me stronger in my faith. Praise God; He is good!
I struggle with mental illness. It has made me rely on God and made me closer to Him. Being a Christian has made me be accepted in society and at church. Because of that I really am grateful to the Lord Jesus and appreciate Him so much.
I grew up in an abusive household. I had suppressed the memories for years. They were still there but, I did not dwell on them. They did not control my life. I have always been a Christian. My grandmother was an awesome person she taught me about the Lord. I never told her how my life was at home. I was ashamed. Long story short I was recently diagnosed with MS. Because of the disease, I was not myself. I could not control my thinking. I have depression, and anxiety caused by MS. I relived all the pain and feelings of the abuse constantly. In the last 30 years, I have built 2 businesses and raised 4 awesome children. I have the best husband in the world. I am proud of who I have become. No one knows what I went through except God. I never blamed him. I did ask why me. I have learned just recently realized when helping my daughter-in-law with a situation. My childhood made me who I am. I am Blessed to be me. I thank God that I can help people. Since that conversation, I am feeling like me again. God Bless you all! Sorry so long.