How God uses our past struggles to grow and strengthen our faith

Yesterday morning I drove my kids to school so my husband could sleep in a bit. The last couple of nights have been his most comfortable nights of sleep and being able to be in bed since he fractured his ribs in mid-December. If the guy can finally have a chance to get good rest, I will let him!

As I was driving the kids, we were chatting. I told them we may have to go to the store and figure out a new cell phone for me. It’s been a long time coming. My battery is slowly getting worse and worse. We’ve replaced it, and that didn’t matter. We have tried most everything, but something in my chemistry is hard on phones. (No joke!) Sunday night, my phone turned itself off overnight while plugged in. I powered it up on Monday morning and within a minute it went from 100% battery to 94% and only went down from there. Plus, it was slow to even come on.

My daughter joked with me about what is up with me right now, because my car is also broken down and unusable. We are working on that as well. It needs a repair my husband can do once he is back to normal and the weather cooperates. But, it also is just an older car and time for us to upgrade to something newer.

I told my kiddos that we’d figure it out. No worries. And, you know what? I truly meant that. We will figure it out. We don’t need to worry.

As I was driving home, I thought about these things. I’m not excited to pay for a new cell phone or new car. I know the other expenses our family has. However, I really am also not stressed, which is remarkable to me.

I’ve come a long way from the person I was when my husband and I were first married at 20 and 22. I remember a few times in our early years of marriage that unexpected expenses would come up, and I’d burst into tears.

The difference between Stacey 20 years ago and Stacey now is a lot of living that’s given me perspective. I’ve learned what really matters; money, cars and cell phones aren’t at the top of the list. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve survived losses, heartaches and health struggles. And I’ve grown and matured.

Even more importantly, I’ve grown in my faith. I have seen God provide a way for us time and again. My husband, who is our main income source, was without a job for an entire year and somehow that entire year we were able to continue paying our mortgage. We didn’t come out unscathed, but we made it through. Whenever an unexpected bill came in, usually an unexpected income arrived as well and we were able to make it.

We aren’t in that situation now, thankfully. While there are other things I’d rather spend the money on or put it in our savings, having a phone and car that work are necessary.

Since we both work from home, my husband and I have had some leeway in getting a new car for me. But we’ve had to do some intentional planning to make sure everyone gets where they need to be. Add in that he sometimes has to go into his office that is an hour away, and we definitely need another vehicle for transporting our family.

We will make it. We will figure it out. I’ve been praying that God will guide us and lead us in making good choices for our family as we figure it all out. I’m praying that He opens and closes the right doors for us as we go along. I fully trust that He will.

And I’m thankful I’m stronger. I can see how all the hard times I’ve been through have helped me to grow and mature in general and in my faith walk. I have survived when I thought I wouldn’t make it. I’ve seen God show up every single time. He has never left me hanging.

Feeling thankful for trials and hard times isn’t easy. Some of them I wish I could change, but I am thankful for the lessons learned and the ways God has used them to grow me.

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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