Turner Family Photo by Lee Steffen
This has been a hard year for a lot of people, including my husband Matthew and me. The economic crisis hit just as Matthew was supposed to embark on a big speaking tour. The tour was canceled and pushed back to spring. Then it was canceled again. We also had just had a baby who required day care, formula, diapers, shots and all the other baby necessities.
Many mornings I left for work in tears, not knowing how we would pay the bills. And as I drove, I prayed.
I prayed for provision.
I prayed for peace.
I prayed for courage.
Then I would dry my eyes and walk into work with a smile on my face.
Someone once told me that if you smile despite your circumstances, you will eventually have a brighter outlook. I believe that with all my heart.
During that time of smiling, I mustered up courage I didn't know I had.
I found courage while watching my son grow and laugh at the simplest pleasures.
I found courage in my husband's embrace.
I found courage in seeing our grocery bill shrink as I learned how to use coupons and save more.
I found courage when we received unexpected gifts.
I found courage when I counted my blessings instead of dwelling on what we couldn't afford.
Would I have found this courage if our circumstances had been different? Maybe. But I bet it would have been different. Think about Daniel in the lion's den. Think about David and Goliath. God often uses extreme situations for us to discover strength we otherwise would not have found. Thank you God for always knowing what your children need.
Things are beginning to look up for Matthew and me financially. And as I reflect on the past year, I am so grateful. Yes, it has been incredibly hard. But it has been beautiful, too. I appreciate so much more and know that when hard times hit again (they always do) I will have the courage to handle it.
Have you experienced a time in your life that, when you look back, you see God more clearly than you could during the hard times? What have those reflections taught you?