She sometimes thinks of herself as Mary, Mary quite contrary, but her heart is to live for Jesus fully, joyfully, wholly. Mary DeMuth is the author of over a dozen books, her most recent, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. She speaks to audiences around the world about living an uncaged, freedom-infused life.

Her own story is a great tale of God’s releasing her from shackles and cages aplenty. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, multiple divorces, death of her father and an unsafe home, Mary met Jesus at fifteen, hoping He’d make everything better. Joy didn’t come instantly, but Mary has experienced a compelling journey of slow, but steady healing. She now lives a life of impossible joy as a mom to three nearly-adult kids, a wife to a terrific husband, and a discipler of high school girls. Find out more at her website marydemuth.com.

*****

Have you ever been in a place where you felt God had abandoned you? Where your dreams felt ruptured and disregarded by the Almighty? Have you ever felt the distance of God so severely you could feel the weight of sorrow pressing down on you?

I have.

I sat on our bed in France, teeth gritting, eyes blurring from tears. “Why did God do this to us?” My husband listened, bless him, and let me go on. I rambled about losing our home to a conman back in Texas, about our church planting team dynamics messing with me on the deepest level, about our children hurting daily in difficult schools with abusive teachers and sometimes-mean students, about my dreams of publishing slipping away, about how insignificant, lost and alone I felt every single day. I truly felt like everything important to me had been shattered.

And I had been the good girl, the missionary girl, the one who followed Jesus to the ends of the c’est la vie earth.

Honestly, I didn’t have a revelation when I spilled my anger. I didn’t even feel better in the catharsis. I simply put one more foot in front of the other and persevered and cried and prayed. It would be later I’d finally understand.

Not long after that, we moved back to Texas, feeling the angst of failure.

It took years for me to see the whys of that journey. Years to understand why God would lead us into heartache like that. I used to think that because I’d had a difficult upbringing that God now, henceforth, owed me a better life–conflict free, full of ponies and rainbows. I also naively thought that if we followed God around the world to be missionaries, He’d bring automatic success. Certainly not failure and loss.

I’d forgotten this unpopular verse (that later follows the “Trust in the Lord” verses): “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

God disciplines those He loves. And He loves me. And He loves you. And since He does, He walks with us through difficult trials.

Why?

Because really, when have you grown the most? Did you grow after a period of three months of pony-rainbow bliss? Usually not. We grow after heartache, trial, and storms. The beauty of the Christian life isn’t that we’ll live trial free, but that we’ll have the hand of Jesus through the trial. We may feel we’ve been abandoned, when in reality God is using that pressing time to grow us.

Watch how others learned this valuable lesson when Jesus became their everything.

Jesus used France to help me get to that place of surrender. He stripped (disciplined!) away everything I relied on (money, meaningful work, family, parenthood, communication) instead of Jesus. From that place of profound loss, Jesus began the long arduous task of rebuilding Mary Mary Quite Contrary so I could come to the place of having deep gratitude for France and what God wrought in me there.

It’s in that soil of loss and bewilderment, then finding more of Jesus and more of life, that birthed Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. The book reflects everything I know about Jesus, everything I know about growth. I learned that control is what prevents us from growing like crazy, and that joy comes in relinquishing it. I learned the power of resilience and the importance of no longer defining ourselves by the past.

Intrigued? I have a free ebook for you: 12 Steps to Impossible Joy, based on Everything. Click here to receive it.

I’d love for you to experience the everything life alongside me. That’s why we’re giving away five copies of the book to those who comment here. Simply answer this question in the comment section.

Q: When did you grow the most as a Christian and why?

comments:
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comments:

  1. 1

    Right now God is growing me the most I’ve ever had through an incurable genetic disability. As it progresses I am learning to do less and allow Him to do more! So far I’ve learnt the lesson of patience and the lesson of trust. I’m not sure what’s next but I know He will walk with me through it all

  2. 6

    I’ve grown the most as a Christian over the last few months, and it was all started by a church retreat with a wonderful guest speaker. It’s amazing how daily (or maybe I should say frequent) bible reading and prayer can bring about changes in your life.

  3. 8

    When my ex husband for 15 years kept telling me that he was ashamed of me because I was fat. After lies after lies he left. That period of rejection helped to learned to love the body that God gave me and be in love with who I am. Today I’m free on those lies.

  4. 10
    Anonymous says:

    When my preacher husband of 34 years left for someone 20 years younger after counseling many not to do this

  5. 11
    Dorothea says:

    When my preacher husband of 34 years left for someone 20 years younger after counseling many not to do this

  6. 14
    Jennifer says:

    When my husband of 11 years left for another woman. Being single now for 5 I can look back and see enormous growth.

  7. 16

    I grew most as I watched my 21 year old sister fight and lose an 18 month battle with cancer. Many lessons taken from there.

  8. 18

    my 21 year old sister fought and lost an 18 month battle with cancer. Many lessons taken from there.

  9. 19

    When I was just out of college, my wonderful boyfriend and I got engaged. A few months later, he was diagnosed with cancer, had a bone marrow transplant… and died. I prayed so hard, so steadily, so constantly that even though I am now married with kids and living a nice life I am not nearly as close to God as I was then. I felt like my feet didn’t quite touch the ground without Jesus clearing the way for me then. Now, I feel clumsy and fall a lot because I try and do so much on my own.

    • 20

      Such a good insight here Jen. When we go through hard trials, we sometimes realize that we are truly not in control and we depend on Him more. I worry when my life is easy because then I’m not naturally inclined to trust Jesus.

      • 21

        Oh I love this – ” I worry when my life is easy because then I’m not naturally inclined to trust Jesus”. This is so me. My life was easy for years… And I had no idea what it was REALLY like to trust God. Now that I have adult children and things don’t always go the way I planned for them ;) , I get what trusting God is about (and how I have to sign up to do that many times a day).

      • 22

        Oh I love this – ” I worry when my life is easy because then I’m not naturally inclined to trust Jesus”. This is so me. My life was easy for years… And I had no idea what it was REALLY like to trust God. Now that I have adult children and things don’t always go the way I planned for them ;) , I get what trusting God is about.

  10. 23
    Shannon says:

    When I found out my mom had a heart attack. The second I heard the news my knees hit the floor and I prayed like never before. I truly believe that God brought her through and gave me the strength to handle everything that was happening. It had been a while since I had meet Christ on my knees. I’m working to keep that line of communication open!

  11. 25

    Becoming a widow at the age of 40 with three young children still at home began the biggest growth period of my life so far. I look back at the person I was in Christ then and who I am now and I am amazed at how far God has brought me.

  12. 27
    Stephanie says:

    Undoubtedly I grew the most during the most painful and broken years of my life. After experiencing the loss of two dear family members and experiencing two painful breakups my mental and emotional health was at an all-time low. It was then that Jesus was able to begin changing my heart and mind and to truly begin creating me in His own image. Though the last two years of my life have been painful, I am finally learning to thank God for the work He is doing in me.

  13. 29

    Being rejected by one of my closest friends was a catalyst for much growth. He is all we need and He will provide.

  14. 31

    Struggling with infertility.

  15. 33
    Elizabeth says:

    When I was 22, my family (parents, siblings, and I) made the difficult decision to cut off relatives that are part of an abuse cycle that we needed to get out of. The healing has taken (and is taking) a long time even after we chose as a nuclear family to step away from extended family. I have grown enormously in my walk with God, but I wouldn’t wish abuse circumstances on anyone. I remind myself that you have to take what you get in life and let it mold you into a better person.

  16. 35

    Last year when my beautiful 18 year old daughter was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. For weeks she went undiagnosed with migraine headaches. She became so overwhelmed that we had to homeschool her for the remainder of the year. This has been one of the most difficult journeys I have ever faced! I was given the book One Thousand Blessings during those early days and I began journaling all of God’s blessings daily. What a testimony to His faithfulness it is today as I can reflect on how He provided for us every step of the way! Today, my precious daughter is healthy and joyful again and because of the trials she has a deeper relationship with The Lord!

    • 36

      So hard. So, so hard. We walked through something similar this year. The agony of that is tangible. And amen that she is healthy and you could see God’s blessings through it all.

  17. 37

    When my dad died 5 years ago because God was the only unchanging thing in my life I knew I could count on and not lose!

  18. 39

    10 years ago – Our 21 year old son was killed in a senseless act after fleeing police. We never got answers about what lead up to this day but we never asked “Why”. This terrible incident lead us closer to God, to lean solely on Him, to lead our family to turn to God for peace and comfort. We know we will see him again in Paradise and that is truly the “Greatest Gift”!!

  19. 41
    Tanya D says:

    I grew the most in my relationship with God during my divorce from my husband of 16 years. God showed me that His love was (and is!) enough to cover my hurts. He gave me the strength and courage to get out of bed each day and continued to bless me and my 2 sons. My life is far from perfect and I’m still recovering from the shattering of my family & the brokenness of my dreams, but I live knowing in my heart that God sometimes works his greatest miracles by doing something more amazing than we can ever imagine with the worst of situations in our lives. Blessings to you!

  20. 43

    I grew most as a Christian when I felt abandoned by our Lord. It was in my tumultuous twenties, nearly thirty years ago when I just couldn’t even find a boyfriend who was honorable and true, let alone a life partner. When I gave my desires and thoughts entirely to God, my call was answered and within days a man was brought into my life who will be my husband of 26 years this coming Thursday. God is good. God is great. One just needs to be patient and realize that our will is not always God’s will.
    I continue to grow in the Lord’s grace and take this blessed life one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.

    • 44

      What a gracious God we have! Congrats for 26 years!

    • 45

      This is me, right now. My name is also Beth so when I read this, I thought – I could have written this but didn’t ! The part that’s me? “I grew most as a Christian when I felt abandoned by our Lord”. Yep, I did too. And I came to realize He never has abandoned me.

  21. 46

    Thanks, Mary, I needed that today.

  22. 48

    Through the death of our third child I was very close to the Lord. When the situational depression didn’t lift the Holy Spirit led me to seek help, which became a diagnosis that explained so much from my past. God is guiding our family through my mental illness.

  23. 50

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you….

  24. 52
    Karen Sebor says:

    I thought I always “knew” God and relied on Him. Until our adult daughter, mother of three children, was incarcerated for embezzelment, I didn’t know how much growing remained to be done in Christ!! I continue to grow and come to know Christ each day of my life, and I rejoice when I do if it follows a struggle, a success, a blessing or a challenge. I am trying so hard to walk in His footsteps. I pray for out daughter’s protection while she remains in prison.

  25. 54

    I got so excited when I read the title of this post – because it was like Mary was speaking directly to me, telling me exactly what I needed to hear, and what I’m now – thankfully, after a few dark weeks – beginning to realize. My husband and I have battled unique-to-us, painful, heart-wrenching family problems recently, and I have never doubted my faith or my God as often or as deep as I have these past few weeks. Each time, God was gentle and kind and loving with me, picking me up from my puddle on the ground where I lay limp in tears, and showing me His handiwork in my life in ways that utterly astounded me. His care is so loving and so personal.

    I feel like I have been absolutely pulled out of my nice little seed pod this past month and have been forced to bloom like an – unfortunately – unwilling spring flower. God did not abandon me, as I foolishly thought – instead, He stretched me so I could grow and be more beautiful than I was. My problems have not gone away, my situations have not changed, my concerns are still there, but I have changed…because He has changed me. And that makes me love Him all the more.

  26. 56

    Caring for my mom at home during her final months of life. Profound sorrow when she went to heaven taught me that my true identity is found first in being God’s daughter. I experienced that deep peace that passes understanding and found Him to be true to His every promise.

  27. 58
    Mary Mc says:

    Mary Thank you for this post. I have grown the most in my faith when facing financial difficulties following the failure of a business venture. I took pride in my self-sufficiency and ability to earn a living, and while that continued, I had to deal with the fallout from a failed family business that left us without any reserves. God was so faithful and opened up new avenues of ministry. I am still too focused on my own sufficiency, but am learning more and more that He is my Provision.

  28. 60

    10 years ago when my brother suddenly and enexpectedly passed away at 14. I.understood the goodness of God and his love and grace more throught that than any time up until then. Most recently this past year when I was headed to the missionfield as a single missionary to work with a family in africa. I had made preparations, moved, gotten rid of possessions…then a few months later those missionaries had to leave the field never to return. It has been 9 months since then and as this week we have had our missions conference at church , ive been having a hard time thinking about what might have been. Then I checked my email this morning and saw “God hasn’t abandoned you. He is growing you”. I really needed to see this today! Thank you

    • 61

      Sarah, this makes my week. Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad this post resonated with you. We won’t know the why of having to leave the field this side of eternity, but thank you for your obedience.

  29. 62
    Christine says:

    I’ve grown the most while losing my parents (I’m an only child) in my 30′s while going through cancer. I then lost my Grandmother, and a very close cousin, the last of my close family, I now have none.
    I have been going through cancer for 13 years, I had a recurrence and lost my youth, beauty, physical strength, my ability to have children, and all my money, because I had no insurance until the recent federal law that has provided uninsurable people insurance. I recently went into the hospital with vertigo and had to undergo brain surgery.Ii also have lung, breast and brain cancer.
    I emerged from the emergency surgery able to walk, talk…everything pretty much the same as when I went in, I only walk slower and have difficulty going up and down stairs easily, I found out from my team of doctors that this is extremely unusual, I’ts a miracle that I am able to be “normal” like this, I just found this out…I wondered why all the doctors were shocked with my complete recovery with no PT, this was this January. During that time I was gifted with many spiritual gifts that i could never explain bringing me closer to Christ and God. I plan to recover completely and work to help others find deep and lasting faith.

  30. 64
    Blair Washington says:

    At the age of 15 after living a life of promiscuity and drug abuse. Then at the age 30, after ten years of marriage and five kids when i found myself feeling defeated and lost once again.

  31. 66

    When I went through divorce I really developed a relationship with our Lord, He was the one constant never changing.

  32. 68
    Anna D. says:

    Right now. My marriage is struggling, financially we are on the verge of losing it all and my new photography business which seemed so promising just a month a go isn’t doing as well as I hoped. I’m leaning more on Jesus to get me through and have definitely grown. I’m so intrigued by this book I hope I can win as I can’t afford to buy a copy. :)

  33. 70

    Thanks Mary – for this quick article. It just so happens that I’m in the southern part of Chile saying many of the same things you said in France – and I’m holding on. My husband is Chilean and we feel called to be here.

    Your words are helpful – may you be blessed. I’d love to connect sometime about writing.

    Tina

  34. 72

    what an impetus for God to speak to me…in the midst of reading this today….i am awed, and humbled, and grateful, and thankful that God waits…on ME….a LOT…to come to Him…quietly, and in honesty….to hear what He wants to say!
    i will not go into detail about my life (i believe, when it’s His timing, it will be written in whatever form He chooses), but what He just spoke was that UNTIL i have come to that place….when ALL had been taken from me….the “things” that were impeding my obedience, trust, surrender….would i truly, TRULY understand what it is He’s been asking of me.
    so i thank you….and i most sincerely thank the Lord God Almighty, who in His infinite timing, grace and love, chose today, JUST when i needed to get that “kick” of quiet reflection, for you to send this beautiful message of the joy of trials!!!
    God’s blessings as He uses us…ALL!!!

  35. 74
    SharonG says:

    Hi Mary I am so happy for you to have grown but I simply cannot answer that question right now. For now and in the last few years I feel further and further away then I think I ever have. So much has happen in health with both family and myself, in relationships with family, close family and friends that it leaves me just pondering all the time lately. I know I have lived my life as a good person and am trying to find out what I have done so wrong that these things are continually happening to those that i love and to myself. Thank you for the insight to yourself today it was uplifting to know that there are others asking questions at one time or another. I still pray, I do think there is good in the world but I cannot say that I have grown as a christian in the last ew years if anything I find it a struggling period. Have a great day

    • 75

      Sharon – I could have written these exact words just a couple of weeks ago. I had never doubted God so much in my life, and it seemed as if the pain for myself and my husband and children would not end. I could not understand why God would allow such misery into my life, and the questions, “Where did I/we go wrong?” haunted me daily, hourly.

      I’ve since turned everything over to Him, and my burden is lifted and my heart is lighter and I’ve experienced growth. Nothing in my situations has changed, but I have changed. It was painful, it was hard, and it’s taking a lot of guts for me to trust Him with everything that continues to swirl about me, but I’ve finally come to the place where I realize it’s the only choice I have. And He’s showing me it’s the best choice I could possibly make.

      Please be assured that nothing you’ve done is unable to be covered by the love, blood, and healing power of Jesus Christ. You are not responsible for what is happening to those around you. The way out of what you are feeling and experiencing is complete and total surrender to Jesus and an utter abandonment to Him; a resolve to literally let go and let God. Come to Him with open hands and ask Him to fill them. Your circumstances may or may not change, but YOU will. You will be able to rest in His everlasting arms and let Him take care of everyone and everything.

      It’s the best place to be. And then you can grow from there.

    • 76

      I was in that place in France. I honestly saw NO light, NO way out, and I was utterly at the end of myself. There are seasons, and it sounds like you are in a painful one right now. Jesus, please lift Sharon’s head. Please help her find You in the mess. Help her know even today that You are mindful of her.

  36. 77

    I grew the most as a Christian when I threw caution to the wind and went on a missions trip to Mexico. A lot of the leaders on that team let me down, so I had to learn to let go and rely on God. And then the pure beauty of worshipping with believers from another county…fantastic.

  37. 79

    I grew the most when I had an ectopic pregnancy. It was the first “trial” I had endured since becoming a Christian and I can now understand why God does allow us to go through such things–because my dependency on it skyrocketed when there was no comfort this world could offer me. I sought Him in a way I had not before.

    • 80

      My first pregnancy was ectopic. I yelled at God! I was so so so broken and upset by it. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but thankful You found Him to be faithful in the midst.

  38. 81

    Prior to a recurrence of cancer, now vaginal. God was working on my heart before I knew what was ahead. As always God is always ahead of us and I just finished 6 weeks of beauty treatments 5 days a week, yaAye!! Chemo is my primer as it prepared the area for the radiation moisturizer :) The amazing thing is Im not sick! I am daily being beautified because God has shown my heart what it is to love others unconditionally, this is the greatest gift of all aside from salvation. For God to consider me a vessel to share his love with others is such an honor and privelege it leaves me in awe…Wow! Blessed am I!!!
    Praise God for he is gOOod ALL the time!

  39. 84

    My greatest growth came in 2006 when my husband of 11 years walked out the door and left me with our two boys. I had no job had not finished my college education and was left to raise my boys. He lied over and over and had been involved with another women for quite sometime before leaving me. All I had was God and his strength to get me through. I lived in another state away from all my family. God showed me that HE was all I needed. Since then I have remarried and I have been able to use my growing experience to help me in the tough days that I face now.

  40. 86

    hard to put into so few words of how God has “grown” me. the first lesson was when i was pregnant with my first child, my dream baby come true! He lived for 6 days and died of a heart deformity. I burried my son 38 years ago today. But never have i experience the love of my Heavenly Father, MY God, and the physical strength of the Holy Spirit, than i did that day. It is beyond words how God carried me thru that situation. But I learned that no matter what I go thru, or hold someones hand as they go thru trials, that GOD WILL NEVER, EVER LEAVE YOU. His hand is mighty and His shoulders are strong enough to carry my burdens, hurts, fears and even anger. Ten years later, He revealed to me a secret, that has calmed any anger I had. His timing was ok with me. I am His, and I know it. Life is hard, and God is good….all the time.

  41. 88

    Mary I can so appreciate what you are saying. About 10 years ago I lost everything. My family, my friends, my self respect. I spent the next two years trying to survive and although I didn’t know Jesus as I do today, that experience did bring me to where I am now and I can’t imagine my life any different. I truly wish that I would have had Him walking next to me then, I may have made better choices instead of making things worse. Although reflecting back on those years is painful, I know that I grew immensely…a growth that I wouldn’t have otherwise gained. Thank you for encouraging others to see that wisdom.

  42. 90

    I have gone through mental, emotional,and physical abuse as a child.
    I almost died having my first child I was a single mother at that time.
    My husband wen t overseas when I had my third child.She was about 3 months when she left.
    When he came back I found out he had relations with another woman.
    During my marriage I was physicaly and mentaly abused and my children were also.
    I cried out to God I could not take this abuse anymore.It took 10 years to stop the abuse of my husband.I had to step between my huband and my child to stop the abuse.I was very scared when I did this.
    My children are grown now.But several of us are going through some trying things that I can’t discuss.
    Please pray for me and my family.

  43. 92

    Yes after the truck 13 peices of yellow iron(construction equipment) employees(32) trucks, career and jobs. My husbands health striped to the point he left him in the chair . No more private schools. Big boy toys gone and now my health is failing. God just wants us through all the trials he inflicks. He just wants us to trust him. When we say we are his, are we really ?
    Just trust him.

  44. 94

    When I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 27 and my son had just turned 4 months old. He drew me to such a higher, newer, more beautiful and intimate place of FULL reliance on Him and His will for my life.

  45. 96

    I have gone through mental, emotional,and physical abuse as a ch
    My husband went overseas when I had my third child.She was about 3 months when she left.
    When he came back I found out he had relations with another woman.
    During my marriage I was physicaly and mentaly abused and my children were also.
    I cried out to God I could not take this abuse anymore.It took 10 years to stop the abuse of my husband.I had to step between my huband and my child to stop the abuse.I was very scared when I did this.
    My children are grown now.But several of us are going through some trying things that I can’t discuss.
    Please pray for me and my family.

  46. 97

    I have gone through mental, emotional and physical abuse as a child.
    My husband went overseas when I had my third child.She was about 3 months when she left.
    When he came back I found out he had relations with another woman.
    During my marriage I was physicaly and mentaly abused and my children were also.
    It took ten years to stop the abuse.
    My children are grown now.But several of us are going through some trying things that I can’t discuss.
    Please pray for me and my family.

  47. 98

    My husband went overseas when I had my third child.She was about 3 months when she left.
    When he came back I found out he had relations with another woman.
    During my marriage he was physicaly and mentaly abused and my children were also.
    It took ten years to stop the abuse.
    My children are grown now.But several of us are going through some trying things that I can’t discuss.
    Please pray for me and my family.

  48. 100

    I’m growing right now! Our finances are inconsistent – I have a full time job, but my husband is self employed (twice! massage therapist and also does leatherwork and jewelry making) so his income is not consistent from week to week. I have stomach aches, I cry, I worry – and when that happens, what helps the most is just to go – go to the Word and to pray and to recall all the many blessings I’ve been given. I tell myself that God’s timing is perfect, and he is the omniscient, omnipotnet, never breaks a promise one in our relationship – not me…..and that Satan would love nothing more than for me to just stop believing. But – he’s a liar, and the things he whispers to me aren’t true. I don’t think there is a magical answer – you just keep going, knowing that God is with you. And, sadly, it is true – when things go well, you are alot more likely (at least I am) to take things for granted and not make time for prayer and devotional reading. I hope everyone who responds to this question feels God’s hand upon them this week. I will be praying that for all of us!

  49. 102

    My husband went overseas when I had my third child.She was about 3 months when he left.
    When he came back I found out he had relations with another woman.
    During my marriage he was physicaly and mentaly abused to me and my children were also.
    It took ten years to stop the abuse.
    My children are grown now.But several of us are going through some trying things that I can’t discuss.
    Please pray for me and my family.

  50. 103

    I can definitely say that right now, in the last 2 years, I have grown more and more as a follower of Christ. After the complete shock of being diagnosed with Diabetes, I thought life as I knew was over. I felt a bondage attach itself to me. Slowly but surely, God has been working in me, helping me focus on Him, trust in Him. I’ve spent more time in His word, on my knees praying, worshipping deeper, and learning to put my trust in Him, seek Him first.

    The diagnosis does not define me, and I let it define me in the beginning. But now God is showing me how He sees me. How He created me to be. My God still heals and I’m resting in HIS hands. “The devil on his best day can’t take me out on my worst day.” (Christine Caine)

    Thanks Mary for all you do, your encouragement, transparency, and living a life second to Him! You are precious in His sight!!

  51. 105

    I grew the most when I had to depend on GOD. My children were also abused.It took me ten years for this to end this.

  52. 106

    I grew the most when I had to depend on GOD. My children were also abused.It took me ten years for this to end this.

  53. 107
    Sandi Lee Aldridge says:

    It’s taken a lot for me to realize that what God is doing is helping me grow and lean on him. I have lost most of my immediate family. I have my son and husband left. My parents, grandparents and my precious brother (46) have all gone to be with the Lord. This has all happened with in the last 10 years. My brother’s passing was the “doozy”. He was my rock. I called him about everything. He died January 3rd. I was so upset when he died and I became a little angry at God and confused as to why he took Timmy from me. I then started to feel the separation. It was even more painful than the loss of Timmy. I asked for forgiveness and figured that one day I’ll understand. One day my 13 year old son was asking why God took Timmy (they were best friends). It was as if it were a revelation to me at that exact moment. I told him it’s to make us stronger and to learn to lean on God more. I told him it will also help us to comfort others when they go through something similar. It was like I was telling myself this as I was telling him. Just when I thought God had took away my family to punish me; he was actually doing it to give me something that will be more precious……closeness with him. I still miss my family deeply, but I feel like I’m getting stronger everyday.

  54. 109

    I grew the most when I started reading the bible and doing bible studies. I had a bad childhood with abuse. It left me with many confused. My life was built on misconceptions and lies. Only as the Holy Spirit started opening the truths of His Word to me could I see those lies and the enemy’s work. It has been a long process and continues today, but slowly the Truth has been replacing those lies and I am growing in freedom.

  55. 111

    I grew most when my husband and I were let go from our church. 2.5 years of waiting for the next position before it finally arrived. Through financial loss, illness, abandonment, poor decisions made in desperation, and despair, I grew in so many different ways. As difficult as it was, I was grateful for the lessons and the increased faith. But, I never guessed that one year and three months after finally being blessed with a new ministry position that my husband would be let go again. Today my biggest challenge is letting go of the ‘why’ churches dismiss good Godly men with integrity and do well at their ministry. Casting them off to scramble to find work which is so elusive, with no unemployment to fall back on, when there are so many other options is beyond me. Needless to say….we must be in the discipline mode again…yet standing firm…watching God work and trusting for a big breakthrough SOON.

  56. 113

    I can very much relate. I am still somewhat in a stage where I sometimes feel abandoned, but I do what I can & keep on going. This article was nice – a reminder that even when it feels like God is gone..he is still there. Also that trials (as hard as they are) are truly a blessing in disguise. Thank you for the reminder!

  57. 115
    Chirsty says:

    I am growing most right now! My husband lost his job in ministry due to cutbacks about 14 months ago. We have three daughters, all in transitional times. My oldest graduates with her bachelor degree in a month. My middle child leaves for college (as a junior in college) and is getting married next month. And my youngest (who is in the throws of rebellion after dealing with a hurt that would throw the most mature Christian of track) will be a senior in high school next month. We were so sure we were on the right track. So sure we were where God wanted us. Our finances, physical health, emotional health, relational health, and mental health have been under constant strain for a while now. I felt God was silent, but now I know I just wouldn’t shut up long enough to hear. We have survived, and do realize now, just how much we are growing. We have had to truly trust in GOD for everything…

    • 116

      This is profound and priceless (and sounds just like me) – ” I felt God was silent, but now I know I just wouldn’t shut up long enough to hear. We have survived, and do realize now, just how much we are growing. We have had to truly trust in GOD for everything…”

    • 117

      Yes, yes, but so hard to do. Hence the title of my book “Everything.” I find the most joy when I give Jesus everything.

  58. 118

    I have a history of being a people-pleaser. I’ve always hated to have someone mad at me. I’m a homeschool mother of four and I was heavily serving at my church–as soon as one event was finished I started on the next. For over a year the Lord had been telling me I needed to slow down. I feared upsetting those who I served with more than I feared disobeying God. I’ve suffered from depression more years than I can remember, but last fall the Lord had had enough of my disobedience and brought me to my knees–using depression as the tool to accomplish it. My eyes have been awaken. I now wish to obey my Savior, yes it will always be hard to break the habit of pleasing people, but I now plan to obey only my Lord’s voice. I have been given such a true joy after coming though the storm. Blessings, Kasey

    • 119

      I’d love to say I’m a recovering people pleaser, but an incident came up this week that showed me just how much I still struggle with this. Hang in there, Kacy. It’s a gift that you’re learning to let go of pleasing others.

  59. 120
    Marsha Usvolk says:

    That old saying, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, well I might be the poster child for that one:). 2002 began a series of events in my life that we recovered and grew closer to God and thought, ‘it can only get better.’ Boy, was I wrong. In 2002 we lost my father in law (one of my best friends) after many years of illness. A week after that, my oldest son (13) was arrested for a minor drug related crime. The next spring I had a traumatic head injury that took surgery and much time to recover from, then lost a dear friend over issues to do with my son. My husband lost his job of 20 years. Life went on, my husband went to work and found a better situation, my oldest went off to school to a Jr college. We thought we had gotten thru His ‘punishments’, we knew nothing. My oldest was arrested and convicted for pharmacy robberies to support his addiction to opiates and was also a heroine addict. With time in prison, he became a Christian, we all did. Not the ‘everyone gets religion in jail kind’, either. I have such a beautiful letter from him that I would love to share. All of these life events brought back a memory from when I was 16 and on a church retreat. God spoke to me and I was too confused and embarrassed to share this. He said, ‘it’s going to be alright’. He knew then what lay ahead for us/me. I may loose faith or falter at times again but, I will never loose faith in those words He spoke to me.

  60. 122

    I am growing the most right now as my children (who are grown)are going through sme major stresses.I feel like I have a burden on my shoulders for all of them.But I must realize GOD is in control.

  61. 124

    I am growing the most right now as my children (who are grown)are going through sme major stresses.I feel like I have a burden on my shoulders for all of them.But I must realize GOD is in control.

  62. 125

    I cannot tell you how much I needed this writing and insistent reality check AGAIN. For me, because after 20+ years of a wearing, everyday “trial”, I have slipped into focusing on the problem, wanting relief, rescue, even revenge, rather than this recent, more intense, present season of testing. Being confused about “Why am I not doing well, learning, resting, rising above, like I have at different times in the past?! What’s wrong with me!?”

    Mary, quoting Proverbs 3:11-12 was extremely important and timely for me to hear AGAIN. Last week I had begun to listen to a series of messages by James MacDonald titled, “When Life Is Hard”. He had quoted it as repeated in Hebrews 12:7, emphasizing “it is for discipline that you ENDURE”. ie that a person ENDURES so that hey can go through and benefit from the discipline. I had some difficulty wrapping my brain and heart around that! He then mentioned, and I verified, by researching the word “discipline” there. It originally was the word for “instruction of children”. Being taught! It was NOT a penal instruction/discipline NOR with words, but instruction by/with deeds. That helped me SO much! Helped me, at least a little at this time, with the perspective I need and will benefit me. I pray it does for others.

    Thank you so very much! Much blessing and encouragement to you and all the others who have written in about this. And now I consider and pray for someone who has a much greater and unimaginable trial than me, and potential for abandonment wonderings than I–a friend whose son just suddenly died, with his wife and 2 little ones still here on earth.

  63. 127

    I grew up in church, was always a christian. As I got older, I felt that my dream to be a wife and mom needed my help. I married the wrong man, I did not wait for the one God has for me. I got pregnant with my daughter and was suddenly struck with how much I wanted her to fully know and love Jesus. I really refocused my walk and prayer life throughout my pregnancy. When my daughter turned one, I finally had to end my marriage, 2 months to the day after I did that, my dad died suddenly in his sleep. I actually was there when it happened and had to do chest compressions until the ambulance came. This was a very tough time for me, but my God was so close and so present. My faith and relationship grew tremendously.

  64. 129
    Niki Blake says:

    When I moved 5 times in 8 years with two little boys, no family and a traveling husband. :)

  65. 130

    Oh you’ve encouraged me !!! This weekend I just exhausted myself to The Lord and said I’m a breath away from trying, believing and loosing all faith.
    It’s been a tough 4+ yr journey. Lost my home, underemployed then no work
    Sensed god using my skills to strath writing, designing and speaking to women to encourage them but nothing seems to be working out
    Just don’t know what else to do.
    Then there’s hope thru someone like you who offers your testimonial and I will go on today
    One step at a time.
    Uncertain of who what where when
    But certain of his love for me. His promises are yes and amen , and the process is preparing me for each one!
    Praise God!

  66. 132

    So sorry! I just went back to your writing to re-read it, and saw that when I wrote the above, I didn’t realize I was supposed to answer the question at the bottom! But I guess that you can tell that during the past 20+ years, I have grown mostly in a healthy way through this long term testing! But recently, very frankly i have struggled.

    At this moment, my friend, with the loss of her son, is my greatest prayer concern for her and her husband, the young man’s widow and children to grow through it, seeing God work it for good. My struggles are extremely minor as I consider that. (Please don’t misunderstand, I am not trying to “compare” trials. They cannot be compared, nor should they. However, I gain perspective on mine as I consider others’.)

  67. 134
    Shawn Bensley says:

    When did I grow the most. Thru the hardest period in my life. I had been going to the same church all my life and now after 40 years in the same church, God was leading me elsewhere. The church was in turmoil and spiritual growth had come to a stand still. God lead my family to a new church and new spiritual maturity.

  68. 136
    Kathy Sturgis says:

    I have grown the most through failure in my career. As all the doors shut and I began looking for another way to serve God, He began pinning me into a corner so that I could begin to see my selfishness and desire to have my own way. That led to being married and having children which led to more tries to be perfect followed by humbling experiences that taught me God wanted me to depend on Him not my own ability. It just seems I go from one lesson to another. There is a Lot of junk to clean off this pot.

  69. 138

    Mary,
    I so appreciate your post. Truly the times I have grown the most through Christ and in Christ, have been times of trial. It may be hard to thank God in the midst of the trial, but when able to reflect in hindsight, I have always been able to see that God was there walking through the trial with me. And, joy truly does come in relinquishing control! A lesson I’ve had to learn and re-learn throughout my 52 years of life. Thanks for sharing!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  70. 140

    Just yesterday, I had journaled this exact question “Why, Lord, have you abandoned me?”, as I find my dreams growing less tangible, my husband slipping away, + myself failing miserably @ life….

    I felt closest to God several yrs ago, the year my husband earned a meager $7,000.00, stepping into his own business, a journey we whole-heartedly believed God called us to. We faced each day with uncertainty as to how we were going to feed our babies, and had no choice, but to depend on His miracles…and God always provided.

    Looking back, it almost felt easier then, when we couldn’t afford to take our eyes off of Heaven. Yet now, we just bought a house and find ourselves in the same situation, still reeling from the burn of failure. This time, with twice as many kids, and 3x the financial obligations…and shaky faith. Although my struggles seem pale in comparison to other comments here, God has been so good to me, and I have come away from this post with a little perspective.

  71. 142

    Just yesterday, I had journaled this exact question “Why, Lord, have you abandoned me?”, as I find my dreams growing less tangible, my husband slipping, + myself failing…

    I felt closest to God several yrs ago, the year my husband earned a meager $7,000.00, stepping into his own business, a journey we whole-heartedly believed God called us to. We faced each day with uncertainty as to how we were going to feed our babies, and had no choice, but to depend on His miracles…and God always provided.

    Looking back, it almost felt easier then, when we couldn’t afford to take our eyes off of Heaven. Yet now, we find ourselves in the same situation, still reeling from the burn of failure. Although my story seems pale in comparison to other comments here, God has been so good to me, and I have come away from this post with a little perspective.

  72. 143

    Just yesterday, I had journaled this exact question “Why, Lord, have you abandoned me?”, as I find my dreams growing less tangible, my husband slipping, + myself failing…

    I felt closest to God several yrs ago, the year my husband earned a meager $7,000.00, stepping into his own business, a journey we whole-heartedly believed God called us to. We faced each day with uncertainty as to how we were going to feed our babies, and had no choice, but to depend on His miracles…and God always provided.

    Looking back, it almost felt easier then, when we couldn’t afford to take our eyes off of Heaven. Yet now, we find ourselves in the same situation, still reeling from the burn of failure. Although my story seems pale in comparison to other comments here, God has been so good to me, and I have come away from this post with a little perspective.

  73. 144
    Jennifer D. says:

    I grew the most as a Christian when I had my first child. I realized the extent of Christ’s love for me as I loved my daughter so incredibly much. My faith and love for My Savior grew so much!

  74. 146

    I believe I grew the most while watching my husband slip slowly away over a seven month period following a stroke. On the days when I was weak he encouraged me and on the days when he was weak I encouraged him. I learned through that process that God is indeed enough – a truth that stays with me even now after almost two years since my beloved went to his true home to be with Jesus.

  75. 148
    Jennifer says:

    I definitely think I am in that growing season now. I looked at this entry because it said “feeling abandoned by God?” and that describes how I am feeling lately. We are going through our son being diagnosed with a non curable genetic condition. Previously, he appeared to only have minor effects of it, but now is starting to have more of the serious problems associated with it. We also are being audited by the IRS (ugh)! Having money difficulties also. Lots of medical bills. Etc. we also just let go of any ministry plans we were making. My husband has been pastoring in some shape or form for 16 years. Now he is enrolled to go back to school in a health related field. I am a nurse and have been blessed to stay home with our 4 kids, but it appears now I may have to go back to work full time. I just feel so lost and discouraged. I know He is working on us, but I am in “the upset at God”, ignoring Him phase. I need my fire back.

  76. 150
    Karen S says:

    I grew the most when my husband of 35 years passed away. It has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Not being mad at the Lord has been the toughest!!!

  77. 152

    Right now, this very moment as I cry out to the Lord, He is growing me, stretching me in ways that are painful and I keep asking, when is it going to stop? It will stop when I choose for it too. Quit looking for the life that you wanted that is past and move on to the life that you have been given today. I am a single mom of 4 who in Feb. of this year picked up and moved across states….divorced. God in His mercy and grace is all I can hold onto. Healing, growing, why does it all still hurt so stinkin bad? When is the joy going to come? What is brokenness, its growth, growth towards total dependence on my Father God. It is not pretty and flowery and doesn’t feel good that’s why it’s broken, deep and cutting, a broken vessel that only God in His grace and mercy can put back together and make more beautiful in a way that only God can do. I am in a time of letting go of everything except the one who can bring me the peace and joy that my heart so desires which is Him. I am a dirty, rotten, scoundrel but (there it is, the but) Jesus died for me so I must be worth it if I truly believe what He says about who I am in Him. So to answer your question….this moment I am in the biggest time of growth! Obviously your article touched something deep in me because I can relate and am feeling much of what you described you, yourself have felt and come through. We all have a “story” and I am in a tremendous period of growth that I hope God will use to touch someone else’s story to bring Him glory! Thanks too Tanya D. for sharing how God does heal in the shattering of our dreams and brokenness of our families….He is the great healer and I am a work in progress here!

  78. 154
    Cheryl L says:

    It is hard for me to put a finger on one point in time that I experienced the most growth. I am STILL growing through the pain of disappointment and failure. We left a profitable career to join a Christian ministry here in the U.S. that required we raise missionary support. After serving for several years at less than half the support we needed, and my husband working splitting his time between that ministry and being on full-time staff at our local church plus doing side jobs to help our family survive financially, we finally left ministry. We started our own business on borrowed money. We struggled along for a long time but when the economy soured, so did our business, and we were left with thousands of dollars in debt. We also had a daughter who rebelled at age 17 and has lived a life of heartache (for her and us) for the last 9 1/2 years. I could go on, but we continue to work at repaying debts and trusting God to restore broken relationships. It is easy to succumb to the feelings of failure and the belief that we have wasted the gifts God entrusted to us. Due to the need to repay so much debt, we had to move from our home in search of better paying work. (The area we lived was hit very hard when the economy crashed.) I feel like a nomad, and our family is now scattered all over the country. We face another move this year, and my husband is seriously considering jobs out of this country. I long to be “home” where we can experience the love and support of our family and friends and be involved in our church family again.

  79. 156

    I grew some through multiple miscarriages and the most (so far) in raising my daughter who has global disabilities. God is in the work of growing me more as I pursue His calling on my life (whatever that is).

  80. 158

    The separation of being away from my daughter and 2 precious grandchildren, just by distance, was very sad for me. I knew this was His plan and asked Him to take the sadness away and to help me focus on all His blessings , His goodness, and His faithfulness.. If we cling to Him, and ask for His strength in all things, He is faithful – and He was to me!

  81. 160
    Monja Blue says:

    When I was completely paralyzed & unable to walk! My Ladies Bible study group told me that they were praying : “Pick up your mat & walk”, for me. God granted me that favor. Two things that He grew in me were patience and acceptance. It was a harrowing time, and not until I was released, could I see how closely He’d held me the entire time!

  82. 162

    So many times… but the darkest time was two weeks after our wedding when my husband was laid off and before I found a job. We spent almost three months on unemployment in a house together day in and day out (as two introverts), newly married and without much hope and no money. Oh, but what He knit back then… so beautiful now. So daily.

  83. 163

    Right now, it is what the Lord has showed me, about me. Things I have believed as truth, that he has showed me are lies. The deception of thinking you are better than, comparing yourself to others and then realizing, “Oh my , I am a sinner just like everyone else”. No better than but equal to. In need of a redeemer and savior every day of my life. He is faithful, kind and just!

  84. 165

    I too thought if I tried to be a good girl, followed Jesus, I’d be rewarded. I was fired from a position that I’d been recruited for, than they came after me for expenses they incurred. 6 months later I’m starting a new job and the ONLY thing I can do is trust Jesus. I have grown immensely, albeit painfully. But I’m grateful for this time because I do believe God has His reasons for this season in my life.

  85. 167

    my husband and I had to make an extremely difficult decision during one of my pregnancies. through this time, GOD showed me that i was lacking in compassion for others. with HIS eyes and HIS heart, i have more compassion and less judgement. I thank the LORD that the HOLY SPIRIT reminds me to stop planking my brothers and sisters! this is the silver lining of going through what we did. GOD truly uses all things to HIS glory. AMEN!!!

  86. 169
    jacqueline says:

    I grew the most when I had a miscarriage at 16 weeks and came very close to losing my life as a result. I had 2 surgeries and 7 blood transfusions. I remember the night I fought for my life I could have given up but I fought hard because for the first time in life I saw my value. On top of that my husband lost money in a business agreement and lost his job. all within two weeks. We had no choice but to rely on God. I was angry at the losses but God gave me peace that transcends understanding. It’s amazing that through such losses I could feel the deepest peace I have ever felt. We named our baby boy Gabriel which means God is my strength. I wont ever forget God and though God sometimes feels far away I know without a doubt that he always sits beside me and Gabriel will be my forever reminder that God is my strength.

  87. 171

    I am in it now. After years of being alone and happy. I felt God wanted me to date this “christian” man. I was scared to trust and ran a couple of times and we had our issues,but I felt God wanted me to marry this man and I loved him.Now, I find out I may have never known him at all. Picking up the pieces of my heart and mind and going through the painful process of letting Him make me whole again. I TRUST YOU alone God! I know nothing is impossible with You! I praise You NOW in the midst of it. So glad YOU are faithful!

  88. 173

    God grew me the most in a painful and difficult season in our marriage.. when my dreams were shattered and He gave me the gift of Himself instead of the things I thought I needed.

  89. 175

    Wow, amazing post and I can’t wait to read this book. I have definitely grown the most in these last 8 months…I am expecting our 3rd child and this pregnancy has been anything but easy. Its been exhausting, hard, painful, fearful, and on and on, but I am finally seeing God’s merciful hand through it all and hearing Him whisper His purpose….

  90. 177

    Two years ago, my career as a singer/college voice teacher was derailed when I found myself unable to sing. No vocal pathology. The prescription? Silence. I had to quit my job, which I also felt was my calling, and found myself in the slimy pit of depression. Oh, how little I knew about Him until that time…even though I had been a “woman of faith.” And oh, how grateful I am for that trial as the true revelation of how dependent I am on Him. My life has never been so full, so healed, so whole, as it is now. I credit it all on the need to be carried by Him. Yay, grace!! (PS my voice is better now, and I have a redefined career as a master teacher in the arts. Praise God for His goodness!! Of course, He figured it out for me!!)

  91. 179

    I’ve definitely grown the most anytime there has been some sort of persecution or thing I’ve had to struggle through; when I left the catholic church, when I was let go from my job, and even now trying to figure out what purpose God has for me in the job that I don’t really like very much.

  92. 181

    My most intense time of spiritual growth was 6-8 years ago, when my husband and I went through a very painful and intense time of “wilderness”…and when I say wilderness, I mean we were lost for over 2 years. We had made a major, cross-country move to a new job that ended up being a bad decision, we had small children (our 3rd was born in the midst of that time), we were on the brink of bankruptcy, many of our family members when speaking venomous words of condemnation instead of being graceful and helpful. It was intense and we lived in survival mode for months at a time…which is so hard to describe to anyone who’s never been there. It was excruciatingly painful…but intensely sweet. Never in our lives had my husband and I literally depended on God for our daily bread…both physically and spiritually. I could write a lot more, but that’s the jist of of it. Thanks for the post…I hope I win a book! :-)

  93. 183
    CarrieC says:

    I believe I’m in a growing process right now through a very difficult pastoral transition (in which we are the ones in leadership). It has been hard to accept, and more days than not, my emotions walk away from ministry completely, but I know that God has the road laid out for us and I can trust him with my family’s life.

  94. 185

    I’m just so humbled by all of your stories. I wish I could respond to each and every one, but alas, the day has gotten away from me. Thank you for your vulnerability and candor here, and may you experience a new, new day.

  95. 186

    The very first time I grew was when my young family was homeless down in Florida. We were living hand to mouth in hotels. My husband worked two jobs – one at a pawn shop and one at a chain restaurant in order to get money on a nightly basis. Our son was 2 years old, so I stayed with him. We actually spent a night in a homeless shelter – probably the scariest place I’ve ever been.

    Looking back, I don’t see how we survived, but we did. Looking back, I didn’t feel like God was there, but He was.

    Right now, I’m going through another tribulation of sorts. I’m afraid that God is doing to me precisely what He did to you – stripping away everything. My fear, however, is that He will strip me down to what he had before. Only this time, I’m the only one working because my husband was seriously hurt and we have two children – a preteen and a teen.

    It’s hard walk for me. But I know – I KNOW – that He will see me through this. Our God is faithful, and He walks with us through our struggles. I know that I will come out of this stronger in spirit. There are those days, however, when the burden feels like too much to handle.

  96. 188

    The last three years of my life, I have grown the most as a Christian. I came home from work one November day to find a note on the counter. My husband had backed his bags and left me, taking with him my only three children (step children). In the last three years I have learned to humbly rest in Christ, to NOT depend on me to but to TOTALLY depend on Jesus. God provided for my EVERY need and I can honestly say that living FREE from anxiety gripping fear is the BEST joy! I’ve learned what a true Christian friend looks like (from both sides of the equation) and I’ve learned to depend on God to get me through. So when life “happens” I’m not overwrought with “what can I do” and crippled with anxiety, I turn to Jesus and say, “What do you want me to learn, what is it that you want to flesh-out?”

  97. 190
    SylviaBrant says:

    Over the past 8years since my husband had a stroke, leaving him with a brain injury, unable to work or drive anymore, God has been there. It was very frustrating for both of us and very upsetting. But I do believe God has strengthened us and given us the ability to come through this trial. I pray to God “to restore the years that the locusts have eaten”. God is faithful even when we are faithless, and He has ben faithful to us right throughout our marriage.

  98. 192
    Michelle says:

    Thank you! So (in)couraging. Not all can understand this type of a journey. I see you can. Being a single mom to two wonderful boys has been a difficult but doable job the last 12 years. Little did I know that losing my job 11 months ago would be the trigger God would use to rock my world and grow me into the Christian I didn’t even know existed. It has been everything I never wanted to go through, and worked so hard to prevent from happening, yet the most freeing and peaceful experience ever. Only God can create these amazing paradoxes some of us live. Though the loss was 11 months ago, it was March 9th that God met me at my lowest moment and changed my world. No, I didn’t get a job nor win the lottery…. I admitted to myself, and confessed to Christ, that I must die to myself. I took up my cross and began to follow HIM. I’d been a “Christian” my whole life… in my head. That day the walls of pride began to crumble and He captured my heart. Nothing on the outside has changed. But EVERYTHING on the inside has. As I read your story, with tears on my cheeks I knew there was another sister in Christ who got it… the hard way… just like me! Bless you on your Joy-filled adventure. Mine is yet to come… and if it never does… that’s ok too. The peace I have, that surpasses all understanding, shall be enough.

  99. 194

    One of the most intense times of growth for me was when my first love and I broke up. I was just 20 years old at the time and so broken-hearted, I cried all day, every day, for two weeks, before letting God have all of me. I’d lost a parent just a few months prior, so that whole year is one that was devastating, but through it, God spoke to me and showed me things more clearly than I’d ever seen and the trust and faith I had in Him radiated throughout me. I, literally, glowed.

  100. 196

    Definitely in the past 2 years! We moved our family (4 kids 6 & under) across the world from the comforts of North America to serve God in SE Asia. Last year the most stretching, painful, & yet needed time in our lives. I’ve had to learn that I NEED to find my rest in Christ, the craziness of the world around me offers no rest but as I abide in Christ I can serve others out of the overflow that he gives me. “The Secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances”- Elizabeth Elliot

  101. 198

    The year I grew the most was the year I had a miscarriage, the church we were church planting with in Budapest, Hungary failed, we had to move back to the USA and live with my parents, figure out where to go next (Edinburgh) and then my older brother died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. I moved to Edinburgh with so much anger and grief I hadn’t dealt with. But in dealing with it, God taught me so much. I wrote about it here…

    http://thegillfamilytimes.blogspot.com

    I could so relate to how you felt in leaving France and having it all stripped away. It hurts so bad, but God is so good!

  102. 200

    Oh, God has been teaching me for years. I guess I learned the most after my second marriage, the first ended in divorce, and the second was to someone who conned his way into my heart, but God gave me the love and grace to survive, become his caregiver as he got ill, and died. During those years I went back to school, became a licensed lay pastor, I loved and cared for the congregation and the community, even doing funerals and hospital work, as well as preaching during the loss of my mom and my husband. Then I was left with huge bills, a job that was not sustainable, and I knew that to survive all I could de was depend on God. Believe it or not this has a happy ending. I am currently remarried, now riding in the semi with my husband across America, I always wanted to travel, and am loved and cherished and oh so blessed because I have time to do Bible study, grow, and encourage others by sharing what I am learning.

  103. 202

    After my brother committed suicide at the tender age of 24, I was in Japan completely isolated and dealing with this grief and my own sense of loss and purpose and regrets. God not only became a real, speaking, providing Lover Savior, He became Lord, Master for the first time. Within a year I knew my purpose. To use my skill and location to be a missionary for him. Fast forward. Now, I am in my second year of battling to recover from arsenic poisoning that we can only attribute to having lived in Japan 10-15 years ago–the time of my missionary service. I have been sick actually for 15 years, had two babies all the while this poison stealing my life ever so slowly away from me. The last two years in particular have been tough. It took one year to get the correct diagnosis. Six months now to undo what other doctors did to me. And still counting…but now counting each day gift. Every little ray of hope and even setbacks a gift. Growing in discipleship through discipline.

  104. 204
    Joyce M. says:

    I grew the most as a Christian when I saw a generation of young people who were lost in all the things the world was telling them would bring them happiness. It helped me to grow in my walk because I know they needed to see Jesus in someone they knew.

  105. 206
    Sandi Taylor says:

    Oh my… I remember it very well. My youngest daughter was being drawn into the occult… and I was at a loss as to what to do. God sent a very special person into my life at that time. I’d just gotten past a having been diagnosed with Breast cancer , and having chemo, and radiation in 1998. This sweet girl of mine has always been cause for anxious days and weeks and months, but this time I was truly unable to know what to do. God knows what he is about and he sent me a wonderful person in the guise of a Youth Pastor for a year in 2001. Yes… only a year. But in that year she taught me how to come against Satan… how to pray for my daughter and to grow as a Christian more than I had ever done before. I am very very grateful to my Lord and …
    I’ve never been the same. Praise the Lord.

  106. 208
    Jennifer says:

    I grew most as a Christian during my Afghanistan deployment. It is there that God met me the the desert. I had to depend on him to get through each day. Thanks God for the wonderful Thursday Joy Service that gave me strength each week.

  107. 210

    I am currently in a very humbling experience and learning that I need to trust God and grow emotionally as well as spiritually. My current situation is not horrifying or traumatizing, but none the less humbling. i always thought I was a “good little follower of Christ”. But as my husband was arrested for a OWI, I realized that I judged people and circumstance too often. I am growing and praying to let go of my synicism and be a true Christian.

  108. 212

    I grew the most as a Christian after 3 miscarriages and then God saving my marriage. Long story, but before I was surrendered-heart-and-soul to the Lord I almost lost my family because of stupidity and selfishness that followed my miscarriages. I spent 28 years of my Christian life listening to and believing the lies of the enemy and was in bondage to my sin because of it. God, without our asking, stepped in and changed our lives. That was 2 years ago and I’ve never been more in love with the Lord (or anyone else for that matter) and continue to grow more in love with Him every day! It’s been a very difficult 2 years healing from the mess we made, but the best 2 years of my life as well!! That’s how good our God is!!!

  109. 214
    Cecily R Bornemann says:

    I feel like I’m growing the most now because I’m now just putting the scriptures to use in my life. Before I just thought the Bible was boring and hard to read, or that was my excuse anyway. I mean I’ve been a Christian since 1990 but I never put it as a priority, although I would pray alot. I would read the Bible too but I didn’t know how to apply the scriptures to my life. I wasn’t doing what it was saying. Yes, I helped with mission projects in high school and knew that part of being a Christian was loving God and others. I didn’t have my eyes focused on Jesus and now, I do. I’m trying to keep my eyes on Jesus but the enemy of my soul wants to destroy me and I’ve had my fair share of battles with Satan. Satan has found a weakness in my mind and he takes full advantage of it. I have found that staying in the word and knowing it and using it helps. I knew about Ephesians putting on the Spiritual Armor, I just never knew what it really meant. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home and I often had to learn the hard way about the Bible and the Christian life. Church and Bible studies can only do so much. God is good though, he’s forgiven me and he loves me. I think God and I are finally on the same page and same desires.

  110. 216
    Leah yates says:

    I think I grew most when my husband went through a depression a few years back. He wouldn’t go to work or do anything. His life just stopped. We even lost our house. Everyone around me told me to leave him or just put him in his place. I just supported him, loved him and relied on God. That was actually a blessing to me.

  111. 218

    There was a time, becoming friends with a very faithful christian who enjoyed telling me about the messages of Christ, and discussing the need to be saved at a turning point in my life. Right now, I feel a strong need for God to come through to me in this way now, I have those abondoned feelings… am hoping he will come through soon.

  112. 220

    The minute I gave my huge debt ($90,000) to Jesus and He shrank it to $4,000 is when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He cared and loved me so much so I started diving into His Word and into a passionate love that only gets better and better. I grew to just not be a reader and listener of the Word, but a doer as well. My spiritual walk has become so strong and so beautiful and I have learned to give Him everything……..and He does whatever His will wants with it………but it is always ALWAYS for His good and His praise and His kingdom! AMEN!

  113. 222
    Laureen Brackin says:

    I really grew the most in what I call my “valley year”, 2006. My mother died, and I was getting sick having to get fluids on a regular basis. That had been going on for over 8 years with no help, except for the fact that docs knew fluids would stop an episode. That fall, I had to be hospitalized for about a week’s worth of fluids. I had really just let the devil take advantage of these issues and other health problems I have and I felt so alone. Because of some anointed music I had been listening to that year, I clearly heard God speak to me that He had not left me, I just had not turned to Him for help. That was the truth. I had just rolled over and handed the devil my joy. I call that my “spiritual V8″ moment, and I am so thankful I got my joy back and the devil can sit on a tack! I have learned to guard this very carefully, and I later got a diagnosis, too! It is not a cure, but it helps with control. PTL!

  114. 224

    i grew the most as a christian during a period of deep loneliness, and guess who the only new person that i befriended during that time was? an on-fire mature christian woman that taught me how to have a quiet time daily, the importance of scripture memorization, and what it looks like to be alone but not lonely when you are close to God. amazing.

  115. 226
    Beth Williams says:

    I grow the most during trials. Right now and for the past year or so my job has drastically changed and taken, what I consider, to be a turn for the worse. Last Fall they hired a new clinic director and she doesn’t appear to like me much.

    During these times I prayed more and kept in scripture, Christian music a lot so as not to get mad and upset.

    It seems, for me at least, the older I get the more I come to depend on God for everything and the less I want of this world & it’s things!

  116. 228

    I’ve been growing in my walk with the Lord over the past couple of years as my husband and I have struggled with job loss and financial problems. God is teaching me to rely on Him as my provider on every level.

  117. 230

    I grew the most in college when I was away from everyone that I knew and fell in with a wonderful, God fearing church that planted seeds of true Christianity in my heart. I’ve been lucky to not go through many trials yet, but their guidance helped me not stay bitter at my parents from divorcing as I was planning my wedding.

  118. 232
    Charlotte Orth says:

    I grew the most in Christ when I saw a Christian counselor. This was after a painful break up of a relationship. She prayed with me and gave me workbooks to complete. I am now married to the man that I broke up with but had to let him go before we could be in a healthy relationship.

  119. 234

    I grew the most when my baby was stillborn.I knew I could not make it through without the Lord.
    monk5 at charter dot net

  120. 236
    Minerva Huante says:

    I believe I have grown more as a christian in the past year. My husband lost his job in November of 2011. This meant no insurance no main source of income. I prayed that we would survive this trial. I had my doubts and and fears. I truly believe that in this time of trials I have learned to put my trust and faith more God. He has blessed us in many ways.
    I have grown closer to him in my prayers and I have learned to truly look at things differently. I have realized that a job or insurance is no security, only his abounding love can get us through any trials.

  121. 238

    I really began to grow spiritually, of which also included a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus, when I willingly responded to His calling to become more transparent and vulnerable. By dealing with hidden shame, even after my Christian conversion, and bringing those things into the light I feared of doing before, I have been healed and set free from my past. I now am learning to love others more openly and even myself. Thus, my reception of God’s love has increased through His forgiveness and my ability to forgive, because of His grace divinely affecting my heart.

  122. 240
    Laura K says:

    You are so right about growing during the heartaches, I found myself alone and devastated while going through divorce. I was already a Christian but it was during that time that I really got to experience God’s love and come to know Him intimately! Life can be hard and I am facing different difficulties now. I remember His faithfulness from then and pray for the same to touch me now and help me through. Amen.
    thank you for your touching words…I will check out your e book! Blessings :)

  123. 242

    I grew the most when I lost my best friend, my grand mother and my mother all in the same few year time span. Then, the Christmas after my mother passed, I lost my grand father as well. That same year, I lost my job, I had no home. Was a single parent with no income and, for all intents and purposes, orphaned. My daughter’s father had abandoned her at birth. Rarely making an appearance for holiday’s and birthdays and definitely not present for financial support.

    When I started to get on my feet, my half-brother and his wife needed a place to sleep. He’d been out of work and they were sleeping in their van with their 4 kids. I didn’t have much, but they moved in with me and my daughter. Shortly thereafter, he came home drunk one night and decided he’d beat me and my daughter.

    It was in that year following what felt like the end of my rope, physically, mentally, spiritually and most definitely, emotionally, that God grabbed ahold of my heart and changed me forever. Since then, it’s been a roller coaster ride of healing and discovery. Satan has done well to keep trying to pull me into the pits of despair…using every tactic possible. Even pinning me against myself…..letting thoughts of doubt wreak havoc in my mind.

    However, God never fails to show up and show off. It’s hard to see the “why” in the middle of the chaos……but every single time He uses my personal choas for something grand in His storybook……. and I am so much better for the growing pains. :)

    Grateful for the growing pains. They are necessary to get me to who I am meant to be. Someone better than the me I am right now. Redeemed.

    Some day….I’ll finally be the woman He took so much care to create me to be……and I look forward to that final chapter.

  124. 244

    This story is me….but I am coming out the other side of the long tunnel! Praise God!

  125. 246
    Mary Beth says:

    The past few years have been a stretching time and growth time for me with learning to press into God more and more and trust Him deeply. We have moved often in the past few years and I also had to live apart from my husband for quite a while, when we had two homes, his job in another state.

    The Lord has been so very faithful!

  126. 248

    I have known the most growth when my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness, during her horrific 3 yr journey following, my father diagnosed with lung cancer, surgery and treatment, then triple bypass the week following my moms death. Had my 2nd child, 17 months younger than my 1st born, with a miscarriage in between. On the 1st anniversary of my mother’s death, my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer, his amazing treatment and recovery, his mother diagnosed with ovarian, 3 months of treatment and passing… It was a terrible yet most blessed 5 yr journey of my life! Relinquishing control… Scary but good.

  127. 250
    Brianna says:

    I grew the most when my son was born. He was born not breathing but through trials and lots of prayers he is a happy four year old. During this time my marriage crumbled, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease that is debilating at times. But four years later after the loss of two important people in my life. I’m married (to the same man) thanks to the grace of God to a wonderful man. I have a healthy son and a lovin family. It’s hard somedays to get out of bed but when you have a four year old grinning at you – you know what you are called to do.

  128. 252

    I couldn’t agree more — it’s in those struggles that we learn the most. We all have a story that we need to embrace and share — your story brought encouragement to me today. Now I want to read the book!

  129. 254

    (sigh) I grew the most when I thought I had “everything” (job, status, easy-street living) and then perceived “everything” was stripped away. Only then could I relinquish my heart’s desires and make room for the ways God wanted to grow me to a better, more fulfilled me. He truly taught me how to say “no” to something good (in my mind) to get to something better that would offer fulfillment in ways only His purpose in my life could fill!

  130. 256

    I grew the most when my aunt was going through cancer. That time with the Lord prepared me for a cancer journey with my husband (he’s now cancer-free!).

  131. 258
    Destiny says:

    4 years ago, there was a time period where I felt my whole world was falling apart…and during that time is when I learned and grew the most. I met some birth family, dealing with the emotions that it brings ups, my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer in aug of that year and died in Nov of that year. During that time there was so much strain on my marriage and we were in a rocky place…But Praise HIM…My marriage is better than ever, I miss my Dad but will see him again, and Jesus showed me just how much I have to be thankful for after meeting birth family. God does have a plan, and Jesus never forsakes us …even when we feel He has…most likely it is us that have walked away…I figured that out…the hard way!

  132. 260
    Diane Fletcher says:

    Without a doubt the most growth for me in my relationship with God has been during times of deep distress, when I had nothing but Jesus to rely on. Although I can’t say that I enjoy going through difficult times, I can say that it is during those struggles that I feel closer than ever to my Lord and Savior.

  133. 262

    When my husband was diagnosed at age 47 with pancreatic cancer. He had only been married a year and a half. He went home to be with Jesus 3 days after our 3rd wedding anniversary. Throughout this time I learned what it means to truly lean on God. He help us up during this time and still continues to show me his faithfulness. I know now without a doubt that my God is there for me…all of the time.

  134. 264

    I grew the most in Christ when my husband and I had to live separately for a year. Not only did we speak very little, with few good connecting times…I was working full time and taking care of our two year old. I felt very alone and was only comforted by His love, faithfulness, and wisdom.

  135. 266

    I’ve grown the most over the past two and a half years, while seeing a Christian counselor. After unpacking the pain of my parents divorce and facing those issues, I’m finally free!

  136. 267

    I don’t have a traumatic story to tell. My testimony is not earth shattering. My life is pretty normal and standard for a college girl. However, this last year brought tremendous growth to my faith life because of some radical changes that i made. My life has done a complete 180.
    After graduating high school, I attended an out-of-state college and joined the track team. I majored in Architecture and I planned on marrying my navy boyfriend as soon as my parents would allow.
    Contrary to my plans, God began calling my heart elsewhere. Within the past year I have quit the track team, broken up with my boyfriend, switched majors, and changed schools. Anxiety and Depression reared their ugly heads because of all these decisions. Through these trials, I have seen God’s work in me and I know that I am moving in the right direction (even if it’s scary and people don’t understand). God is countercultural and I know that He lives in me. And that’s all that matters :)

  137. 268
    Christie says:

    Mary, thank you so much for what you shared! I feel as though many of the thoughts and feelings you expressed about your time in France could be my own right now. I have lived with chronic physical pain throughout my body for 12 years now. I will turn 24 in 2 days, yet I am unable to work, go to school, or be involved in ministry, and I’m mostly home bound and am dependent upon others to meet some of my most basic needs. I struggle a lot emotionally with depression and anxiety as well as spiritually. I can definitely relate to feeling distant from God and abandoned by God ( even though I know in my head that He will never leave me or forsake me) and this grieves me. I too have experienced my dreams and many things that are important to me being shattered. My life often seems purposeless and worthless and it’s hard to think about the future. I’ve heard so many people share about how it was during the darkest and hardest times of life that they felt God’s presence most deeply and grew the closest to Him. Surprisingly after all these years, I have yet to experience that which sometimes discourages, frustrates and concerns me. Though there have been some times during the journey where I’ve more keenly sensed His love and faithfulness. I truly want to trust The Lord and experience intimacy with Him, but right now, it’s a pretty fierce struggle for me. I’m torn because I want to completely surrender my life, my will, and everything to Him, yet I also desperately desire healing from all the kinds of pain I’m continually experiencing.

    I know God has a purpose for the pain and suffering and that He can and will redeem it all eventually. I know that He can bring good out of bad, as He did so many times in the Bible, with the ultimate example being the cross. It’s comforting to know that Jesus knows what it’s like to be human and experience pain of every kind as well as bearing our griefs, sorrows, and sins upon the cross. Although I just want to give up in so many ways, I’m praying that “His power would be perfected in my weakness,” that He would be refining me to become more Christ-like, and that God would be glorified in and through it all, and that I wouldn’t do anything that would hinder these things from happening. I also pray that my circumstances would bring me to know God and His love and comfort in a sweet, profound way and He would give me opportunities to “comfort others with the comfort He gives me.” I would be deeply grateful if anyone who reads this would lift me up in prayer.

    Everything sounds like a wonderful book and I’m sure it has and will be a blessing to so many people including me. Thank you so much for doing this great giveaway!

  138. 269
    Jeanine Conner says:

    When I was laid off for 7 months. It was a hard lesson because I was living day to day wondering how I was going to make it till I heard a Compassion message on the radio after going grocery shopping. They were saying that the areas they go to have barbed wire fence around the center because they often times don’t have enough food to go around. The children who don’t get fed often climb the barbed wire fence in hopes of getting a meal. I looked at the bags of groceries in the car and realized God had been providing for me the whole time. I just never realized it.

  139. 270
    Becky J says:

    When did I grow most as a Christian? I accepted Christ as a 5 year old- I am now 44…deepest growth came through the deepest pain for me…when we lost our 3rd child in 1996 I felt as though I would die..I questioned everything I had ever believed- I truly hit bottom and JESUS was there…He has never failed me, not for a moment, in all these years…I still have SO MUCH growing to do, but He is trustworthy…the Lord bless you ALL!

  140. 271

    I was a people-pleaser. I am called to live for Christ, following God`s will for my life.

  141. 272

    I think I’m in the midst of the time in my life where I’m growing most as a Christian… I’m in the process of weaning off an anxiety medication that I’ve been taking for 9+ years. I know this is something I can succeed in only with the strength of God. I do believe that God sometimes works through modern medicine, so I am by no means encouraging everyone to stop taking medications they need, but I believe that He is telling me now, “Beth, I have healed you. I am all you need.” I know that the anxiety will creep back in if I’m not completely surrendered to Him and His will for my life, so I have no choice other than to grow closer to Him. :)

  142. 273

    Jesus is becoming my everything in an even deeper way than I thought could happen. We are adopting two baby girls from Africa & will be waiting roughly a year before they come home. It has been the hardest thing my husband & I have had to walk through as we lost two referrals before this one due to different reasons. To trust that God loves me even though I’m not experiencing the greatest earthly desire I have (to be a mommy), has been so hard. Each day, though, I’m reminded that He is enough for today & he will be enough for tomorrow.

  143. 274

    I was ignored. I am the apple of his eye.
    I was addicted to alcohol. I am a new creation.
    I was hopeless. I am his handiwork.

  144. 275

    My closest times to God have definitely been on the backside of the greatest trials in my life. It’s through the muck & mire that I’ve had to lean on Him and understand the meaning of trust. In the end, I always learn that when I look back “it was then He carried me.”

  145. 276
    Tiffany says:

    I was vs I am- Thank you so much for this article/email. It really makes you think of the true and good and pleasing thoughts as apposed to the negative.

    Here are my sentances

    1) I was left. I am cared about and loved. To Jesus I am His own. Jesus will never leave His sister. God will never leave me, His child.

    2) I was stepped on and walked on. I am thought of by the Father. With my name written on his hand. I am more precious than a sparrow to Jesus who loves me.(think this should be 10 sparrows and to God who loves me) I am protected. I am saved from the destination of this world. All thing work together for the good of those who love him. I am known and loved by Jesus.

    3) I was in a box. I am beautiful and need to be set free. I am the best I can be
    -with Christ.
    -in Christ .

    I am more than my past.

    Thanks again! I’m so glad to receive your daily emails!! And It’s only been the second one I’ve gotten- how much more blessing and truth and joy can I receive through your encouraging words and articles. Thank God you are here!! I’m still not even sure how the Lord does it. But he brings things to us we need to see. He had a church friend email one of your articles to me. And something I truly needed to hear. I only hope I can get more out of it. It speaks to my heart. I connect with what you write. I hope the words go deeper and God to cause me to change.

    On thing that seriously needs changing is what I think.

    I could say another thank you to you- I almost did, but I just want people to know that God will provide in many ways and I am astounded to ever find this website and be able to have a part in the Encouragement. I am astounded that God is providing for me. I cant wait to experience more of Gods faithfulness! Just realized God is working in my life.

    I just wana say one thing. God has even got me through something I was concerned about. Not anything big. F

    I cant wait til i turn 18- then im going to live in my comunity. Im going to meet new people. This is a great way to get out of the box I envision/make around me! http://www.incourage.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/SecondHeader.png

  146. 277
    Tiffany says:

    I just wana say one thing. God has even got me through something I was concerned about. Not anything big. Friday I ran the mile run for gym class. Only one lap so it was a half a mile.When the class was done we went inside and teacher took attendance. I started to feel so sick. My body felt like it wanted to be on the ground. I felt heavy and my stomach felt very sick, To the point i felt like throwing up. Before I left i thought of telling the teacher cuz I was woried about when I would run 2 laps(a mile), but I didn’t. Something stopped me. Maybe the time was close to the bell ringing for dismissal of school. Im glad I did because today when we were going to run the mile run-I said a simple prayer quickly before we (girls) were to start. We started. I ran slowly but I was still running. A steady pace is what I always tried to do. I got to the second lap and i kept running. Although I did take a very short break I started back up again cuz i noticed, when you stop running your body feels heavier. I am thankful to say God answered my prayer!!! I realized that he answered me while typing who I am in Christ.
    So It’s not good to think and fill your mind with negative stuff. But to think of good and pleasing and true things. Oh, how good God is. He has shown me this through you. The exercise helped me to take a moment and think of what is worthy of thinking about. Thank you God for this site. May you bless them, as they have blessed me. I know God will use you to bless others. May others open their hearts to the encouragement you have to share.

  147. 279
    Kathy Sturgis says:

    I need this ministry in my life. God is slowly breaking through my fear and lies. so thankful to find you!

  148. 280

    My faith growth really started during the 15 months when my dad and stepmother died and I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

  149. 281

    I was burned when I was 15 months old and I struggled all of my school years trying to feel pretty and worthy. I sought that through relationships, shopping addictions, and alcohol. I met a man that wanted to marry me and I thought finally I would be happy. I wanted him to make me happy and he couldn’t. A little over 2 years ago the pain was just too much to take and I decided I wanted to end my life. Thankful my husband found me just in time. We started biblical counseling with my husband childhood pastor and I felt a peace that I have never known before. I still have days where Satan whispers in my ear that I’m not enough but I am growing through the trials. God has been so faithful and I have been able to start working with the youth at our church. Being able to share my testimony with the teen girls has blessed me beyond words. And if the trials of this life helps plant a seed of hope in Christ for another girl, to God be the glory!!

  150. 282

    I was burned when I was 15 months old and I struggled all of my school years trying to feel pretty and worthy. A little over 2 years ago the pain was just too much to take and I decided I wanted to end my life. Thankful my husband found me just in time. We started biblical counseling with my husbands childhood pastor and I felt a peace that I have never known before. I still have days where Satan whispers in my ear that I’m not enough but I am growing through the trials. God has been so faithful and I have been able to start working with the youth at our church. Being able to share my testimony with the teen girls has blessed me beyond measure.

  151. 283
    Vicky Lynn says:

    This message, which I almost deleted but decided to stop and take the time to read all the way though has touched my inner child. I was also molested by neighbors and come from an alcoholic home, I felt invisible growing up in a large family, being #4 of 6 children… so I also suffer with addiction. I am 41 and my life is just now becoming healthy and whole. I want to thank you for the suggestion of writing on a piece of paper bc I feel it will help me greatly… it feels good to know I am not alone and have my Faith in God to carry me through the pain and let go once and for all. To be whole again, to walk proud and not in shame. Thank you for such a powerful stroy, God’s peace. vlm

  152. 284
    Harlene Youngberg says:

    The last five years has been the hardest of my life, I grew up being abused emotionally, and sexually, but the hardest came when my husband walked out of our marriage and began a gay lifestyle. God had to take everything away, my husband, my children and even my church. I had such sorrow, I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to keep on living but God showed me that when He takes everything, it is so He can fill me up with Himself. I loved the Lord before my marriage fell apart, I had tried to be a good wife and mother. When my husband left, my adult children were angry and I was the safe parent that they directed their anger to, it broke my heart, I felt like everyone in my life had abandoned me. I am very similar to Mary Demuth, I also love to write and God has brought that love back again to me. I am writing my story of brokenness and grief and I want other women to know that are hurting that no matter what you are going through, you are NOT ALONE, the Lord is there and He is enough, when you have lost everything.

  153. 285

    Mary-
    After reading your email, I immediately read your ebook about finding joy. Everything that you have written has been so inspiring to me during this difficult season in my life. In the past 4 weeks my dad died suddenly of a heart attack, my husband filed for divorce, and I lost my job. You are so right when you say that sometimes we have to be stripped of everything that we rely on to completely give it all to God and rely on only Him. I do believe there is a spiritual battle involved in myself as well as my husband and I look forward to reading your book about spiritual warfare. Thank you for your encouragement! You have a new fan and follower!

  154. 287

    I grew most during the infertility season that was oh-so hard and then let to two amazing adoption processes, during which God’s faithfulness was evident in so, so many details.

  155. 288

    The last few years have been the most difficult of my life. Growing up hadn’t been that great, and I always figured my adult years would be so much better. I was wrong because I suddenly found myself mourning my mom/best friend’s unexpected death, married to a man with no love for me, without a true friend/confidant, etc. It was the loneliest, most miserable point in my life and I was forced to call out to Jesus like never before.

  156. 289

    I loved reading these comments and praying for these beautiful people. Loved and appreciated your sensitive replies too, Mary. I see the common thread of how we grow through trials. I too have many I could pick from to share about the places where I grew closer to Jesus. One of them involved my husband’s struggles and temptations. I needed to lean on God and not try to be the Holy Spirit to Him. Needed to open my hands, palms up, and trust. Prayer worked wonders. So thankful for God’s intervention and simultaneous growth in me. Bless you!

  157. 290
    Loretta says:

    When I went through a divorce I realized that my dreams were my dreams, not God’s dreams for me, and I determined to lay down my dreams for his.

  158. 291
    Carol Redders says:

    I grew the most in my faith journey when I began having flashbacks to my childhood of sexual abuse. I found myself in a place where I desperately needed to know the Truth of who God is, and where He was when my abuse happened. I ran to God with abandonment and spent my days searching the scriptures. I found that He is trustworthy and that He is angry over what was done to me. I also came to realize how much He truly loves me.

  159. 292
    Carol Redders says:

    I grew the most in my faith when I was experiencing flashbacks to my childhood of sexual abuse. I found myself desperate to find out if God was trustworthy, and if He loved me. I ran to God like never before and I spent time in the scriptures searching out the Truth. The truth is that God is Trustworthy and He does love me.

  160. 293

    I’ve tried to live for God for years. My anger, hate, sexual sin, and doubts still plague me. Reading this, however, has helped me begin to understand the reason for such trials and tribulations. It’s still hard to accept, but I want to grow closer to God and trust him in all I do.

  161. 294

    I landed here after typing in “what is God trying to teach me through abandonment”?

    Then, I read your paragraph stating “relinquishing our control” as I lye here in this bed with the worst muscle spasms and pain imaginable…last night, I was overtaken by the worst muscle spasm which left me unable to move, frightened…i had a friend dial 911 and they came and got me…I was left alone in the ER for 7 hours with not a word from any family member …

    As a matter of fact, the friend from church who dialed 911 did not follow through with the plan we had pact as expected and come to my home to lock up and then get me home from the Hospital as He’d stated and promised he would…

    Then, I thought, how was I to get home from the ER? Why had my friend dropped the ball? He had gone to bed and that was all the explanation He was prepared to give me…I was stranded with no one to get me back home…I felt helpless, hopeless, alone and yes abandoned by God…why is this happening to me, I asked?

    This, all after having gone through much brokenness and loss and still, I suppose I don’t get it how Jesus is my everything…for if he was, would I be so inclined to ask and still keep searching for answers? Being this dismayed and hopeless even after all this suffering, one might ask him/her self these questions…Wouldn’t/Shouldn’t I have come to my senses by now? I am still finding myself angry, bitter and confused about many things…so is that where I have not surrendered it all ? (relinquished control)

    When your body begins to betray you and no longer works, everything in your life changes…

    My “Everything Moment”…came when I was diagnosed with NHL, was abandoned by everyone I thought loved me, lost my job, home, possessions and was left to lye still and learn to wait, trust in, and rely solely on the Lord…

    Haven’t I made it yet, I’ve asked myself?

    But surely, I must still be growing in this or I would not have typed in the above and landed here…

    Daily Occurrences of Jesus are when you come to realize that neither a partner from a 10yr long relationship, neither Family who seems to always disappear whenever your in a crisis, who most definitely are deficient in showing or displaying any sacrificial love, neither job, neither, home, neither security (or insecurity for that matter), neither even my health or life itself…food, water or clothing…neither anything at all in this world can nor will ever satisfy the longings of my soul and inner being quite the way Jesus can….then, and only then will I have realized Jesus is and has got to be “My Everything”!

    Anyway, I continue to struggle as I lye here wondering…How did I get here and why? and how am I going to make it alone on this road where when you’ve lost your health you’ve basically lost it all…Lord, if I cannot move then how will I care for myself and my needs? It is very scary to be alone, immobolized with no one to rescue you

    To A Mary from A Mary….

  162. 295

    Mary, I’m so sorry you’ve walked this very painful road. It seems unfair and hard. Your words are beautiful, and you’ve articulated how you’ve felt so well. I pray for healing and a true, deep experience of Jesus even as you battle this pain.

  163. 296
    The Real Truth says:

    I really do feel that God is Punishing a good man like me that is having such a difficult time meeting a good woman to share my life with, and when i see that so many other men have been Very Blessed By God to have met the love of their life hurts me very much since i certainly would had wanted the same thing as well. Why does God Punish certain men like us? And i don’t want to be Alone the rest of my remaining years left in my life which it will be very depressing for me, and i am sure that many other men out there will really agree with me too. It is very sad that many of us can be so Very Unlucky in love, and others can be so Very Blessed. I am sure that many women feel the same way since they can’t find a good man either, especially since many of them had been at one time Very Mistreated by them.

  164. 297

    Hi Mary,
    I have been surfing the web trying to find some comforting words re; my situation.
    I feel abandoned by God. My best friend and father passed away 2 years ago and I have had a hard time dealing with that especially since he died while I was living in a different country. He truly was my best friend.
    My struggles have been that I had to grieve all by myself. I have no one in my life. No boyfriend and no close friends ir family that lives near me. Everyday, I prayed that God would comfort me or send someone to comfort me and I still have no one in my life that I can turn too 2 years later.
    It’s also hard to see coworkers and other people around me getting married and starting families while I have no one in my life.
    I feel that God doesnt care about me any more and I feel the distance growing stronger everyday.
    I pray everyday but I do feel that I don’t put any faith in my own prayers anymore.
    I don’t feel like he cares about me and that I am destined to be alone for the rest of my
    Life. It’s hard for me to believe that he will be there for me when God wasn’t there when I needed him the most when my father died.
    How can I trust that he will be there?! My prayers now seems meaningless since he wasn’t there at a time when I needed him the most and everything feels so disconnected and empty. Not sure I know what do to anymore.
    Hoping that I someday will move past it but I am having a hard time seeing how that will be because i feel very empty inside.
    Will try to look over some of the scriptures mentioned here but please pray for me that I will get through this.
    Thanks.

    • 298

      I’m so sorry you’re walking through this. My hunch (and it certainly can be wrong) is that your grief is preventing you from reaching out to new people. It might be good to interact with a counselor for a few sessions to see how you can actively pursue relationships again. Also remember that the typical grieving process is two years, but for some it takes longer. So you’re normal.

      My recent book, The Wall Around Your Heart might be helpful too. http://amzn.to/15Q19xh

  165. 299
    Amy Preston says:

    Mary,
    Thank you for these words. Eight months after they were written, I have just read this post. Yet, as God in His perfect wisdom always does, it was perfect timing. I loved that you used the word “stripped” for discipline. A month or two ago, while reflecting on a long season of difficult times and circumstance, the word stripped came to mind. In order to share my experience with a friend, I was searching for a way to articulate my feelings and this phrase came to mind “Stripped to be Filled”. It is true, we learn and grow during difficult times. I believe that God stripped me down, hemmed me in and closed doors of opportunity so I could be filled more fully with Him. I find myself increasingly in awe of how He loves and pursues us. In this miraculous way, this pruning and pursuit translates to His deep and abiding Love.

    Blessing to you in the New Year -

    Amy

  166. 301
    Neal Adams says:

    It has to be now, I’m divorced and my first post divorce relationship ended with my ex gf leaving for her best friend and was pregnant weeks later (broke my heart but it was God’s will right?) I’m 32 and live with my mother, a loser by most standards after having a home and three cars years earlier before 2 DUIs. I feel like such a mess but I’ve repented and I trust God and surrender to his will as well as repenting and living a clean life but I’m broken and I don’t know what can happen to right this huge mess I’ve created. I’m a freelance writer (screenplays) but I meet dead ends a lot, one company req my screenplay and has had it for a month but I don’t know what will come of that. I’ve messed up so much I don’t know if I deserve to be blessed but I have two sons and I want to give them a good life. I’m afraid to hope but I love God and I know I’m forgiven I just wish I could see it through a blessing. Grateful but I’m sad and don’t know if I’ve just messed up life beyond repair. Thanks God bless.

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