I usually try to keep things pretty light on my blog. I'm not one to get too personal up in here:). But, I've had a lot on my mind these last few days. My thoughts have really been focused on adversity and how we handle it. I feel like I have a great life. So many blessings. I can't complain about anything. When I look back at my growing up years, I recognize that I have only had just a couple of seriously trying times. Of course I had the usual problems that teenagers have, but seemed to miraculously get through that time in my life without any major regrets. But, I did make some bad choices and slowly started feeling unhappier and unhappier. I had a couple of events take place that prompted a lot of soul searching and looking within. Finally, I got to the point that I was fed up with feeling bad. I knew I felt bad because of choices I was making at the time. After a long time of being unhappy, I realized that I was just plain sick of feeling that way. I put my foot down. I knew what I needed to do and I did it. I changed. It was a hard and emotional time, but I did it. I guess that's why I'm such a big believer in the fact that so much of our happiness is dependent upon our choices. I believe that good choices bring freedom. Bad choices make us captive. I thank my parents for teaching me what is right and what is wrong. I have never gone wrong in doing the things they taught me were right. Never.
Now I've been married for almost 11 years (yay!) and life seems to constantly get better and better. Much of the heartache I've experienced the last 11 years of my life has been because of the pain that I see other family members going through. There seems to be so much adversity going on in the lives of siblings, parents, etc. Some of it is because of the uncontrollable like the economy, loss of jobs, etc. Some of it is because of choices. I pray for those who have control over their happiness that they will be able to be strong and have the clarity to do what is right, even if it is hard. While discussing some of the attitudes that one particular family member was having in regards to trials, a friend mentioned the following story. I found it online. It is from a catholic church devotional. It helped me understand a little better about why we have trials. Here it is:
Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.
One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.
[ Author unknown ]
I'm thinking ~ trials are opportunities. Opportunities to grow closer to God and become a little more like his Son. I feel like I wasn't one that welcomed trials before. But I'm thankful for this trial that Ryan and I have been going through as of late (him being out of work for 6 months). I've enjoyed the opportunity to show myself and those around me that I do have more faith than I realized.
Well, I've been rambling for a little while now. Sorry. Just had to get a few thoughts off of my chest. Goodnight.