Monday, January 21, 2013

Choosing Joy!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow ~ James 1:2-3 NLT

I don’t know about you, but when things aren't going my way I don’t consider it an opportunity for great joy.  In fact, I consider it quite the opposite.   

I've had a great deal of trouble in my life.  I grew up in a pretty tumultuous household.  My mother unknowingly married a man after my father that was sexually abusive.  My father spent the most impressionable years of my life in prison.  I made some pretty outrageous choices in my young adult life that lead to disastrous consequences for both me and my children.  I’ll spare the details.  That could turn into a whole book…

Ten years ago, I found myself crying out to God:  Why?  Why has my life been so awful?  Why can’t things seem to go right for me?  Why do I keep making the same stupid choices? God, I need your help!!   I quickly discovered  that He had been waiting for me all along. Waiting for me to turn to Him. Waiting for me to let Him take control. Once I did, He turned every test into a testimony, every mess into a message. Every ounce of trouble that has come my way, he has used to shape me into the woman I am today.  He is using my past to help others who are struggling with the same things. 

What about you?  Are you facing trials?  Are you in the middle of something you are certain you cannot endure? Would you consider making it an opportunity for great joy, trusting that God can use all of it for His glory and for your testimony?   Now, suffering with joy does not mean that you don’t feel pain; it simply means that you choose to trust him in spite of your pain.  You choose to proclaim your love for Him in spite of your circumstances.  His word says that He works ALL things out for good for those who love him!  Will you choose JOY today?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 

Heavenly Father, thank you that you are with us when we face trials and trouble.  Give us the strength we need to choose JOY.  Allow our pain to be used for your glory and while we are in the midst of it, comfort us and bring us peace that passes all understanding.  In Jesus Name, Amen!  

By Allison Herrin, Founder and Executive Director of Maia, an organization dedicated to the advocacy of single moms and their children. Alison blogs at Follow her on twitter at @allisonherrin.

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