Trials. Difficulties. Suffering.
It’s something we don’t talk about often. We don’t want to talk about it. We try to push it aside, ignoring the fact that “it” would ever come into our life.
Don’t worry, I lived my life the same way. Growing up, I’m pretty sure I thought I was invincible. I was going to play basketball the rest of my life and nothing was going to stop me. And then one diagnosis completely changed the rest of my life. Like THE rest of my life. There was no going back. There was no turning around. There is no cure. It will be forever here on this earth, within me.
For some, that idea may sound depressing, debilitating, and harsh. And I suppose if you read those statements alone, it is a bit depressing. But they are not, when you see the trials, difficulties, and suffering in your own life, through the lenses of God. Through the way HE sees me. Through the grace and hope that are eternally entangled in those words.
I have learned more about myself through my heart failure than I probably care to admit. Because that means I was selfish, ignorant, and independent. Thinking I could do life on my own. But my heart failure brought out what seems like every insecurity and weakness that has ever been birthed in me. It has brought about what seems like every misunderstanding and lie I told myself about life here on this earth. I have also learned that you can’t escape it. You can’t escape trials and difficulties. They will always be here on this earth and we will ALL experience them. But what we do with those experiences, is a direct mirrored look into our hearts. Into the deep roots of our hearts.
I say this with complete grace and humbleness, knowing I am NOT the one in control of my life, but my very Creator: the times when I have been the most weak physically, have been the times when I have felt God the most spiritually. And I often think, HOW? How in the world is that possible? It seems so contradictory to what the world talks about and contradictory to really, common sense. But then I think about the verse I wrote about in my book, A Heartbeat of Grace. A verse in the Bible that ties in this exact theology:
2 Corinthians 12:9 –
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
I know, you’re probably thinking duh, Kristin! Glad you finally figured that one out! But honestly though, when have you felt the most weak? If your heart was in tune with God, was that when you felt God’s presence the most? And the closest?
When I was told my organs were failing during that bout of heart issues about 1 1/2 years ago, I was at the point of complete loss, weakness, and surrender. Through tears, I had never felt God so close in my life. And I think, how could that be? When I was at my WORST, I felt God the BEST? Because the Bible is true. God’s promises are true.
I am often asked how I stay so strong, positive, and faithful. And to be honest, that is a very hard question for me to answer. If I’m completely honest, I want to crawl in a hole when asked that. Because it’s NOT me. I (capitalize that “I” 1,000 times), I am not the one who is strong. It’s God. It’s His strength. It’s not my own. I am completely dependent on God. And what He continues to foster in my heart, is that peace and understanding that I didn’t birth within myself, but God within me.
All of the trials I have experienced, have created a deeper meaning for me. A meaning that goes FAR beyond the things of this world. Again, I don’t say that arrogantly, but that is Christ in me. The things I used to worry about, try to live up to, seek to compare to, desire to be, work to look like, strive to obtain, aren’t worth what they used to be. They are temporary. Instantly gratifying, but burdensome and unsatisfying in the long-run. The desire to live the American dream isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be. Because in one split second, those dreams could be shattered and what will you have left?
It is hard to talk about “life expectancy” at my appointments at times. It’s a harsh reality and reminder that our citizenship isn’t here on this earth. But how do we make the most of our time here? In reality though, we ALL should be having those conversations with ourselves, about life expectancy since we all don’t know the day. None of our lives are predictable and secure here on this earth. But they are secure in GOD’S hands. And that’s why my heart’s true desire is to just be faithful. To proclaim the truth. To show how glorious God is. How He is WORTH serving. How He is fully satisfying. Unconditionally loving. His goodness, never-failing. HE IS WORTH IT.
And when you experience those trials, difficulties, and sufferings, when you have Christ as your light, I can guarantee you, He will use those weaknesses to bring about a deeper meaning within. He will expose your self-dependency and fill those voids with more of Himself. It’s true. It’s Biblical. I’m telling you from personal experience. And you will be filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
And that is my desire for anyone experiencing difficult times. That you too, will seek the ONE who is far more gratifying, gracious, and giving, than anything or title this world offers.