Struggle to trust God! It’s something we don’t like to admit, but if we’re honest, we’ve all been there. This article tells about my personal struggle to trust God. Life didn’t seem fair, and consequently, I questioned if God knew best.
However, before we get started, I want every reader to know that I recognize many of you have suffered greater loss and have children who carry much heavier burdens, but we all have a story, and I hope that you will share your struggle by commenting at the end of this post.
For those who want to tell your story, I encourage you to write a guest blog post. Just hit the contact button and send me an email. How each of us “
TIME ALONE WITH GOD
I walk into the hotel lobby with my small overnight bag. As I check in the bubbly girl behind the desk annoys me; nonetheless, I work up a smile and silently take the key and head to my room.
I place my Bible and journal on the nightstand, and as I gazed out the window, my thoughts focused on the day my first grandchild was born. Arriving at the hospital excited and hopeful, I didn’t struggle to trust God that day.
A SPECIAL DAY
I smile as I reflect on how different the birthing experience is from a generation ago. When I gave birth to my son natural childbirth was all the rage and only our husbands were with us during labor. Today labor is more of a family affair and epidurals, midwives and doulas are in fashion.
As a result of this more open atmosphere, I was in and out of the birthing room visiting the soon to be parents. Of course, Isaac is taking his time; therefore there is
Usually a rule follower; I rebelled and stood in the hallway allowing me to hear his first cry. It wasn’t long before the nurse called us back to the birthing room. Generously my daughter-in-law handed Isaac to me. Aside from his parents, I was the first to hold him.
Uncharacteristically, tears flowed when I took him in my arms. Bruising from a difficult birth is the explanation for the redness on his face, but as I gazed at my grandson, I knew the doctor was either wrong or lying. That was the beginning of my struggle to trust God.
A LONG NIGHT
Reluctantly I leave my grandchild and head home. Regardless of the long day, sleep was impossible. Moreover, my thoughts focused on a day years ago in nurses training when I read in a textbook that port wine stains were not common but can have serious complications. It surprised me that these birthmarks were more than just a cosmetic issue.
Even though there was no class discussion and the information on port wine stains was just a couple of sentences, it affected me. Notably, it stuck with me. Tonight it haunted me. My struggle to trust God continued through the night.
The phone rang the next morning, and my son’s voice didn’t sound like a new father.
Serious and hard to hear, he haltingly said, “Mom, before you come to the hospital this morning, I wanted you to know the pediatrician was here. The redness is not a bruise; Isaac has a port wine stain on his face.” He began to cry, and the tears flowed down my cheeks once again.
The doctor didn’t explain the possible ramifications – honestly, I don’t think he knew. Ignorance and misinformation about this type of birthmark
Nevertheless, the parents prepared for visitors, and while most adults kept the conversation upbeat, the children, without exception, asked about his face. A precursor to his life; accordingly, my resentment grew and my struggle to trust God continued with even more intensity.
COMING TO GRIPS
Upon release from the hospital there were appointments with specialists, and subsequently, reality sets in. The birthmark is there to stay. It is a vascular anomaly, not a skin condition.
More concerning is that the stain can be an outward manifestation of a disorder called Sturge-Weber Syndrome; which includes developmental delays, possible blindness, neurological abnormalities, seizures, and various other physical problems. Additionally, it takes up to two years to determine if Isaac has this disorder.
Talk about a struggle to trust God. Are you kidding me? Two years of waiting, God. How unfair.
Three weeks later I still struggle to trust God. Therefore I start a fast and check into this hotel for some time alone with God. It is my hope He will meet me here, but at the moment it doesn’t seem promising. While I know it’s not true, God seems to have disappeared. Deep down I know I’m the one who moved, but I’m not ready to admit that yet.
I always believed God knows best, but I’m not sure today. Why God, why Isaac? Two years is a long time to wait, and I was angry about the whole situation. During the next couple of days, my prayers took some hard turns from questioning to anger to pleading.
Can I report that I left the hotel with a renewed faith and understanding? No, I cannot. I returned home angry, confused, and distressed.
I even gave God the silent treatment. I guess I showed Him! Although I ignored His presence, He did not abandon me, but instead patiently waited my return.
Despite my hostility,
God continued to reach out and remind me that years ago a woman in the Bible named Ruth guided me through a heartbreaking divorce. God directs me to both Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, to teach me trust.
Naomi’s family moved from Bethlehem to Moab to escape a famine. While in this foreign land her two sons marry Moabite women. Later, her husband and both sons die, leaving all three women widows.
Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem and Naomi, Ruth, and Patrice begin their trust journey.
Despite danger and uncertainty, Ruth insists she wants to stay with Naomi. “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16 NLT).
So both women begin the journey to Naomi’s homeland. Surely there were moments when Ruth wondered if she made the right decision. Two women traveling alone had to be difficult, and she didn’t know what faced her in this new land. After all, the Israelites and Moabites weren’t exactly on friendly terms, but her trust in God was strong, and she arrives in this foreign land in good spirits, displaying courage and faith that exceeded many Israelites.
NAOMI’S STRUGGLE TO TRUST GOD
On the other hand, her mother-in-law comes home an angry woman. I think like me she asked: Why God? After all, God had “done her wrong.” When Naomi’s family and friends greeted her in Bethlehem, she tells them to call her Mara, which means bitter. She didn’t try to hide her resentment.
While Naomi stewed in her bitterness, Ruth worked hard to feed her and Naomi. Meanwhile, God continued to work in both their lives.
The story takes many twists and turns, but eventually, Ruth marries a relative of her deceased husband and becomes a mother; and not just any mother, but an ancestor of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Naomi is a grandmother and joy filled her heart once again.
Read the entire account in the Old Testament Book of Ruth. It is a biblical Hallmark romance with the happy ending and all. However, there are differences from the TV movies. Ruth and Naomi were real women, and their story teaches us that God is faithful even when we struggle to trust.
WHAT IS GOD TEACHING ME
As we see from Naomi’s experience, our attitudes do not thwart God’s ultimate plan; however, our anger and bitterness affect our happiness and relationship with God.
So I can continue to struggle to trust and waste the next two years being bitter and full of worry, or I can appreciate God’s blessings, which includes enjoying Isaac.
During the next couple of years, Isaac undergoes laser treatments to lighten the stain and prevent future cobbling. A “chance” encounter – in other words, God’s intervention – directed Isaac’s parents to a world renowned doctor in New York. Therefore, trips to New York City became commonplace for a while.
Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cover the procedure – it’s considered cosmetic! Thus, not only is there an emotional toll, but a financial one too; furthermore, there were multiple medical appointments with neurologists, ophthalmologists, and pediatric dentists – yes, it even affects the teeth!
Looking back, I see the grace extended as God patiently tried to teach me during this period of my life. Despite my anger, God extended grace throughout the twenty-four months of waiting.
Isaac was growing and learning. No evidence of complications and we relax as each month passes. At two years of age, an MRI confirmed there was no Sturge-Weber Syndrome.
Bright and social, Isaac is also thoughtful and reflective. When he was four, his father teased me about being afraid of bats. Isaac told me not to worry; there are no bats in heaven. When asked how he knew this he said, “Bats are nocturnal, and
Isaac is eleven now and kudos to his parents who despite being divorced have done an excellent job of raising a self-assured and happy child. Children still ask questions, and Isaac nonchalantly says “it’s my birthmark.” Refusing to let the stain define his life, he is an “A” student who wrestles and sang with the Pittsburgh Youth Choir.
Although there are times I resent the challenges he does and will face, Isaac doesn’t struggle to trust God. He holds no bitterness or resentment in his heart.
In the meantime, I pray the following Scripture over Isaac:
…for when I am weak, then I am strong 2 Corinthians 12: 10b).
If you want more information about Sturge-Weber and port wine stains check out the Sturge-Weber Foundation and The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, comments are welcome. Share your own “struggle to trust” God story.
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Blessings until next time.
This post really struck a chord with me. I can absolutely relate to having prayers turn from questioning to anger to pleading. My husband and I longed for a baby for years and when I finally got pregnant, we lost the baby to miscarriage. Did I still trust God… in some ways, yes, in others, no. I couldn’t understand why He would let this happen and I definitely wasn’t okay with it. I was hurt and angry that God didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted him to. Without a doubt, I moved away from Him.
You wrote, “As we see from Naomi’s experience, our attitudes do not thwart God’s ultimate plan; however, our anger and bitterness affect our happiness and relationship with God.” That describes exactly what I experienced when I was able to accept what had happened and draw near to God again. It didn’t change the circumstances, but it changed me. I was able to be comforted by the Holy Spirit and experience joy again.
I’m blessed that I now get to enjoy my beautiful twins (who were born one year to the date from my miscarriage), but waiting on the Lord and trusting Him through the middle of struggles is so hard. Thank you for sharing this personal story. Recounting difficult times can be challenging (I’ve gone through a couple tissues just writing this comment) but I think it’s so important because we can encourage each other by being transparent about our struggles.
Thanks for sharing, Amy. I can totally understand your struggle and I’m sure many other women will relate. I also had trouble getting pregnant. I finally had my son. We wanted a second child, but I continually had miscarriages and was unable to carry another baby to term. Since I went through a divorce when my son was 19, I was glad the separation didn’t affect a younger child. God sees everything, while we just see what is in front of us. You are certainly blessed with the twins. They are two very adorable children.