There really isn't a step 3, but from my own experience I have a step 3. Many Christians start growing and learning and loving and....then something terrible happens in their life or the life of someone close to them. It might be the loss of a loved one, divorce, losing a job, illness or any number of terrible things. There is always the temptation to ask, "Why me? Why us? Why now?" Many Christians believe that only good things should happen to us once we are in this close relationship with God. Others feel that God owes them a sheltered life in return for their faithfulness. In reality, God eventually uses all the problems for good. It tells us in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." ALL things...not all good things...ALL things!
|A prayer that I found on facebook. An example of a|
blanket prayer to try to avoid the tough parts
of the journey.
I truly believe James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Joy is defined in Webster's as "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune". Gladness is a synonym for joy. Many people have asked me how I stay so positive or in plain terms, "what are you so happy about?" People look at what they think is my defining condition(s)...physically disabled, overworked mother, medically involved children, financial stress, etc and are amazed by my joy based on these negative conditions. However, what people miss is that my joy is in the journey of following God's plan for my life, not in my condition! God has brought me to places that I didn't want to go to see needs that I didn't want to see and to feel pain that I didn't want to feel so I could be prepared for future trials, failures and success.
When I see one of my kids like Vanessa just loving life, my joy grows because I can point to really tough times in my journey that brought me to the point that I was prepared to be her mom. I am so honored that God chose me to suffer some unique pains/challenges so I could be ready to be a big a part of each of my amazing kids' lives!