Often when we think of "goodness," we equate it with things that are enjoyable. However, as good human parents, we know that often our children need instruction and consequences which are not enjoyable at the time. We choose to teach our children so that as they mature and grow, they will have the character they need to live productive lives. I believe our Heavenly Father, who is good and perfect, often allows and even places circumstances and events in our lives that are not enjoyable to crowd us to Him and transform us into His likeness. As I look back over my life, I see many times when God took my weakest moments and deepest hurts and transformed them into a powerful, life-changing story only I can share.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Corinthians 1: 3 & 4)When I was nine, my parents travelled with my three siblings and me on a five-hundred mile train ride from Botswana to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to live at a mission hostel and attend school. There was no option for us to go to school where we lived in Botswana. Not only was I young, but I was also "Daddy's little girl." Suddenly I found myself without the security of having my earthly father available. Every week we were given paper and an envelope to write a letter to our parents. God used that time to help grow my faith and switch my dependence from my earthly father to my heavenly father. He also used the experience to grow my writing abilities, as I worked to transfer some of my weekly events into words that painted pictures for my parents.
Our family returned to North America in 1977. We were blessed to be able to spend many enjoyable years at Prairie Bible College, where my dad worked in the dean's department. By the time I was in high school, I looked forward to graduating with my friends and continuing on into Bible college. God had other plans. My dad's position was terminated and I felt like my whole world crumbled. Our family moved. I spent my grade 12 year in a small public school with people who had known each other their entire lives, and I was the only one in my class who was a Christian. Teachers challenged my worldview. God used this experience to teach me to rely on His power to live my faith. The best benefit? My sister and I were privileged to lead one of her classmates to the Lord.
I was able to return to Prairie for Bible college. I started a four-year program with $800 to my name and watched as God provided little by little, allowing me to graduate debt free. Working in the Prairie bookstore for a couple of years exposed me to the business side of writing and selling books. While I was there, Sigmund Brouwer had a book signing for his first book.
I moved back home with my parents while I went through candidate school with a mission. That process did not go smoothly and I found myself wondering what God had in mind for me. However, God gave me the enjoyable challenge of working at a law office. (When I went for the interview, the lawyer asked why I had applied since I had no legal training. I told him if he was willing to teach me, I was willing to learn.)
I wanted to be a wife and mother. During this time I met and married Kendall. However, a couple of years after we married, a fertility specialist informed us we would probably not have children without medical intervention. I grieved deeply. Then six months later, I found out I was pregnant. However, the pregnancy ended with a miscarriage. I was devastated and became depressed. Through this time, God taught me to celebrate the little gifts and blessings I receive every day—a gorgeous sunrise, time with a friend, clean air to breathe, freedom to go to church, a Bible in my language...time to volunteer in my community.
Eventually God opened the doors for us to adopt five beautiful children. They introduced us to the challenging world of special needs. God revived my desire to write. I took courses and entered contests, winning several. Our kids taught me to be a strong advocate. I shared their stories, honed my writing skills, became a school board trustee, and joined InScribe.
Recently our family moved to a new community, new schools, new church. Change can be daunting. However, God reminded me of all the opportunities He has opened for me since we moved.
- Meeting almost weekly with a Christian accountability partner
- Singing with a community choir
- Participating in a worship team 2 Sundays a month
- Attending an oil painting workshop with our elder daughter
- Starting a local writing group with 2 other Christian writers
- Starting a writing coaching business
- Being interviewed on the Faithfully Led podcast
- Presenting a writing workshop at HerStory conference in Edmonton in March
- Going to serve at a Mexican orphanage for a week in April (one son is going too)
I'm grateful for God's love, and for the way He redeems pain in our lives. Have you thought about how He has done that for you?