We had a women's meeting at church recently, where they were addressing some of the difficult things we go through. They asked everyone to contribute a one- or two-word description of some of their hardest trials. They gave me the list and wanted me to write the words on labels to be displayed on a wall at the meeting.
The list was heartbreaking. Rape. Death of a child. Bankruptcy. Chronic illness. Drug addiction. Cheating spouse. Depression. Wayward children. Widowhood. My soul ached for these beautiful women. Some of the challenges I know about - most I have no idea. There were other less obvious trials that can be just as difficult and heart-wrenching: moving, difficult job, motherhood, messes, marriage, can't find joy... I cried as I wrote the words.
Then something interesting happened. It was surprisingly difficult to write these hard words in the beautiful script they wanted. But as I saw the finished labels pile up, looking lovely and peaceful, I realized that some of these things that are sometimes so hard, like health or marriage or children, were actually some of my biggest blessings! After the meeting, I asked for some of the labels and took them home. I hung them next to my bed so I could see them often.
It's a good reminder that it's often up to me to decide whether my challenges are trials or blessings. They might just be two sides of the same coin! Maybe that's some of what the Lord was talking about when He said that we need to have opposition in life. It has made me a little more grateful for the adventures that come in my life.