Joy in Suffering

We got Garrett home! A few weeks ago Garrett (our oldest son) decided to move back to our house from his moms. A little recap for some of you who may not know the story:

Garrett lived with his mom and for the past year (first time ever) we have not seen much of him. At the age of 16, we expected the visits to drop off some however we never dreamed they would stop all together. But as God would have it, Garrett chose to stay at his moms and skip our normal every other weekend visits. We were devastated and we prayed daily that they would come back (Garrett and his 2 youngest brothers) and at least spend a few hours with us. We waited on the Lord and many times we felt frustrated that He was not answering this prayer. We would be right at the breaking point (no contact, face to the floor on our knees praying in agony to see or hear from them, and then God would show us His mercy and remind us that He was there. JY would call them and call them and text them with no response. Frustration would set in and we would be so discouraged that then suddenly, we would hear from them…not a moment to soon! We would have some contact with them and see the sweet spirit and love that they had for us has not changed, and then again as quickly as it came, it was over…NO Contact, no calls, no visits. This continued for almost 1 full year (3 weeks short of a year to be exact…but hey who was counting!)

Back to his return!  It was really hard to look at our situation and say “Yes this is what God has for us”.  You never expect that God would remove your children from your lives be it temporary or permanent.  But according to His word that is exactly what we had to believe.  Throughout this long dry period, we had to rely on and believe that God really means it when He says in His word “For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28) Or that we really should “consider it pure it joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2)  I really like the way the New International Readers Version (its the one I read with Olivia) presents this part of scripture so please allow me to quote James 1:2-4.  “My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble.  When you do, think of it as pure joy.  Your faith will be put to the test.  You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue.  The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its works.  Then you will be all you should be.  You will have everything you need.”  AMEN! Thank you Father for these words of encouragement and your promise that we will be better in the end for the trials of this life…I know that I have had and will continue to have my share of trials but You are just making me better, You are making me Yours to use for Your Glory!

So we waited, we got frustrated, we questioned, we fell on our knees and prayed, we remembered these two scriptures along with Psalm 31 and we waited, frustrated, questioned, prayed and remembered some more!  Finally Garrett came back and when he did WOW did we see God’s Glory in this boy, in this situation, in this family, in my heart and my faith in God!  Garrett came back with the love of Jesus in his heart.  He came back with a love and appreciation for our home and our family.  He came back with a desire to return to school, to do well and to graduate!  He came back as the sweet, kind, caring and loving boy that we remembered before he left and praise GOD he did because we have missed him.

It was hard to wait, it was  hard to trust and it was hard to believe that this was what God had for us and for Garrett and that God would turn this into a blessing and He would show is Glory but it was done.  We will all face trials in our lives.  I think of all my friends and family who are facing struggles right now.  While it is hard, know that you will come out on the other side better than you were when you entered it!  Remember God never promised a life free from struggle but He did promise to see us through those times, to battle with us, to never forsake us and to bless us for our faith and trust in Him.  Part of having faith in God is trusting his timing.  His timing is perfect in every way!

God Bless You All and Know that God loves you and so do I,

Erin

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