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In preparation of the launch of my memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. I’m hosting a guest series called Heading Home Together.
This week I’m delighted to welcome Elizabeth Meyers, author of Undefeated: From Trial to Triumph. Elizabeth has a powerful story, and I’m excited for you to read a portion of it below. I hope it’s a blessing and an encouragement to you.
It’s Gonna Be Great!
My husband is an enthusiastic optimist and he often leads his family on the next great adventure with the familiar refrain, “It’s gonna be great! It’s gonna be awesome!”
My parents live in Alaska and one summer, while visiting them, we decided to go fishing for trout out on the Kenai River with some of our children. For reasons that escape me now, we chose to take the four youngest, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8.
It turned out to be one of our more adventurous fishing trips. Fishing with young children always requires adults to help bait the hook, cast the rod, and net the fish, often simultaneously.
In addition to children with hooks, the river itself presents some challenges. It’s a wide, swift-moving highway of water where we have to constantly be aware of avoiding other boats, sandbars, and “sweepers” (downed trees that hang out over the water).
My husband, being a fighter pilot, is unfazed by the flurry and intensity of activity. He is used to making split-second life-and-death decisions while flying at 500 mph just 500 feet above the ground. He was having a great time!
But that’s when multiple things went wrong simultaneously and our family fishing trip took a turn for the worse. We were busy trying to untangle lines and help the child with the “fish on” while telling the little ones to sit down when my husband looked up and realized we were drifting dangerously close to hazards at the edge of the river.
He started up the motor to move us to a better position, unaware that our daughter’s line had gotten tangled in the propeller during all the excitement.
When my husband started the motor, the line immediately when taut and snapped our daughter’s pole in half, dragging the top half into the water. Of course, my husband realized what happened and killed the motor instantly, but our daughter was startled by the abrupt loss of her pole.
A couple of days later, our family decided to go for a hike. As my husband was briefing the plan to the kids, he ended with his usual, “It’s gonna be great! It’s gonna be awesome!” and asked if anyone had any questions.
The daughter whose pole had so recently been brutally destroyed looked up at her Daddy with her big brown eyes and inquired, “Daddy? Do remember that time you said it was going to be awesome . . . and it wasn’t?”
There are many places in God’s Word where He makes promises and tells us, “It’s gonna be great! It’s gonna be awesome!” But then we find ourselves struggling with grief, loss, and pain and sometimes we wonder if can really trust Him when He tells us that living life His way will be awesome.
The day I held the tiny. lifeless body of my son in the palm of my hand, my faith collided with reality in a way that shook me to my core. At 14 weeks pregnant, I had no suspicions that anything was wrong until the body of my precious baby boy was suddenly born. Without warning, I was completely undone.
In the years that followed, I wrestled with doubts about God and struggled with depression and anxiety. I was hurt and angry, feeling like God had betrayed and abandoned me.
The rich promises of God’s Word seemed to mock me. Life had not turned out as awesome as God had promised and I was left confused and broken.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
~ Psalm 91:9-10, NIV
In my mind, I had done my part by trying to live my life in step with Jesus. And yet, harm overtook me, stole my child, and disaster fell upon my “tent” in wave after relentless wave of sorrow.
Learning to Trust
These years of wandering took their toll on me and God used my trials to soften me so He could remold me. Gradually, He guided me back to the path I needed to be on, but this time with a fuller understanding of who He really is and a stronger, more durable faith that was not built on everything going the way I thought it should.
Through my journey, I discovered that I do not want a God I can understand. I want a God I can trust even when I don’t understand.
Having more answers will never make me feel better, but allowing Jesus to have more of me is what finally began to soothe my pain and heal my hurt.
God does not waste our pain. Like a skilled and caring surgeon, He only allows the kind of pain that would be cruel to leave undone.
I still cannot fathom how or why losing my son is a part of God’s plan for my life, but I am learning to rest in the mystery of God’s wisdom, trusting His love more than my own understanding of His plan.
For me, God has used my years of struggle and pain to prepare me to minister to others whose world has been rocked by trials or tragedy. I want to share the hope that victory is possible and that God is always fighting for you.
What trial is crippling your faith and leaving you feeling drained and defeated? God has victory planned for you even in this. Even when nothing works out and everything falls apart, He is always there in the middle of your mess wanting to teach you how to overcome.
You were created to live victoriously. You just need to learn how. Let Him teach you. With an all-powerful, all-loving God in your corner, “It’s gonna be great!” even when life is not awesome.
Elizabeth Meyers is a veteran, the wife of a full-afterburner fighter pilot and the mother of eight energetic children.
She the author of UNDEFEATED: From Trial to Triumph, and desires to teach others how to overcome adversity and live victoriously.
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