So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

This is my life verse and it has sustained me, encouraged me, and given me peace more times than I count. Like most people I am often unaware of all the trials others have faced, but in my own life I am able to say that God has always been there for me and has sustained me with a never ending supply of love, peace, encouragement and strength, just as His word says He will.

An injury in February has caused me to slow down (a lot) and reflect on God’s love and how He has always been there for me. I have had time to look back at how good has always come out of the hard, sad things that have gone on in my life. I have learned that finding the good in the trials of my life is not black and white, nor is it always clearly evident; but it is always there. Sometimes I need to look for it and sometimes it finds me when I least expect it and I can say, “God is so good”.

Through this slowing down time God has re-acquainted me with some things I have learned over the years by going through hard times. Here are just a few:

I can be a bit of a whiner and that is a very unflattering but human behavior to have. However, I have seen that it is often the people with the most reasons to whine that seldom do, when they are totally dependent on God.

Never say never. I used to believe that some things would never happen to me, my children or in my lifetime, but I was wrong. Anything can happen to anyone. That’s why trusting in a loving God is vital.

That said, there is no way to know what is really going on in someone else’s life, family, body, etc. so I need to approach each person with an endless supply of grace, love and forgiveness. This is, of course, humanly impossible, but totally possible with God’s help.

A tin of chocolate cookies is a gift similar to manna and quail (before the Israelites started to whine) when my spirits are down and my husband is out of town.

Planting perennials is a sound investment that paid off this year when I could not putter in my garden. I was will still able to stop and smell the flowers.

I should not put the expectations I have of myself on other people. They are not me—they are the way God made them. Did He make a mistake in making them the way they are? I don’t think so. Besides, it is not up to me to change them. That is God’s job and I need to remember that He may not be finished with them yet—just as He is not finished with me yet, thank goodness.

I am not as patient as I thought I was and the person I am most impatient with is me. And speaking of those expectations we may have of ourselves—perhaps we all need to slow down and lighten up a little. I know that I am far too often my own worst critic.

Broken hearts do heal but only with God’s help. Broken ankles may never heal but apparently that’s okay. And I’m good with that because my God is the God of healing and He knows exactly what I need when I need it.

Father God, at the end of a long, hard day please help me to cling to Your goodness, strength, and help. Thank You for upholding me through whatever is causing me pain, and for giving me something to smile about instead.   Amen

Contributed by Nikki Stuart