The longer we live, the more “defining moments” we have—those key experiences in our lives that define both who we are and how we see God. As I look back, I can see where God has been weaving His plan for me through defining moments in my life. One of those times came when my daughter was a senior in high school.
My husband and I lived a pretty charmed life until our daughter became pregnant at 17 years old. I was frustrated and, yes, even angry with God and the fact that He allowed this to happen.
Although I would have never said it aloud, I realized that since I was a Christian and had done all these spiritual works and been faithful to God all these years and raised our children in the faith, I felt that God “owed me,” and that He had not kept up His end of the deal when he allowed our daughter to go down this path.
At that time, we lived just two houses from a walking path among beautiful, old trees. I went to that path to walk and walk and walk and stew and cry and literally scream at God. I thought, What’s the point of being faithful to you, God, when you are not faithful to me? I am just going to give up on following God. After much distress, the truth of Psalm 73:25 kept coming back to me: “Whom have I in heaven but thee?” No matter how mad I was, I realized there is no one else. There is no one else to whom I can go.
During this time, I had to truly evaluate who God is and who I am in relation to Him. Here are four things I learned:
1. God is so gracious and allows us to scream at him. Psalm 73:21-24 describes me at that time: “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.” He allowed me to be that beast before Him and still loved me. Imagine, the God of the Universe, loving us enough to humble and subject himself to our tantrums. Then He comes to us in our need and gently leads us back to Himself.
2. God doesn’t owe me anything. He is the creator, the one true, holy God. My love and faithfulness to Him cannot be dependent on what he does for me or if He fulfills my expectations for my life. I love Him because He is worthy--just because of who He is.
3. I had to give up what I expected my life was going to be, including my plans for a "normal" family where the children loved the Lord. In giving it to God, He reminded me of Proverbs 16:9, which reads, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps,” and Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
4. I had to decide what attitude I would have for the rest of my life—bitterness or trust. I chose to trust God and love Him without any expectations except what He has promised. As God promised the people of Judah when they were in exile in Jeremiah 29:11-12, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
We live in a sinful, fallen world, but God can redeem bad things for our good and His glory. No matter where you are on this incredible journey with God, I encourage you to look back on experiences you have had and see how God has used them to mold who you are now!