It’s easy to have faith when things go right. The test comes when things don’t go the way you imagined.
Fortunately, God can redeem difficult seasons in our lives as training grounds for trusting him. The most challenging training I ever received started many years ago when I was only 16.
I nervously tapped my feet as I waited for a life-changing test result. At that age, I wish I could say I was waiting for a high school math test result, but I wasn’t. When the nurse finally walked in, she looked down at me, told me my pregnancy test result was positive and handed me a brochure outlining my options.
After she left the room, I cried and couldn’t stop repeating, “I can’t be pregnant,” hoping my present declarations would somehow change my past decisions. The nurse told me I was free to go. But I wasn’t free at all. I felt trapped, I felt shame, and I felt fear. How could I tell my family? How was I going to be able to finish high school? I felt like my life was over.
I found a necessary glimmer of hope when I discovered a school I could attend while pregnant and later take the baby with me. That glimmer gave me the strength to take the next step and tell my family. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but thankfully, my family extended only grace and mercy. When my daughter was born, all the fearful tears shed turned to happy ones.
But it didn’t take long before the reality of adult life set in. Overwhelmed by responsibilities that were too heavy for me to carry alone, I whispered a prayer: “Lord, if you love me and have a better plan for my life, then I give my life to you.”
At that moment, I knew that God had a better plan for my life with unprecedented conviction. Even more important, I knew I wasn’t alone. God met me in my pain and used my tears to lead me to him.
Being a single mom, working and going to school full-time was difficult, so I depended on God for everything. I realize now what a blessing in disguise that was. He was training me to trust him. I found the strength to endure when I remembered his words from Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope.”
If we are to have power in the present, we must have faith in the future, and that is what God’s word and his presence did for me.
Looking back on my life today, I can say that God has been more than generous to me. He had a better plan and has blessed my life far more than I deserve. I met my amazing husband while attending college when my daughter was three years old. We now have three daughters, and they are proof of the truth of Jeremiah 29:11.
In 2005, I began volunteering as a counselor at a pregnancy center. For the past 17 years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking for the unborn, offering hope to young girls and women facing unplanned pregnancies, and loving and encouraging women emotionally wounded by past abortions.
Most importantly, I get to share the gospel with all interested in knowing what gives me hope. They listen to me because they know that I have walked in their shoes. I have genuine compassion for them because I know how they feel. My heart sings and heaven rejoices when a woman or a young girl chooses life for her unborn child and prays to receive eternal life for herself.
God used my story to cultivate a personal burden in my heart for young mothers and the unborn. I thank God for entrusting me to participate in this work alongside him.
Not everyone has the time or resources to counsel women, but everyone can advance the kingdom of God and extend love to women and the unborn by exercising their right to vote. You can find educational resources on this topic from My Faith Votes.
If we want a nation that God blesses, we must fight against laws that violate biblical commands. If we choose to do nothing, then evil will prevail. We cannot complain about the darkness in the world if we refuse to do all that is in our power to usher in the light.
As followers of Christ, there is power in our presence because he is with us wherever we go. Genuine faith that honors God is active, always on the move.
If we long to hear the greatest commendation from God — “well done, good and faithful servant” — we must take courage, speak up, show up and remember our God-given training for such a time as this.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.