My alarm goes off again—just another weekday. As I try to open my eyes, they feel puffy, and I remember: I cried myself to sleep last night. All of the night’s thoughts and feelings come right back, leaving me a crying mess at 6 o’clock in the morning. Not how I want to start my day.
Sometimes life is difficult. Sometimes it stays difficult. You’ve figured that out already, or will soon. Maybe you’re going through hard times right now. Fighting the spiritual battles women face during trials can leave us drained and heartbroken, wondering how to handle the emotions that, some days, seem to overwhelm us completely no matter what we do. How do we change the way we feel? Is God listening to our prayers? I’d like to share with you some lessons I have learned that help me handle hard times.
There Is a Time for Everything
It is very difficult to be happy when severe trials hit. We read in Ecclesiastes 3 that to everything there is a season: “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (v. 4). There is nothing wrong with needing time to be sad! Take your time to cry and mourn. Allow yourself to not be okay, to prayerfully process your emotions.
But—and this is a big “but”—as Christian ladies, daughters of God, we cannot allow ourselves to stay in those emotions for long. Your Father does not want you to be depressed! He wants you to have joy, a fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When you and your world are crashing down, take it all in, be sad and weep, but remember: This is just a season. It does not define who you are.
Talk to a Friend (or Two!)
As women, we have the need to communicate and share—share thoughts, share feelings, and bounce ideas off people we trust. Some situations can be very personal and private, so you might not feel comfortable sharing them with just anyone, but what about a good friend in the Church? What about an older lady you look up to? What about someone you know who has gone through a similar situation and made it to “the other side,” or someone who is going through her own trial right now? Someone like that will often be more than happy to listen and to share a burden.
My husband and I have been blessed with wonderful friends in the Church. On one particular Sabbath, we were both feeling very low during a time when our family members were struggling with health challenges, and some of those friends invited us to their house, where we talked about our situation and found encouragement. God can use your Church family to lift you up and give you the words you need to hear. Talk to your mothers and sisters in Christ—let God use them to encourage you.
When Your Heart Is Broken
Have you ever thought, “Is God listening to me? I’m praying every day, but He doesn’t seem to hear.” I know I have. I also know that, in those moments, Satan is trying to make me believe the lie that God doesn’t care about me. During the darkest hours of your life, during the hardest times you have to face, God is not only hearing your prayers—He is listening carefully to them. He is leaning close to you to catch every word, because “the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart” (Psalm 34:18).
Your Father wants to console you. You are not alone—He is by your side, counting your tears and wanting to comfort you as only He can. When you are feeling brokenhearted, remember: “God is near to me.”
We Are Helpers and Givers
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Let that sink in for a moment. Now you might be wondering, “What does this have to do with hard times?” Well, trials have a way of causing us to focus on ourselves, on our problems, and on all the negative things surrounding us. Giving, though, has the opposite effect. It makes us think of others and what they are going through—their needs and their trials. Helping others is part of a woman’s design (Genesis 2:18). Embrace that!
Happily, giving does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. We can meet for lunch with a widow in the congregation, help someone finish a sewing project she has been struggling with, babysit for a busy momma, make a meal for someone in need, write a beautiful card, or dedicate part of our intercessory prayer to those who need encouragement or even miracles in their lives. I can assure you that when you take your mind off yourself and your problems—as big as they might be—you will feel better. Because God says He will bless you for giving to others, it truly is “more blessed to give than to receive.”
The Bible’s Words Are True
Can you imagine a world with no physical or emotional pain—no sorrow, no reason to cry, and even no death? Can you imagine your life without suffering? Well, that time is coming! The Bible talks about it: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Ladies, do we believe these words? I hope so, because they are true.
When we understand this reality, when we understand that God will heal our wounds, fill every hole in our hearts, and give us so much more than we can think of, we can have hope during our struggles. Despite our present pain, we have hope of better times—times that might not be in this life, but times we can be sure are coming. Ensuring that these words are real to us, deeply feeling that God’s promises are sure, can help you deal with trials as you remind yourself that all hard times will end.
All of us will find ourselves facing trials in our lives. Such times can be lonely and challenging, but there are actions we can take to turn them into growing opportunities. Through such difficulties, we can learn to accept our vulnerabilities and serve others even when we are hurting.
There are wonderful examples in the Bible of godly women: Sarah, Deborah, Abigail, Rebecca, Mary the mother of Jesus, Hannah, and so many more. All of them went through hard times, and some of them suffered a lot, but God was always with them and will ensure they all receive their reward. Then and now, God has used trials to perfect our character, because He wants us in His Kingdom! As Dr. Meredith often told us, “Never, ever give up!”
So, when hard times come, trust God and keep doing your part. Take comfort in knowing He will deliver you. Soon enough, today’s hard times will seem as nothing compared to the rewards our Father and Future Husband are preparing for us. God speed that day!