After spending a couple hours this evening helping my daughter prepare for a speech she has to give tomorrow, I find myself tired, but extremely thankful and feeling beyond blessed.
She has received her GED and is now enrolled in college to obtain her Associates Degree in Information Technology. She is almost finished with her first semester and doing well. She's even been selected to represent our county for Adult Education. She's learning to juggle college, jobs and life as a productive adult. Not only that, but she is walking down the right path again spiritually. And...I am elated, my heart is bursting with thankfulness.
You might say to yourself, "What's the big deal? That's normal", and I'd say you're right, but I know her story. It has been part of my own, and at one point I would have hung my head low and would have said it was highly unlikely and very likely impossible. I'd say all this, while in the back of my head knowing the Word says, "all things are possible" with God. (Wow! That's vulnerable!)
Choices made often lead us down the wrong paths. Paths headed straight for destruction. Paths one never would've imagined. Bad influences from hanging around the wrong kind of people can wreak havoc and leave a person rocking and reeling - even gasping for life. There were a few moments there when I wondered if she'd survive to see her next birthday. I won't go into all the ugly details, so please just trust me.
Remember, good and bad happen to all people, nobody is exempt. My family was no exception. We loved God, raised our children in church, and tried to be good examples...but the ugly came to our home.
"Coming to a home near you!"
I was listening to a preacher last night as he was talking about something quite eye-opening: one can't have a miracle without a burden (misery). I've admitted before that I'm a slow learner at times, but those words pierced my heart and brought light to some dark corners that the Lord has been bringing light into lately. (Isn't He good like that!) There has been misery, but there's also a miracle.
What I'm trying to say is that there have been many nights of misery, of waiting, wondering and pleading with God to spare her soul and life. There have been many days of stress and anxiety as I've not completely been able to release it all to God. (Just being honest!) Fear has a tendency to grip the heart when your child is wayward and walking along the wrong path not heeding to warnings given. What could I have done different? Where did I miss it? There are often unfair questions which taunt our mind from those fiery darts. We're none exempt from the chance of ugly happening to our babies!
So, maybe you can see now why tonight was so precious to me. As I looked at her and listened as she recited her speech, I had to silently thank God for the miracle in her life. I thanked Him for answering prayers of a struggling mother. She isn't perfect, neither am I, and I'm sure there will still be some mistakes along the way, just as there will be in my own life. However, the final words of her speech are a quote of her own making which brought delight to my soul:
"I am a living testimony that you can get here from anywhere, and anywhere from here."
It's true...God is still in the miracle working business and still full of mercy and grace. He can still take the ugliest things and make them beautiful. The enemy may give it his best shot but he'll never win the battle. The dark times that seem to never end - do end. (I can say that now, but have not always been able to.) Take heart, my friend. Your dark night won't last always either. There is hope in the hands of the Master.
I'm thankful that miracles and misery do work hand in hand. It's often hard to give thanks in the difficult times, it's hard to understand why bad things happen to good people; but I'm learning day by day. And...I hope when she concludes her speech tomorrow, that her final words will give yet more praise to the Lord...yes, you can get anywhere from here. I have a testimony also. And your ugly situation can be one too!