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Refined By Fire

It was the year that changed everything.

My husband and I were both dealing with personal issues that became overwhelming.  We separated and were living apart.  My heart was broken as I considered my future as a single parent.  I thought about children whose parents are divorced, and I was so bothered by the potential ramifications to my child should our separation become permanent.  Of most concern to me was the possibility of our son living out of a suitcase going weekend to weekend being cared for by one parent then the other.  I didn’t want this for him, but we couldn’t keep on living the life we were living.

My heart was broken.  My life was broken. 

My heartache intensified when two women, whom I considered good friends, broke relationship with me. With one I felt abandoned, and with the other, betrayed.  Losing my friends in the midst of my separation intensified my grief and escalated my misery.

I felt utterly helpless.

There was one friend, however, that stood with me.  She talked with me every day without fail.  She checked on me day and night.  I came to believe God put this amazing and loving person in my life.  She was used by God to minister to me during this difficult time.

I remember one night when things were at a critical point, I looked up and reflected on the wooden plaque on my wall.  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  God was speaking to me.  He was letting me know, “it’s okay…..

TRUST ME.”

Several years earlier a friend had told me about an online Bible study named Love God Greatly.  I signed up.  My consistency and commitment to the studies was not as it could have been.  I was not very dedicated.  But after my separation from my husband, I found that the Bible study was strengthening my relationship with God and it got me through this difficult time.  I began printing out my study materials, and every night I would do my devotions.

God spoke to me a lot through the study.

I almost could hear Him saying my name as I read the verses.  It was that real.  Some days my personal life would be crushing, and I would be ready to give up.  Then I would go to my refuge, the Bible study, and God would give me something to keep me going.  I would read something from God’s Word that applied to my life and what I was going through, and it would push me to go on.  I read passages about praying, being strong, obedient, and serving others.  The list goes on and on.  Every night I would get my Bible out, write out my passages and do my lesson.  I would get so into it that I would write on the front and the back of the pages.  I loved it!  It was during this time that I was able to focus more on Jesus and less on my situation.

Sometimes Jesus was so near I could have touched Him!

 That closeness, that connection with the Almighty.  There is none other.  Through my pain and hurt, I could still feel joy and happiness within my heart.  I can say without a shadow of a doubt that God saw me through this difficult time, and He used the online community of Love God Greatly to do it.  Without the study at that time in my life, there was no way I could have coped with what I was dealing with.

God was my safe haven during this difficult time.

It transformed my life.  I completed 1&2 Peter, Psalm 119, Galatians, Names of God, and I’m now studying Growing Through Prayer.  I committed to being in God’s Word, working through the Bible studies and applying to my life all that He was showing me.  I am so grateful to say that God amazingly put my marriage back together, and my husband and I are happier now than we’ve ever been.  Although I can’t give my husband’s testimony for him, I am a witness of God’s grace and the miracles He did in his life as well.

This was God’s work.

He has given me a good foundation, and I stand on Him.  Jesus enabled me to get through those difficult days of my past, and He is seeing me through my present.  My husband was involved in a motorcycle accident requiring three surgeries and an amputation of one toe.  Currently, he is still not able to walk.  At the same time, my grandfather was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 lung cancer.  He is like my father because he adopted me when I was two years old.  These events happened back to back.

God continues to use Love God Greatly to walk me through the difficulties of life.  He uses the Bible studies to sustain me through life’s hardships and pain.  God continues to speak.  He is still letting me know, “It’s okay…..

TRUST ME.”

I no longer feel helpless because God changed everything.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed –  1 Peter 1:6-7

Amanda Bridges, Clarkesville, GA

Post written by Joan, LGG Leadership Team Member

Did you miss last weekend’s #WomenofLGG story? Click here.

 

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