I hung up the phone and looked into my husband’s expectant eyes. “She’s not coming,” I whispered. He sighed with unspoken understanding and continued with whatever task he was attending to. I can’t remember what it was. My heart ached and tears threatened, but taking a deep breath, I continued to wrap the multitudes of gifts piled high on the floor in front of me. Our adult daughter would not be joining us for the holidays. The reason why is a long story, but suffice to say that it made this mama want to cry. My husband and I have been walking down this parenting a prodigal path for some time now and although there are days when my heart aches and I want to cry (and do!) we have learned so much about the faithfulness of God. If you’re going through a season of trial like us, I have few words of hope for you. And if you’re not going through trying times now, bookmark this page because it’s probably around the corner. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12 Surviving and Thriving During Trials Don’t Hide: It’s kind of sad to say that, as Christians, we fear the judgement of other Christians. Honestly, though, God created the church for just such a time as this. Prayerfully consider who to invite into your prayer circle. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. We need corporate prayer! Don’t Make it About You: It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-centeredness, focusing on our own pain and suffering. There is a time for that to be sure, but ultimately a focus on self isn’t the answer. It’s not about you! God allows difficulties in our lives to refine us, right? Allow God to work in you and share that with others! There is a sweet peace in glorifying God through trials. Don’t Seek Worldly Wisdom: Although there is much wisdom in godly counsel from pastors, family and friends, ultimately it is God who holds the answers for your unique situation. Remember, God is not surprised by anything that you are going through. He wants to guide you and has an unending supply of wisdom for all who ask. Don’t Ask Why: While you’re seeking God’s wisdom for your situation, try asking God ‘What?’ rather than ‘Why?’. Ask God what it is that He is trying to teach you and your family. Likely, the ‘why’ to your situation is beyond your understanding anyway. Rest, knowing that God is working this all for the good and seek to grow through your situation. Don’t Give Up: This is not an easy path, Sweet Mama. There have been times that I’ve been angry with God, arrogantly rejecting His peace and demanding change. Boy, am I thankful for grace! Don’t give up. God is faithful to complete the works that He began in you and your family – works that have been ordained since before time began. When your heart feels like it will break and nothing makes sense, it can seem impossible to do as James said and ‘consider it all joy when you encounter trials’. Be encouraged by what Paul, who was well-familiar with suffering, said in Romans 12:12, ‘rejoice in hope‘. We can rejoice during trials because we have hope – hope in an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God. Won’t you trust Him today?