Have you ever had a life changing experience? One that maybe was sent by God to get your attention? Because maybe He had been trying to get your attention for years …. maybe you would get what He was saying, but you either wouldn’t listen or you would only listen for a while but then you’d go right back to what you were doing…
For years I struggled with what it was God wanted me doing – what was His will for my life; I just knew it had to be more than “just” being a stay at home wife and mother. After all that wasn’t really a ministry and I knew I was suppose to be in ministry – somehow, some way…In fact probably in many ways, right?
God gave me these talents and I know He wants me to use them all – right now! So for years I juggled nurseries, Awana, Moms-n-Tots, drama class (if I didn’t do it then I just knew I was going to miss my chance!), dinner theatres, Upwards basketball, teaching preschool, Bible studies, discipleship, and many other things….ALL great things! BUT, were they in the right time? God’s time? I know some of those things were in God’s plan, for it was clear how they came into my life, but did I need to do all those things at the same time – the time when my family was beginning and growing? I was using the talents God gave me, but was I getting the home front right?
I feel as if God tapped me on the shoulder many times – either with a sermon, or a friend’s kind rebuke, once I believe it was a broken arm. My priority was my home and my family, but I was missing it because I felt like I was missing out on life and ministry if I wasn’t involved in it all. I gave excuses for a lot at home – I’m too busy with the girls to keep up with the house: I don’t like to cook, but I know Kevin does and he knows what he needs so he’ll just pick it up at the store…He knows I’m busy in ministry so he’ll be ok with it. I really truly thought these things were what was best for us, after all these are all great ministry things. It got easier to do as the girls got older because I knew they could handle it, but I always felt a little guilty was I being a good mom? A good wife? We are teaching them to serve after all… all good things.
Then God said Enough! Sonja, I want you to truly listen to Me and here is how it’s going to happen:
I had been having some different health issues over the last year – nothing major just annoying and trying because it was slowing me down and I didn’t need that! So I went in for a physical and learned I had some polys that were most likely the source – easy procedure just a day or two of down time. Nothing big, but didn’t really solve any issues.
A few months pass and I have a horrible weird pain in my stomach area – thought maybe appendix or something similar – they did a few tests and finally figured out it had something to do with my colon – nothing too serious, but when they had done the ultrasound they discovered the polyps were back and multiplying; hence the cause for the other continuing problems. No big deal; small surgery to take care of that, we will do that in October so you can be back on your feet by the holidays and even go on your daughter’s 8th grade trip.
This was the beginning of September so I was busy figuring out what I was going to do that year with my volunteering at school and church – I started with the things I had done the year before – checking in with those areas I discovered those weren’t needed this year for various reasons, but that was okay I’d found another area…no wait they had a different plan sorry we can’t use you here. Ok, Lord what is going on? I don’t understand! I know I’m suppose to be helping somewhere…Nope. Opportunity after opportunity slipped past me. I really had no idea what was going on.
Surgery day came and was suppose to be a quick hour long procedure with a one day hospital stay – tops. Surgery lasted 5.5 hours – scar tissue had formed and when it was being removed it tore something it wasn’t suppose too. Hospital stay turned into five days of a lot of misery – recovery of two weeks turned to a month and a half of pretty much not being able to do a whole lot on my own. I missed the eighth grade trip with Jenna – Christmas shopping took hours longer because my strength was not there. So many things started making sense – I would have let a lot of people down had I been committed to those ministries at church and school.
So there I was flat on my back – in the quiet of my home – I can’t even really tell you how or when God spoke to me, but I know He did. I got it this time – He took it all without taking it all – I wanted to get it right. I started realizing I wasn’t loving my Jenna like I should, I wasn’t listening to my sweet Jules like I should, I wasn’t guiding my quickly maturing Ashli, I wasn’t feeding my marriage like I should, I wasn’t providing the home environment that my husband craved and my girls needed to learn from…I wasn’t the woman God intended me to be. I wasn’t even in the ministry He wanted in my life. He asked me to ask Him first and to wait for His answer.
I’m not even sure when the changes started changing…I just know I had an overwhelming peace and I was forced to stop my life as I had known it. I really started enjoying the person my Jenna was, I started listening to the heart of my Jules, I started asking the hard questions and guiding my Ashli. I started noticing my words and my actions towards the love of my life. I feverently asked God to show my what his next steps were for me.
I started menu planning and cooking, laundry and house cleaning were on my to do list more often. None of it was perfect, but I felt myself changing and finally grasping what God had so long been trying to teach me – My family came first! Our long talks and time spent in prayer were important! Only the things God wanted were what I wanted!
I STILL don’t get it right all the time, but I do get it better…Some read this and might say – you are super busy still! And some days I do still question – is this really what You want God? I try to evaluate His answer and His voice a lot more often than I did before. I cling to His promise in Proverbs 3:6 that if I “acknowledge Him in all my ways, He will direct my paths.”
How about you? Is there a time in your life that God used a hardship to bring about change in you life that you would like to share? Be an encouragement to others and leave a comment below.