In the minutes following the birth of my first child 26 years ago, I surprised the doctor and my husband with a strange reaction. My labor was long and hard, but all through the many hours spent in that hospital bed, I knew I was working for something wonderful. The pain was intense, but the moment my son was placed in my arms and I first glimpsed his sweet face, I wiped the sweat from my brow, smiled bigger than I ever had before, looked up and exclaimed, "I want to do that again!" The doctor paused, laughed and then stated that in all the years of his practice, he had never heard a woman say that with such enthusiasm at that very moment! He might have been surprised, but I wasn’t.  After 9 months of waiting and 19 hours of labor, all the hard work and energy had culminated into a beautiful new life.  I was filled with such joy that it couldn't be contained.

If only we could look at all the “labors” in our life with such joy!  So often, we experience growing pains meant to form us into new, beautiful creations in God’s eyes, but the painful journeys can discourage us.  We focus on the trial rather than the end result.  God’s word promises that we can face our troubles with confidence and hope because God will use our difficulties to grow and shape us.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:3-5).

Have you ever gone through a painful or challenging time but then experienced such blessings as a result that you would be willing to go through it again in order to come to an ever deeper relationship with Christ?  I know that is a difficult idea to grasp.  None of us like trials, let alone pain.  But, when we remember that God uses everything in our life -- the good, the bad, the difficult, and the easy -- to mold and shape us into the women He created us to be, the sting of the journey is eased.  When we can focus on Christ and on what He is doing through the pain, we can be sure that our faith will grow.  And the end result will be beautiful.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

Living for Him,

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  1. I know this one, and yes... there has been great joy that has come to me in the midst of terrible trial. And while I'm not ready to "have another baby" as it pertains to my pain, I have discovered rich beauty.


  2. Joan - yes, I have been through trials that, had it not been for them, I might not be where I am today. Yes, oh so painful and though I hope never to have to face some of them again, I wouldn't take for having been through them.

    I often say our trials are valley experiences. In the valley is rich, fertile soil where vegetation can grow. Mountain tops, on the other hand, have sparse vegetation and the higher we climb, the less growth.

    Wonderful post!

  3. God has used the hard places of my life to draw me closer to Him, and to teach me that He is always faithful, even when my circumstances tell me otherwise. I want to learn to embrace my pain with JOY, knowing that it produces strength and faith!

  4. Wow; this is a tough one for me! As you know, I've been going through a very long season of trials and challenges. There are days when I wish I could go back to how it used to be. But then I realize that I've learned so much through the trials and gained much ... a better marriage relationship, realizing what's really important, the blessing of working with little children, and much more.

    I am so thankful for my relationship with the Lord. I couldn't have gone through this without Him. I still don't know what will happen in the near future but I'm learning to trust Him. And that's huge for me.

    Thanks for a very timely post.

    Blessings and love,

    P.S. But I echo Elaine's comment. I'd hate to have to repeat this. :)

  5. Hi Joan - I think this is how God wants us to see trials, in eager anticipation of the blessing it will bring because we went through it with Him. Great post and reminder that there is purpose in our trials
    God bless

  6. Hi Joan,

    This a a wonderful post and good reminder. :)

    There are so many lessons I have learned during times of trial and temptation, but I know who brings me through it; it is the footprints of Jesus! :) Not only do life’s setbacks help to build our character, it makes us stronger and more faithful to Him.

    Blessings and love,

  7. Thank you for stopping by my blog. :)

    I love this analogy! Sometimes "blessings coming through raindrops."

  8. Thank you for this beautiful post. I also feel God's presence during the hardest moments of my life. Trial and suffering sometimes brings rich blessings.

  9. When I go through a trial my prayer is that God will use it for good. I don't like the trials but the good that usually comes from them is a blessing. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  10. Wonderful thought provoking post. I have been walking, praising and praying through many trials in my life. Never before has life been... so difficult.. if only I could see the bigger picture. I am uplifted today, reading this I feel that I will be stronger and in a much different place spiritually because of the trials I face today.

    Thank you for sharing and encouraging me.

  11. This was a beautiful post! Very encouraging and a great way to look at trials and pain.

  12. I hadn't thought of the comparison of labor in childbirth to the labors in life and the reason we can "count it all joy!" It is much too easy to focus on the labor instead of what the labor will produce!

  13. Beautiful testimony and insight. Thank you!!!

  14. Beautiful analogy here. It is so hard sometimes to keep our focus off of our circumstances but so rewarding when we do....

  15. Interesting post. Yes, I had one incident that immediately comes to mind. I was completely devastated by what was going on in our church and the fact that we would be moving. Now 22 years later I look back and see what a blessing it was. I wouldn't change it for the world. God knows what he's doing and he sometimes uses our supposed enemies to accomplish his purposes. We should never doubt Him. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Great post, Joan.

    Count it all joy - such a challenge, and yet, such a promise.

    About 2 1/2 years ago, my oldest son fell off a ladder and broke his wrist, and suffered a rather severe concussion. It was a terrible accident, and very scary. But God worked forgiveness in our family through this incident. I'm happy to say that my son recovered completely. But, the recovery that God made happen in some estranged and bitter hearts was nothing short of a miracle - bringing good out of injury, and joy out of fear.

    Thanks for sharing.


  17. I believe with all my heart and faith in God that the trials and pain in our lives brings us closer to God, not to mention, we grow stronger in our faith when we are tested.
    Blessings, Jeanne

  18. My husband lost his job a few years back after working for the same company for 21 years. As hard as it was, we learned many things through the process, and the one I treasure most? A closer walk with God.


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