Trials and Triumphs

September 16, 2019  - By Kristin Link

Well-Watered Women-Blog-Trials and Triumphs

“Out of the deepest waters and the hottest fires have come the deepest things that I know about God.” 

–Elisabeth Elliot

When Trials Come

As believers, we can expect trials to come our way. I love the way the apostle Peter states it so honestly in 1 Peter 4:12–13: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (emphasis added).

My husband and I have been married for eight years now, and we can look back on our 10+ years of being in a relationship and see how the Lord has asked us to wait for many of His good gifts. When I think back to our dating, engagement, and first few years of marriage, I can clearly remember the impatient and agitated way that I waited for God’s timing. His timing for provisions or healing or clarity and direction never came on my timetable, and I can look back and truthfully confess that I squandered the hardships of those first few years of our relationship.

About four years ago, we began trying to start a family. We were excited about the new desires that God was placing within us to become parents, and we had expected and hoped that it would happen without struggle. However, the Lord’s plans and timing looked different for us in this area of life, too. I could see that He was writing a different story for us. 

Trusting God's Timing in Trials

I had walked through trials for several years up to that point and I was finally developing a desire to submit to His ways regardless of the outcome. So, in this infertility journey,  I chose to fully surrender to the Father. I asked Him to use this struggle for my good and for His glory. I asked Him to teach me and grow me, using this hardship to strengthen my relationship with Him—because I knew all too well what it looked like to run from God in hardship. I decided that I didn’t want my pain to be in vain, and I wouldn’t run away this time or push against what He was trying to do in me, but to work with Him and His plans for me in the midst of the pain.

I began asking God for His perspective. I found Him in quiet places, and I sought Him with all my heart. He granted me wisdom, insight, and new ways of looking at my circumstances. 

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17–18

I have learned in hardship to share all of my feelings with God first. One of my mentors jokingly told me one time, “You need to call the throne before you pick up the phone!” I wish I had implemented this quirky piece of wisdom long ago, because I learned the hard way in my marriage that it was not appropriate or healthy for me to share all the things with my husband when in conflict or anguish. The Lord is the only one who can handle all of my raw emotions and spewings, and He helps me to sort through them and filter them before any other person hears what’s going on inside this frustrated, hurt, or overwhelmed heart of mine.

I then found that choosing to become vulnerable and sharing my struggles with trusted mentors, close friends, my small group, Bible study ladies, or counselors creates connection with others, and has been a major part of my healing and God’s redemption in my story. When we choose, after going to God, to open up and share our struggles and imperfections for others to see and relate to, we can help them know they are not alone. 

Hope in the Trials

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

As my husband and I have walked the road of infertility over these last four years, I praise the Lord that He has used it in many ways for our good and for His glory. 

One of the ways He has redeemed our story is by leading us to pursue adoption. We were matched with a baby boy in India in February, and had the incredible opportunity to meet him in April! We were on a mission trip with a team from our church, and after our team left we had permission to visit him at his orphanage for a couple of days. The precious moments that we spent together as a family of three are forever etched on my heart. The memories of holding my son near, cuddling him as he fell asleep on our chests, and playing together, have been treasures that have helped sustain me through what feels like an impossible wait in bringing him home. 

As we have waited for this adoption process to come to a close, I have had to navigate what it means to believe in God’s goodness even when things don’t feel good or seem like they could possibly be what’s best. I’ve struggled to accept the peace that the Holy Spirit offers when I don’t want to release my anger and hurt over the perceived cruelty of these circumstances. 

I recently heard this quote from an unknown source: “It can be hard and holy at the same time.” What a relief this was to my weary soul! I have wept and grieved and poured out every possible emotion in this waiting process. Thank God that He can handle my frustrations and pain (Psalm 56:8).

Well Watered Women Blog | It can be hard and holy at the same time.

Choosing Joy

As we wait, we have been looking for all the things God is doing—all the blessings happening everywhere we turn. I’m taking pictures of moments and writing down things I’m grateful for. Because the truth is, my temptation is to just deem this entire waiting season as frustrating, difficult, painful, and wearying.

And while each of these descriptors accurately depicts part of this waiting period, they don’t get to steal the show or paint the whole picture!  I’ve spent many hours privately grieving and many moments feeling hopeless and angry, but I desperately want to reclaim all the good in this season, too, and thank God for all the ways He is working. And the reality is: it takes an intentional effort to fight all the frustration inside me with purposeful joy and hope.

"My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2

I had a sobering realization this summer when I reached my absolute lowest point in the waiting process. My heart was grieved and my emotions frayed. I had become so weary in the waiting that I found myself confessing to a dear friend of mine, “If my son came home tomorrow, I’m not even sure I’d be in a healthy enough place to be his mother.”

I had allowed my crazy emotions to rule me, and I realized that I didn’t want to look back on this adoption process and wonder who I had become along the way. I made the decision that day, under the Holy Spirit’s conviction, that I wanted to use my remaining waiting season to become the healthiest I could be—spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

So, we wait. And we look to God for strength and grace, asking Him to make us more like Jesus in the process, knowing that He works all things for our good (Romans 8:28). We learn how to trust Him regardless of the outcome, and we choose to believe what the Bible says: about Him, about us, and about our tribulations. His Word is truth and it prepares us for both the trials and the triumphs.

Your friend, Kristin

A Sweet Triumph:

Today we celebrate the Lord's faithfulness with the Links as they transition to being a family of three! Kristin and Steven were able to travel to India and reconnect with their beautiful son this month. They are now safely home and spending time connecting, establishing routines and rhythms, and bonding as a family. Please join us in praying for their family in the coming weeks as they continue to grow together! You can also follow along with the Link's journey on their blog and Kristin's Instagram.

Kristin and Aaro
Steven, Kristin and Aaro

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