This story started October 2005. The Lord has been challenging me for the past 13 years to write out my testimony. But it wasn't until this summer that I really got convicted and decided that I could no longer put it off. With the encouragement of a few ladies, I started to put my thoughts together and sought help in writing it out. Little did I know how the Lord was going to use it in preparing me for the upcoming trial I was going to face: learning of Abbi's permanent optic nerve damage, and by giving me the reminder of just how I came to be saved. I am constantly amazed on how the Lord's timing is always perfect.
I grew up as an only child with two loving parents. I had a happy childhood, but in my preteen years, some unexpected difficulties started to affect our family. This was the point that I began to question God’s goodness; why would He let us go through this trial?
In high school, I met my future husband Matt. He regularly attended a Baptist church with his family, and I began to go with him on occasion. This was my first introduction to church, but God had already begun putting in my heart the desire to know Him.
After Matt and I were married, we started looking for a church to attend. We eventually found the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church and began visiting. By this point, I was expecting our first child, and we wanted to raise our children in church. Within a couple of weeks of sitting under the teaching from the Bible, Matt realized that he had never truly been saved and came to Christ for salvation.
Our oldest daughter, Abigail, was born soon after, but the day after she was born, we were given the devastating news that there was a serious problem with one of her eyes. We entered into a whirlwind of doctors’ appointments and decisions needing to be made. Should we do surgery? What were the risks? Would it even help her? I experienced the challenges of taking care of a baby’s eye – from patching to trying to put in a contact lens.
During this time, we continued attending church, but inwardly, my bitterness towards God grew. Why would He allow this to happen to my baby? What did I do to deserve this? I was a good person, after all. I couldn’t understand why I had been given this trial.
As Abigail grew into a toddler, she became more resistant to the patching, fighting us all the time. We began to wonder if it was worth the struggle. We went back to her ophthalmologist, and with some strong, but well-placed words, he made us realize that this was a turning point: we either had to persist in the hard work it took to help Abigail, or give it all up entirely.
Matt and I decided the best thing for Abigail was to continue following all of the doctor’s orders. The principles that we had learned from the Bible about being parents helped us to deal with Abigail in a way to help her, both physically and spiritually. Once we started doing this, we saw God’s blessing on our lives, especially with Abigail adjusting to the patch. This began softening my heart to God, as He continued to draw me to Himself.
In the fall of 2005, our church had a Bible conference with a guest preacher. One of the nights, he preached specifically on bitterness. He said that God wanted to take our trials and turn them into blessings, if we would let Him. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I realized that my bitterness was a sin against God. I wasn’t the good person that I always thought myself to be.
The following Sunday, our own pastor preached a message on Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The Lord used this verse to show me that I needed to give all my bitterness to Him and find the rest that He offered. At the end of the service, I prayed to God, confessing my sin and asking Him to save me. I now had that relationship with God that I had longed for!
Since that time, God has taken away the bitterness that I had held on to, and He has given me an indescribable peace, a peace that is spoken about in Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The difficulties with Abigail’s eye did not go away; in fact, we still today are facing more decisions and uncertainties around what to do to help her. Yet, the peace remains because I am confident that God is in control, and I have seen so many good things come because of this trial. I do not know how I would have been able to face these years of doctors’ appointments, surgeries, pain, etc. without the Lord’s presence in my life and the sweet peace that He gives.
Maybe you too are facing a difficult trial in your life right now. God wants to turn the bad things into good, if you will come to Him. He not only will help you in your difficulty, but even better, you can also have a personal relationship with Him! He may not take the trial away, but He will be with you through the trial and give you His peace that passes understanding.
By Alison Rhone
“Designed to promote Biblical living for today’s Christian Woman.”
It is our highest desire that this publication encourages and edifies ladies in their daily walk with the Lord and strengthens them in their God-given role as wives, mothers, daughters, and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.