If you have been a Christian for long, you are familiar with the term “stewardship”. By definition, the term refers to taking care of or managing something. Most often, we hear this term in reference to financial gifts. Everything we have comes from God. Without God, we have nothing. It’s a common understanding that it’s our responsibility to steward our finances and our children well to give God glory.
How do we steward our trials? Trials in our career, parenting, marriage, finances, or our health can be stewarded as a great opportunity for growth. This is usually best noted in hindsight when we are able to look back and see God’s faithfulness in bringing us through. It can be difficult, however, to see God’s hand in our trials while we are in the messy middle. Even if we know God promises never to leave us or forsake us, we may wonder just as the disciples did why He seems to be sleeping without a care in the world while the storm rages on.
Matthew 8:24-25 tells us “the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep” and the disciples thought they were perishing. Have you ever felt that way? The water keeps coming in and all evidence seems to say the storm will overtake us? I have certainly felt that way. I have also felt Jesus was sleeping during this time and cried out just like the disciples for Him to save me. At times, He has responded by rebuking the threatening waves in that moment but more often than not, I’ve had to manage those waves through faith more than sight relying on His Word that He will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8) I’ve also been in situations more reflective of Paul’s dilemma in Acts 27 where my vessel was destroyed in the storm but by the grace of God, I made it safely to shore floating on mere pieces of debris.
Have you ever experienced the loss of a shattered vessel? Maybe it was a totaled car, a foreclosed home, the loss of income, a shattered relationship, the loss of a loved one, or the death of a dream. These are very real circumstances and most of us have experienced at least one of these. As I reflect on my own trials, hindsight reveals He was with me the entire time. If you connect all the dots, I’m sure you will see the same.
What do we do with these trials? Will we be ashamed of them, not wanting our mistakes or our struggles to be exposed and sweep them under the rug where no one will notice? No one carries the dirt from under her rug into church on Sunday morning. No one will know if we don’t tell them it’s there. Maybe we share some trials, the ones that are deemed more acceptable. But what deems a trial acceptable to share? If the truth be told, something is only deemed acceptable to discuss because it’s already being discussed. The things no one talks about are the very things women struggle with the most because no one talks about them. Sharing our hard stories adds visibility to an otherwise invisible truth that often hides from those who need it most: God is capable of redeeming even the worst of circumstances. He can handle our worst sins, our hurts, childhood trauma, mistakes, sexual trauma, infidelity, abuse, or any other source of shame we bring to the table. We all have a hard story, some much harder than others. But each one has an opportunity to bless another.
Maybe we don’t have to “spill all the tea” as my teen says, especially when our story involves other people or has the potential to inflict hurt to those around us. There is often a fine line between our story and the story of another. Some details are meant to stay between God and us alone forever. In those cases, God knows all the details and we can rest in knowing we were never in it alone and even though our struggle may never be validated by other humans, it doesn’t make it any less real. There are of course, safe people and safe places to share and those that are not. Praying for discernment in these instances is key.
I encourage you to ask God what story He is prompting you to share with another woman. Maybe it’s as simple as an understanding nod, a “me too” reassurance, or giving your personal testimony to a group of women. Regardless, James 1:2-4 tells us to consider trials as an opportunity for joy.
What would happen if we considered trials not only an opportunity for growth, but also an opportunity to bless others through the great things God has done for us? What we choose to do with our trials is indeed an opportunity for godly stewardship, one in which we will be able to share the good news of Christ with those around us as we walk through the trial and also for many years to come on the other side as an encouragement to others on a similar journey.
How we steward our trials determines not only the extent to which they can be used for good, but also how much they continue to bless our own hearts as we continually fill up on gratitude. Will we use these experiences for God’s glory to show what He can do or will we sweep them under the rug to never speak of them again? Condemnation and shame are never from God. They are tactics used by the enemy to silence our sharing as the enemy knows how powerful our testimonies can be for the Kingdom of God. I encourage you to prayerfully ask God to connect you to the woman who needs to hear your story. I also pray for courage as you share what the Spirit leads you to share. You will both be blessed in the process, I can personally assure you of that. Your story has a purpose in His Story.
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Stand up, shake off the dust, straighten your crown, and walk forward confidently grounded in truth.