I have started looking at our debt as a blessing, because it forced us to live on one income. I learned just how big of a trap debt is and how empty and fleeting the things of this world can be. God protected us from doing some really stupid things and got us on the right path. All we had to do was trust in the Lord’s provision, have the self-discipline to write the checks, and God did the rest.” – Jeff Briggs
This week, people throughout the country gave thanks to God for family, friends, and the good things in their lives. But over the last few years, Jeff Briggs, Ashlee Robert, Josh Thames, David Sandlin, and Lindsay Briggs have discovered gratitude and joy in spite of loss, pain, and disappointment. Today, they share stories of how the difficult chapters in their lives have been opportunities to experience more of God’s goodness, peace, and faithfulness.
“When I got the diagnosis I didn’t understand why God allowed me to get cancer. The Lord impressed upon me that this was an opportunity to know Him better. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I did write those words down. The gift in all of this was to know more about how wonderful and loving God truly is. This wasn’t about praying for a miracle, although I am grateful. The Lord taught me to depend on Him and nothing else.” — David Sandlin
“One of my favorite places on earth is Roaring River State Park in the Ozarks of Missouri. It is in a valley, which is so beautiful to me. God has shown me that even in the valleys of my life, there are things to be enjoyed.
“Infertility was one of the hardest things my husband, Tyler, and I have gone through. Through the process, I discovered that becoming a mother was an idol for me, and I needed to want the Lord more than I wanted a baby. In the valley of infertility, I grew both in my dependence on Christ and my trust that His timing is infinitely better than mine.
“When we found out we were pregnant, I was overwhelmed with joy. Yet, it was also a little anticlimactic. I am very happy and thankful now that I am a mother. But my ultimate hope is in the Lord – the only One who can bring everlasting joy.”
“We walked into our marriage with about $110,000 in student loan debt. We figured it would be paid off when we were 50 years old. It never crossed our minds to pay it off sooner.
“After we got married we joined a Foundation Group (for couples married three years or less). Part of the curriculum is on money and stewardship. We were asked to put together a budget and financial plan. The MoneyWise study showed us how to steward our resources in a way that honored God. We also learned from the example of our leaders, Adam and Jackie Tarnow, who had paid off their college debt in four years. Maybe it was possible to pay ours off early as well!
“I have started looking at our debt as a blessing, because it forced us to live on one income. I learned just how big of a trap debt is and how empty and fleeting the things of this world can be. God protected us from doing some really stupid things and got us on the right path. All we had to do was trust in the Lord’s provision, have the self-discipline to write the checks, and God did the rest.”
“My husband Bryan and I got married in 2013. We soon became pregnant and welcomed our son, Caleb, into the world in October 2014. Later, we were delighted to find out that we were pregnant with twins, who we named Arden and Nasa (we chose those names because they both mean ‘to be lifted high’). But last October, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage.
“The miscarriage was so painful, but the suffering was different from other dark periods in my life. I know now that I am made more like the Lord through suffering. I can grieve knowing that God is in control and that His timing is perfect. Whether we have one child or ten, God works all of these things for our good.
“God does not waste our pain, so I can live confidently knowing that the Lord makes beauty from ashes. I may never have the answer to why bad things happen, but my hope rests in more than my circumstances. God loves me so much that He sent His Son to die for me, so I keep my hope in Christ, who is making all things right.”
“I used to be a professional bull rider. But after a serious accident that nearly took my life, I didn’t know if my rodeo career was over. When I was recovering from my injuries I could almost hear God saying that following Him would make bull riding look like child’s play. Christ offered me life to the very fullest. All I had to do was nod my head.
“I used to be solely focused on serving myself. But God gave me a heart to sharpen my skills and serve the local church. I know that God has been pursuing people just like me since the beginning of time. I am so thankful for His faithfulness