Janie: Trials or Blessings?

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I have had the privilege of working with the teenage girls this summer. I have been so blessed to get to know them with all their unique personalities and their stories. Although our group can be the most difficult to get to know, I’ve come to know something that outweighs all the attitude and the drama: their hearts. The more I’ve gotten to know where some of them have come from, the more I am amazed by them. 

This past year for me personally has been one of those, what I like to call, “faith don’t fail me now” kind of years. At the end of last year I remember praying that this year God would fill my life with His blessings and favor. In my mind at the time what I thought blessings and favor meant was that everything would go right, without any hardships, and would be full of happiness. And let me tell you, that has not exactly been the case, but rather it has had its fair share of trials, heartbreak, and hardships. So you can imagine I was left with the question, why?  

Romans 5:3-5 answers that question so clearly, “More than that we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because Gods love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I have come to know that when trials come that they are actually blessings. Though they may cause pain and hurt for a season, that season will eventually pass. God promises that when tests and trials come he will be with us and our faith will be stronger, but most importantly, He will be glorified (1 Peter 1:6-7). 

We always tell the kids that salvation is a gift freely given, but it’s our choice to receive it. We always have a choice. We have the choice to hate or to love, to let bitterness take root or forgive, to be prideful or humble ourselves, or to stay in the dark or enter into the light. 

One thing that always brings me joy when I am at Light of the Village is that you never see people not smiling. Although trials come, and darkness surrounds, there is always something to smile or laugh about. I’ve never been in a place that there is such an abundance of joy. When I see my girls laughing and joking with each other it doesn’t just bring joy to my heart, I know that it brings joy to the Father’s heart. I prayed that this summer God would make an impact on these girls through me, but really, they’ve left an impact on me. I have never met a more beautiful, hilarious, strong, and courageous group of young ladies than these girls, and I am forever blessed by them. I pray that through this summer Bible camp they will know deep in their hearts that they are unconditionally loved by God, that they will have the eyes to see God moving in their lives, the ears to hear Him speaking, and the hearts to receive His love and grace for each one of them. 

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