by Raema Maurillo
As we near the end of one year and look forward to the next, often times we will reflect on the year we just walked through. Some years we can look back on fondly and others we want to pack up in a box and ship it to the dump because it was garbage.
I know 2015 and half of 2016 were the toughest years I have ever had to walk through; everything that could be shaken was and I had to release a lot of things I held dear. I cried a lot, I prayed a lot, I was angry a lot, I felt lost a lot and I hated every minute of it.
Some of you may have endured one of the toughest years that you have had to endure. Maybe you experienced the loss of a loved one, maybe you had an experience that knocked the wind right out of you and you are trying to recover from that blow. Maybe you lost friends or you were taken advantage of and it appears as though there is no end in sight.
This is a hard place to be in because often times we can feel broken and abandoned but I want to share something I learned during the toughest years I had to walk through.
Regardless of the chaos that surrounded me, the storms that raged inside of me or the poor decisions I made, God never left me. Not once.
In fact, He is the reason I am a sane human being. When I felt like I was alone and no one was standing by my side, He was…faithfully.
We faced some of the hardest things parents ever have to face, we had to walk through physical ailments that lasted for MONTHS, we struggled financially, our friendships fell apart and all of those things hurt, but God lead us with peace every step of the way.
If there was a scripture that sums up this season it would be Isaiah 54:10 and I love the Message version –
“For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.” The God who has compassion on you says so.”
I love the word “peace” in that scripture. It means a peace that comes attached to a covenant with God. What I love about God is when He makes a promise, He keeps it. Even when humanity chooses to reject and disrespect Him, He stays faithfully committed to His promises to us.
In that covenant, He wrote in “shalom” or peace. This kind of peace doesn’t mean we won’t experience external hardships, in fact Jesus promises us that we will (John 16:33). This peace comes from the steadfast presence of God, no matter what happens around us or to us, nothing can steal this peace.
The mountains walked away and the the hills definitely fell to pieces, but His love stayed constant and when it seemed as though my world fell apart it was His peace that kept it all together.
I can actually look back and thank God for that season. I am not happy that I had to walk through some of those trials, but it was that season that matured, shaped and molded me. I experienced Him in new ways, ways I have heard about but never actually experienced personally.
I experienced peace that doesn’t make sense in the natural. I experienced hope when I couldn’t see it. I experienced a faith that I didn’t know existed. I experienced provision when I had nothing. I experienced a friendship that surpasses any human friendship I have ever had. In that season Jesus became so real and personal to me no one could ever convince me He isn’t who He says He is.
Some practical ways to remind yourself of who He is while walking through a hard season:
- Write down every prayer He has answered and thank Him for the answered prayers.
- Write down scriptures that give you peace and hope and read them, often.
- Thank Him for what you DO have. This trains you to have a heart of gratitude when you would rather be angry and unforgiving.
- Pray things that are not as thought they were. You have the authority to pray change into existence.
- Allow yourself to grow and change into a more mature person through this process. We want to cling to our old ways of thinking and processing but He changes us to see things from His perspective instead of our human perspectives.
“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:2-4 NIV
So, whether you are currently walking through a hard season, just left one or one is on the horizon I want to encourage you to remember that God is not in the business of leaving His children. The world may leave us but He never will and it’s His promise of peace that can keep us grounded when it feels like everything is falling apart.
He is with you, He is for you and He has great things in store for your life!
Father, I thank you for every time you have come through, showed up and displayed all of your power in my life. Even in the midst of chaos you have spoken “peace” over the storm. Give me the endurance to keep going, the faith to believe you have more for me and the humility to change and grow into the woman you have created me to be. I ask that you take all of the ashes and make something beautiful from it and everything the enemy meant for my hard would be turned around to bring you glory. Father use my life as a testimony of your goodness and faithfulness. Be ever present in my time of need, lead me and guide me into all truth and I give you permission to be Lord over all I am walking though, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Raema Mauriello is a mother of four and works as a staff pastor and project manager at Shoreline Dallas. She is the author ofThe Struggle is Real and Because Crack is Illegal and her career started as a Navy Journalist and a Search and Rescue Swimmer. She graduated from Liberty University with her Bachelors of Religious Studies, continues to serve in ministry and writes a weekly blog (www.raemam.com).
Raema is a contributing writer at Real Women Ministries.