Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beauty through Trials- {Guest Post by Mary}

Mary Clendenin
 writer of
The Encouraging Home

Trials, fear, pain. These have been part of my life for a long time, but never like this past year.  I have been through difficulties before and each one seemed awful…mom diagnosed with stage IV cancer when I was 13.  They fought it mostly the natural way and I am blessed to have my mom with me 23 years later. Obscene phone calls from a coach, being followed by a guy for 3 years who believed the Lord told him I was to be his wife.  Fear became a huge part of my life.  2 Timothy 1:7 became my life line: For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Caring for sick grandparents during my teen years and both grandmothers dying 20 days apart.  My best friend killed in a freak accident at the age of 22.  Diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus, Lupus, Thyroid Disorder in my teens- more fear of life and what would come or wouldn’t come.  Thankful that my parents took control of my health and fought these problems the natural way or I would be living on medications and not living a productive life.

Then I married the man I had a crush on for 9 years…the brother of my best friend who was killed. We helped each other heal through the grief of her death.  I am so blessed to be married to a wonderful man.  We have had our struggles through financial difficulties and loss of a business.  Being told we would never have any children.  Endometriosis, Fibrocystic Breast Disease and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  The Lord saw fit to bless us with two precious sons.  Then infertility struggles again.  Life has been rocky (I thought) but this past year became almost too much to bear.  I came to the point that I didn’t want one trial to end, because I knew another, possibly worse one, was on its way.  Fear was crushing me and I was losing my focus on the One who created me.

Last year brought to light the horrors my husband went through growing up in a concentration style cult.  Abandoned by his parents, suffering every kind of abuse one can suffer on a daily basis, slave labor, seeing parents one week only each year.  Learning that God is a tyrant that would beat him if he did anything wrong, that he was worthless. He wanted to take the horrors of what he endured to his grave and tried to live as normal a life as possible.  He has always had a close relationship with the Lord and knows Scripture in a way that puts this Christian school/homeschooled girl to shame.  I am AMAZED that he even wants to go to church or seek the Lord because of the trauma he endured.  My husband has been such an example to me of love and forgiveness, not bitterness and hatred.  In the world’s eyes, he has every right.

I grew up in a loving, Christian home with parents and brothers who were always there for me.  The thought of growing up like he did, not having your parents protect you, and not even knowing who your siblings or grandparents were blew my mind. Never celebrating a birthday, never being tucked in bed or held was overwhelming for me to think about, especially now that I am a mom.
I have been through a variety of emotions.  Anger,  grief, brokenness, why Lord??.  This didn’t happen to me personally, but it happened to my soul mate, so I experienced so much pain.  It has been a roller coaster ride that I never would have imagined and one that I wanted to get off.  Is this what I signed up for?   I see how gracious the Lord was to plant the seed of love for my husband so early in my life.  I needed that to carry me through.

There were times I didn’t think I would make it, actually thought I would lose my mind.  It has been a difficult year that we have survived, only by God’s grace.  The year has brought many changes in our lives.  New church home r old church had nothing to do with this, God was just moving us to a place that we needed for healing), broken family ties. Healing and new growth.  Closer relationship to the Lord and a hunger for more of Him, knowing Him in a way I never imagined.  My husband has become a new man…always close to the Lord, but now he is free from the pain, guilt, shame of the past that wasn’t his bear.  It is a new dawn in our lives.

Through all the trials in my life, I have wondered what I am doing wrong.  Am I not getting what the Lord wants me to get and I have to be brought down to my knees often?  There were days during this recent trial that the only way I could make it was to quote Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Somewhere along my journey in life, I had lost my way and gotten caught up in me and my problems.  Why me?  Why does it seem like there is one problem after another.  In reality, I know that my life has not been very difficult. I have been blessed by so much, have a loving family, much better health, a wife and mother. I finally got what the Lord has been trying to teach me  -  that He wants me to depend on Him only…not my husband, parents, family, or friends.  It must be Him alone.  Others will let me down.  He has been molding and shaping me to be used for Him.  It has been a long, hard lesson to learn, but so simple.  HE IS ALL I NEED!

He has a plan and a purpose for my life.  He has been whittling away at the rough edges to remove the doubt and fear that controlled my life.  Not only is my husband a new man, but this past year has made me a new creation as well.  I know the Lord has a plan for our lives and His purpose is greater than ours.  He is always in control-even when I questioned where He was when my husband was suffering so much.  He was right there, loving, protecting, molding, and shaping my husband into the wonderful, caring, loving, Godly husband and father that I am blessed to share my life with.

I have been able to say “thank you”. Thank you for all You have done in my life to bring me to the new dawn in my life.  Thank you for bringing me such a Godly husband who loves the Lord and is leading our family for Him.  Thank you that even though I wanted a big family, He chose to say no,  because He knew I couldn’t handle trying to survive this situation with lots of little ones around.  I needed to focus on my husband during this time. I was able to lay down the pain of infertility down.  God is good and gracious!  If you never suffer, you will never understand the pain of others or God’s goodness.  God wants us to minister to others.  We want to give our situations and trials to God for Him to use for His glory, not for us to become bitter about.
When it seems like you are all alone or that God has forgotten you, hold on.  He is there.  He is guiding, loving, and pursuing you for His greater purpose.  Don’t let fear cripple you, as I did for so long…Trust Him and let Him use you.

When it seems like you are all alone or that God has forgotten you, hold on.  He is there.  He is guiding, loving, and pursuing you for His greater purpose.
Two songs carried my through and hopefully they may help you in your situation were Strong Enough by Matthew West and Beautiful Things by Gungor.

More About Mary-

Mary Writes at www.theencouraginghome.com about her crazy but wonderful life on the farm with her husband and two homeschooled sons.  She blogs about God’s goodness, homemaking, homeschooling, healthy living the natural way and life on the farm.


  1. Very moving post. I had tears in my eyes as I read it. My heart goes out to you and your husband in all that you've suffered! But, all praise goes to our Amazing God for how he has lifted you both up, how he restores the years that the locusts have eaten, and how he always writes the last chapter, many times with surprise endings! Inspired by your faith and trust!!!

  2. Mary, so much suffering. Oh my heart was breaking. But you have found a way to praise Him. Thank you for this testimony.