Life can be very difficult, and these difficulties will change us in ways that nothing else can—if we let them! In the first part of my life, I survived domestic violence, a mental health breakdown, and very low self-esteem. In the second part of my life, I discovered my purpose, which is the greatest discovery of my life and the greatest discovery that anyone can ever make!

When we learn what we were created to do, we get on the road called “destiny and purpose.” But that road is not a journey for the faint of heart! When we step out in faith and pursue the dream and passion that God has put in our hearts, we will face trials and challenges that will make us question whether we are doing the right thing.

On my road of destiny and purpose, I faced the foreclosure of my home, being diagnosed with skin and breast cancer, being sued by a debt collector, and bankruptcy. But God—He made the worst part of my life the best part of my life! During that most difficult time, I learned how many people in my life truly cared about me. I was amazed to see how much love, support, encouragement, and enjoyment my family, friends, and even strangers gave me during the seemingly darkest time of my life. He gave me a true village!

I continued to live my life in spite of what I was going through. I decided not to make my circumstances my life. I resolved to keep on enjoying life and the people and things I already had. I reminded myself how blessed I was and how awesome my life still was even in the midst of all these difficult situations. I took everything to God and allowed Him to walk me through the challenges as He’d done for every other problem I’d faced in my life. I trusted His unconditional love for me and the promises in His Word. I held on to my faith in God, who I was in Him, and the plans He had for me. I believed He would bring me through everything I was enduring, and I was going to be better for having gone through it.

And so I was!

You see, faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13) make life and everything else possible! Without these three things, a satisfying life filled with joy is not attainable. But more important, we must receive the true love of God, keep our faith in Him, and hold on to the hope that God created us for much more than we can see in our current situation. God’s Word assures us that He is able to bring us through. Jesus said that “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Life is full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations. When our lives are up, we’re happy, but when our lives are down, we feel unhappy and depressed. I’ve been going through hardships, difficulties, heartaches, and pain my entire life. In my early years, my situations dictated whether I was going to be happy or sad, whether I was going to enjoy my life or think it wasn’t worth living. In my middle years, I learned that there is a way to go through life with a choice about how my problems and negative circumstances would affect whether I was happy or sad.

Today, in spite of having had breast cancer and losing one of my breasts, going through months of treatment for skin cancer, the foreclosure of my home, being sued, and filing for bankruptcy, I have managed to live my best life ever. The purpose of this article is to show you how you, too, can live your best life as you pass through some of the most difficult situations a person can face. My faith in God, His love, His Word, His hope, and His promises have allowed me to keep on living, loving, and serving my way to a most enjoyable life.

No one likes heartache and suffering. However, if you are going through a difficult time right now, I can guarantee you four things: one, you are uncomfortable; two, it’s painful; three, you are probably resisting the temptation to yield to the negative feelings the situation is creating in you; and four, you are missing the blessings that are available to you in the midst of your difficult situation. When we’re going through painful places, we don’t realize that they are changing us from the inside out. They are also preparing us for blessings that are too amazing to believe. So, allow Jesus into your everyday life, and discover how to enjoy your life while facing these most challenging times!

Don’t resist the circumstances your situation is creating in you and for you. By faith in God, trust that He has a purpose in what is happening.

My faith is now fortified. I got to know God in a deeper and much more personal way. I was able to trust Him in ways I had never felt possible before. I learned how to include Him in every area of my life and depend on Him instead of myself. God became both my Lord and my Savior! I let Him sit in the driver’s seat of my life instead of trying to take over. I started spending quality time with Him at the beginning of each day.

When everything seemed too much to bear, I asked God for more grace to stay encouraged. I also cried my tears on His shoulder instead of on other people’s. When I did that, my tears became tears of thanksgiving and appreciation for what He had done and was doing to work out everything I was facing.

During that time, I also learned how to better help other people who were going through difficult situations in their lives. I also became a better friend because I was not weighing other people down with my problems. I learned what the Bible says in Nehemiah 8:10: “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

I believe that life is what we make it, and we must decide what we want it to be. I have been living the life I want for the past six years. My relationship with God has helped me to know who I am in Him and what He created me to be and do. One thing He created me to do is help others see themselves through the eyes of His unconditional love for them so that they can be free to be their true selves. Today I am cancer free, and I am living a brand-new chapter in my life that will be better, more enjoyable, and more fulfilling than my life has ever been in the past.

Don’t give up on your life when you’re dealing with a difficult situation. As you can see, life does get good again, and in most cases, it’s much better than it was.

And remember this: after you get the victory over what you’re facing, you can become the guiding light in someone else’s dark place by telling them what God has done for you. This is one way we give God the glory for the great things He has done for us.

Cheryle T. Ricks is the mother of four adult children and the grandmother of eight children. She is also the president, founder, and CEO of The Women Empowerment Circle, LLC. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

How to Keep Living When Life Gets Hard

by Cheryle T. Ricks
  
From the April 2021 Signs