Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Yes to God Tuesday: Chapter 1 - When The Unthinkable Happens...

Welcome to Chapter One of the latest Yes to God Tuesday study hosted by Lelia at Write From The Heart. The book we are studying is “An Untroubled Heart” by Micca Campbell. Please check out Micca’s blog page Reflections. I am blessed to be doing this study thanks to Lelia and Micca and this book has come along at the right time for me (like all the books I’ve studied with the Yes to God Tuesday study group actually). This book is extra special and that is just from the tagline – “finding a faith that is stronger than all my fears”.

In Chapter One Micca recounts her “unthinkable” - the tragedy that left her a widow at the age of 21 with a baby. What began as a lifetime of hope and promise ended with Micca losing her husband and questioning why God would do that to her. It’s a powerful yet heart warming story and reflects the true nature of a very brave yet humble woman.

The lesson that Micca learnt was that she was, and is, not alone, even though she felt totally and utterly alone at the time. She also learnt that her present fears at that time, about losing someone else close to her, were fuelled by her past experiences. Yes, Micca had, and has, every right to feel fearful that she would lose someone close to her again. She suffered such tragedy. I can relate to Micca on that, but not with losing a loved one through death, but losing someone through separation and divorce. My marriage broke down when I was 27. I had been married since I was 20 and I was floored. I lived away from my family, had only recently moved to where we were living and now was being left by the man who stood in a church and promised to love me until death do us part. Even 12 years later I am still fearful that the same will happen to me again now.

But I need not be fearful, and this is a lesson that God has been slowly teaching me of late, hence why the timing of this book study is spot on. I have God in my life, and am so very blessed by that. I left Him a long time ago, but I now know that He never left me. Since then I’ve battled with making sense of my past; my divorce and subsequently my now broken relationship with my daughter’s father. I ask myself why on many, many occasions. I asked the question earlier this week when I was sitting in the counsellor’s office pouring my heart out to try and make sense of why I feel like I do.

Micca gives the answer – “…our past will never make sense until we invite God into our present. Then we will see He has been there all along.” I know that He has been but I was just blinded to the fact of how magnificent He is and how He works everything for His good. It’s a tough ask to understand and accept that everything that happens to us is already pre-written in God’s book. But it’s something that I understand to be true.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139:16

Like with Micca’s husband, God didn’t take my ex-husband from me through divorce. He simply let us be together for the number of years that He had pre-ordained so that we would both be where we are today. God didn’t leave me alone for me to make the wrong choice and end up having a child out of wedlock with my daughter’s father. He simply gave me enough rope so that He could facilitate the gift of my daughter being born. He has a purpose for everything.

Psalm 46:1 tells how, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” These are the words I’ve needed to read, and was so very thankful that Micca’s book arrived in the mail when it did on Monday. I have been feeling totally and utterly trapped and alone for quite a few months, and although I can feel God’s presence with me I haven’t let His presence get to my core due to the fact that I have been beating myself up over the bad choices I’ve made. These bad choices led me to be given the gift of my daughter, so I now realise that they weren’t as bad as I once thought but more so exactly where God wanted, and wants, me to be.

In saying that, I have to admit that I haven’t let God’s ever-present help filter in. “God’s help is available the moment we humble ourselves and cry out to Him.” My mistake is I cry out to others; people who I know care and I can get support from, with God always as a second option. Mis – take! A BIG mistake!

James writes how we must “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2) What?! How can that be so? It IS so, and like Micca I have questioned James’ reasoning, but he is exactly right. Trials bring on a testing of our character, a growth and expansion, a level of maturity that we would never gain from just living worldly lives. Trials bring us so much. They bring us closer to God as we rely on Him more, and He brings joy into our lives through these trials. This makes no sense whatsoever from a worldly perspective, but thank the Lord that it makes sense from the perspective from where I’m looking from.

Although hard to deal with when it’s happening, trials, with all the associated emotions that come along for the ride, do bring us joy. Trials develop endurance and perseverance, which then results in us becoming more mature, developing more patience and leading to a feeling of completeness or wholeness. Micca writes how nice it would be to reach this stage without the trial but “However, these are the ways of God”. When we “can look at the end result of what our testing is accomplishing, then we can find joy in the midst of it.” It’s just like when I discipline my daughter; she does not see joy in it at the time, but unbeknown to her there is such a great reward in what I am doing. I am developing her character. I am strengthening her. And this is what God does with us. Not that He brings trials upon us, or makes us suffer; He uses the trials we go through to make us stronger for Him.

In the study questions at the end of the chapter Micca prompted us to “Write a prayer thanking God for the good work He is doing in your and for helping you to conquer your fears in the process. Thank Him for being an ever-present help.” Here is my prayer –

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for never leaving my side, and for always being the ever-present help that you are, even though I don’t always turn to you first. Thank you for guiding me and strengthening me so that I can overcome my fear of man and look only to you for completeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

PS: This quote happened along the day after I read the chapter, so I thought I’d include it in my post as it is most appropriate –

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

PPS: I almost forgot! This is my 100th post and I'm honoured to have a Y2GT study as the content, as Lelia has blessed me over and over since our paths crossed on Blogger. Amazing lady, amazing life, and an amazing faith.


  1. Hi Dear Paula,

    How are you and your precious daughter doing?

    I love this message Paula. It's filled with nuggets of wisdom. That's the type of messages I love! I am moved by your transparency and the sharing of pieces of your life. I believe it's in those times/moments that we learn and we teach.

    I am also very familiar with the quote of Helen Keller. Isn't that filled with truth and power?! Amen!

    Bless you dear sister.

  2. Hi Paula,

    So glad to see you and read your post. I related to much of it. I always look at my daughter as my gift, from God. He knew that the love I had for her even unborn would bring me to Him.

    I am too now seeing the hand of God in my past even when I didn't acknowledge Him. He never left me even when my heart was hard.

    Congrats on your 100th post.


  3. I loved what you wrote here Paula... I left Him a long time ago, but I now know that He never left me.
    sounds like it should be a line in a song!! You need to get Mandisa's new CD called Freedom and listen to #8 Broken Hallelujah!! You will love it my dear friend!
    You are a blessing Paula. Just like God to cross the paths of a woman in Australia and the other in the middle of the US of A!!
    Love to you & congrats on your 100th post!

  4. This is all so true. I can relate to so much of it. God is so faithful to us... thanks for the reminder, Paula.

  5. More and more I am learning the meaning of the verse in Romans 8, God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
    Not that all things are good. Not that He would have wanted us to go through all things. Not that He would have wanted us to make the wrong choices we have.. the wrong choices I have....
    we love Him. We come to Him in repentance for our mistakes. And then He takes those things, the consequences of our sin, or the sins of others against us, and He uses them. To develop our character, our perseverance, our strength, our faith, our trust in Him.. so many things.

    He is so good that He doesn't let us alone when we are in the aftermath of our sins with no hope. He lifts us up, cleans us off, and breathes life into our brokenness, and starts us off on the right path again, a little wiser for the falling down, hopefully.

    I love you and pray that you will receive His grace, and stop beating yourself up for the past, but look to Him. He redeems the years the locusts have eaten... restores them to us. He loves you and has already forgotten the things you have done in the past, the mistakes made. I pray that truth will sink into your heart more deeply. That the truth of how much He loves you, and the forgiveness He has given you, and the worth that He has ascribed to you, will sink so deep into your heart and your marrow, that you can let the past go and walk into His future with you, with your head held high, knowing He loves you no matter what.

    Love you my friend...

  6. Hey, friend,

    I didn't get to post, as I was out of town, but I have read the chapter--and have heard Micca tell the story a few times at SheSpeaks. You are right when you say it is a powerful one. Even though I've heard it before, I still cried reading it. A powerful testimony. And I am so glad it spoke to you, my friend.