Idaho. It might as well have been on the opposite end of the Earth. My mother and I had been driving for days and it didn’t seem like we were making much progress. We decided to stop for a while and explore more of Fulton, Missouri. After a quick Google search, we discovered the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College. My mother and I have very similar interests, one of which includes a love of history. The pull of the WWII era is always enticing given that my Grandfather served in the Navy. He loves to tell us stories of his war days, and we love to listen.
The architecture of the church was beautiful and the history lessons abounded. We were thoroughly enchanted by the woodwork, captivated by the immense size of the organ, and charmed by the intricate details of the space. This stop on our road trip was a delight for the eyes, and proved to be rather instructional and refreshing.
And yet, surprises lie around every corner. While strolling through the gift shop, we came across some hand blown glass pieces which were made by Blenko in West Virginia. What. Are. The. Odds???????? The very church we had just toured… the beautiful stained glass windows we had seen…made in West Virginia, not 30 minutes from our home. This small card brought me to tears. It felt like home was a million miles away. I had been trying so diligently to distract my heart and my mind…but sometimes you just can’t forget so easily. Sometimes the pain comes in waves and the road seems very long.
Winston Churchill often spoke of endurance, continuing to fight through difficult circumstances, and embracing our failures as learning opportunities. He was a man who refused to give up. One of Churchill’s most famous quotes is: “If you’re going through hell – keep going.” I had to keep moving. I had come too far to break down now. I had made so many mistakes and done so many things that I can’t take back. I had lived through pain which I never thought possible. This was my chance. One very long road to a new life. One path to find forgiveness.
Romans 5:3 says: “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.”
James 1:2-4 says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Rejoicing in our sufferings. Finding joy in our pain. That is not easy to do when you are going through the fire is it? Often all we can feel is the pain, all we see is the hurt, all we know are the broken hopes and dreams which once made up our lives. It takes time.
Looking back on my past, I see how God used my circumstances. He used my pain to spring me forward into a different life, a new life in Him. He healed my broken heart and brought me out of the shame of my previous life. His purpose was in my pain. Had I never gone through what I did, I would never have learned to fully trust God. I would have never found strength through Him and within myself. I would never have left West Virginia, and the Good Lord only knows where I would be now. Sometimes we need the fire. We need to burn away everything that we were. We need to let God refine us and rebuild us into something better than we could have imagined.
It won’t be easy. It will be a long road friends. But, it will be worth it in the end. Just keep moving forward, one step at a time. Just keep Gracefully Seeking.