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‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ – Romans 12:2

As the journey of challenges went on, I tried to be faithful in return and follow the light, but the negative strongholds in my life often tightened their grip on me. Despite God’s faithfulness, I found myself being tempted by the world and other “gods” each day. I found myself in dark alleys of my mind, trying to hide from everyone and everything with walls of confusion and shame closing in on me. I found myself lost in thick, misty woods, running from and raging at the demons who fiercely grabbed at me from behind the tangled trees. I lost the part of me I liked while increasingly becoming someone I didn’t like. I struggled to maintain my relationships with God and with others. I struggled to find joy and a positive outlook in what seemed like a continual onslaught of negative events, people, and places. I saw the light, but it remained elusive.

I have a love-hate relationship with my idealistic nature. It drives me to strive for what is right and good. On the other hand, it often makes me feel like a failure when I cannot measure up to perfection and causes me to be overly critical of myself and others. The lies I allowed to repeat in my head and take root in my heart and body threatened to destroy my faith, family, and sanity. They kept me in a pit of despair for just over 2 years. That’s a lot of life to lose…and worst of all, my husband and kids thought they lost me, and desperately wanted back the wife and mother they had known. God was on my side…in fact, He never left my side and continuously protected me. Still, He wanted me to pick up His weapons and fight alongside Him to accomplish the work He prepared in advance for me to do. And God also blessed me with an amazing husband who walked through the shadows with me, never letting me fall and never letting me go.

Whatever struggle or trial you are facing, know that you are not alone. God is walking each step of the way with you, sharing in your burden, tears, and pain. Listen to His still, small voice in your soul. Look for how He will put people in your path to help and encourage you. Trust Him that He is taking care of you and has a plan to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. Expect greatness. Expect the impossible. Everything is possible for God and to the child that believes.