What I Learned From the Worst Year of My Life

By far, the best of the blessings in disguise has been the joy of God’s presence. God is always with me; I’ve never doubted that. But I’ve also never had quite as much joy in His presence as I’ve had over the past few months. I have been alerted to His presence like never, ever before.

I think this is partly because through suffering, God has revealed idols I had been embracing. Good gifts I was adoring, instead of worshipping the Giver. Things like health … status … income … friendships … . When these things went away, it revealed just how attached to them I had become. I hadn’t meant to. It just … happened.

I still loved God. But it turns out there were an awful lot of “vain things that charmed me most.” Things I hadn’t yet “sacrificed to His blood.” Things I clung to, hoping and praying that when those inevitable trials came, I would be allowed to keep clutching them.

But God loves me more than that. He loves me more than to allow me to continue clinging desperately to gifts, growing more and more attached to them, when I can embrace the GIVER Himself. He loves me more than to allow me to cling to substitutes for HIM. He wants me to have the real thing. He DIED so I could have the real thing.

And so, He pried my grasping fingers from the substitutes, and then held my hand in His own. And when I began to realize just how idolatrous my heart had become, and allowed His conviction to bring about repentance … well, that changed everything.

Because then He turned my unfaithful heart back to Himself. And I began to encounter Him once again … which is what I’ve been needing all along, with or without the trials.

So when I sit down at the Thanksgiving table this year, I will probably cry … because I always do. But they won’t be tears of sadness. Oh no, they will be tears of overwhelming joy and gratitude that my God loves me so much that He won’t allow anything in the way of our love relationshipI am thankful for the trials I’ve faced this year. As I grow to know Him more and love Him better, I can tell you with certainty that it has been BEYOND worth it.


Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.


Want to know more about our family’s experience with unemployment? Here’s a related post:  Unwrapping a Trial


How have you experienced Christ’s presence in the midst of a trial? I would love for you to take a moment and encourage me and other readers by leaving your testimony below.

Jennifer Clarke
Jennifer Clarke
Loving child of Almighty God, adoring wife, and homeschooling mother of three, Jennifer Clarke is active in teaching and music ministries in her local church. She is passionate about encountering her Savior and about encouraging other women to do the same. She would be honored to have you visit her at A Divine Encounter and follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google +.

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