Trials.

 Picture from our getaway last weekend. More on that soon! // Quote from this talk.

It's been on my mind for weeks. Every article I read and talk I hear seem to take my thoughts in a new direction; giving me new insights. I've prayed about and pondered the subject until I started to feel more at peace with my conclusions.

Two weeks ago, we turned on the tv to see Mitch Albom (the author of Tuesdays with Morrie) give the commencement address at the University of Utah. (Which, by the way, was wonderfully inspiring!) At the conclusion of the address, the administrators did as they always do, and awarded the graduates their degrees. As I watched the masters and doctorate students walk across the stage to accept their diplomas, I burst into tears.

I'm not sure that I've ever fully disclosed our education situation before. Jason and I met during my first year of college. We were so young. We had so many dreams that we were certain would come true. I graduated with my bachelor's degree after only 3 short years of college. I flew through my major by taking 20+ credits a semester. I imagined that we would be done with school and settling in a home of our own in no time.

But, that didn't happen. Jason's education has been a challenge. He is a wonderful student. An "A" student, to be exact. I'm so proud of him. But, we've been through a series of unfortunate events. Schools losing applications, majors proving to be unfruitful, Heavenly Father telling us we chose the wrong path. We've had door close after door close. It's been almost 10 years of changing plans. And my husband is still trudging on. (More than trudging. Soaring. He is amazing.) He's working on his third degree and will be starting his forth soon. It's been a long, hard road. The end seems so far away. And I'm tired.

I'm not writing this to complain. We've been blessed in so many other ways. I just wanted to point out that we all have trials. No one can compare their loss to another's. Because of our different personalities, the difficulty of a trials depends on the person. I believe that God will stretch us all to our limits. To humble us. To help us grow. For some, it will be fertility, for others, death. Others will deal with financial problems, misunderstandings with relatives, caring for a sick loved one, a mental illness or divorce. But for all, our individual trials will cause heartbreak. We cannot compare, nor can we judge. We never know what another person is dealing with.

I believe that our true character is shown as we handle these trials. If we choose to be offended, and by how quickly we are to forgive and forget. But especially by what we do and to Whom we turn to in our hour of need.

I know that God cares that my heart is broken with every shut door. I know He is mindful of our struggles. I also know that he is directing my little family's path. He is helping me develop virtues that I wouldn't have otherwise. Patience. Humility. Compassion. I know that God loves me and you.


// I love this talk. I've listened and read it multiple times over the past couple weeks. Highly recommended.

27 comments

  1. Beautiful thoughts, my friend. You're becoming who you are supposed to be through this experience, and somehow it makes it all worth it. So glad we can help each other through the hard times!

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  2. Thanks for reminding me that I also believe that God will stretch us to our limits. Lately, I too easily forget who God is and try to separate Him from my struggles in a new life in a new place. Thanks for sharing such honest, encouraging words.

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  3. Love this, Hannah. Just what I needed today.

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  4. Thank you for the insight, Hannah! 'Wishing you and your family many blessings now and always!

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  5. I’m sorry Hannah that your goals and dreams haven’t been met in the way you’d hoped. I can relate there in a way, but now (9 years later) things are finally coming together and we’re starting to live what we dreamed all this time. It’s not quite the dream I pictured, but it’s still wonderful and in some ways even better than what I had imagined.

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  6. Have you read "Man's Search for Meaning"? You should. Victor Frankl talks about this a lot and in very beautiful ways. I read it every year or two to put things into a perspective I can accept and understand.

    Love this, thank you for sharing.

    xox

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  7. @Everyone: Thank you for your kind comments!

    @Heidikins: I have! I loved it too. I think it might be time for a re-read.

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  8. i can relate to this on SO many levels, as i'm now packing up and moving again for the 100th time since we've been married. you said it exactly right though, we go through what we do simply to learn the things we wouldn't otherwise. just when we think we have the perfect plan mapped out, crap happens. keep your head up and take comfort in knowing someone else has a better plan for you than you may think you do.

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  9. I'm glad you wrote this. My husband just earned his bachelors degree on Saturday. It took him 10 years. (We've been married almost 6 years.) I learned so much about myself and my husband during this time. It was well worth the struggle, although never easy. And now the relief and excitement I feel to begin a new chapter in our lives is... indescribable. :)

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  10. You are ea SAINT! 4 degrees? The thought makes me want to curl into a ball and cry. You are amazing!

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  11. I totally believe this. Whenever I hear someone wish her life were like someone else's, I remind her she has no idea what trials that person may face. And we can't judge, nor should we. If we all laid our challenges/trials/frustrations/heartbreaks on a table, I am sure I would choose mine every time.

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  12. Thanks for this post.

    I loved it so much I linked it to my post today.
    The conf. talk I had read and loved too!

    Your makeup bag posts were fun as well.

    I enjoy your blog and design.

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  13. Hannah, you know I can totally relate to this post. I agree with your thoughts. Sending you lots of hugs.

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  14. Thank you SO much for posting that. I needed it! It reminded me to pray for others and their various trials (I'll be praying for your family as well) and to keep looking to Him through ours as well. God will not give us more than we can handle. He obviously knows you're stronger than you give yourself credit for! Sending all my love your way!!!

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  15. I've actually had the topic of trials on my mind lately. You see, I have a daughter with severe brain damage, she cannot walk or talk or even eat. And people often tell me how 'gracefully' I deal with the trials I have been given. But the thing is, I don't see it as a trial; I don't see my beautiful daughter as a burden in any way. On the contrary, she is the light of my life. I look at her and wonder how I got so lucky.

    So yes, you're right, everyone perceives trials differently.

    Excellent post.

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  16. You are amazing to go through this, and still have such a positive outlook about it. J is amazing for soaring through his degrees and support his family AND be an amazing father and husband. You both are saints - I hope I can be like you when I grow up :)
    You can do it!!

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  17. OH, Hannah! You are super amazing--Praise God that you are trusting Him in these trials! He has plans for you (and your family) and He wants to bless you!!! He has blessed you (you are totally correct with that)!! God never leaves you--and He never gives us more than we can handle (sometimes we think we can't handle it-but it's God who is in control!!).

    I just loved reading about your love for God and how you are going through trials with lots of trust in God!!! There is no other place I would rather be--in a trial and WITH God:)

    I will pray for your husband--that his education would be complete and that he would be able to find a job that he loves that provides for his family. I will pray for you that you would continue to trust the Lord and support your husband.

    God bless you!!!

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  18. Wow, thanks Hannah! I too needed it. You just never know what someone might be going through.

    Your positive outlook is amazing. It is so tough, but I bet it feels good to talk it out.

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  19. It is so true. It's all in how we handle the things in our lives that don't go as we planned them. See, I'm sort of a "things should absolutely go the way I planned them...because I planned them" kind of a person.

    It has taken me a long time {looong time} to finally accept that I am not in control and that someone who knows much better than me, is looking out for me and guiding me.

    Honestly, I didn't come to this realization until I was forced to when we found out that Jake would be born with Spina Bifida. I prayed and begged and pleaded for the doctors to be wrong. I couldn't see how we could do it. Thankfully, 7 + years later, I am able to see the wisdom in God sending us our sweet Jake. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

    You are doing a phenomonal job, Hannah! Your positive outlook and joy for your life and your family are infectious. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  20. Trials are no fun, but one this is for certain... we sure learn a lot from them. Praying that the fourth degree will fly by and you will finally be able to settle down!

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  21. thank you for this post- i love it

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  22. beautifully written post, hannah:)

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  23. Oh Hannah... I so get this. Hang in there girl! Jason is lucky to have a good wife to go through all this with, I'm sure it's been frustrating but someday it will all be so worth it.

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  24. this brought me to tears! thanks so much for sharing.

    i always had a vision of how life would (perfectly) pan out and it's tough to realize that Heavenly Father has a better (perfect for us) plan.

    again - thanks for sharing!

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  25. oh Hannah that is such a long haul. (and I just have to add right here and now--20 CREDITS!?) and you are so good to have this perspective while you are still dealing with all of it. i am routing for everything to start falling into place this time for you and your little family.

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