Be Grateful for Hardships

A preview from Mornings with Jesus 2015 to help you see the difficulties as important milestones on life's path.

By Susanna Foth Aughtmon, Redwood City, California.

As appeared in

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2–3 (NLT)

Last night I was reading an article that focused on being grateful for the difficulties of life. The hard places. The struggles. The disappointments. They offer an opportunity for change, for overcoming, for a shift in worldview.

A Pulitzer-prize winning author who had been diagnosed with melanoma took the diagnosis as a sign to pour his life into helping others with melanoma by organizing runs for research. I read that and thought, “Huh.”  Because mostly, I am thankful for the things in my life that are good, easy and uplifting. The hard things? Not so much.

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But he says that the struggles are like the contrast in a painting that shows off the good in our lives. We can say, “This time was incredibly difficult. But I made it through. And look at the beauty that can still be found in my life.”

We may not welcome troubles but we can welcome what Jesus can do with them. Here are a few hard things I am grateful for: the experience of having a broken heart... because it showed me how amazing real love is. The rejections that I got for my fiction children’s books... they started me on the path of writing adult nonfiction.

The downward spiral I fell into in my college years; it sent me running back into the grace-filled arms of Jesus. But mostly, I am grateful for the rock solidness of Jesus and the love of the people He has given me. I could have never gotten through the hard things without them.

Faith Step: Write your own hard gratitude list. Thank Jesus for what He has taught you in the midst of  your struggles.

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This could not have come at a better time in my life. I was raised by two of the most loving parents that anybody can ask for. In a span of twelve years, (from the time I was barely eighteen) my mom and dad both went home to be with their Lord and Savior. My dad eventually re-married and to a wonderful woman. Twelve years after my dad went to join his Lord and Savior, my step-mom finally re-married and I now have the most awesome set of step-parents in the world along with a whole clan of step-sisters and step-brothers. I grew up the youngest of three children and the only girl. I admit I was not a model sister, but I loved both of my brothers immensely, and still do to this day. For reasons not clearly known to me I was never close to the younger of my two brothers, however it seemed I had a very good relationship with my oldest brother or so I thought. In about the last three or four years my oldest brother has quit communicating with me (he won't return messages and he has changed his e-mail address) and it breaks my heart. My other brother, well I think I have spoken to him maybe five or six times in the last twenty one years. When I call him it goes to voice mail and he doesn't return my calls and I don't have his e-mail address. His daughter (my niece) has informed me in not so very nice words that I deserve all the hardships that have come to me in my life. Even though we don't always understand why we must face hardships I believe if we keep our faith in God they will only make us stronger. I have believed in God my whole life but in the last almost three years I have sought God on a daily basis, thanks to my handi-cap son and my step-son, both of whom are true blessings to me. Even though I would love to be able to sit down with both of my brothers and make them understand that I am not the black sheep of the family, I have finally come to realize and accept the fact that I just need to turn everything over to God and let Him take care of my problems. There is nothing I can do about how my brothers feel about me other than to pray to our awesome God that if it is His will that the three of us will one day be re-united again, whether it be here on earth or in our Heavenly Kingdom.

Thank God,this was timely...Am heartbroken coz of a broken relationship!
May God bless this Ministry!

When my brother turned me down when I asked him if I could live with them for six months, I thought spending six months in a women's homeless shelter was going to be the worst thing I ever had to do! Boy, was I wrong! Those six months were one of the best experiences I've ever had. The shelter is faith based and we had chapel every night. I got to know some really terrific, strong women who went through a lot more difficult things I ever did and made it through. I am grateful that I had that experience and what it taught me about myself!

It's good to know that it's possible to be grateful for hardships but as an ex addict of 22 years I can't begin to be grateful for that. It destroyed my life and even after being clean for 13 years I can't get past everything that has happened during my addiction. I'm living with a lump in my throat on an everyday basis yes some days are better than others but it always comes back to this! I birthed children that hate me and I can understand it but what I don't understand is how God watched me become an addict knowing exactly what the outcome would be I just can't get over that!

After my ex kidnapped my children and I was unable to get them back, I entered into a marriage that was abusive and just plain crazy. I didn't want to live any more and seriously attempted suicide twice. Each time there was divine intervention. I did get out of the marriage and did have visitation with my children 4 days a month. I was devastated by all that happened. Then I became a volunteer for a suicide and crisis center several years after my attempts. I was able to connect on an entirely different level because of what I'd been through. Then a few years later I volunteered for a battered woman's hotline. Again, I had been there and could see it from their viewpoint. Because of the nightmares I had been thru, people gave life one more day, women had the courage to leave a destructive relationship. I can't say it was just me, but I did make some difference in those people's lives. You never know what God has in your future and how he can use those dark times to light the way for others. Give it time and try reaching out to others who are where you used to be. It does help.

I'm so sorry. I know what you mean. I won't go into detail here but my past haunts me as well. Not fun. May God Bless you and heal your hurts.

The outcome is not over! You are still on your journey, keep believing and trusting God, and you will see the way you feel about your outcomes change. Remember you may not be where you should be, but thank God, you're not where you used to be!!!!

Diana, you need to start forgiving yourself for what only YOU decided to do. Forgive your children for hating you, and they might forgive you back. God saw you for 22 years and cried for you and then waited 22 years for you to come to Him! And you finally did. Who knows how many times He tried to reach out and you didn't 'see Him'. Sometimes we are blind to his messages. Heal with his Word, Diana. He loves you, but love yourself first. Rejoice in Him! I'll pray for you. Fran

I'll pray for you too, Diana. As a sister of an addict who has been using for 23+ years and has just entered a treatment program (hopefully the last of so many I have lost track), I agree with Fran. You need to learn to forgive yourself. We all have our demons from the past. We've all done or said or have thought things that we are sorry for and regret. But remember our God is a forgiving God, a loving God. So if you believe, as I do, that you can find Jesus living in each of us forgive yourself so people can find Him in you. God bless you,

Thank you for sharing that. I will do some thinking about my hardships.

Beautiful yet simple. Thank you for sharing. God bless. :-)

When God removed my child and I from a 15 year marriage that suddenly turned bad due to my ex-husbands drugs and alcohol usage, He showed me how powerful prayer is... His Glory has shown through as he has restored all that my son and I lost.. Including restoring my son from a bad environment and marijuana usage... He brought us under the loving care of Pastor and church who showed and taught us how to pray, read the word of God, and believe in the power of Jesus Christ.. Our journey has been amazing... Seeing the manifestation of the fruits from Jesus Christ in my son is even more amazing... I thank Christ continually...