A New Motto

My motto for women who walk alone in their trials is "Don't let it be for nothing." Recycle it. Let God redeem it and turn it into a glory story. In some aspects, it's the only way we can keep our sanity because many times we won't understand why we face certain trials. It helps a little when we can see that they made us stronger and they gave God glory.

Here are three things I focus on when life starts taking a downward turn so I can make sure it turns into a glory story rather than a pity party:

1. Respect God's right to do as He will. In Galatians 2:20  the apostle Paul, who was determined to give his life over for God's glory story, said, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Do you believe that? Do you consider your body His and not your own? When we come to that place of denying ourselves any rights and giving God full control, He blesses us in extraordinary ways.

2. Recite often what He's done in your life. By getting into the practice of telling others about Gods' ongoing goodness in spite of the grievances you've faced, your revising and updating your glory story. It becomes your testimony. And because God's blessings and care never end, we will always have new things to tell. By telling others, it also encourages you to surround yourself with support -- gathering other believers and spiritual mentors in your life to hold you accountable, pray for you, and strengthen you when you feel like giving up.

3. Rejoice, for this time will pass. In Psalms 30:5  David sings "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." This is a promise that the desert of suffering is not forever. It sometimes lasts as long as the night - as long as it takes for you to cling to God in the night and for Him to get His glory - and then morning will come.

The exhortation to rejoice no matter what our circumstances is also given by the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4  "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!" Paul wrote those words from prison, knowing that his suffering wasn't forever. Perhaps just knowing that your suffering is only for a season will help you rejoice, too - even when you don't feel like it.

As you praise God in your pain, you are singling yourself out as someone who is different...someone who is a bearer of God's "glory story."

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of several books, including Women on the Edge, When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts, and When Women Walk Alone, from which this article is adapted. For more on her books, ministry and free resources to strengthen your soul,  see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Publication date: February 21, 2013