“Why are you so happy?” I hear this question from most people who know me well. If I listed all the trials my husband and I have endured in the last 8 years, it would floor you. The issues we’ve faced aren’t typical at all, we have had some extraordinarily unusual circumstances.
For starters, a month before our wedding, my mom was arrested for murder out of nowhere and in jail for 3 years later until they convicted her with a life sentence. All of it was on the news, dateline, 20/20 and more. We had news vans and reporters parked outside our house for a period of time. Extremely public and extremely heartbreaking. That alone is enough trouble for a lifetime.
Shortly after that, my brother was arrested for heroine and other drug use and has been in and out of jail ever since and struggling in a lot of ways but is now, prayerfully, on the way to a better path.
Probably as a result of so much stress, Sean and I both developed health issues and we were also told we couldn’t have kids. As you can see now, we’ve been blessed with 3 beautiful kids so I guess it’s true, God does perform miracles! But we’ve had hormone issues, cancer scares, food allergies etc.
My husbands dad, who was one of the best men I have ever known, also struggled with a ton of health issues and as a side affect to all the prescription meds he was on, he took his own life. We were all left in shock. His family was the one stable thing I had.
That’s a lot for one family to handle right? Shortly after that….
Sean had to shut down his printing company because he brought a business partner in and things took a turn for the worst. He had to start all over after so much time and sweat had gone into building it. This soon becomes one of our greatest blessings so don’t feel too bad about this one.
Wait there’s more….
This is the struggle we’re currently in. It’s a kicker…a few years ago I got a call from child protective services. My sister was with them and they put her on the phone. She was crying because the FBI busted into her and her dads house and arrested him in front of her. I picked her up and they released him that day. They were doing an investigation on his business and a trial. It all blew over and they agreed to wait for him to be sentenced to jail until she graduated high school. Since my mom was already in jail, they didn’t want her to lose both parents. Something changed somewhere along the way and, a month ago, I got a call from my step dad. He told me he would be going to jail in two weeks. “Two weeks! That’s not much notice,” I thought! He got convicted for being part of a $100 million dollar Ponzi scheme and is now going to jail for 2 years. You read that right, $100 million. What?! Yes. That happened. Also very public. This leaves my little sister with both her parents in jail. She moved in with us as soon as he went to jail (on Father’s Day) and we are excited to have her living with us, despite the reason. She is such an amazing and loving person, you’d never guess she’s been through so much. A lot of people were confused when I said we were adopting my sister, but this is the reason and this is our story. I believe God brought her to our home for us to be able to love on her as much as we can before she goes to college next year.
Jail, murder, drugs, suicide, bankruptcy, health concerns, and more. I’m not even gonna get into my childhood, this is only the problems we’ve faced in the last 8 years! And those are just the big things, of course there’s the small, daily problems too but those seem so unimportant in comparison. All of this all happened in a quick 8 years of being together. I’d say we’ve had our fill of trials, thankfully, our marriage hasn’t been a struggle at all. God gave me the strongest and kindest husband knowing I would need that.
The one thing people always ask us is, “what is it about you guys? You’re the happiest people we know yet you’ve been through so much.” “Why are you so happy?”
The reason for our joy is definitely not based on our circumstances. It’s based on this fact: we know God, and God is ALWAYS faithful. When it feels like I don’t have any strength left, God strengthens me. When I’m on the verge of a meltdown, God sustains me. When everything is going wrong, God throws blessings our way to remind us that He’s got our back. When I feel like I’m losing my mind and my heart is broken, He protects my mind and heals my heart. He fights the battles for us. He provides all we need for each day. He has been so faithful to us in every circumstance.
You see, Blessings don’t always come in the form of having no struggles and an easy life, believe me! Blessings come as a result of our faithfulness to Him during the trials. Some of our biggest blessings have happened in the midst of the biggest tragedies. This life is a test and it’s through those tests that our testimony is created.
Instead of being angry about all that we’ve experienced, I actually feel thankful. I feel honored. I’m honored that God trusts us with such heavy situations and knows our hearts well enough to know that we can handle it and not lose hope. He trusts that we will give it all to Him and He paves our way. I can honestly say our blessings FAR outweigh the pain. I may have had more trials than most people I know, but I’m blessed so richly with three beautiful children, my sister and a husband I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Here’s a little story: when we were told we couldn’t have kids, the doctor prescribed clomid (a common drug that forces you to ovulate and hopefully get pregnant). Sean and I prayed about taking it and felt it wasn’t something we should do. Little did we (or the doctors) know, I was already pregnant and if I had taken the clomid, we would have aborted our son. I’m so glad I listened to God as he tugged at my heart and said don’t take it! We found out I was pregnant 4 months before my moms trial started. She had been in jail for 3 years waiting for her trial and of course, it came just as I got the positive pregnancy test. The last thing I wanted was to be pregnant during a stressful trial, worst timing, right? Nope, I didn’t see Gods plan in it until later. Since I was pregnant, I didn’t go to the trial, I took care of my body for my child instead. What felt like the worst timing was actually God’s perfect timing. He gave me this angel baby to protect my heart from the trial and our son brought us so much joy and thankfulness.
So often, we only see the immediate feelings and situations we are in. It’s hard to see God working in the trials but, because I know Him, I know I can rest in my struggles and know that He is working overtime. He has been faithful to me in every single situation, I don’t always see it until years later and sometimes I really just don’t see it. Maybe in heaven He will show me why everything happens. He doesn’t make bad things happen, but He does promise to work in them and bring good from them. I trust Him. He’s never let me down and He won’t start now.
So why are we the happiest people you know? It’s not because of who we are, it’s because of who HE is. And He is faithful, He is loving, He is gentle, He is worthy of all the praise I could ever give. So I just keep singing my praises, even though I’m off key! I don’t have it all figured out, but He does. I’m not attached to my idea of what my life should look like because I’d much rather live the life He has for me.
An easy life without Him pales in comparison to a trial filled life with Him. I’d rather go through it all and be on His team than have all the world has to offer and not have Him. I know who wins in the end, and call me crazy but, I like winning….
On this side of heaven, I can guarantee you’ll face hardships but here’s the question; will you let it make you bitter or better? (Ya I stole that question from Rick Warren!)
**If you want to know the secret to a happy marriage read this one