What has made the biggest difference in my life has been the knowledge that God loves me and He has a plan. I believe (as presented by my favorite author C.S. Lewis) that life is a series of peaks and troughs, and it is a ridiculous assumption for us to believe that it would be all peaks.
Though God certainly uses the peak times to help us grow, I believe that there’s something special He does in us in these trough times that give us character and develop us into who He wants us to be. My story is a testament to this.
When I was seven, my Dad’s job transferred. As a family of six we packed up and moved across the world to Istanbul, Turkey. At the time, reassured by the fact that there would still be Barbies wherever we moved, I wasn’t too concerned. However, growing up in a country away from your birthplace has its challenges.
I began school at an International school, but when I had not picked up the Turkish language by fifth grade, my parents gave me the option of transferring to a local school. Without giving it too much thought, I took them up on it.
I couldn’t communicate and was out of my comfort zone. I came home crying after school every day the first week. However, through this God showed me that He was my refuge, and He would take care of me regardless of my circumstances. Through this tough time also came the ability to speak Turkish, in addition to some amazing friendships that have continued through college.
Another tough transition for me was moving back to the United States. After graduating from high school I decided to attend the University of Georgia, Go Dawgs! However, my friends from high school scattered across the country and world, so apart from my aunt and uncle. I knew no one in this new place. In addition, there was once again a cultural difference, despite no language barrier.
Once again, I was really hurting, and I didn’t feel like I had anyone to cling to. Everything I had known and grown up with was 5,000+ miles away, including my family. Once again, God showed me His faithfulness. He showed me that when He brings me to something, He’s also going to bring me through it. He showed me that He is with me no matter what. He showed me once again that He wants to have a relationship with me, and that all I have to do is come to Him.
Though this was a challenging time, I’m stronger because of it. Though it might have been easier for me not to move back to the US. for college, God brought me closer to Himself through this, and once again has given me some amazing relationships.
Today, God continues to show me His faithfulness and how He uses the tough times in my life to make me more like Himself. As an aspiring journalist, I interned with a news agency this summer. Confronted with the headlines of international news stories each day has been challenging. Through this too God has shown me more of who He is. When I see how truly broken the world around us is, I recognize the world’s need for a savior.
How fantastic it is to learn that God loved us enough to send His son to die for our sins and to give us hope. What an amazing realization that we have a God who understands suffering, and who promises us His presence through the peaks and the troughs.
I’m so thankful for a God that makes life delightful no matter where in the world we live, as He has promised his presence to us through it all and uses what seems like the toughest times for our good.