I keep thinking about Mary, Jesus's mom. I used to say "God would NEVER have picked me to be his mom, I am not that sweet." But recently I have started believing that maybe Mary wasn't as much as a "softy" as I have always pictured.
Have you stopped to think about what she went through? She was a virgin, probably pretty well known in her small town and was suddenly "pregnant by God". Come on! If you or I heard that now a days, we would NEVER believe that!
You can bet she was the talk of the town. People probably made fun of her, talked about her behind her back & probably in front of her. Did her family understand or believe? She was probably rejected and doubted by those closest to her. I'm sure she was shunned and looked down on. Mary probably heard some terrible things about her, felt discouraged and lonely.
But God knew all that before it happened, and he hand picked her. I am just starting to catch a glimpse of why. He knew she would stand her ground, trust His word above anyone else's, and that this adversity would prepare her. Fast forward 30 years when Mary's "miraculous virgin-birthed son"Jesus starts his ministry and people start talking about Him, opposing him, accusing and slandering not only Him, but his whole family. God saw that coming and knew what it would take to get her ready, to make her a woman who could handle the heat, one tough cookie.
In life we have "Mary experiences." We have moments where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt we are doing EXACTLY what God called us to do, but there is ALOT of pain and adversity involved. Those times are hard, and sometimes we wonder "Why?!" or "When will this end?!" We are hurt, discouraged and we cry. A friend recently told me there are some things that we can only learn through difficulties. During those times when we are walking through the fire God is at work, he is cleansing, tweaking and building character that will sustain us for what's ahead.
So I want to encourage you, if you are in a "character building stage" don't give up. God is shaping, molding and preparing you for the future. He is using this to toughen your skin and soften your heart. This difficult season may be just what God had planned to make you a tough cookie, a woman of endurance who won't buckle under pressure.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4