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  • Writer's pictureGina Stinson

Reclaiming Every Day with Gina and Kathy

Today I am thrilled to have Kathy Carlton Willis with us. Kathy has been a friend of mine for over 20 years. We started as ministry friends years ago, and although the ministries have changed, the friendship has not.

Of all the words I could use to describe Kathy, I would say "determined" would encompass just about every aspect of her life. She's determined to have joy in trials, peace in chaos and a good attitude during sour circumstances. I know you'll appreciate her thoughts today.

Listen in....

You Are Not Alone!

I’ve seen plenty of social media posts venting about how stinky life trials have been for everyone lately. It’s truly hard!

Whenever I feel like I have a “kick me” sign on my back, I jokingly ask, “Is Job a member of my family tree?” Somehow this coping skill helps me to laugh a little and to recognize that I’m never going to go through a trial that others haven’t faced.

Believe it or not, all life trials can be narrowed down to the same categories as the afflictions Job experienced. We all go through the same stuff in life, but how we deal with the struggles determines our perspective and our outcome. It also helps me to remember that no pain is wasted—it qualifies us to be a support system for others.

Everyone awfulizes their own life experiences and feels like their trials are so unique that no one can possibly relate or understand. That leads to thinking we deserve to be pitied and are allowed to be depressed. It’s sort of tongue-in-cheek to compare our lives to Job’s life, but it refers to the proverb that there’s nothing new under the sun—the same trials we endure, others have suffered before us.

How do you handle it, when?

• Family fails your expectations • Friends betray you • Church community rejects you • Health crumbles • Medical professionals make mistakes • Finances plummet • Others question your faith

Whenever I rehearse my struggles, I end it by saying, “But God . . . ” That helps me keep it in the proper perspective, so I don’t develop distorted thinking. God laughs at the word impossible and sees every trial as a way to be mighty in our weakness. He says, “Kathy, I’m possible.” Our enemy likes to bury us in self-pity. My desire is to learn to live smackdab in the middle of my trials with a healthy mindset that mirrors the attitude of Christ. We don’t need to wait until things get better to feel better about life.

I’ve learned not to allow difficult circumstances to define me as a victim or martyr. One way I lighten my load is to find the humor in a situation. I’ve laughed. A lot. It’s possible. I’ve heard it said that laughing and crying release similar chemicals in the brain, and both are very therapeutic. During these struggles, God dries my tears and increases my joy. Grinning and laughing can be acts of worship—acknowledging his goodness in the midst of difficult circumstances. Do you think Job discovered a similar balm to his own trials?

Everyone has trials; it’s how we handle each trial that determines not only the end results but how we cope when we’re in the midst of it. If you feel like you’re waiting for the other shoe to fall and the next challenge to surface—you aren’t alone.

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG).

Closing Prayer

Lord of my heart, I seek you to help in the way I deal with trials and how I help others going through them. Most of all, help me not lose sight of you when a trial tries to cloud my view of you. I pray for others hurting—that you will comfort them and strengthen them when it comes to the trials they are facing right now. Equip them for what is ahead, and use them in such amazing ways I can only point to you as the Orchestrator of our days. Amen.

This article was inspired by material that originally appeared in 7 Trials Every Woman Faces: Is Job a Member of My Family Tree? (The Grin Gal’s Guide to Trials). Who is this grin gal?

KATHY CARLTON WILLIS is God’s Grin Gal. She writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. Over a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published and she has several books in her Grin Gal brand. Kathy graduated with honors from Bible College and has served 30+ years in full-time ministry. Check out her Grin & Grow Break video devotions on social media.

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