I've had my share of challenges too . . . hardest by far being watching my parents grow old and the challenges they have with that. I only work 2 nights a week now to help them out more often. Next month my sis is renting my home, which will be a relief not to have to keep running back and forth, doing two lawns, fixing two homes, etc.
I spent a good deal of the day in toilet water trying to fix a toilet leak . . . but I got it. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me . . . and I only broke down crying about 3 times, or so, but who's counting . . . Mom wanted to call plumber, but I wanted to keep trying because I don't care to give up and like to save them money when I can.
I've neglected myself . . . everyone keeps telling me not to forget to take care of myself so it must show, but if those I love are happy, then I'm happy . . . until I focus on my issues (my teeth are falling out and haven't taken the time to see dentist, amongst other things).
I can't say I been strong in the faith. . . I know I have neglected my spiritual life . . . but his grace is still with me, and I don't care what people think. This stuff used to bother me, if I was rude to someone or whatever, whatever . . . And what a fine example of a Christian I've been (yes, that's sarcasm). . . Not that I care to be rude to people, not that I want to set a bad example, just saying I'm learning not to be so hard on myself. My motivation for doing something should be outward focused anyway (love for God, then people), not inward focused (to feel better about how I did for myself).
I believe when you grow older you grow less judgmental. Life teaches you that apart from Christ you are no better than the worst of all sinners.
God bless you Donna. What you said reminded me of something that happened to me. I believe it is how these things can go for us . . .
So I wake up from sleep and I feel the Lord implanting things in me. I knew they were like sermons / teachings, although I didn't know the finer details of what they entailed. It was like I was a computer and was getting downloads from above. Then, while this is going on I have this vision of a body (from like the chest down and hip up). All of a sudden I see an arrow or spear being driven in its side . . . happened fast so wasn't sure if arrow or spear, think arrow. Well, I felt it in my side. It startled me, like whoa . . .
So then I was like, "Ok Lord, I think this is a good time to stop."
Well, after I got over the initial surprise, then I was like, "I'm sorry Lord, I want to receive whatever you have to offer me. Do continue as you please." But, that was it.
So, this is what I believe happened. God gave me these downloads from above, yet it would be as I felt the piercings / persecution of his body that they would come out. I would feel it personally.
I can't tell you how I've cried and grieved over some of the things I've come across and personally encountered in that area, but you can pick it up in my writings.
And, not saying that I got it all right as I am still learning and growing, but I try to do my part as best I can.
Anyway, whether it is grieving over persecution / piercings, or whatever challenge that He may have entrusted to us, I also believe that is how it can go. Nothing is wasted in his hands.
Hopefully it is a confirmation and encouragement to you.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs