|Tyler, Jodi and Zolie Rohr|
Growing up in the church and surrounded by friends and family who are believers has been a tremendous blessing. I know that I was taught the gospel of Christ at a very young age. So young, in fact, that I don’t remember not knowing about the powers of Jesus and the love of God. There was always someone to pray with me, give me guidance or show me the love of Christ. I am so thankful that God allowed me to be born where I was, when I was and to the family I was. He further blessed and protected me by allowing me to marry my husband, Tyler, and guiding us to Crosspoint. At Crosspoint, we have met the most incredible friends and have been involved with ministries and life groups that have REAL people to walk through life with us. Now, by the grace of God, I am a mother and pray every day that my daughter (and son on the way) will make the choice to surround themselves with believers as they grow. As long as I have a choice in who they are around, it WILL be around the body of Christ! We need all the help we can get to bring up our children in an atmosphere of love and the truth of Christ.
Despite that stability of a Christian community, life is not all rainbows and sunshine. Sometimes it is hard, heartbreaking and difficult. There have been moments where I have felt abandoned by God and lost to His purpose. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer the year I turned 21 and after a horrible year of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries, he lost his battle. It was a complete shock because we are a praying family and we KNEW that God was going to heal my Dad. We had 100 % faith that he would be healed and his story would be a testimony to others of how the power of prayer works. It broke me and shattered me that God didn’t heal my Daddy. When my husband and I decided to start our family, I had 2 miscarriages (and a third after my daughter was born) that absolutely rocked my world. Not in the “rock on,” life is good way, but rather the “rock the boat” until it fills with water and starts sinking way. I had NO idea that having a baby would be difficult for us. I believe that life starts at conception and that God is in love with our babies in the womb before we even know about it. I am certain that my three precious angels are in heaven with my Dad waiting for me to come join the party on the streets of gold. But the fact that they aren’t here, in my world, playing in my house and getting my hugs and having their earthly Daddy bathe them at night and rock them to sleep is more than sadness. It is a physical pain that, if I allow it, will bring me to my knees and incapacitate my ability to live.
The crowd of believers I have been surrounded by has always been there. And for that I am eternally grateful. I can only imagine the dark hole I would be in without them. They have been praying, guiding, leading, crying with me and for me, listening and offering the best words of encouragement they could muster. But, as many of you know, there are times when that all seems empty. Times when I have begged God to take away my pain and hardships. Like the thorn in Paul’s side which God refused to remove. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 Paul says he “...pleaded with the Lord [three times] to take it away.” But God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul says that because God refuses to take away the thorn that he will boast in his weaknesses, and find delight in hardships, in and through difficulties.
Now, I am not as strong or wise or far along in my sanctification as Paul, and finding “delight” in my hardships is not something I have been able to do yet. However, I have come to a place that allows me to use my weakness and my story to provide strength for others, or to, at least, try. Because of my experiences, I am aware that for others, there are times when my words seem empty. Times that the hurt is so deep and the pain is so profound that you can’t hear the comfort of scripture and you can’t feel the arms of God wrapping around you and giving you sustenance. But as a Christian and as a woman who has more than a few thorns, I know that once the pain begins to fade and the healing has a chance to begin, that the hugs, tears, and prayers of a friend will do so much more than comfort. I know that the word of the Lord will be salve on a wound, cleansing, healing and soothing the pain. Once your heart has a chance to begin its mending and your brain begins to process the words and scriptures God provides for us through family, friends and mentorship, you are able to find power and strength in your weakness. Like Paul, we can begin to realize that not in spite of it, or because of it, but through it, God IS power. God IS sufficient. God IS perfect. He will use our hurts. He will not let hardship go wasted. And he will never, no matter what we feel, let us go. He will teach us, for as long as we learn it, he will continue to teach us that when we are weak, we are strong.