I’ve always been in the Church. I was lucky enough to be born into a family whose foundation is built firmly on the Word. We went to our little church every Sunday, where everyone was related in some fashion and we were way excited when the attendance hit 50. I knew the songs, heard the stories, and dedicated my life verbally and by baptism. I had the knowledge but what I didn’t have was a relationship. When I was 13 my parents divorced whitaker_selfieand stopped going to church except for all of those famous special Sundays.

Over the next decade, I went through seasons of desiring to reconnect with God but just not knowing how. I would casually go to youth services or prayer at the pole but never committed. I was embarrassed that I didn’t have that passion and personal relationship others did and felt like I was not part of this God group.

During that decade I also married my now husband and we had 2 of our boys. I was grumpy and just a baby trying to figure out this life on my own. I felt so empty and looked to fill that void with anything that I could: drinking, going out all the time, grumbling about housework and picking fights with my husband. My discontentment took over me, and there was absolutely nothing of this world that could have made me happy. When we saw two pink lines signaling baby #3, I cried for days. I loved being a mom to my boys but I was so lost. I knew that my attitude was not going to work anymore and that I had to learn contentment, somehow.

Basically, I told myself “self, it’s time to grow up”. We started building our first home, reading biblical marriage books, and *gasp* started to actually attend a church. We were making real life adult decisions! Then my precious daughter was born and it was time to close on our brand new home. Except an easy road is never promised, just one that leads us to the one who is higher. We hit every single roadblock on our way to closing on our home and ended up homeless with a 5, 4 and 2 week old for 3 months. Not what I had in mind

My Grandparents took us in and I became the only postpartum mom to actively gain weight due to daily biscuits and gravy and fried chicken. My friends lovingly refer to my Grandma as Grandma Angel Eggs (because deviled eggs is a bad word and the devil isn’t allowed in her home mmkay).

She prayed, studied her bible or sang hymns from the time she woke until she went to sleep. Everything she does is for the glory of God. Those 3 months were precious to me. I learned that a relationship with God led to all of those qualities I wanted to see in myself. She radiated happiness and for the first time, so did I.

In a time where discouragement after defeat happened God had given me a gift of training. Grandma kept telling me to give all my worry to God and if it is His will, it will happen.

I went to the house we were waiting to close on and for the first time submitted completely to Him. I cried, threw my hands up and said: “I give it to you Lord”.

Control is something I hold on tight and at that moment to tell you that it felt like the world was lifted from my shoulders would be an understatement. The feeling was supernatural. Wouldn’t you know we closed within a week?

We’ve had much larger trials come our way but this was our training camp. We have to practice during the small trials in order to prepare for the larger trials. In our case that’s been unemployment and the loss of a child, but because of our relationship with God we fill those times with Him instead of control and worry. We know that struggles are opportunities for growth in ourselves and use it as training for a much bigger reward. Our marriage is stronger than ever and we laugh when we think back to those times and say “who woulda thunk it”.  

We’ve lost some friends on the way but have gained friends who want to see us succeed, cheer us on during struggles and keep us accountable when we need reminded. Our lives are filled with joy and love that always seemed unreachable before but in actuality had been there the whole time, we just weren’t looking. God has been our key to a happy life, not a perfect life, but also the possibility of eternal life.

 

Mrs. Hannah Whitaker

Mrs. Hannah Whitaker

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12 NIV).