This last year and a half has literally been some of the worst times in my life. My family has been through so much, but I continue to see God throughout my life. Even though it could something really small, I see God's hand in my life. Last January I lost my father. I wasn't super close with him, but I always wanted that relationship to be strong and I think that is what hurt the most. Then a short couple of months later this experience helped me as I walked my mom through the loss of my grandfather. It still sucks that my dad is gone; however, I can now see that without that experience I would not have been able to sympathize with my mom and know at least a fraction of the pain that she was experiencing. Two months later I lost an aunt on my father's side. The pain I felt was more for my cousins, because they had lost my uncle back in 2010, so they are now parentless. I could not imagine the pain that they went through and continue to experience to this day. The same month, two cousins were diagnosed with different types of cancer. Luckily these two are now diagnosed cancer free (PRAISE GOD!). Then both my aunt and my mom had to have surgery around the same time. The healing process for my mom ended up taking longer than expected and caused her to be out of work, which put a little strain on her already difficult finances. Fast forward to July and August of this year, my grandma on my mom's side was in the hospital for various things and we were praying hard for her that she would get better and be able to go home. Unfortunately, we found out she had had a heart attack sometime in the past and we never knew about it. That combined with the depression she experienced after losing her husband of almost 53 years eventually took her life. Believe it or not, she told us the day that she was going to leave. We sat in the the hospital hospice room with her on a Friday and she told my sister and a cousin that she was going to stay forever. They of course were ecstatic as we loved her so dearly. Then she said, "No I think I am gonna stay until Tuesday. Yeah, I'm gonna stay till Tuesday." Tuesday, August 1, 2017 my sweet, loving, caring, and wonderful grandma left to be with God. I am not going to lie, it has become really difficult to see God in these situations at times and even at all. Yet, as I read a book, sing a song, pray, or read my Bible, I seem to feel God sharing something with me. I was reading Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio last night and this concept stuck out to me, "Don't give the enemy a seat at your table" (p.199). (Mr. Ahnfeldt is my citation good? :) ) The table that this quote is referring to is the table that David refers to in Psalm 23. If we focus on the negative things that occur in our lives, we are giving the enemy a seat at the table that the Lord has prepared for us. Psalm 23 also gives us reassurance that in the Valley of Death, Jesus is there to lead us out and to be our strength in the dark times that although will be different, we all eventually face at some point in our lives here on Earth. So yes, this last year and a half has been difficult, but I want to focus on God and how I have made it through these tragedies/ hardships. Jesus has comforted me in the Valley of Death and now I have taken the seat at my table away from the enemy! I know that this story is long and probably a little confusing, but if you are to take away anything, take this quote with you and remember daily to not focus on the negatives and give the enemy a seat. Rather you should focus on the good that God is doing (the pennines in life) and and kick the seat right out from under the enemy.
"DON'T GIVE THE ENEMY A SEAT AT YOUR TABLE."