“The trials of life…..” I heard those four words the other day at the start of someone’s message. Probably credit needs to be give where credit is due. I think it was my pastor’s sermon, but not 100% sure. The danger of admitting that it was my pastor gets me in trouble because it means I had a short attention span that day.
Immediately after hearing those words my mind immediately began to wander. I repeated those words and kept thinking of how to end the statement. I don’t want to admit not being able to pay attention during church, but I guess we have all those moments.
I have been repeating the words “The trials of life….” over and over in my mind. Each time I add something to the end of the phrase, but nothing earth-shattering. No great end to the quote that can make it stick for years to come. All I do think is how many different thoughts go in and out of my mind. Not knowing how to eloquently finish the phrase I would love your input if something stirs your heart or if you God gives you wisdom. “The trial of life……..”
I catch myself repeating the phrase when I am in those still moments. Those moments of walking down the hall at work or walking around the hospital floors.. My mind has been a blur over the past week. I have been to Starkville (MS), New Orleans, Clinton (LA), Nashville (TN) and Chattanooga (TN). Tuesday night I attended an appreciation for my college coach, Don Meyer, and it was an amazing night that I will share in another email. His story is an amazing testament to strength and determination.
Also over the past week I have lost count of how many friends and family that are either having serious money problems or going through the loss of a job. Blur, blur, blur. Things have gone by fast and I have lost count of the people that are going through a trial in their own life right now.
I bring that up because we just completed a basketball season at Belhaven that was very successful. We were ranked as high as #19 in the country at one point in the season. We got off to a great start before conference play. Our team won more games than Belhaven has won since 2000. Our Belhaven team advanced to the semi-final of our conference tournament which had not been done in a long time.
Recruiting has gone very well and we have been very blessed to sign a recruiting class that is as good on paper as we have had since I have been at Belhaven. My assistant coach, John Aiken, has worked tirelessly and has made me work harder going on the road to see players. With Coach Aiken’s efforts we have what we feel is an outstanding class of young men and basketball players.
People know that a recruiting list on paper is much different than the team you can put on the floor. Still, all in all things have gone well and we are excited about our future with this team.
“The trials of life……”
The trials we go through do teach you lessons that you can not learn in school. As I have conversations with people and hear their stories I try to encourage as much as possible.
The trials of life can be with family, professionally or inner conflict. Whatever the case the trials will teach you more about yourself while you go through the difficult time than any book, speech or seminar.
While in Chattanooga I spent time visiting my mom in the hospital. She has been in and out of this hospital for quite some time. We fear the cancer has spread and now is affecting many parts of her body. When you are with someone that is as sick and depleted as she is right now it does make you think of what is really important.
The successful past season doesn’t have as much importance as her having good health. Having another difficult time myself with allergies this spring doesn’t have as much importance. Worrying about the little things in your job that can drive you crazy doesn’t have as much importance. The praise of others doesn’t have as much importance. The recruit you went after all year long and lost out on (or that you signed) doesn’t have as much importance. The game lost on a last second shot doesn’t have as much importance. The house being perfect doesn’t have as much importance. The yard looking as good as possible doesn’t have as much importance.
I have learned that “The trials of Life” happen every day to someone that is in our circle of influence. We can choose to be an encourager or can be someone that rains on their parade.
When you watch someone losing their health right before your eyes it is humbling. When you watch someone getting beat by cancer it forces you to look somewhere other yourself and your own pain.
When you hear of others that are losing their jobs and they don’t know what to do it makes you less of a complainer. You worry less about whether the A/ C works in your office or your computer freezes up. When you are aware of people that are having a hard time making ends meet financially it takes away your desire to buy things that you don’t really have to have.
As a family we have been given notice that my mom may not have long. She had been fighting and will continue to fight. I was fully aware when I left last week that it may be the last time I see here. I hope and pray she can stay in the battle, but the doctors have been honest and told us the chances. Right now it does not look good. We need prayers and we need a miracle for her to be healed.
This past Sunday after much prayer my mom had a good day. She actually had the pain in her stomach go away for the first time in a long time and she was able to walk a few more steps than she usually does. It still may have not been a long walk and it was with assistance, but it was better.
After all the prayers she was fortunate to have a good day for the first time in a long time. Even after getting the bad news of how long she had, she was able to enjoy that one day of feeling better. The trials of life will teach you more about yourself than you can ever imagine. The trials of life will also bring great victories. For my mom to have one good day is a huge victory. Even if it the pain in her stomach goes away only for a short time we will continue to pray that she gets healed.
It was truly amazing how after getting a bad report from the doctor that exactly one day later she had that good day and less pain. We actually had a chance to rejoice and be thankful. No matter what happens God has shown us through this trial of life that He is who He says He is. God also has shown us in great power we must remain strong. Just to have such good news after receiving such bad news gave us the hope and appreciation of how God is faithful and He hears our cry.
Whatever trial you may go through I pray you lean on the only one that can give you strength. That is the Lord, Jesus Christ. He has the power and the absolute might to take the pain away and give you peace.
The hospital my mother is in happens to be the same hospital my brother was in when he died 25 years ago. It is tough walking down those halls and driving to the same parking area, but you have to ask God to give you strength. You can kick the ground and be upset or you can realize you have a gift and that gift is that particular moment. You need to make the most of each moment.
I also watched coaching friend of mine, Robert Scott, go through the same pain as my mom is going through. He died in May of 2001 after a 9 month battle with stomach cancer. Seeing those vivid images again of how much pain he had to endure is tough. Going back through the difficult steps he had to take is not pleasant. It hurt to see him in pain. Watching my mom go through the same situation is very difficult. I know that God’s plan is better than any plan we can come up with on our own, but it still is hard to deal with at times.
I pray that you take each day and you are thankful. It is in times like this that we reflect and think about different aspects of our own lives. I am deeply grateful that God has given each day that I do have. I would love to have my brother still around, to still have Robert Scott around and to have my mother back in good health. Whatever trials God sees us through we are usually better on the other side. It is excruciating and it hurts, but it is comforting to stay in His grip.
My mom, Marlene Bradshaw, has a lot of people praying for her right now and one more person wouldn’t hurt. If you are reading this please pray for her right now
I hope that things are well with you and you lean on the Lord when you face the “Trials of Life.”
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- The trials of life
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