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The value of shared experiences


By Tina Y. Gerber - McCurley A reader asked me why I wanted to share my personal experiences here.

I responded, it's a natural desire to share struggles and, in that, explore a moment which makes us both laugh and cry. So sharing my stories can help me heal and perhaps offer healing to others. Relationships, regardless of age, offer the opportunity for regular moments of joy, pleasure, fun or discovery but also sadness, grief and loss. People today face many challenges and Christians face those and other unique ones as well. The truth is, Jesus never said the Christian life would be easy.

Next, the reader asked me what my most challenging struggle has been? Here's an attempt to list some. These struggles have been the most rewarding opportunity or lessons learned in my life so far. Would have I wanted to avoid them – absolutely!

Christians must understand, God does not want believers to only spend time with other believers. While this is certainly important, He wants us to go out and be a living example of how His Word transforms life and show non-believers the gifts God can bring into their lives.

Learning keeps our hearts young and our minds active. There have been many events I would not have wished on my worst enemy, such as my brain tumour, endometriosis, divorce, raising children as a single parent, my child facing a life-threatening event, the suicide of a loved one, death of a loved one by murder, early retirement from a work-related injury, the struggles we are currently facing with ODSP and the list goes on and on.

What I need to express is, it's about the opportunity to learn and grow and to appreciate the life God has given each of us. Don't get me wrong, I have struggled and suffered a lot, but God has carried me when I didn't deserve it, and He will carry you too, if you become responsive to Christ blessing your life.

Mental Health is nothing to feel ashamed about, and it's important to understand experience is never wasted. When we open to Him, God comforts us, helps us, and strengthens us especially when we are experiencing problems and challenges.

I speak a lot about my personal experiences, particularly the difficult ones, to help motivate others when things seem bad. Remember, you are never alone. So when others are going through these kinds of things we can take this opportunity to comfort, help and strengthen someone else in much the same way God has comforted us. It says this in 2 Cor 1:3-4

The Bible tells us, "Encourage one another" in Thessalonians 5:11. In James 1:2-4 it says, "Count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters), when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." ESV

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