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Modeling faith in the face of extreme adversity

Adversity entails hardship, challenge and misfortune. Think about characters in the Bible whose lives were impacted by adversity – Job, Noah, Mary, the disciples, Jesus. They all experienced hardships, challenges and misfortunes – just like each of us do today. But we can be encouraged by the knowledge that our adversity does not have to define us. How we handle and learn from our adversity can actually transform us. Adversity can work to make us better and help us grow to become our best.

Recently, I attended the funeral of my Aunt Daphine. As I listened to her grandson and granddaughter tell of the adversity she experienced during her life, I thought Job had nothing on her.

At the age of 10, Aunt Daphine’s mother passed leaving her to care for her three younger siblings. My mother, who was two at the time, was the youngest. Needing help to care for the four children, my grandfather asked his brother to give the children a home. My great uncle and aunt, Bud and Myrtice, already had three children of their own, but they opened their hearts to four more. Aunt Daphine did all she could to help in caring for her siblings.

When Aunt Daphine was 14, the children returned to live with their father.

As a young woman, Aunt Daphine fell in love and married. Her husband, like many at that time, went to war leaving Aunt Daphine expecting their first child. Her heart broke when news arrived of her husband dying in battle. She and her infant son, Jim, were alone.

She was blessed to fall in love again with a wonderful man who loved her and her son. The couple welcomed two daughters into the family – Bonnie and Jeanne. Aunt Daphine was then faced with the death of her second husband from a heart attack. Now, she was challenged with raising three children but proved herself to be a wonderful mother.

Aunt Daphine’s daughter Jeanne was born with a heart defect. Tragedy struck when Jeanne died shortly after giving birth to a beautiful little girl.

Adversity after adversity was a part of Aunt Daphine’s life. She faced heart issues of her own and fought a battle with lung cancer, eventually winning the battle. She fought a battle with colon cancer and won that battle, too. She broke her hip and pelvis, survived surgery, and recovered.And at the age of 94, Aunt Daphine died from pneumonia.

While listening to her grandchildren’s stories, I realized that the adversity never defined her. Instead, it was her faith and perseverance. She was a strong person of faith. She knew that she did not walk alone. Her resolve, her tenacity, her strength came from the Lord. She drew on His strength and was a courageous woman in the midst of all her life’s adversity.

She lived for one reason – to make a difference in the lives of her children, her grandchildren, her extended family, and friends. When things were at their worst, she was most often at her best.

In a “Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” We as a people of Christ can help turn the worst of times into the best of times as we offer encouragement and help others.

Each day, we experience adversity, both as individuals and as families. Here at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), we seek to live out God’s calling in both good and bad times. Like Aunt Daphine, we face our challenges with faith. We teach the children, families and adults by declaring victory through faith.

Here are a few scriptures I turn to when facing adversity:

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – Peter 5:10

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Aunt Daphine lived out her faith, and we model that same faith by providing opportunities for children and families filled with hope and healing. Your prayers and support empower our caring staff to model a life of faith and share the love of Christ. Whether it is “the best of times” or “the worst of times,” you can make a difference, leave behind a legacy of love, and glorify God.

Call me at 336-474-1230 to learn more about making that life-changing difference today.

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