“When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you till it seems as if you couldn’t hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that’s just the place and time that the tides’ll turn“. —Harriet Beecher Stowe
I’ll never forget 2013 when I decided to take a Master degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Oslo, Norway. I had three kids at the time and my plan was to finish my studies after two years then find a job. This all changed when I found out I was pregnant at the end of my 1st study year. For many weeks I prayed I would wake up and realise this was all a dream. My family life was already hectic with three kids, a husband employed full-time, and no relatives close by to help. Crippled by this news, I felt as if I was trapped in a revolving door.
I took time away from school because of severe pregnancy sickness. Most of these times were spent feeding on God’s word. This continued even after the baby’s arrival. Little did I know I was preparing myself for the hard days ahead. Now with only a few months until school started, a problem arose — I needed a babysitter for my little baby “How hard could this be ?” I thought. I searched and asked around for an ideal babysitter — someone who’d suit my timing, budget, and needs. Days, weeks, and months passed, and I’ve still not found my ideal person. Meanwhile, I’d prayed and believed that I’ve received an answer to my prayers according to Mark 11:24.
On the weekend before school started, as I sat on the train going to the city centre, my eyes met with those of a lady, probably in her late forties. She smiled at me and we exchanged pleasantries. As we chatted, it turned out, she was also looking for a job and could babysit. Best of all, she lived close to me and her price was good for me – exactly what I wanted. Relieved and assured of God’s love, this testimony would set the pace to trust God, even more, in the coming months
God’s Word became my life-line
As school started, the pressure began to mount —team projects, assignments, books, and papers to read up, — coupled with incessant house chores, kid’s appointments and after-school activities. ‘’ How would I cope,” I wondered? The pressure was so much that at some point I felt It was a luxury to sit down to rest. God’s word became my life support. I literally depended on God’s word as a lifeline. I dreaded leaving the house without spending quality time in the Word and in prayer, realizing my sanity in relating with my kids, husband, and others depended on it. God was gracious to me in my studies. I made very good grades and didn’t have to retake any courses. Even when others dropped out because of the school pressure, God upheld me.
In the 3rd semester, during an internship with a company, I needed to deliver two reports. In addition to that, I was taking an elective (minor) in a programming course that was way out of my depth. As time began to run out for my deliverables, I started feeling the weight of my tasks pulling down on me. I started doubting, “Will I ever get past this study?, will I have to defer this study again?” In those times, the Lord spoke to my heart. He said,“ I give power to the weak and to those who have no might —no willingness—I increase strength” — Isaiah 40:29. He also said to me that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Empowered by those words, I found the strength to persist. As a result, I delivered a very good report which the company was impressed with. I also passed the elective course.
The boiling point was in the final semester when I was writing my thesis. Pressed for time and strained from the rigorous research and writing, I began to think of quitting. “I’m done trying”. I was exhausted and left with no strength for one more day. What do you do when you’ve lost your will to persevere? Hauled in this dark pit of despair, I cried to God that night for strength. God responded by giving me an encouraging dream: I saw myself running along with some people. As we got to a large ditch, while others crossed over, I couldn’t. Overwhelmed by the size of the ditch, I turned to go back. Just then I thought, “ I’ve come so far to go back”. As I cried, suddenly, I was lifted up by some invisible force, that was how I crossed over to the other side. I woke up so encouraged that the next time I sat to write, I pictured myself overcoming and finishing the thesis. As a result, I successfully finished and defended my thesis with a B grade. Indeed, It was a long bumpy ride but absolutely worth it.
Let me share with you some of the things I learned
- Flee from Complaining and Negative talking, instead, confess God’s Word. With so much strain on the marriage and family, Philippians 2:14 reminded me that complaining made me guilty. I was reminded of the need to confess God’s word in every situation —My husband’s actions, my tiredness, my school assignments, kids acting out, my negative thoughts. Instead of speaking my frustrating state, I must speak what God sees in the situation. For the righteous live by faith and not by sight (IICorinthians 5:7)
- God is Concerned about our Attitudes as we journey to our Goals. He is more interested in our character more than He is interested in what we “achieve”. God’s word is the chief transformer. A well-fed soul will produce a good character.
- God Delights in Turning our Difficult Situations for our good. For any number of reasons, we find ourselves in different situations. Yet God is in perfect Control of everything including the “mistakes” of our lives. Commit everything over to Him and trust daily in his leading. He makes ALL things work together for those who Love Him. (Romans 8:28).
- With humility and persistence, we can achieve all we set our minds to do. A Humble person acknowledges they can do nothing of lasting value without Gods help; It’s an attitude of utter reliance on God. We must realize that All our abilities and strength comes from God. He helps us do “difficult” things.
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