I would say “give and take” would be the best way to describe my relationship with God.  I grew up in a Christian home and realized that Jesus had shed His blood to have a relationship with me at a youth camp I attended.  The first “big thing” that He took and then gave was the ability to go to college.  Money was not readily available to pay for my education.  God provided a way first through my grandma and then through loans that were structured in such a way that if I taught school in a low-income district, they could be completely forgiven.  I took advantage of that opportunity and taught school for 14 years after college.

My plan was to teach four years, then get married and have my family.  God took that plan away after 7 years went by and my “if maybe” boyfriend showed no inclination to become serious and settle down.  I call him my “if maybe” boyfriend because if he had time, maybe he would call or come over.  So I left South Dakota and went to Colorado to get my master’s degree hoping that “absence would make the heart grow fonder.”  That backfired, as he promptly got another girlfriend in my absence and I was heartbroken.  The program was over the course of three summers and I still taught in South Dakota during the school years.  By the end of the third summer my “if maybe” boyfriend was back in the picture.  After my graduation, which he attended, he told me he loved me.  The next February he proposed and we were married that June.  God took my “if maybe” boyfriend away and gave me an awesome man that has been a wonderful husband over our 38 year marriage.

I had been told by three doctors before our marriage that I would never have children due to a physical issue, although the third doctor said he couldn’t author that because I had never tried.  Shortly after we were married I developed an infection that resulted in the loss of a kidney, further complicating the children question.  God took away my health, and with it I assumed He took the ability to have children.  But He had other plans.  We had our son two years after we were married and our daughter came two and a half years after that.  We realized that God had blessed us and given us a family, and that we couldn’t say “no more” to His blessings.  We ended up with six children and it’s been wonderful.  God took my health and gave me a family.

I’ve learned that He takes daily challenges and turns them into opportunities to trust Him and His goodness. What He gives always turns out to be better than what He takes. Simply writing this has given Him opportunity to draw me out of a “funk” I have been living in and given me renewed faith to “let go and let God!”

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