This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE


Vicky Stephenson, contributor for today’s blog

Do you ever feel like you must get to the “happy ever after” bit soon??

Last month we focused on the one another command to encourage one another. I find it encouraging hearing of others’ struggles and victories; so I thought it might be encouraging to you if I shared some of mine.

I had fairly typically miserable, tough and secular teenage years; pressure, loneliness, feeling lost and not knowing who I was. So off I went to university; but I wasn’t lost to Jesus and after many happy “coincidences,” I found my way to Him.  So I finished university ready to be a doctor – my lifelong passion – married to the man I loved and following my Saviour secure in my salvation and identity as a child of God. All ready for happy ever after!!

But no, it was still a struggle and life was tough with lots of bumps in the way. We joined a church in London where I had fantastic fellowship; I grew as a Christian and learnt about the Holy Spirit and sanctification. I felt so close to God, surely this must be the start of happy ever after?

Alas no. There were good times and bad times and many years of struggling to start a family. However now I have my wonderful twins, still married to the man I love (17 years and counting), a good job and a nice home…. This must be it! Happy ever after!!

Of course for years I have had the head knowledge that the Christian life is not easy but has that really rooted itself in my heart? Maybe if I truly accepted in my heart the words of Jesus “pick up your cross and follow me… this is a life of sacrifice.” I would get less tired, frustrated and irritable always looking for quick fixes and easy ways out to get to happy ever after.

I know happy ever after is waiting for me at the resurrection, and it is a longing of my soul for the peace and joy of the intimacy of relationship with God in eternity and it will never be found in this life. I just need to live that knowledge out.

I pray this encourages you. You are not alone in thinking “If only…” or “When I get here…” then my spiritual life will get easier, I will be full of joy and peace.

In the past, I used to see life as a trudge up a slippery muddy hill pushing a heavy rock. I would do well for a while then something would happen and I would slip and the rock would be back at the beginning and I felt I was starting over again.

woman-helping-handNow God inspires me to see life as a path through a winding valley, sometimes I wander off down a track to see a waterfall, then I am blessed when someone comes along side me and encourages me “Yes, it is a lovely waterfall but there is so much more to see. Keep moving forward”. Other times when I find someone sat on a rock by the road I can sit with them and say “I know you are tired but see how far you have come, lean on me and we can travel this next bit together”.

That is what encouragement feels like to me, how does it feel for you?

What practical ways can we help one another back to the track and keep moving forward?