Life isn’t butterflies and rainbows. This is something we all know painfully well. Reality isn’t something we can run away or take a break from. Mistakes are made, we fall short of our expectations for ourselves, and no matter how hard we try, things still go wrong.

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to everyone. In these situations, we look up at God and wonder how in the world He is working for the good in our lives. Failure is a reality, and it is impossible to resist. We can look at life’s trials in two ways. One involves letting the hurt and disappoint overtake us and make us into bitter people. Or, we can look at them as an opportunity to improve, learn, have a change of heart, and grow.

When I went away to college in California, I never imagined I would be back home a month later. The whole experience was an enormous learning experience. At the time, it did not feel like anything good would come of the situation. I was feeling so much self-doubt and regret. But, the whole thing taught me a lot about myself. The choices you make are a testament to the life you live. You can either let dire situations destroy you or mold you.

If we never made mistakes, we would stay stationary. Mistakes bring learning and learning shapes your character. Change and growth go hand-in-hand. If you aren’t growing, you aren’t going anywhere.

Life is all about hills and valleys. The valleys make the hills seem that much bigger and better. Bad circumstances are never easy to go through. I can safely say that nobody enjoys going through life’s storms. The important thing to remember is that you are going through them, meaning that you will come out on the other side. Our darkest storms and most painful mistakes can turn into our greatest victories. Think of your deepest regret that happened in your past. How did it change you and how have you learned? Think of the deepest valley you have faced. How did it shape you as a person?

God uses the good and the bad in our lives for the greater good. We need to let our struggles mold and shape us into becoming the woman God intended for us to be. If life was free of struggles, many of us would be shells of the people we are today. We also need to forgive ourselves for things that happened in our past. God is a forgiver, not a condemner.

“Suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4.” If you are going through a rough patch right now and are struggling to find the courage to keep going, keep this in mind. Your faith and your character are being tested. Hope found in Christ is what will get us through all that life throws at us. You are capable of more than you know.

When the storm has passed, and the clouds have cleared, you may not recognize the woman you have become. And that, my friends, could be the greatest thing to ever happen to you.

Xoxo, Chels