How to trust God when bad things happen

God is Bigger Than Our Troubles

Bringing my gnawing worries and wrong thoughts in line with God’s, through worship and prayer, is what Moms in Prayer has taught me.

It has sustained me through years of the kids’ mounting trials: isolation on the playground, bullying on the bus, and temptation to think and act sexually outside of God’s borders for blessing.

It saw me through my eldest’s mental health issues that the pediatrician initially called a big scary word, schizophrenia, to the most unimaginably difficult trial of my life: losing my youngest to cancer when she was 16.

I’ve felt the Lord carrying me in His everlasting arms through deep waters as I prayed weekly with my Moms in Prayer (MIP) sisters.

While we fought for Gabby’s life, I spent much of my time praising Jesus. It’s the first step of prayer in a Moms in Prayer group and it kept my thinking clear.

I needed to focus on His goodness when circumstances were telling me otherwise.

I spent hours alone with worship music playing or just singing on my own while I walked in the backyard. Of course, I also “poured out my heart like water before the Lord” for Gabby’s life (Lamentations 2:19).

The only time in my children’s lives that I was not able to be in a MIP group, was the almost two years while we battled cancer. The demands of caregiving took us to hospitals out of state and even out of the country, and made our schedule erratic.

But the ladies did not stop praying for me. It’s a big part of why my husband, kids, and I are still standing strong in the faith.

After Gabby left for heaven, I jumped right back into a MIP group to pray for my two other children because I know, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” and our whole family needed and still needs that.

Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:1,3

I also realized that Gabby no longer needed my prayers. She was immediately and perfectly healed, protected, and filled with joy in Jesus’ presence. Praying for her was such a habit that I felt sad. Then God reminded me that the hours I continued to spend worshiping, I did alongside her. It was like she shifted from being my daughter to being my sister, and in a way, my big sister because she is now complete in Christ. She is always worshiping Jesus in everything she is doing in heaven, so that’s my point of prayer connection with her now. She is in Christ, Christ is in me, and our bond stretches into eternity.

I’m so thankful that 14 years prior to hitting the trial of my lifetime, God used MIP to help me learn and solidify the habit of praise first. I was steady in “entering his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise,“ (Psalm 100:4). Now when I walk in to talk with my Dad in heaven, I bow, I dance, I sing before my Father and alongside my child. Praise and adoration is the first step of prayer. We all need to start by taking our eyes off our circumstances and putting them on Jesus.

In the gospel of Luke, we find that shortly after the angel tells Mary she is pregnant with Jesus, she races off to visit her relative Elizabeth. When Elizabeth greets Mary, congratulating her faith for believing God would fulfill the promised messiah in her pregnancy, she replies with what’s called the Magnificat, Latin for my soul magnifies the Lord. “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior’” (Luke 1:46-47).

What are our souls magnifying? When earth shattering news hits us, good or bad, we need to magnify the Lord.

We can look around at our situation, circumstances, or problems, or we can look at Jesus. We can’t do both. We need to make him big in our eyes. In reality He is bigger than we could ever imagine. If we do not take out the magnifying glass of praise first, we will not see him or life correctly. He must be big in our eyes or our trials will overwhelm us. Looking with worship through the lens of eternity continues to help me cope daily with tremendous loss. Let’s all pull out our magnifying glasses; we know where to aim them!

How did this blog encourage you? Let us know below.

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Loss of child prayer. Prayer for a child with mental illness.Audra spent 15 years as a stay at home mom before returning to teach high school English, among other subjects, as a substitute teacher in the Long Island public school system. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, thinking, and praying in her backyard and has found kindred spirits at her two Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators critique groups. She also teaches kids’ Sunday school regularly and enjoys speaking at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and other women’s groups. To reach Audra or find out more about her books or speaking engagements, visit audrahemsworthcava.com.

Comments 15

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I also have a daughter who passed away at the age of fourteen in 2004, and a son on the autism spectrum and has experienced depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life. Prayer and Praise has sustained me.

  2. Dear Audra, Thank-you for sharing your beautiful story of God’s Faithfulness in the storms of life. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet daughter, Gabby. But so happy that you have God’s Blessed Assurance of where she is now! Praise the Lord! I am just starting a small MIP prayer group in my town in West Virginia. I am praying that God will grow this prayer ministry to serve many Mom’s, Grandma’s, Children and Schools! To God be the Glory.
    Lydia S.

    1. Hi Lydia, Thanks for letting me know our story touched you. I really look forward to entering into that Blessed Assurance we who love Jesus have in heaven! The time we’re apart from Gabby, our loved ones, and Jesus seems so long now, but when we get there everything will be put into perspective. I agree with you for growth for your group. I just prayed right now that God will grow your Moms in Prayer group and make it a big blessing to the women in your area. God bless you, Audra

  3. God used all your hurt and pain and suffering to help and heal someone else. I was recently diagnosed with a non cancerous brain tumor. Your faithfulness to praise God in the midst of trials resonants with me. There is power in praise and it ushers in the Holy Spirit. It takes our eyes off the crisis onto Christ. So thankful you shared your story. I am sorry that you lost the company of your daughter here on earth but glad you connect with her through Worshipping in Spirit and Truth till you meet again. Your testimony has not been wasted but witnesses for Christ and brings Him glory. After all He is light and life. He conquerors death…it has no sting. He crushes it. Your daughter is alive and I rejoice with you. May God bless you for your service and talent in writing and encouraging.

    1. Dear Danielle, I’m so glad my story was used to help and bring healing to you. Thank you for your comforting words about losing my Gabby girl. God’s Everlasting Arms really do carry us through deep waters. It sounds like you are in one of those hard life season right now so this is my prayer for you, Lord please help my sister Danielle to continually come back to worshipping first. Thank you that she knows this and it resonates with her. When she is tired or discouraged keep her mind and heart focused on Jesus and all His wonderful attributes so she can strengthen herself in you by worshipping. We also ask for physically healing and wholeness in your powerful name Lord Jesus.
      Much love, Audra

  4. Thank you for sharing your story Audra. What powerful grace God gives to sustain such a loss. Your example is one I want to hang onto!

    1. Hi Martha,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! One of the best things I read after losing Gabby was from Timothy Keller’s book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. It says, “The Bible gives you a God that says, ‘I have lost a child too; but not involuntarily – voluntarily, on the cross, for your sake. So that I could bring you into my family.’” It really helps me to feel God’s great grace knowing that as a Father He has experienced the loss of His child. His grace continues to surround me as I feel the loss knowing He has experience the same thing (only on a much bigger level).
      I don’t know if you remember me, but I came with Jill Falletta to a MIP retreat years ago. It was so great meeting you there!

  5. Thank you for your faithfulness and sharing your experience and wisdom. I truly needed to read this today. Be reminded where to set my focus.

  6. Sister Audra. I ordered and read your book “God’s Family” some time ago, and it opened my mind, then, as a new member of your momsinprayer group, I learned about your precious Gabby, and it touched my heart, but now I hear your whole testimony. It blew me away.!! I now have the whole picture and your testimony helped me to see God and how He carried you through. As in the prayer of Jabez, my prayer for you is that He enlarges your territory to share the creative ways He is leading you to the many waiting hurting and hungry souls, walking in darkness, to see His light. Amen

    1. Sister Rosie, it’s such a joy praying with you regularly. Your exuberant spirit always brings smiles to our whole Moms in Prayer group! I’m really glad reading more of my testimony “blew you away” – I love that! Thank you so much for praying for God to expand my borders in the creative/writing realm. I really appreciate that you bought a copy of my children’s picture book Jesus’ Family, I didn’t know you had done that! You are a big blessing!

  7. Beautifully written. Perfect focus for our lives, eyes on our Lord, beginning with praise and worship each day. Such an illustrated reminder when my distracting circumstances and painful issues pull me away from my souls desire to keep my focus on my Almighty God and His bigger plan and picture . Keeping my magnifying glass out and in use is a great illustration to remember as He awaits our coming.
    Thank you for the encouragement.

    1. Oh Mom, I love you! Of course you commented on my post, you’re adorable! Thank you for your encouragement. I hope and pray for you to keep looking to Him with that magnifier in the midst of all your physical and emotional pain. I know you’ve been through, and are going through a lot. I keep asking God to meet all your needs and bring lots of people into your life to help take care of you. Much love, Audra

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