Our lives can be a lot like that freefall, but we can survive whatever challenges God puts in front of us if we just get back up. In Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks You Down, Sheryl Giesbrecht shares her story of triumph over tragedy and helps readers understand that, in the midst of their adversities, they can not only survive, but thrive.
Q: For most authors, one defining experience drives them to write their book. You've actually faced many obstacles that would have kept most people down for the count. Can you share with us about a difficult time in your life when you had to trust in God and get back up?
SG: Several years ago, I found a lump under my left eye; months later, the lump had tripled in size, blocking my vision. I was afraid and skeptical when I went to the doctor. I could see the concern in the physician's eyes when sent me to another doctor, a specialist, who sent me to get further tests. You can imagine my surprise when two months later, after no warning signs, such as being tired or sick, I was told I had stage-four non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.
As a cancer patient, I felt out of control. My life was scheduled for tests, surgeries, doctor's appointments, chemotherapy, side-effects—everything changed. For a control freak like me, this was very difficult. I chose to trust God, to place myself in His control every day. Psalm 73:26 says, "My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; He is all I ever need" (GNT). This was a daily choice for me. On days I was tired or sick from the medication, I chose God's way and not my past methods of dealing with adversity.
Q: Why do you think we tend to want to handle things ourselves rather than hand our struggles over to God in times of doubt, despair and disappointment?
SG: Many men and women are wounded. They mourn in silence, yearning for freedom, yet they remain unable to acknowledge the love of God. They can't bring themselves to reach out for the hand of God. Disabling circumstances sap their strength, often beyond their control, yet they don't respond to God's invitation to get back up.
Why do some choose to live life in a state of numbness? Because they believe renewal is for friends, husband, parents, even children—anyone but them. Some think their damaged emotions are too ruined for God to heal. They don't trust him with their pain. They need to see that the power to get back up begins when the believing starts. That's what trusting God is all about.
Q: How does forgiveness and letting go of grudges play into us being able to get back up?
SG: God wants to release us from our frozen state of bitterness to a graceful walk in the freedom of forgiveness. God asks us to forgive, but He also gives us the ability to do it. Consider Matthew 18:33: "Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?" (NIV).
Remember, forgiveness is giving ourselves a gift, not giving a gift to the person we've forgiven. In fact, the person we forgive may not ever know we've forgiven him, but God will. Forgiveness is between God and us. Confessing our forgiveness to someone who has not first asked for it can cause more problems than it solves. Forgiving others should actually begin at the time we are offended, but it can still be accomplished even if the hurt occurred years ago—even if the offender is now deceased. Forgiveness is good for us!
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