Finding God in Difficult Places: Guest Post by Mary-Anne Crooks

This email came to me from Mary-Anne after she read my missing chapter from Thin Places. (You can receive it by signing up for my newsletter here.) I loved her response so much, I asked her if she would allow me to post it on my blog. You can find out more about Mary-Anne here.

Hi Mary

Thank you for sharing that missing chapter with us.  To tell you the truth, I found it inspiring – the reason for this was your honesty.  So many of us were raised in churches where we couldn’t say if we felt ‘down’ or ‘sick’ or were struggling financially as that was negative talk but what about the Psalmists and how honest they were with God, voicing their struggles but also their victories.

We had a prophecy years ago, (about 24yrs) when we were told we would ‘be blessed beyond our wildest dreams’ but would walk ‘through fire’ first – well, we have definitely walked through the fire, but we are not the only ones – I don’t know anyone that has just flown through life with all falling into place at the right time, in the right place.

So often, as when we, as a family, faced my cancer – I didn’t understand, I questioned God, I had a tantrum or two (being honest) but knew that my Father understood, that He cared and that He cried when we cried.  I also knew He was holding tightly onto my hand and believe me, I was holding tightly onto Him.  At the time we couldn’t see the big picture, we only saw our tiny world, our fight, but as time as gone on we are starting to see some of the big picture.  If I hadn’t had cancer I would never have started to write as I have always been busy with business ventures, teaching etc and never found time.  My husband encouraged me for years to write – I firstly didn’t have the time and secondly never thought I could, even though God had given me the ability to start a computer teaching company; doing everything from the start (to the finish), from writing the manuals, to approaching schools, to being secretary, to teaching.  Eventually we had 22 schools with 21 000 children going through our system weekly – but that wasn’t me, it was a gift that God gave me.

Saying that though, that was a specific season in my life but He had other plans for us that involved us losing the business, going to Ireland (not understanding) but later seeing that if we hadn’t gone there our eldest daughter wouldn’t have acquired University status.  We then went to England and I got sick – couldn’t understand all of that, but I had the best Oncologist available to me, our youngest did her A-levels (major in drama) and went onto University – both have now finished, my youngest graduates this month.  She was voted ‘best actress’ at their red carpet event at Bath University and then was voted as the most likely to become a famous actress.  She knows that it was all because of the talent God has given her and is determined to make it and use any success that comes her way to glorify His name.  My eldest is working this year to get enough money together to go back next year and do her Masters – she has a BA Honours degree in Writing – writes beautifully, much better than her mother!

Anyway, that is another story but what you said is so true – we so often don’t understand why because we don’t see the big picture and ‘what to us often feel as failures’ to God are ‘opportunities of teaching, preparing, getting us ready’ for the big picture that only He sees.

I so wish Christians would go back to being honest, as you are, to being real and human.  God did not create us to be miniature God’s, He created us in His image, to aspire to being and doing our utmost best as to Him, but as His children, to worship, need and adore Him.  If we were these perfect beings that so many preachers are ‘presenting’ themselves as now, then we wouldn’t need our Father.  We have seen many pedestals kicked from under preachers recently – there can only be one God and therefore we will always be imperfect, will always face trials and tribulations; sometimes will not understand but it is not what we go through it is how we come through the other end – I think your time in France is a testimony to how you came through the trial, how you have grown closer to Him regardless – He knows the reason for that trial and believe me, I am sure He will shortly let you see some of ‘that big picture’ as well and be truly blessed by what He has prepared you and your family for!

Please don’t take any note of my writing above – when writing novels and other stories, I am far more particular as to how I write – this is just straight from my heart and not from my brain (the one my husband claims to have all the time).

Best wishes and love

Mary-Anne

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