URGENT: You Can Help Hurricane Florence Victims, Here's How...

About Faith

Be uplifted and find encouragement for your faith with authentic sharing of the ups and downs of life for  today’s Christian female. Read personal experience of faith challenges and how your relationship with Jesus Christ makes an impact on every area of living. At iBelieve.com, we want to help you grow in your personal relationship with Christ and in your daily walk of faith

4 Faith Struggles You Might Not Expect in Your Twenties

  • Betsy St. Amant Haddox
4 Faith Struggles You Might Not Expect in Your Twenties

When I was growing up, I had a picture of how my life was going to look. It was eerily similar to my parents’ life—marriage at a young age, children, immersed in the church, and no major struggles or issues.

If this picture was a Polaroid, it would contain a smiling couple with perfect hair and healthy bodies, two kids in coordinating outfits, perhaps posed for the church directory in which the happy family volunteered regularly and devoted much of their time, just like the generations in the family before them did.

Because that’s what you do as a Baptist woman in the South, right? (Besides learning how to properly peel crawfish at an early age.)

I had this picture in my mind because that’s what I saw lived out in front of me during my childhood and teenage years. As it turns out, my parents did have struggles in their early adult years; they just looked different than mine. Not to mention, that pre-social-media generation was typically better at keeping private things private.

I was ready to live happily ever after, so I got right to it. I was married at age 20, had my first child at age 24, and was happy in my church home. I led a women’s prayer group once a week, and my daughter went to AWANAs, and we hosted friends in our house in the country that I kept impeccably clean. I cooked meals, and wrote devotionals, and exercised regularly, and had my first fiction novel published in my mid-20’s. Things were great. Somehow, in my mind, I’d concocted this silent deal with the Lord. I kept up my end by being a “good wife,” a “good mom,” and a “good person.” His end of the deal was to keep anything too bad from happening to me.

But bad things started happening anyway.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Joao Silas

"Everything that was safe and familiar felt suddenly very awkward and unsure."

"Everything that was safe and familiar felt suddenly very awkward and unsure."

My husband changed careers and had to go to night school to take a series of difficult tests. My marriage grew distant, and motherhood got lonely. My mother-in-law had a horseback riding accident and was left in a coma for a year. My husband got laid off from his new career, and money became tight.

Then my mother-in-law passed away, and my husband left me. Church got complicated in the aftermath as friendships and staff relationships strained. Everything that was safe and familiar felt suddenly very awkward and unsure. I didn’t even realize I was operating out of this “deal with the Lord” mindset until He didn’t “hold up his end.” I was left grasping a bunch of broken shards of my life, unsure of how tightly to hold on to them.

Here are 4 faith struggles I never expected to go through in my 20’s (that you might not expect either).  

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jonas Svidras

1. Holding onto my faith.

1. Holding onto my faith.

I didn’t understand how God, who is completely sovereign, could allow my husband, who has free will, to leave our little family. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it and spent many teary, sleepless nights attempting to do so. My entire theology was based simply on what I’d absorbed from the pulpit in front of me during my childhood, and I’d never thought to question it before. I never thought to dig into the Word for myself and wrestle with the Lord and bleed tears onto my Bible over the things that didn’t make sense. Because everything had made sense until my illusions went up in smoke. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Ben White

"His grip was and is strong and secure, and He never, ever fails."

"His grip was and is strong and secure, and He never, ever fails."

My grasp on my faith grew slippery during those years, but the Lord never let go of me. His grip was and is strong and secure, and He never, ever fails. While I’d never want to go through the pain of divorce again, I also can honestly say I would never want to go back to the surface-level faith I had before that particular mile marker in my life either. What I have with the Lord now is richer, deeper, more sure, and more steadfast than ever. He took Romans 8:28 and scribbled it all over my life. (ESV) “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I’m living proof.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Ionut Coman

2. Letting go of (the illusion of) control.

2. Letting go of (the illusion of) control.

This was a hard one for me. I never realized how controlling I was until I lost control completely. That’s a bit of an oxymoron, however, because I was never actually in control in the first place—but man, I sure had a few years there where I thought I was.

Looking back, I realize in hindsight that illusion wasn’t freeing—it was suffocating. I was always on edge, trying to make sure everything I touched went perfectly. Whether that was my hair, or my body, or my house, or my marriage; I needed it to be the way I wanted it to be, and no other way was acceptable. This came out of fear, ironically, of losing the things and people I loved. Except, I lost some of them anyway.

Surrendering to the Lord and His plan and His timing is by far the better the choice. Colossian 1:17 (ESV) “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Shalom Mwenesi

3. Dealing with finances as a single mom.

3. Dealing with finances as a single mom.

My family was never wealthy growing up, but we never went without, either. Our needs were always met; there were always plenty of presents under the Christmas tree, and we enjoyed frequent family vacations. I always figured that as a 20-something, I’d get a good job and save money to keep up with the Jones’ well enough. But getting divorced unexpectedly tends to take a toll on your bank account and your credit score, and both of those things take years to recover from. So, I had to learn that it was all right that my friends and their spouses were mortgaging their forever homes and filling them with children and designer furniture, while I was starting over in a two-bedroom apartment as a single mom trying to figure out who to ask to help pay for school supplies that year. 

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

"He is, and was, faithful."

"He is, and was, faithful."

During that trying time, I got to see the Lord provide for me in ways I could have never imagined. I didn’t get to go to Italy on my 30th birthday as I’d planned, but I never missed a bill. I had plenty of side jobs come along at just the right time. I was able to buy a car I’d always loved and attend a couple of spiritual retreats through Ransomed Heart ministries that revived my weary spirit. My daughter and I always had food, clothes (cute ones, at that!) and we got to go on a smaller vacation together, just us. He is, and was, faithful. Philippians 4:19 (ESV) “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Mehrdad Haghighi

4. Being content right now.

4. Being content right now.

I had to learn to stop waiting for my ducks to get in a row before allowing myself to breathe and just enjoy life. After all, most of those days in my late 20’s, it felt like my ducks were drunk and wobbling all over the place. I struggled with that feeling of “after X happens, I can relax” or “after X occurs, I’ll be able to really focus on accomplishing this or that.” The problem is, X doesn’t always come. Whether X is a husband, a relationship, a child, a career goal or a college degree, the truth is, it might not come. We’re not guaranteed financial ease, marriage, children, or other such blessings from the Lord. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Andi Rieger

"When we’re constantly pining for next, we miss now."

"When we’re constantly pining for next, we miss now."

If we wait around, discontent and grumbling and stressed out waiting for X, we might end up wasting years of our lives. That’s not glorifying to the Lord, and it’s not much fun for us, either. When we’re constantly pining for next, we miss now. And there are many gifts in the right now if we just open our eyes.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 (ESV) “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Franciele Cunha

"While life is constantly changing, He never does."

"While life is constantly changing, He never does."

There’s already been several faith struggles I didn’t expect in my 30’s, as well. But I’m taking the truths that the Lord revealed to me and developed in me in my 20’s, and I’m applying them to the struggles of today. 

While life is constantly changing, He never does. His character stays the same, and His Word never returns void. I’m clinging to those truths more and more, learning how to make Him my rock and my firm foundation, while enjoying—and holding loosely—the gifts He gives me.

Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of fourteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her newlywed hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Look for her latest novel with HarperCollins, LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES, and POCKET PRAYERS FOR FRIENDS with Max Lucado. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com./

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Dan Chung