The Blessing in Challenge

The Blessing in Challenge

All my life, I’ve had challenges. Oh, I know, we all have. My challenges have included growing up with an alcoholic parent, health issues, financial challenges, and a host of others. I used to joke that perhaps God didn’t see how much challenge my life had when he would add something else.

That was when I was really young and overwhelmed and not understanding God’s love. Can we ever really understand that amazing gift? I have a better understanding of it now, at this ripe middle age, but when I was young I felt like every challenge was a way for God to remind me how unlovable I must be. My alcoholic father told me this often so I assume it’s what “fathers” did, including my heavenly father.

God has brought me through so much, I look back at that young girl I was and don’t recognize her. Only He could do this kind of transformation. Now I see that the challenges in my life have been some of my biggest blessings. I’m not always happy about them. I mean, I’ve lived for the last 30 years by giving myself multiple shots a day. I could do without that. If I had to live life again I wouldn’t want to go through my childhood again. WearNo thank you. But having challenges isn’t about a willingness to re-live them, it’s about what happened during them and what you’re like now.

I can’t tell you how many people over the years when hearing the details of my life have asked me: “How did you survive all that?”

What they mean is, how am I a happy, well-adjusted person today. After all that, how can I extend forgiveness? How can I extend love to friends and family and accept love in return, and how have I established healthy boundaries?

And the answer to all those is: God.

So the challenges he brought me through are a blessing because with people who are like I was, who are going through the things I went through, I can relate to them. Instantly, I know their struggles and feelings. I can extend empathy completely, and when I talk about what God’s done for me I can show them a way out of that darkness they feel. They ask me about my life so talking about my faith is easy and organic.

And then, while I am showing people that I can be happy now, despite my challenges, I also show them that my happiness is not about how great things always are for me. In fact, I still have lots of other challenges. All of them keep me close to God. All of them remind me that I am not in control, and that every breath of this life is a gift. That is a blessing.

Having Challenges isn’t about a willingness to re-live them

There are times when I am sometimes overwhelmed by challenges and I reach out to God and I ask for prayers from my prayer warriors. And then they are times when I flip my feelings and try to see it from God’s view and imagine Him keeping me close all these years by the challenges I’ve had. Not wanting me to stray from Him, not allowing the kind of comfort that would cause me to forget about Him… and when I am able to see it that way it is truly a blessing.




Cherie Burbach About Cherie Burbach

Cherie Burbach is the founder of Putting on the New. She is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer. She's written for, NBC/Universal,, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: Art and Faith: Mixed Media Art With a Faith-Filled Message. For more, check out her website.


  1. Laurie Driesen says:

    All of your challenges have brought you so close to the Lord, dependent on Him for His strength. I see His light shine through your eyes and you are an inspiration to me! Thanks for the great post!

  2. Tina Dorward says:

    Great post Cherie and thank you for sharing. It is so true how God works through our challenges and always brings good from them. You are definitely shining Christ’s love now.

  3. We sure don’t understand some things do we? I can only believe you are the light you are because of what you have been through. Nothing is wasted with God. I like to think on the idea of God calling us from where we are placed and knowingly He has always had His hand on us. This has been a comfort to me in my life as I was young and am now old.

  4. Janet K Brown says:

    Oh, my, yes, Cherie. If we live long enough (like me), you go through some challenges, but God is so faithful. How do people survive without Him?

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