5 Things I Learned From A Challenging Season


There are seasons for everything.

Some are lovely, others are brutal and hated. There are seasons you’re sure you can’t endure, much less survive and yet, when they pass, you are stronger and wiser and your faith is bigger than it could have ever been without the season you just braved.

You may be facing a challenge right now.

What you want to hear is that everything will be okay, but I can’t promise that. What I can promise is that in the midst of this mess, God will be closer than you ever thought possible.

In fact, when this thing you hate is resolved, what will remain is a connection and trust in God so deep and complete that as your heart heals, you will miss the closeness of it.

This week marks 21 years since my Adventure Boy husband Craig, took a routine flight that widowed me for the second time in four years. It would take weeks of exhaustive searching to find the crash site.

It imprisoned me, my children, and our future. Life as we knew it just stopped.

God Answers Prayers

In that season of suspended anticipation, my faith was tested and my prayer life exploded. We banged on the gates of heaven day and night. We sought the face of God and begged for mercy and miracles.

On the very last day of the long search, every tip had been run down. Langley Air Force Base, NASA, the FAA, the Coast Guard, and the Civil Air Patrol had exhausted every lead and resource. There was nowhere else to look.  And then … a ground team radioed in that they’d spotted our plane under a canopy of deciduous trees.

“And Craig, have they found Craig?” I asked excitedly. There was no word. I would have to wait at the command center until the ground team hiked down to the crash site.

When the team leaders finally came to the conference room with news, their faces told me what they were reluctant to speak.

Craig was dead.

Though I didn’t get what I wanted – for Craig to be returned safely, God rescued me with answers and closure. He sustained me with His Presence and His Peace. Maybe you know that peace that is beyond understanding? (Phil 4:7)

5 Things I learned in a challenging season.

  1. As my heart healed, I noticed my faith had grown wisdom. I no longer cared about toilet seats left up and spilled milk. 
  2. My faith had grown in understanding. The words of David in the Psalms came alive. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
  3. The season reaped fruit, I had more patience with and compassion for people.
  4. My faith had grown courage. I had realized the worst case imaginable and lived. It had crushed but not destroyed me.
  5. I was never alone. God’s presence was so near.

Fear gave way to bigger faith.

Our new normal took shape, and life resumed with shifts to work and school functions to attend and ministry to volunteer for and thank you notes to write.

Interestingly, in the absence of a great need, I missed the closeness and Presence of God I’d experienced during the search and recovery.

What season are you in today?

Friend, I hope you’re in a lovely season that lasts a looooonnnng time. If you’re facing or in the thick of a challenging one right now, can I encourage you by reminding you that this season will pass and you are not alone. God is with you. Lean in till you can feel his breath on your face. You’ll actually miss it when this is over. 

Have you experienced the Presence of God in a challenging season? How did He show up for you? Leave me a comment below. 

Verse for today:  I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.   Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

Prayer:  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)


  1. Nicole Langman on September 8, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    What a beautiful post Robyn. Thank you for this.

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