When Jocelyn first introduced me to Debbie DeLine’s memoir, Struck Down But Not Destroyed, the mere title alone captivated my heart. Paul writes, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). It is my hope that, on the other side of my deployment, I, too, will be able to proclaim these truths, to give God glory. Oh to be able to say to my Lord, “I was struck down, but because of Your great mercy, I was not destroyed.”
There was another reason why this memoir intrigued me. Debbie shares her personal account of life with her son, James who was born with hydrocephalus, a birth defect that left his brain terribly malformed. She takes us on her journey through her many struggles with God as she experienced her son’s multiple seizures and witnessed his various developing handicaps. Through her journey she gives us an in-depth biblical study on pain and suffering and finding joy in life’s hardships. I love how she aligns each struggle against the truth of God’s Word. This particular story piqued my interest because my twin sister and I were diagnosed with Encephalitis following our premature birth. She was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy which resulted in many heart-wrenching struggles that drove our family to their knees.
As military wives, we endure many hardships; separations from loved ones, marital and financial strains, infertility, disease, raising children with disabilities, and death. Some may think we become immune to these struggles that somehow, we just get used to them. Not true. In most cases, our hardships intensify through each and every temporary duty and deployment we endure. We become worn and weary. We grapple to know how to live in the joy that God so desperately desires for us to experience.
Debbie doesn’t write from a military wife’s perspective, but writes from one who has been tried by fire. She knows and understands the pain associated with these hardships. She knows what it’s like to be worn and weary. On the brink of despair, she cried out to the Lord, “I know I should have joy in these trials, but right now I’m wondering how I’m even going to make it through this life in one piece…
I thought back through some of the tough times of the past few years and some of the things that I had known my whole life about God but only recently came to really, truly trust. I know this is no accident. You are still on Your throne. I know this all has a purpose that I can’t really see right now. But I can’t do this by myself, Lord. There were no tears. I had run out of those long ago. I was just being realistic. I guess from here on, You will have to carry me…like You have so many times before.
“What other option do I have but to hope in Him? I thought.”(p. 186-187) In this moment, she chose joy as she envisioned her faith one day becoming sight and looking her Savior in the eyes as He welcomed her home. Through the refiner’s fire she found joy in life’s hardships.
“For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10-12
Through the refiner’s fire you, too, can find joy. Our trials often fuel our pain sufferings and heartaches. But God uses them to refine us, to give us His wisdom and discernment, along with discipline to do what we know is right. This refining process allows us to persevere in His strength as we trust in Him. We can know His joy in the midst of our trials.
Pick up Struck Down But Not Destroyed today and be inspired to find His joy in your trials!
About the Author:
Sherry currently lives in Upstate New York with her husband of 20 years and their four children, aged 19, 17, 13, and 10. Her husband is a Signal Warrant Officer for the Army National Guard. Sherry enjoys reading, writing, music, camping – and loves everything coffee, including her two labs named Espresso and Latte. Her heart’s desire is to connect with other military wives, in hopes to encourage them by ultimately introducing them to the one who can meet their greater need, Jesus.