'Tis the season for scheduling talks with MOPS and other moms' groups for the coming year. Annnnnd, it's got me thinking back to when it all began. It was a simple desire back in 2005 to share with my local MOPS group the hope God had instilled in me. Because I was in the midst of a huge struggle - with children who were 9, 7, and 5 - and I had spent four years in that MOPS group feeling so alone. I remember meeting after meeting when I would go in and leave - feeling like every other mother had it all together, and I was the only one who didn't. When I would grumble under my breath, I will NEVER be as perfect as that woman who just spoke to us!But God. HE met me in the midst of my pain and promised me that HE was not going to allow my struggle to be wasted. Rather, HE was going to use it - to grow me! I believe I will always remember the day when God revealed that concept to me. I was reading about His use of adversity in the life of a believer in Jerry Bridges' book, Growing Your Faith, when I read the statement: The road to holiness is paved with adversity.(!) Over time and through His Word, God convinced me that these struggles I was facing as a mom were not pointless. Instead, HE was going to use them to make me more like Jesus. To shape me into the woman HE wants me to be. Oh, the hope HE poured into my heart! And I was eager to tell other moms about it. You know - just in case my previous perception had been wrong. That is, in the event that other moms were also struggling. So, I called my friend Barb - who was the MOPS coordinator - and asked if I could get on the calendar. And Barb put me in touch with another MOPS leader - who put me in touch with other coordinators - such that I ended up on several MOPS groups' calendars that year. My favorite moment from each meeting was at the end when at least one mom would hug me and - often through tears - tell me, "I am so glad to know I'm not alone!"And here I sit, eleven years later. My children are 20, 18, and 16. We have come through so many, many trials. God has been trustworthy in each one. The struggles didn't kill me - like I often felt they would. The moments I thought would be the end of me - weren't. And God has been faithful to His promise to use the adversity to grow me. Oh, we still have challenges around here. Being a mom has not gotten "easy." And I am fully aware I am not yet the woman He wants me to be. BUT, I am not the woman I used to be. God is at work in me, and I am forever grateful.How have you seen God use adversity to shape your faith, heart, and character?