We live for before and after transformation stories.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the number of magazine covers at any grocery store checkout line.

Woman’s Day
Sherry, -110lbs. lighter–Read How She Did It Inside!

Life as a princess–Read about Meghan’s life after becoming Duchess of Sussex!

National Inquirer
Oprah gains 80lbs. and loses her contract with Weight Watchers

And we are especially enamored with the “after” part.

But guess what, sunshine?
Life’s not about the after parts.

The “Taaa-daa! Look at me! I’ve arrived!” moments are few and far between, and they’re not the defining moments that create rock-solid relationships with others or God.

And they’re certainly not the parts that strengthen you and fill you up with grit, resiliency, and faithfulness.

The messy, dark places.
The places you don’t want anyone to see or know about.
Those are the ones that refine you and bring you to your knees and make you cry out because you’re at the end of your own strength.

God assures us that these are the moments of refinement.
And they’re on purpose.
“Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve refined you, but not without fire.
I’ve tested you like silver in the furnace of affliction.”
Isaiah 48:10 MSG

So my highest hope and prayer to you from the middle of my mess is that though you fall, you will rise, (Micah 7:8) each time a little faster, a little wiser, and a little stronger, able to give Him a little more glory–more this time than the last.

P.S. If you’re in a moment of refinement right now, reach out.
I’d love to pray for you. You are not meant to face fiery trials alone.