We all face trials, heartaches, and disappointments, but with Christ, we can rise above. Today, Susan Sleeman shares her struggles with chronic illness and how God helped her move forward. Please note: Susan is giving away a copy of her novel Double Exposure to one randomly selected reader who leaves a comment or question for her on today’s post.

Do you have a situation in your life that you’re struggling with? Maybe a job loss, financial difficulties, a home loss, loss of a family member or friend, your own illness or the illness of someone you love? If you do, then you’re like most of us on any given day. We all face struggles and need to overcome them to move on.

I live with a chronic illness. Each day can be a challenge from the time I get up to the time I fall asleep at night. I could (and have) wallowed in the pain and suffering. I’ve clung to it like an old friend and felt sorry for myself.

But why? What good did it do me?

None. Absolutely none.

Focusing on my situation only made it worse. Made it grow. Bigger and bigger until it was insurmountable and the only reaction is self-pity. That’s what I used to do, but what do I do now?

I can best tell you by sharing the words of the popular song Trading My Sorrows by Darrell Evans?

I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord

When I first heard these words, I wondered how I could trade my sickness and pain. Trust me if I could trade it for health I would in a heartbeat. But the song is really saying lay down how you feel about the illness and pain. Lay down the self-pity. Praise the Lord for all He has done for you. All He is for you and be joyful. Even praise Him for the suffering, because it’s in the fires of suffering and pain that we draw closer to God and we find out who we are.

So whatever you’re facing, lay it down for the joy of the Lord. Trust Him to be faithful and bring you through your problem. Trust that He knows and hears your pain and is walking each step with you. Trust that He loves you and whatever situation you are going through will ultimately work for good. Trust Him!

Dead Wrong:

A KILLER’S CLOSING IN…

When her client and old college friend is murdered, P.I. Kat Justice knows the killer will come for her next. Her survival depends on finding her unknown enemy first…and working with homicide detective Mitch Elliot, her onetime crush.

It’ll take all her professional skills to ignore the sparks between them, but Kat can’t allow the handsome cop to get close. She’s seen too many people she loves die, so she vows just to do her job without getting emotionally involved. Yet keeping her distance may not be the best way to protect her heart—or their lives.

For more info about and to read and except for Dead Wrong visit Susan’s website at about http://www.susansleeman.com/books/dead-wrong/

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. Her first romantic suspense title, High-Stakes Inheritance earned a spot on the ECPA bestseller list and her Garden Gate Mystery series, which features Nipped in the Bud, and Read Between the Tines has enjoyed time on Amazon bestseller lists as well. And The Christmas Witness was named a finalist in the 2011 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to writing, Susan hosts the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com.

She currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan stop by any of these locations on the web.

To learn more about Susan stop by any of these locations on the web.

Website           www.SusanSleeman.com

Facebook        http://www.Facebook.com/SusanSleeemanBooks

Twitter            http://www.Twitter.com/SusanSleeman

Review Site     http://www.TheSuspenseZone.com

Let’s talk about this. I loved Susan’s reminder to trust in God–to trust He’s walking with us, that He hears us, that He sees our pain, and that He cares. Join us at Living by Grace today as we talk about drawing near to God during trials and times of weakness.

And make sure to come back to Living By Grace Friday and Saturday for a continuation of our in-depth look at the book of James.