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Trusting God in Night Seasons

Trusting God in Night Seasons

Can We Trust God to Save Us in Night Seasons?

I was newly married, and my husband was a new believer. I had a daughter before we met, and her father, up until this point, was very easy to work with over visits.

There was one place of contention: my husband and I lived on a boat with my daughter. The problem was my ex didn’t like us living on the boat. I also became pregnant, and we prepared to welcome a new baby into the family.

But boat living, for us, was perfect. And we had everything we needed to provide for our children: a safe, comfortable home and lots of love and lives committed to serving God.

Everything was going well. The pregnancy was uneventful. The birth was good, and although I had a c-section, I recovered quickly (because our boat life included tons of walking).

We went to stay with my family as I recovered from my surgery. My daughter’s father came and picked her up and said he wanted to keep her for a week while I recovered. Everything seemed so incredible.

After ex picked up my daughter for his extended visitation, a stranger came to my mother’s house. Before I understood what was happening, I was served court papers. My ex sued me for custody. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

Before I even got a chance to read the papers, I got a phone call from my ex’s mother apologizing for what she had to say. Fear and anger almost suffocated me. Sometimes, there are moments in your life where the darkness is so thick you cannot see your way through. As I read through the court papers, my heart grew heavier and more full of fear.

Every statement in the papers was a lie or an exaggeration, making me look like a neglectful and incompetent mother. I cried out to God, “Why would you let this happen to us?”

Either I give up my daughter or move off the boat.

Trusting God in Dark Times

Of course, I would never give up my daughter. And then, after I met with lawyers and psychologists, I found out that my ex’s family didn’t want full custody. They just wanted to force us off our boat.

It seems like an easy choice. And it was – I would never give up my daughter. Still, I couldn’t see how we could move. We had no money. And our boat wasn’t worth much. We couldn’t afford a safe neighborhood near my husband’s work if we were forced to move. Everything about our life had to change.

Whatever the Battle, God Is in Control

If you have ever faced a custody battle, you know how frustrating, bitter, and hurtful they can be. This court case was no different. Although I prayed for God to intervene, comfort, and help us, we still lost. We didn’t lose our daughter – but we were forced to share legal custody. Sharing legal custody meant her father had all veto power over our decisions regarding schooling and where we lived.

I was amazed that someone could have the legal authority to dictate my life choices.  Someone who (until he brought a case against me) had never given me any financial support for our daughter.

As the case stretched out over a year (why is it all the hard things last so long?), I prayed over and over for God to help us. But we lost and were given a short time to move off our boat.

Now I know God was there in my darkness, anger, fear, and frustration – and He guided our path even though doors closed and giving up our home became a necessity.

But then, I heard no promise from God that the outcome would be favorable. Now I know that I must remember how God is more powerful than any trouble I may face. I believe that is the definition of walking by faith.

Whatever battle he sends us into, whatever storm He brings into our lives, He is faithful to keep us through the struggle. He keeps His promises, and He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) And He “will complete the good work He started in you.” (Philippians 1:6)

You Can Trust God and His Lovingkindness

As we sought answers to how we would live and where we would live, God opened up a job opportunity for my husband near my mother. The problem was it was a 3-hour drive from our current city and my daughter’s father. And he had the final say in letting us move.

We set up a conciliation court date to go over the conditions we would be allowed to move. The night before the hearing, I received a list of challenging and financially detrimental demands to meet if we were allowed to relocate. I felt such frustration, anger, and fear after our long, bitter year of our custody battle.

I prayed, “God, I’m so afraid. I might lose more now than I have already lost. I feel so hopeless, where are you? Why is this happening when you have promised to care for us and protect us?”

It was one of the few times in my life when I heard God’s still small voice in my thoughts, “Do you trust me?” And, to tell you the truth, I still remember my defeat after the first court case. But at that time, I answered, “Yes, I trust you.” Even as I remembered the pain, I had to be willing to go into another struggle. I had to trust God with the results.


Sometimes We See the Consequences of Our Faith Steps

Sometimes, we eventually see God’s design in the outcome of our faith steps. But I find myself still questioning God. “Why did I have to suffer through this? Why did you allow that to happen? How can good come from this verdict?”

The truth is, we might never fully know God’s purpose in our suffering on this side of heaven. We can trust the Bible, God’s goodness, and God’s power to save us. Even when it appears He doesn’t.

We return to a place of memory during times of suffering and doubt, remembering God and His promises. Remember that God never forsakes people whose heart is genuinely committed to His ways.

Willing to Believe God

I have learned from personal experience that if God does not intervene on my behalf, I am lost. I lose if I am unwilling to believe and submit to God’s plans and try to do things my way (trying to help God out).

How did it end? I went to the conciliation court hearing, expecting a battle and a tremendous struggle with the terms of our agreement. But God went before me and changed my ex’s heart.

During the court hearing, I could not believe his demands. He did a complete turnaround, agreed to all my terms, and everything changed in my favor.

Only God can intervene like that.

Faith is a Lifelong Journey

I would like to say that I learned my lesson, and I never questioned God again. But I have doubted God. Sometimes I still struggle with “why.” Often I’ve prayed and received no answer. I’ve lived obediently to God’s word but felt no relief or comfort.

But even today, I go back to remember those trials and that time when I suffered and feared and doubted.

I know that God can help when no one else can. He hears me when all other ears are deaf. God holds me in the darkness when I am afraid. And He opens doors no one else can open.

Even when we are brought low because of our own decisions, God looks at our distress and hears us. According to the abundance of His steadfast love, He remembers His promises. He causes those who hold us captive to show mercy. (paraphrase of Psalm 106:43-46)

God hears, remembers, loves, and shows mercy. He is always there, and we can trust in His saving power, especially in the dark places.


Cheri Westbrooks is a wife, mother, writer/poet with 25+ years of children’s ministry and nonprofit work. Because she married a visionary man of faith, she has lived on a boat, on a Caribbean island, and Christian camp.  God blessed her with nine lovely children and four perfect grandchildren.

My websites and social media links are:


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.