MY STRUGGLE, GOD’S GLORY: Deal collects stories of hope through trials

Published 3:00 am Saturday, September 21, 2019

Boyd Deal’s life has not been without its worst moments.

And, those moments have not been few.

Deal has been through the storms. He has found himself in the valleys of life. But he has also found that, through God, the painful events in his life have made him a better person. And, that through it all, there is a mountain top.

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Deal realized that his struggles and his overcoming of them could be encouragement and, perhaps, inspiration to others. He considered writing a book and sharing the stories of his worst days and of finding hope and peace in God.

But God had other plans for Boyd Deal.

“Instead of writing a book about my personal struggles, God lead me to share the struggles of others and tell their stories of how God brought them through the worst times of their lives,” Deal said.

As God’s plan was revealed to Deal, he began to better understand that plan for him.

“This book was not going to be my story. It was going to be much bigger than that,” he said.

Deal began to offer those at his place of work, ALFA, at his church , Ariton Baptist Church and to family and friends the opportunity to tell the stories of the worst days of their lives. He also reached out through social media.

“I didn’t know how many people would respond,” he said. “It could be more stories than I could handle or fewer than I needed. But 40 people agreed to tell the stories of the worst days of their lives.”

Forty Days. Biblical?
“Perhaps,” Deal said with a smile. “God’s hand was in this in every way.”

And, that was evident in the stories that were shared so openly, so honestly and with such conviction.
“Forty stories, 15 different testimonies,” Deal said. “There are stories about death and destruction, about divorce and depression. About addictions and financial despair, about suicide and child abuse, about illnesses and personal loss.”

In explaining to one lady that he was interested in people sharing their stories of the worst days in their lives, she responded with “Worst days? What about the worst season of your life?”

“I realized that many of us don’t just have worst days, we have worst seasons,” he said. “But God will be with us through our worst days and worst seasons. Through it all.”

The stories shared with Deal were told though the written word. Telling the stories orally would have been limiting.

“Writing their words down on paper helped contributors do better at tell their stories,” he said. “Putting the words on paper and seeing them allowed the writers to make changes, to clarify things or say things in a different way. But most importantly, putting their stories down on paper was therapeutic.”

Deal said it is often hard for some people to imagine what it feels like to be hopeless, alone and desperate. His hope is that, through the words of the writers, their feelings will be conveyed and even understood.

Deal titled his book, “My Struggles, His Glory: Personal Stories of Finding Hope & Peace in God.”

The stories told are about the struggles the writers have endured but, more importantly, the stories are about overcoming those struggles.

“The book is about hope and praise,” Deal said. “My desire is for readers to feel the pain and suffering the writers have endured. But, even more importantly, I hope the readers can see the way God redeemed the writers from the worst times in their lives.”

Deal said his goal in writing “My Struggle, His Glory” is to allow Christians to use their personal struggles to be messengers of hope, encouragement and faith for those going through difficult times.

“I want people to know God is with them even when they may not feel His presence,” he said. “I know that from personal experience as do the 40 people who graciously volunteered to share their stories of overcoming their struggles in ‘My Struggle, His Glory.’”

Deal said a person’s greatest accomplishment in life may not be what he or she does.

“Their greatest accomplish may be what God does through someone else because of them,” he said. “My hope is that these 40 stories so openly and honestly shared will make a difference in the lives of others.”