YourStory: Debbie McDaniel

God Can Bring Beauty from the Greatest Struggles:

No Matter What We Face, He Crowns Our Lives with Good, He Will Never Waste Our Pain

By Debbie McDaniel

She came downstairs early one morning, bleary eyed, wearing her favorite kitty cat pajamas, sparkly princess tiara sitting on top of tousled, tangled hair. She cuddled up next to me, and smiled, “Mom, just because your hair’s messy, doesn’t mean you can’t still wear a crown.” 🙂

Ahh, so true. And not only for a sweet 7 year-old girl who just rolled out of bed and plopped a sparkly tiara on her head. But for you. For me.

Just because life is messy, doesn’t mean we can’t still wear a crown. Because of whose we are.

Just because life is messy, doesn't mean we can't still wear a crown. Because of whose we are. ~@DebbMcDaniel Share on X

We are children of the King. He crowns our lives with good. He crowns our lives with purpose. He crowns our lives with beauty.

Even in the midst of things that look messy, the most difficult of days, or every dull, ordinary moment, He causes light still to shine. In the struggles and all. We may not see it. We might forget it’s there.

Life tangled and tousled. Mess of struggle and cares. Yet, no matter what it all looks like or how bleak the future feels, the truth is this: we still wear His crown.

And it’s often in our darkest, that God’s power shines the brightest.

For greatest beauty is often formed in dark places.

Many times we want to shine without the pain and uncertainty of what the hard stuff brings. We long to reflect beauty without the glaring weakness of deep cracks that line our stories and fill us with holes. We want to cover what was broken and scarred, masking the struggles of a past that took us down difficult pathways. And yet, embracing the beauty of the broken is what enables us to live free.

Really free.

With greater purpose. Changed hearts. Renewed focus and vision.

I became acquainted with the clutches of grief through the first few years of a journey through infertility. We walked that path much longer than we wanted, it often seemed more like a crawl, and became slower than we ever dreamed we’d have to endure. 7 years. Of many tears. And lonely suffering of the heart.

When my husband and I had married, we often talked about having a house full of kids. He was a Children’s Pastor, I worked as a Pediatric nurse. We both loved children, loved God, and dreamed of having a large family. But we had never dreamed of this…a long road of uncertainty through infertility, unanswered questions, doctor’s appointments, grief, and pain. It just didn’t make sense. Why would God allow that to happen? What good could ever come from it? It seemed cruel. Like some kind of a twisted joke.

Over the years, I’d watched so many of my friends and family get pregnant, start families, then even get pregnant again, with their second baby. Mother’s Day and other holidays were often brutal, filled with many tears and heartache. I’d try to be happy, stay hopeful, but inside I felt crushed, and struggled with deep despair. The enemy worked overtime. He loves to kick us while we’re down, and he’s great at filling our minds with lies and fear, that we’re somehow “less than,” that we don’t measure up, or that we’re broken, alone, and unloved.

Over time, we sensed God’s strong pull towards adoption. Surely, we thought, this was His plan all along. And we waited for everything to fall into place. Nicely. Neatly. Yet our excitement soon waned with more waiting, more heartbreak, as we then trudged through 2 failed adoptions.

I desperately wanted off that path rooted with potholes and weeds. I stumbled often, and sometimes lost steam…I will never forget. I remember still. How slow it all seemed.

I was angry with God for many months. Even years. I couldn’t understand what He was doing. But no matter how distant I’d grow, His grace was still there, so faithful, so secure. He would often remind me that neither my anger, feelings, nor my questions, could ever determine or dictate how much He really loved or cared. Because it wasn’t based on me, it was based on Him, His character. And God can’t help but to love His children, and bless our lives with good, even straight through the hardest places. Nothing we can do can ever stop Him. He is never taken off guard by our emotions, He understands our pain before the tears even roll down our cheeks. And His heart is ever toward us, and His ears are open to our cries.

His heart is ever toward us...His ears are open to our cries. ~ @DebbMcDaniel Share on X

It’s been years now, since that time. We have 3 precious children that God graced our lives with through the gift of adoption. Our oldest is 15, then 11, then 10. And every day I look into the sweet faces, and I recognize God’s Sovereignty and plan. I’m reminded how the dark seasons really do bring so much good, stronger faith, deeper character, great blessings, more than what the pleasant places could ever bring.

In case you need a reminder today, if you’ve been left feeling forgotten, wounded, or battle-weary from the trials and struggles of this life, be assured, you’re not alone. Not ever. In the midst of all you face, God sees you, He’s with you. You wear a sparkling crown that says, “redeemed,” “restored,” “set free,” “chosen,” “set apart.” He’s put it there, it’s secure and shining, and nothing can ever take it away. It stays firmly in place, even among hard times and messy days.

And that gives us the power we need to press on – scars, struggles, messy lives and whatever that brings – into all of our tomorrows.

He will never waste the pain we’ve walked through in this life, but will turn it around for good. He promises. And He is able to do more than we could ever imagine, even through every season of brokenness.

Keep moving forward in His grace and strength my friends. He has more still in store, such purpose and hope…for you.

“…like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land.” Zechariah 9:16 ESV

“To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Is 61:3 NIV

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Debbie McDaniel is a pastor’s wife and mom to 3, who loves good stories, good coffee, and every sunrise. She’s a writer for sites such as Crosswalk and, and would love the chance to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or at

Linking with other Jesus writers here: #raralinkup, #testimonyTuesday, #heartencouragementThursday, #chasingcommunity. sign-up form

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  1. It’s good to meet you here at Kristi’s place, Debbie. Thank you so much for your words of hope and encouragement. I’m praying these scriptures now over a friend who would dearly love to have a child. His heart is ever toward us.

    1. Hey Betsy, it’s so good to meet you too! And thank you for your words, so appreciate your heart for your friend who is in a waiting season. Please tell her that I’ll be praying too, I know what she may be feeling & she is not alone in this journey! Asking God to surround her in His peace & strength…blessings to you.

  2. Beautiful, Debbie. My story is similar to yours in many ways. And like you, I see God’s sovereignty and plan written all over the lovely faces of my 15- and 12-year-old girls. I agree 100 percent: “He is able to do more than we could ever imagine, even through every season of brokenness.” 🙂

    1. Lois, yes, so agree with you, love how God works His stories into our lives, though they may be different than what we would have ever thought or dreamed, so thankful for His power to bring goodness and light out of hard times, thank you so much for your words! 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your story! My story included seven years of infertility as well. We now have an 8 1/2 year old daughter through adoption and a 7 year old son, who was the greatest surprise of our lives, conceived less than a year after our daughter entered our family. The pain of infertility was almost unbearable at times, but what God did in me through that time and in the years since is worth every bit of suffering I endured.

    1. Michelle, thank you so much for sharing, love your words & the way God has worked so incredibly in your lives! He is amazing at working out every detail & timing too, especially as we look back & see how it all unfolded. Our younger 2 are just 10 mos. apart, & we’ve always loved the verse in Isaiah 61:7, about how God promised his people a “double portion” after a long season of brokenness and pain. His blessings are especially sweet after much heartache & many prayers! Thankful to meet you here. 🙂

  4. Debbie, I’ve not walked in your shoes though I have walked it with a friend. I can only imagine how painful the waiting and wondering what God is doing is. So thankful for your testimony and all the good God was doing in the wait. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much Lisa! Appreciate your heart & your words…I can tell that you are a very dear friend to be willing to walk alongside another on this journey, huge blessings to you!

  5. “Just because your hair’s messy, doesn’t mean you can’t still wear a crown.” NOthing better than wisdom from a child. Great reminder no matter what is going on in life we are still a child of the kind and He crowns us His forever. The crown is for laying at His feet when we meet Him face to face. I love this post, so many good thoughts and truth. Glad I stopped by.

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart and your testimony. Without tests, there is no testimony. I absolutely loved and will have to always remember, “Just because life is messy, doesn’t mean we can’t still wear a crown. Because of whose we are.” This is so true and necessary for us all to remember when life gets messy because it will.

  7. What a story! God brings each of us through so much and gives us the opportunity to tell our stories for His glory. That can be easy for me to say when I have overcome something and not so easy to say when I’m in the midst of something. Looking back over the years of praying I see God’s hand at work. How He always came through – not on my time schedule but on His

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. I love how God can work good even through the difficult times and messiness of life. I love your reminder that no matter what we can still wear a crown. In the midst of it all our identity is secure in him. Visiting from Heart Encouragement Thursday.

  9. Debbie, what a painfully beautiful testimony. Loved your reminder that “Embracing the beauty of the broken is what enables us to live free.” Oh so true. “Broken beauty” can feel so cliche’, but there’s nothing cliche’ about embracing it and living from its unexpected abundance. Thanks for sharing today, Debbie — and thanks for sharing Debbie with us, Kristi. ((xoxo))

  10. “We long to reflect beauty without the glaring weakness of deep cracks that line our stories and fill us with holes.” I may never understand the cracks in me. But it is through them that God shines brightest — such encouragement!
    Thank you for, Debbie, for sharing your testimony! And thank you, Kristi, for sharing her story!