Smiling through it 

I’ve been having a really hard time lately. I know I’m not the only one & this isn’t anything special it’s just life being life doing life things by getting harder – or so I’ve heard. It’s not like I’m even experiencing anything terrible or out of my worst fears or dreams more like it’s just been hard. And it’s like, OK. 

Truthfully, I’ve not been ok, but while it’s hard it’s so comforting to know that it is OK and it will be OK. I should have my ability to complain card taken from me because even though life is hard, I have so many things to help ease the strength & persistence of the hard, so many things and people to make it easier. For which I am so grateful. Without my mom living just 8 minutes away & always willing to be on call for me & the boys – how would I make it? To have a husband that is the most patient, calm person I’ve ever met even while he’s struggling & shrinking away, is a true blessing. To have friends who do not judge me rather offering their help, hope & prayers – people would kill to have this kind of support. And lastly mentioned, as weighty things sink down low so does this, I have faith. 

Now, I don’t always have faith. In fact, I’ve shocked myself with how little faith I have. Like, I thought I was better at this whole faith thing than I actually am. But when the tough gets going my immediate reactions are nowhere near anything faith related. I’ll try really hard to set my mind on faithful things, talking to God, reading his word, thinking about other people/ministry, but most of the time I’m so drained, foggy, exhausted, hopeless that nothing absorbs past my eyeballs or more than a few sentences. 

So I’ve really questioned my notoriety as a faithful woman. I sure as shit ain’t doing God any favors to his glory right now. If someone were to walk in randomly to my life, they’d probably see me at my worst in no way representing Jesus Christ. Ah yes, how far the mighty have fallen. I say that in jest I guess because I think through this process of life getting harder my perspective is trying to flip itself around while the old way of seeing things & doing things is clinging tightly to the past. 

Old way/current way: I must be faithful & prove my faith by doing these things. If I’m not feeling faithful or sensing God’s presence, I must be doing something wrong and I must try harder. Me, me, me. 

New way: God is good. God is able. God gives me daily needs. God blesses me. God is good. God is able. God is faithful. God does not forget about his people. God is just. God fulfills. 

I want to cling to the old because it fuels my fire. I’ve always gotten a high like taking a hit when I act on faith & see the fruit. Wow, that was cool, I want to do that again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful feeling seeing significance in action & God using measly old me to do something good in the world or for another person. 

But then life comes in hard, strong & fast & levels ya. You don’t know which way is up or right or wrong. Depleted in every way, then who’s to say? I can’t make it on my own, I can’t make decisions right now, I forgot to feed my kids breakfast, when’s the last time I showered, is my husband going to be OK today? 

That whole spinning vortex sucks you in like water swirling down the drain, along for the ride, nothing to hide, no way of stopping. Waiting your turn to tumble on in because maybe then you’ll catch a break or an in. But then it starts all over again. (Sorry, I’ve been listening to a lot of folk music, so it makes me think I’m rhyme-y & witty, too.) Point: suddenly you’re useless. Or at least you feel you are because before it was all about the next big thing & now you can’t do anything, but the next thing. 

So, then life gets smaller in some ways – it’s just about the next thing. Can I take care of the boys, can I make sure all are fed? Can I make it? 

The only thing that matters then is the Lord. Because what else makes sense? Life’s exploded & hard to enjoy even the good things are in black in white. Nothing lasts or is worth thinking or planning because hope in the thing after the next is like taking a stone kite to out to fly. 

I remember his face & his promises. I think about him & what he’s done. I think about how wonderful it’s been to know & be known by him & to know he knows where I’ve been & what’s to come. I remember how I used to imagine him in my car sitting next to me, what a comfort that would bring. Instead of imagining his praise for me, I sing praises for him. I take up those promises I learned before & really begin to apply them, they hold like nothing else does. 

So, when the going get tough & the tough gets going, it’s no longer about me or what I’ve done. There’s only one solution, one calming action I’ve taken on – and that’s the “surpassing value of knowing Christ” who somehow still gives a shit about little old me, running on empty with nothing to give, his portions are mighty. 

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