My home has been in a bit of an uproar these past couple of weeks. It's been a good uproar because we've been doing some home improvement projects, but I've been trying to mother in a construction zone, and it was much harder than I thought.
However, living with extra dust, noise, and confusion isn't the kind of "hard" I'm talking about today. I'm 100% positive that every person who happens upon this blog has something really hard going on.
Maybe it's something you can't tell anyone else because it's private to you or your marriage. Maybe it's a challenge that's been eating you up inside, and when you wake up in the morning, you instantly feel sick to your stomach. Maybe it's a steady challenge you've had for years, and you can't even imagine life being "normal" for you.
One of the reasons I haven't been a huge fan of "the mommy blog world" is because whenever you're reading about someone's vacation/day at the beach/flute concert/birthday party/family activity, you aren't able to see it in context.
I know of far too many women who get depressed when they see the beauty of another's life, and they wonder why on earth their life isn't that way, too.
Of course, many bloggers do their best to acknowledge the hard stuff and admit their imperfections, but still--there are just some things that no one can blog about, no matter how badly they want the rest of the world to know that they're normal, and so I'd like to offer a little perspective that has been invaluable to me.
Last week, after taking Spencer to preschool, I went to my "special spot" in the house to have my morning devotional to God. I opened my Google Docs to "My Questions," and I looked through my list of 40 or so topics until I found the one that I really, really wanted answered.
This is one of those subjects I can't talk about on my blog. It's the one that I've struggled and struggled with for years. It's that one that strikes me at my center, and I would give anything to have it solved.
As I looked at that question, I saw all the partial-answers I've already received. I have it formatted like this:
Question 17: This is where I write my question.
4/6/05: This is where I write the first part of the answer I received.
1/19/06: And here is where I add a little more insight from the second time I pondered the topic.
11/1/07: And then a little more . . .
Today's Date: This is what the Lord tells me today.
(Maybe you didn't need to know all this, but since it works so well for me, I thought I'd share the details.)
As I wrote the things I felt the Lord wanted to tell me, I learned a little more about why life is hard.
I was going to include a copy of a couple of paragraphs I wrote that morning, but as I read them over again, I realized they're still too personal to post. Here's the essence, though:
I love God, and I am willing to give all I have and all I am to serve Him. Honestly, I'll give Him 100%--no question. But then I thought, "Why does He give me these challenges? Doesn't He already know that I am His?"
That's when the answer came. Yes, He knows I'm His. But He needed my conviction and my devotion to deepen all the way to my core.
It reminds me of my favorite C.S. Lewis quote:
The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”
Isn't that beautiful? I can't read those words without getting choked up. My mother first shared that with me more than 10 years ago, and I feel its power every time I think of it. The hard times we go through are for our benefit. The Lord is shaping us so we can receive Him. (I think we all know that, but it's so easy to forget!)
When I look at myself, I see my 10 extra pounds, my non-pedicured feet, my graying hair, and my many, many weaknesses. But then I feel Him. And He is Glorious. He is so meek and merciful that He would consider using someone like me--who is nothing--to act in His name. To be a mother. To cherish my children and love them and create a home that is a heaven (well, I'm trying).
I see all the heartaches around me, and I have no idea how to overcome it all, but HE does. He is Wonderful, and my prayer for you today is that you will let Him heal you, love you, and care for you. Because no matter how hard life seems sometimes, He has the power to make it beautiful.