and it ever more shall be (on dealing with the hard)

By | 8:23 AM 1 comment

I have no touching story or picture to start out with. And spoiler alert: this is not a warm and fuzzy post about simplicity and joy. Sorry, it's just not.  I'll get right to the point. (Because eeking out a writing moment in these days is like finding that ever elusive unicorn or 5 minutes without fingerprints on the front glass door.) This is the subject on which the Lord has been scraping off the rough areas recently...and lets just be real here, that isn't ever warm and fuzzy.

I am 14 years into this marriage gig, 11 years into the parenting thing, and 36 years into life.

And, still, there are hours, days, weeks, entire seasons that are hard.  Beautiful fleeting easy moments sandwiched in between the mundane, everyday, and just plain hard.

My mind retreats to the default: This shouldn't still be so hard. There must be something wrong with me. Is there something wrong with me?

My greatest source of discouragement within my parenting/marriaging/ministering/just living journey is myself.

I never pictured myself as one who would get so seriously cranky at i-phone chargers not being put back where they weren't supposed to be borrowed from in the first place. I never thought it could happen that at some point within my every day it feels as though my head may fall off.  I didn't see it coming that I could be so selfish about my time and my space.

Within the last few months I've been slowly feeling a paradigm shift happening within, fueled by the Holy Spirit, books that have come across my path, scripture that resonates within my heart, and conversations with friends.

I am realizing that within this snapshot world I live in, I have allowed this lie to infiltrate my heart: That if I am doing it right then it shouldn't be hard.

Running is hard.

I know, hate is a strong word, but I'm going to go ahead and use it because my feelings are strong towards it. I hate running. I can walk for miles and miles and miles with a happy heart but EVERY SINGLE SECOND that I run is pure torture for me. I tried for years and years to like it. I trained enough so that I could run without puking in the bushes afterwards, all red faced and miserable by the end of the cul-de-sac. I finally learned that I will never be able to take the running out of the running.

Life is like running for me. Yes, I can organize and train and chore chart and meal plan and date night and say no and put in all the preventive measures that make things flow more smoothly, but nothing will ever make life easy. It is simply going to be hard work. By design.

I was always making my goal to arrive at a stress-free place. After all, this world makes me feel as though if something is stressful then something is wrong with it, or me.

And here is where the shift is happening: My goal is changing. My fundamental goal is not trying to reduce my stress. My goal is to be the kind of faithful that works through the stress in a way that honors God. No matter what the situation, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the stress level, there is one perfect answer every time. Obey. To allow obedience to become my fundamental.

At 5 o'clock when the children are especially needy, the dog has just chewed up the flower bed again, the hubby has a late meeting, I have a million (or at least a dozen) things I need to do and all I want to do is curl up in my bed and binge watch a netflix show...

I offer up a prayer and choose to obey that which is right in front of me. Make that dinner. Discipline rather than ignore that offense. Apologize for harsh words. Send that loving text to husband working hard. My sanctification being formed in these moments, building up muscle memory. In the words of Rachel Jankovic, "The more I discipline myself to overcome discouragement with obedience, the less discouragement there will be to overcome."

When you need encouragement, obey.
When you are tired, walk.
When you feel lost, remember.

It's okay that it isn't easy. It's not supposed to be. It doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong. It means that I just need to obey. And keep obeying.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, 
and let us run the race with perseverance the race marked out for us. 
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, 
for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
 and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, 
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 
Hebrews 12: 1 - 3

Never tire of doing what is right. 
1 Thess 2:13

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M.R. said...

My sister found your blog and forwarded it to us. We have another sister whose last name is Hambrick- she has a glorious flock of 10- yes 10- and is a missionary. (She will be contacting you when she has 2 seconds to do so. :-))
Your family is very precious! Your post touched my heart, and has stayed with me this week, and I am praying for you daily.
I cannot say that I know what you must feel, but I do know that the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. One of my favorite 'go-to' verses when I am overwhelmed
is : 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: For in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.' Isaiah 26:3,4
Another is : 'Be anxious for nothing- but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your thoughts be made known unto God. And the peace of God which surpasseth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:6
Fix your eyes on Him and not on how taxing things seem to be- and His strength and peace will be yours. The enemy would have you to strive- The Lord would have you be at peace as you abide in Him.
Turn your gaze upon Him.
In Jesus,