"Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Faithful Friday: When Life is Hard

Sometimes in life things happen that can't be explained.
Sometimes, life just isn't fair.

We live this reality every. single. day. in the loss of our first son.

Throughout our somewhat still-young life, we've had more than our share of heartaches.  At many points, we've felt like we were being tested.  Sometimes, you can't help but ask why?

And I know many of you, who come each week, have your share of burdens and brokenness.  For those, my heart goes out to you.  I lift up prayers for my readers and share in your hurt.

But we can't dwell and linger on past pains.  Even in our situation, it is a delicate line we walk - in remembering our son but still moving forward.

Moving past the pain and into the next phase is sometimes among the most difficult parts of healing. For when you move forward, guilt arrives.

Sadly, for some, they never transition beyond the crisis.  Whatever happened in life that slammed on the cruel brakes has forever suspended them.  They can't imagine anything else so they just stay - locked inside the darkness and pain.

For the "Why did this happen?" questions in life, I want you to know I don't have those answers. Sometimes, truly, there is no answer.  And often, even if we had one, it wouldn't take the pain away.

Yet, I want you to know there IS an answer to whatever trial you're facing.
But it is one I can't easily explain.

If I had a dollar for every time someone has said, "I don't know how you do it/You're so strong/I could never survive something like that," I'd be writing this post from some fancy beach resort.

Do you know what I say to them, every time?

I didn't do anything.  God did.  I'm weak, God is strong.

As I've shared so many times on this blog, He is the only answer I can give you for how I'm not just surviving but thriving through this journey.  With each and every blow life has handed me through the years, He has been the constant.  Though I'm rarely at a loss for words, with this - it is just difficult to share the how and why.

The short answer, I guess, is that I have faith.  Faith is something that has grown in me because of those difficult moments.  Faith is something that has always existed within me but comes more and more with time.

Faith is the substance of hope, the conviction of things not seen, 
and accepts even that which appears unreasonable.

The hurts we've experienced have, at times, been unimaginable pain.  There were points we felt like there was no way out.  No hope.  No future.  No joy that would ever come from it.

But blessings have come, from every situation, every painful moment, every loss.  

Sure, sometimes they may not seem to equal out.  A small moment of joy or the gift of a blessing may not stand up against the mountain you are facing.  And you may still feel like it isn't fair, or that you've been shorted in this life.

Again, all I can say is that there is more.  Some day.  On the horizon.  There is hope.  

One day, you won't even look back because the view looking forward is one you never even imagined.

Keeping the faith until that One Day is here for us all.....

Friday, July 18, 2014

Faithful Friday: Anger - a Silent Villain

When Noah was little, he was obsessed with super heroes.  But he didn't just want to watch or read about them, he wanted to BE them.

His imagination would run wild, along with his chubby strong legs, as he'd throw a blanket on his back and turn into a caped crusader.  Our bar stools became skyscrapers, couches turned mountains, and his furry friends were victims needing rescue from evil villains.

Oh, how I miss those fun days of jumping into his adventures and escaping reality.  In Noah's land, there was always a happy ending!

Of course, there was a super hero he liked to become on not-so-good days too.

The Hulk became very popular when he was about three years old. Noah's favorite line of the big green guy was, "You're making me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

Only he changed it to, "My getting mad!  You not gonna like this!"

With a scrunched up face, he'd clinch his tiny fists, saying the line in kind of growl.  One couldn't help but laugh, which of course, would only make him madder.

Last night, Noah climbed in bed with me, since Tim was working late.  He'd been holding in some anger, more hurt really, from something said to him as a joke.  But because he didn't deal with it, the hurt festered and grew until he found himself angry about a silly situation.

Though I'd had plans of getting to sleep early, we ended up chatting for nearly two hours.  Granted there was much more conversation on my side, but God did open up an opportunity for me to share with him about the grumpy times in life.

In fact, as He often does, God brought to light a similar situation I'd had myself last week.

As I was "preaching" to my son about being quick to forgive, God showed me an area where I'd let the same thing happen and began to work on my heart to make it right.

As I shared with Noah last night, it is so easy for us to respond in anger.  It's our human nature to get mad, hold grudges, and fail to see the good in people.  The more we sit and stew on it, the worse it becomes.  And Evil is ready to pounce on those moments to fan the flames of anger and make them stronger.  Anger can often be a silent villain, lurking and growing, spreading and attacking an otherwise gentle heart until POW! you explode.

Years and years ago, I waited on a cute little couple in a small cafe, who were celebrating 60 years together.  Myself newly engaged, I asked them how they lasted so long.  Their words of wisdom are something I try to carry with me even today.

"Don't go to bed angry.  Tell each other 'I love you' every day."

But that nugget doesn't have to only be used for your spouse.  God reminds us to love everybody. Yep, even those sneaky, pesky villains.

If someone has come to mind in the course of reading this little post, it probably isn't coincindence.  Use the opportunity of today to set things right, after you're prayed-up of course.

Cuz, as this momma often says, sweeping anger and troubles under a rug eventually leads to making one trip and fall!

Be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and eager to love, friends.  
Sending you much JOY this Friday.

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