This week a friend texted me and said “I’m having a low day. Please pray for me.” She has cancer. She recently had surgery and is now undergoing pretty intense chemotherapy. She’s optimistic and fighting, but I can’t imagine walking in her shoes. She has two small boys.
I have another friend whose 7 year old son has a brain tumor. He’s now in a wheel chair as they walk through his treatment plan.
One of my friends has Lyme disease and has had multiple complications from that. She fights for her life every single day. She has come close to death many times. She has two small kiddos that are absolute miracles.
I heard of a family yesterday that was in a terrible car crash. The husband didn’t make it and the wife is in critical condition. The 2 year old and 2 week old in the car may not have any parents next week.
I have a close family member who had a serious GI infection when he was 18. He lost 25% of his body weight and went from a healthy football-playing teenager to an emaciated skeleton. Three years later he is still constantly nauseous, has stomach cramps, and feels awful, but the doctors tell him that nothing is wrong and he has IBS.
And these are just people that are in my sphere. People that I know, or read about on facebook. There are millions of people suffering like these people are suffering that I don’t even know. Families who lose everything to natural disasters. Moms who miscarry their precious babies. People who live in silence with physical or mental illness. Women who are abused. People who are in constant pain, constant suffering. Their life is hard.
So…why do I say that my life is hard? Is it that lack of sleep? Is it the physical exhaustion of walking through my day? Is it the constant battles of will with 4, soon to be 5 children? Is it always feeling like a failure as a mother? Never knowing what to DO? Is it the pregnancy aches and pains? Is it living overseas and away from the comforts of the familiar? Is it living far away from family? Is it tight finances? What can I complain about?
But the truth is, I walk through my days and often think “this is so hard, how am I going to do this??!”. I struggle with being content. I struggle with having pity parties. Comparing myself to those who are walking through a difficult season in life doesn’t change my heart, it just makes me feel guilty for thinking that today is a hard day.
And what does a hard day mean to me? It means that I feel overwhelmed. It means that life seems too big right now. I feel incapable of dealing with the demands that are required of me. I feel inadequate. I am over run with disasters (like explosion poop diapers, and preschoolers that have decided EVERYTHING is worth throwing a tantrum over, and a 7 year old girl who has angst because her brothers are driving her crazy and she just wants to sit in her room alone and listen to Pentatonix!). I don’t know what to do first, and everything seems urgent and out of control. And that doesn’t even include the long term worries and stresses that are on my mind.
But all of this, all of this, goes back to one root problem. One thing that makes my life seem so hard, that drives my discontent, and makes me envy those who seem to have it easier than me: my sin. My focus on my self, and my lack of faith in a powerful and good God.
That seems so harsh. I mean, are my difficulties not legitimate? I know I’m not struggling with a debilitating disease, but come on? Can I really just discount my every day struggles in one fell swoop?
But if I step back and get a proper perspective, I can see that it’s not about discounting the difficulties I’m walking through. It’s about seeing them with a proper perspective.
Is it hard when the toddler wakes up AGAIN in the middle of the night, for no reason, and you know you’re going to be up for hours and tomorrow is going to be shot? Yes.
Is it hard when you and hubby try to talk about finances but you only get frustrated and nothing gets resolved because there’s just not enough to cover the expenses that HAVE to be paid? Yes.
Is it hard when your house is a mess and you can’t seem to get it together and you feel like a failure and you think you might even be depressed but you’re too tired to even google the symptoms? Yes.
Is it hard when you find out you’re pregnant AGAIN, and you weren’t ready for another baby but people around you are struggling with infertility so you just feel guilty for your inner struggle? Yes.
But in all these things, we can have peace. In all these things we can have rest. In each day, and the difficulty it brings, we can have hope. Why?
Because his mercies are new every day.
Because he is still on the throne.
Because he has ordained all this for the good of those who love him.
Because he is a faithful God. And infinitely good.
Because as Christians, no matter what we’re walking through, our greatest problem in life has been taken care of by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the MORE we know that incredible truth, the MORE content we will be.
My struggle with my day has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m walking through. My struggle has everything to do with my heart, and how much I trust that God is who he says he is, and is doing what he said he will do.
Paul was a man who went through many extremes in his life. He had lived through times of wealth, and times of imprisonment. And yet because of the Gospel, he said in Philippians,
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
How could he say that? Well, Paul was filled. He was already filled. In Ephesians he says,
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
My life is hard because I don’t believe this enough. It is not enough to me. That is convicting and humbling. The God of the universe sent his son to die in my place and displayed his magnificent love for ME, and I live my life like it’s not enough.
Ladies, whether you’re walking through your husband having an affair, dealing with a colicky baby, or just tired of life, look up. See the one who stands at the right hand of the Father, interceding for you. Repent of your lack of faith in what he has done. And go walk in the fullness of God, no matter what is in your every day. Sometimes life is hard. But always, God is good.