May 29, 2016

Facing the Hard Things

Life isn't easy.  
If you've lived any amount of time you've already discovered that.
It's messy.
It's trying.
It's uncomfortable.
It's HARD.  

Every day we are faced with tiny decisions that make up our entire day....each day laying up for us an entire lifetime.
Do I eat this ice cream?  Or do I choose vegetables or fruit?
Call in sick or go to work?
Go to bed or finish what I started?
Face new challenges or run away from them?
We want what's palatable.  We want comfortable.  We want EASY.  We want to satisfy our cravings in this moment with little to no regard for its consequences tomorrow.  

Then there are cross-roads decisions.  LIFE changing, fork-in-the-road decisions that change your course and move you in a new direction.  Sometimes those decisions are made with the purpose of undoing a bad one.  To turn around when we've gone the wrong way.  Sometimes those decisions take you in a NEW direction.  With little to no promise of its outcome.  Only FAITH and the SPIRIT to guide you.

Sometimes that direction is forced on you.  Without permission or warning.
SUDDENLY you are left with a broken heart and unanswered questions.

These last 3 years for me and my family have been LIFE changing.  LIFE altering.  
A SUDDENLY......and things were different.  A looming "what now?" as I waited for God to show me what this is all supposed to look like now that my husband was gone.
And then there were all of the decisions......  

Decisions I needed to make on behalf of myself, my children and our family.
HARD decisions.
PERSONAL decisions.  Things I needed to confront and deal with before I could move forward.  It got messy, hard and uncomfortable.  God exposed things in me that needed to be exposed before I could move forward into the NEXT thing.  Do I deal with them....knowing it would be uncomfortable, PAINFUL, messy and hard?  Or do I bury it all somehow thinking I would be better off not facing and confronting those things that would one day keep me from being WHOLE and SATISFIED.  Living in the center of peace?
I chose hard.
I confronted the hard things.
I found ONLY life and restoration on the other side.

Then there were the decisions about my children's future.  
The day I KNEW it was time for us to move.
Every decision brought us to a new place.
NOTHING familiar.
Our home.  My children's school.  Our church.
NEW beginnings.
Surrounded by unfamiliar territory. HOPE in front of us...but a nagging fear.  
"Did I do the right thing?"  "What if I missed this?"

But all I need to do is look around to know I followed HIM here.  He was already here.  He'd already prepared a place for me.  I needed to be willing to leave comfortable, safe and easy do the hard thing.

My oldest leaned over today with a contented, satisfied smile on his face and said, "Mom.  I LOVE our life."
When I was finally alone and thought about those words I found myself with tears running down my face. Only this time?  It wasn't hurt.  It wasn't grief.  It wasn't confusion.  It wasn't brokenness.  I have cried those tears.  Many times.
These tears were tears of gratitude.  An OVERWHELMING gratitude for what I've been through and where I find myself now.  
In the center of PEACE.  
I am GRATEFUL for the HARD things.  GRATEFUL for the dark places.  GRATEFUL for the storms.  In those times I only found Him nearer.  He used those places to refine me, heal me, restore me, redirect me....

Do I expect easy tomorrow?
I expect it to be hard.  Messy still.  Sometimes uncomfortable.

Life WILL be hard.  It will hurt.  There will be DARK places.  Broken places.
But I've learned this.  NOTHING worth having is EASY.  Sometimes the most BEAUTIFUL things come through the HARDEST and DARKEST times.  Jesus knew that more than all of us.....but for the JOY set before Him....He ENDURED.  He suffered.  He knew that on the other side He would have done what He came for.  I am not equating my suffering with His death on the cross by any means. But if we only had a GLIMPSE of the JOY He had set before US ..... the hard times would be a little more bearable.  KNOWING that He always has our best interests at the center of His heart.  Only GOOD things.  For He's a GOOD Father and it makes the hard things worth it.  

Here's to living life to the FULL!  

No matter what it may bring!