Welcoming Difficulties?

One word to describe this photo? GUTS. Because that is the most daring word my 4 year old can come up with, and I love it.
One word to describe this photo? GUTS. Because that is the most daring word my 4 year old can come up with, and I love it.

Heeeeellllloooooo fellow mamas!

I regret that I have not been able to write consistently… I have had a terrible time formulating posts amidst the giggles and grime of keeping up with the kiddlets. So I finally decided to go with what MC said in her previous post and get some life on this here page. AND to top it all off, I am writing this, in part, during my prayer time. Yep. Me and Jesus, typin’ together. Sometimes I really struggle with what to do during my prayer time. I like to mix it up…I don’t stick with one method for too long…and this can lead to difficulties with indecision. So I going with what Sheila described in this post about actually making a decision. And it feels great. Onward!

One thing that has been on my mind a lot is that my life as of late: life surrounding marriage and motherhood has seemed to follow a progression that in the eyes of…I don’t know…those who have gone before…. is not highly recommended if one wants to be able to keep it all together. Have you ever heard that it’s not the greatest idea to do all the following within a year: get married, start a family, make a major out-of-state-away-from-all-family-and-friends move to start a new job and buy a house? Mmm. Hmmm.

You see, when I hear a list of such things, I have to laugh to myself because the chronology of marriage and family life shows my little family to be among the ones who regularly ‘break the rules’. This has, in turn, caused me to think about “the rules”. There are excellent reasons why all of that is not recommended, and yet that is sometimes just how life goes. I know we are not alone. I have many friends who have gone through similar situations, and it seems to often happen to the people I know and love when they let the Lord take the reigns on life. Sometimes I look back and wonder how in the world we made it through those times. But truly there is no question in my mind – it was the Lord’s guiding hand and never failing strength.

When my husband and I were engaged the Lord put it on our hearts, independently, to move half way across the country. So we discerned the desire and started praying for direction and applying for jobs. Marriage happened, and then pregnancy amidst suspected infertility (a true miracle to be shared at another time). With pregnancy came hyperemesis gravidarum, and just as I got over that came out-of-state training for the new job (where I could not live with my husband). Our daughter was born right in the middle of training and then we were assigned to Oklahoma….not at all where we intended to live – or where we initially thought the Lord was calling us.

But you see, when I look at that account of how our life together progressed – down to the very day certain things happened- I see a list of prayers being answered. One thing after another being ticked off the list. And not only that but I can reflect on those moments and see growth. I had to trust the Lord more than ever before during those times. I had zero control over every major part of life: Our living situation – didn’t have our own place to live the entire first year of our marriage and until after our daughter was born. Finances – due to hyperemesis I suddenly had to quite working. Our future living situation – my husband being subject to assignments. My role in the family -could we afford to have me stay home with the kids? Healthcare for myself and the baby was very last minute – I had to switch providers in the last weeks of pregnancy when my husband started training and we went through about a month without any insurance at all. I couldn’t even guarantee that my husband would make it to the birth without losing his spot in his training class (another story of miracles), and I was unable to live with him at the end of my pregnancy or for the first 8 weeks of our daughter’s life. I learned a lot about letting go. A Lot.

We certainly ended up in some of those situations by asking the Lord to work and change things for us – they were things that we knew we would go through in order to get to where we felt the Lord was leading us. But we also ended up in surprising situations through the cascade of events that followed the things that were expected.

I am currently reading the book Interior Freedom by Jacques Philippe. Philippe talks about accepting the situations that you find yourself in that are not within your control – in particular, accepting difficulties/suffering.

He says, “The subject needs to be handled carefully. It is not a matter of becoming passive and learning to endure everything, without reacting. But whatever projects we have and however well we plan them, many times situations that are beyond our control and involve a whole host of events contrary to our expectations, hopes, and desires occur, and we must accept it.” Furthermore he goes on to talk about not accepting grudgingly, but freely resigning to and welcoming the situation, aka ‘choosing’ it even when it might truly be that we have no choice – which is of course especially hard in really painful trials. Philippe talks about how it requires following the Lord in faith and hope, and truly “believing him capable of drawing good out of whatever befalls us…” That if we can follow the Lord thus, He will draw out the good. Philippe calls this a fundamental truth.

As I have read through the book, I have really felt that Philippe’s words have shed great light on why it doesn’t matter if our family life follows the ‘rules’…and even more so that the ‘rules’ are the very things that don’t matter. What matters is that my husband and I are seeking the Lord and discerning His will. What matters is that I continue to offer my life and the control of it to the only one who has any control over it. It used to make me feel uneasy and out of control knowing that we were tackling so many things at once, and that there never seemed to be any slow-down to the things that needed tackling. But I am finding now that I have more confidence in navigating the challenges of life knowing without a doubt that I am doing what the Lord has for me to be doing. Did you know that you can be 100% confident about such things? I feel I am constantly seeing that truth burn brighter. Additionally, it is true in every situation that I mentioned above – good or bad – easy or hard – that the Lord has indeed brought about good. Mentioning all of the good would take several posts at least!

Now, I would not say that I have really experienced any truly painful suffering – especially compared to what I have witnessed others going through. This post is not at all to say that I feel I have the ‘choosing’ of difficulties and sufferings down by any means. In fact, I am currently finding myself challenged in a huge way as we have moved half way across the country (again!) with two kids this time…3 months ago…and we still do not have a house…and school is starting in 2 weeks…and I want to choose to accept these challenges – to embrace them! I find myself wondering how to do that from day to day…or if I am doing it…A work in progress. Always a work in progress. One step at a time, mamas.

I hope you find this encouraging! Anything to add? Please post below!

Over and out.

Mary D.

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4 thoughts on “Welcoming Difficulties?

  1. I love your article, perfect timing for my life..lol.. I’ve always had a hard time taking things as they come and not stressing about the unknown or uncontrollable situations in life. I’ve been stressing about the possibility of another move, with school starting right around the corner, on top of everything else. I just can’t seem to relax unless I know for sure what is going to happen next with big life changes. I will definitely try much harder to embrace the unknown, and not stressing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Amber, that is so much all at once. I was so glad to see your comment, to know that we are sharing in each other’s struggles (and triumphs!) and to know that we have this in common. We can do this! We will do this, and I look forward to the stories of the blessings and how it all turns out.

    Like

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