For the first time in weeks the sun is finally shining on my little corner of earth. Coffee in hand on this teacher work day I made my way out to the porch. Such a nice break from the rain, cold and gray of winter but I will miss the cold nights.
My husband built us a fire quite often this winter. I loved it. As in I would fall asleep on the floor in front of the fire loved it. In a strange way I was dreading the arrival of Spring because no more fireside sleeping. But today I’m reminded of the good stuff this next seaon has to offer.
Blue skies, easy breeze, tinkling wind chimes, sparkling water on my neighbor’s pond. And these red tulips and yellow daffodils that popped up in front of my house. When I look over at those first signs of Spring, I think about resistance.
I think about how growing requires tough beginnings and even tougher middles before the end result can be enjoyed.
My hubs planted those bulbs. He could tell you all about what happens beneath the surface, but I do know they had to overcome resistance in order to grow and become strong enough to withstand the elements.
I guess this post might be cliché. And I sometimes think posting on a blog has become mostly a pointless and crowded endeavor. Why do the words swimming around my heart, wanting a way out, need to be shared?
Most likely they don’t. Not for everyone. But perhaps as you read this you might be the one feeling buried and trying hard to grow something in your life. Perhaps you are trying so hard to do the right thing, to hang on, to persevere, or even figure out what the “right thing” is for your situation. In your heart are the seeds of hope and faith in what could be…but you are struggling against the resistance that is current reality.
I feel like sometimes we are taught to believe a struggle is bad. If we were good enough, smart enough, talented enough, spiritual enough, etc. there would be no struggle.
But that simply isn’t true.
What if the bloom, the strength in who we are becoming, requires the struggle? Requires resistance? What if the weight of soil we keep pushing against is a necessary ingredient?
What if the struggle is how you get to know yourself?
Perhaps the resistance we face at times was not meant to be, is not “God’s plan.” Loss, abuse, lack, poverty of the mind, body, spirit. I personally can’t reconcile those things as God’s plan, but I also can’t deny His sovereignty. I could not accept or believe Romans 8:28 until I lived long enough to see its fruition in my story.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. (NIV)
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (The Message)
I’m not a preacher, a Bible scholar or anything close to an expert on the human condition.
Except regarding my own story. And even then my expertise is always trailing behind my experiences.
The details will differ, as well as the intensity of the pain, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a struggle. Most likely we all at some point feel buried beneath difficulty.
Are you fighting for air today? Squinting to see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel?
May I encourage you?
Whatever was laid upon your shoulders to carry at too young an age. Whatever tragic disappointment. Whatever abusive thing that might have been done or said to you. Whatever abandonment you suffered. Whatever apathy or complacent attitude you face in someone you love. Whatever hole you might have even dug for yourself.
As bad as it might be. As dirty, heavy and hopeless as it might feel.
Whether or not it was an intentional or allowed injury.
You are not finished.
Your ability to enjoy life
Recently I caught this crazy glimpse of myself. A tree in winter, no leaves, the wind blowing its naked limbs sideways. And I’m holding on to one of those bent limbs. My hands are wrapped so tightly around that limb and I’m blown sideways, too. But I’m holding on.
For my life, in my story, this is the Romans 8:28 of it all.
Stuff was done to me.
I did my own stuff.
And Jesus did this. He held onto me, anchored me, while I struggled. He held onto me when I was 9, 16, 22, 24, 27, 34, 37, 42 — these turning point years of my life. He held onto me in between when I didn’t even know I needed it. His were the invisible hands wrapped around my white-knuckled grip as life blew against me.
Jesus not only brought about the good from my hard things. I discovered He is the good.
Sometimes struggles make me angry. The tiresome work of it leads to self-pity. But eventually I see things bloom in my life, in my own soul, that could not stand apart from the struggles. And so I make peace with it — again.
See, the most beautiful aspects of my life have grown from the deepest dirt.
My girls jumping on the trampoline with their dad. A table full of my daughters and their friends laughing at some corny joke my husband tells them. The way he lit that fire all winter long because he knew how much I enjoyed it. A deep assurance I’m forever held in the hand of the One who loves me most.
Reds and yellows of my life which took years to grow but can withstand the elements.
So keep going, friend.
Hold on no matter how hard the wind blows you sideways.
Spring is coming. Good is growing.