suffering.

many times within a short 2 week span, i’ve heard a different take on suffering. repeatedely and in different ways. today, at a mom’s group i attend, it came up yet again and i sat stunned. but this time, hot tears fell onto my cheeks and i let myself breathe it in.

another momma was standing before the entire group, sharing what we call a “mom minute” of something the Lord was speaking to her heart lately. she shared this passage from James;

My brethren, {count it all joy} when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be {perfect and complete}, {lacking nothing}.

she shared how she often wanted to run from suffering and then ended with (i’m summarizing but here’s the jist); what would happen if instead of running from it, what if we embraced it?

please note that what i am {not} saying here is that what he is saying in the passage with the “testing of your faith” is that same as “to teach us a lesson”. ugh, no. when that is said to me or when i hear it, it baffles me and to be honest, it’s hard to swallow. that’s not the Father heart of the God that i know. not at all. 

to think that our Father God would ever intentionally wound us or have us walk into a harmful situation or cause a child suffer with disabilities or have a fiance or husband just walk out and leave or let us watch as a loved one dies or permanently disable us or take away our ability to have a child (or another child) or cause a husband to verbally/physically assault a wife or let your child die… – to think that that is what is meant in “the testing of our faith” makes me feel kind of sickened. that is why i completely disagree with the statement that God does things to “teach us a lesson”…the passage says that “when you fall into various trials”, when suffering comes our way remember that “the testing of our faith produces patience”.

when.

then our faith is tested and that then we may learn something while walking through it. (i hope i’m making sense here) …

when we do fall into trials…pain… sorrow…

…suffering.

we can try to hide from it.

we can try to run from it.

we can’t try to suppress it someplace deep within.

oh and do we (i) try. we can temporarily “push it away” and what good does that do. to not face it one day doesn’t mean it won’t still be there tomorrow.

besides, not facing it or pushing it away causes it to fester up, to come up in other ways in our lives, like for me personally; anger towards my love and kids, unbelievable anxiety and fear…

someone i love so dearly is walking through the most difficult season of their life. they are in the midst of suffering and pain. she recently sat on my couch and astounded me with her view on suffering. with tears welling up in her eyes and a pain that was almost tangible she told me that she wanted to get the most out of this season and her time of suffering. for a split second i thought, why?

then it hit me, why not though? we cannot deny suffering when it comes our way. again, we can try, but to truly deny our suffering… no way. it’s there.

we can’t run from it. we can’t hide it away, deep within, without it festering up in some other way and then in the end, we still must face our sufferings.

I read this passage in The Message version (which i personally love) and this is what it read;

 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. {So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.} Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

i love that. “don’t try to get out of anything prematurely”.

i sometimes hate this word but “the reality” is that suffering is here. there is no denying suffering that comes our way or the suffering that is in this world.

so what if, instead of trying to run from it or suppress it, or instead of letting our suffering have a tight grip on us, immobilizing us, we instead turned and embraced it?

what if we counted it all joy?

 my “embracing” my own suffering is probably different from what “embracing” your suffering would look like just as our sufferings are also different and unique.  i’m still not even sure i know for myself what all of this fully means. but what i do know is that instead of trying to run from our reality of suffering that we’re in right now (and maybe until eternity, i don’t know) and instead of letting suffering have a tight grip on me, i will turn and embrace it.
we lost our daughter one year and 5 months ago, and here i am just coming to this realization. that the reality is she is gone to heaven, never to (physically) be a part of our little family here on earth. never to run with her brothers, never to dress like momma and to kiss her daddy’s cheek. and it hurts like hell, this realization. our suffering. but i will embrace the reality that this is how it is right now.
i will embrace our suffering and “count it all joy” knowing that there is promise of new life and a renewed spirit. 
i will “count it all joy” that she is no longer suffering, no longer fighting for life and that in the end of all of this, we will see her again.
i will “count it all joy” that rejoicing will come with the dawn.
i will no longer fear my suffering but embrace my sorrow, my grief, my suffering.

mommahood; lies, struggles & finding freedom.

Today was one of those days that I wish I could just rewind, wake afresh, inspired, hopeful, and start again. Today was what I sometimes call a “momma fail”.

I’ve decided to do a small series on mommahood. It has been {so} heavy on my heart for a long time now. It’s a collaboration of things that have been slowly stirring up in me since I became a momma. I’m gonna jump right in and begin with when I became a mom and the struggles that immediately followed.

 

From a young age I’ve loved children and dreamt of being a momma. So before mommahood, I had a lot of ideas of what it would be like. What I would be like as a momma. What I would and wouldn’t do. How my child would or wouldn’t behave {insert huge smile here}. What they would or wouldn’t be allowed to eat or drink. What my body would look like after a baby. How I would interact with other mommas (a part of this series). How I would continue to do the things that are me (a part of this series), etc.

Entering mommahood was quite eye-opening and caused a sudden shift in all that I had previously thought. Of course I’d stick with the values and principles I wanted as a parent, but even that can shift with each season of mommahood. I’m not here to talk today about parenting tips or anything like that, in fact, I just want to kind of be real about some struggles I’ve had in my short but swift journey of mommahood with the hope to encourage someone out there.

I remember coming home 5 days after Chase was born. We laid him in his crib and with baited breaths just watched him sleep. Neither of us slept much that first night (seriously, who’s with me with this one?). We had left the comfort of the hospital and knowing that nurses and doctors were there in a heartbeat if needed.

I remember the very first time I was ever home alone with him. I sat holding him, just staring at his beauty and trying to wrap my head around that face that he was mine (I sometimes still shake my head in awe). That was the first time that I remember the fear and lies swept in; Who am I to mother this child? In my sinful nature, I am to be the one who molds this child?! What if I don’t do it “right”? What if I mess him up?

That was the first of many lies to come.

On days like today where I feel like I’ve failed as a mother, house maker, wife, etc, the lies quickly follow behind my heels, trying to grab hold of me and bring me down.

Today, I had enough. Enough of the lies.

I Paused. Closed my eyes. Took a deep breath. And clung to truth. The truth is we really cannot do this on our own. And actually, it is that very thing that bring my heart the most comfort. It is not by our strength that we mother – teach and mold, take care of their every need and cry, discipline, comfort and console, feed and nourish, etc.

We need Him. We need truth.

Imagine if we believed that we are all He says we are.

Imagine if we walked in full victory and pushed away the lies that every so quickly weigh our momma hearts down.

Imagine if we let joy permeate our momma heart fully, undeniably.

Imagine as that very joy pours out into our children. 

Imagine if we let go of the lies that often entrap our minds and hearts as mommas and we trust that we can do this, that He has made us capable.

He is our greatest help in our time of weakness. Our strength and our strong tower (Psalm 61:3).

This joy and belief would not be a facade but in fact the very opposite. I don’t believe it would eliminate a child’s bad behaviour (though it might help it in some ways), or eliminate the messes, or the 2.5-year-old that still eats paper sometimes and chews on his sleeves all the time, if he has a shirt on. ;) It doesn’t mean that He will eliminate the struggles, no. It means that amidst the struggles and chaos that sometimes comes our way, there is a stillness within – of joy that stands firm in knowing that we are called to this and we are who He says we are. We are his and we are capable.

{Yes and amen}

Mommahood can be oh so hard and trying. But it is not by our strength alone and that brings this momma’s heart comfort tonight.

He.          is.             our.           strength. 

Breathe it in. Soak it up. Walk in it.

Rest well within mommas.

this is not the end.

I had “planned” on sharing a DIY tonight will you all, but my heart is heavy and somber tonight. Instead I decided to share a song that I was planning on sharing with you Sunday. It’s one that brings {hope and peace} to my heart. And tonight it seems especially fitting. Today, a friend from our days at Youth With A Mission went to be with Jesus. Just shy of 5 months ago he received news that he had a tumor growing on the stem of his brain. 5 months. There are just no words…

This life here is so fleeting, so swift compared to eternity. Oh thank you Jesus, death is not the end. Thank you that there is life, healing, wholeness and rejoicing to come.

This is truly not the end of us.

two songs for your Sunday.

I hope this music blesses your heart as much as it does mine.

“In winter I believe you
In springtime I see you
It’s so good to be with you
my hope has come
Lord you make all things new
Your love is my breakthrough
Now I sing Hallelujah
my hope has come”

How beautiful! I stumbled upon this Wednesday and pretty much haven’t stopped listening to it and their ‘Why oh Why’ song posted below. Simply beautiful, amazing and oh so {true}. Cherry blossoms have always reminded me of my Eisley-girl and of hope. That is what caused me to click the video in the first place, not gonna lie. :) I’m so glad I did.

“Faith can only grow in a real tight spot, love will only bloom when it’s all you’ve got
Nothing is sweet as a broken heart, giving God praise in the hardest part
What has been done we cannot undo, but love is never lost in the face of truth
And nothing is sweet as a broken heart, giving God praise in the hardest part”

Oh my heart….

So thankful to have found this music! Let’s carry this into next week, taking it one day at time.

“Praising Him in the hardest part.”