Thursday, November 4, 2010

Did you think about the struggle?

We place on that wedding gown, fresh tears in our eyes and we are about to walk down the aisle to the man of our dreams. We are feeling those labor pains every three minutes now and we are on our way to the hospital. Our little angel is on the way. We are nervous as we dress for our first day at work. We feel the excitement as we take that first jump.

When this girl leaps, I do so with all my heart. I don't just jump in the shallow end. I totally go to the deep end and dive in head first. I do everything with a passion. My dad taught me to never do anything half way. If it's half way you might as well just not do it.

We should dream big, right? Of course we should. Why have small dreams when we have a God that everything is possible with? I am learning that whether it is the beginning of a dream or the end of one God is forever faithful. He will meet me right in the middle.

As little girls we play house and we dream about being married and having children. Atleast I did. Everyday was a day to play house. As young girls we have those first crushes, then as teens our love grows a little stronger until one day that man we have hoped for comes along and sweeps us off our feet. Throughout all those dreams we see the wonderful things. The happy times. The easy going days. We see vacations. We invision everything perfect. But what happens when that photo is no longer perfect? What happens when the struggles come and the house you spent so much time building is falling apart? Circumstances change people. Stress effects us in different ways. No one prepares us for those times in which smiles are there. Those days that tears fall from miscommunication. What do you do when your foundation has a crack in it?

You begin to raise your children and you are thrilled to watch them grow. You are determined to have different children. Perfect children. Your child will not do what you have seen others do. You give everything you have and more. You pride yourself on being a great mom. Other kids want you as their mom. You see things as wonderful, but there are underlying things you don't know as a mom. What happens when your child no longer wants mom to give advice? What happens when your children no longer choose to respect you, but in many ways are disrespecting you? No one prepares us for those hard times where are children no longer see eye to eye with their parents. No one prepares you for that day when life forever changes.

You are at work and you are making awesome money. You have great benefits and a savings to last for years to come. You drive each day to work and are thankful, but what happens when you go into the office and you are released? That savings you built up is now gone. Those benefits? They are no more. Insurance for your family? You dread that day someone gets a cold. No one prepared you for the day you wouldn't work again. No one prepared you for the struggle of waking up each day searching for work and even thinking you might have to leave the state to find a new job. What do you do?

What happens when your parents are no longer healthy? They are no longer active and can do things on their own. You now become the parent. You now become the one depended upon. You just know that call is coming. That rush to the doctor or hospital. You want to help in everyway you can, but you begin to grow tired and weary. No one prepares us when we are young that one day we will care for the very parents who cared for us. What do you when all those decisions must be made that you thought you would never have to answer?

Loss comes. Depression hits. You feel lonely. You feel desperate. You feel as though no one cares and no one understands. You are right there on the edge and your wondering, "Do I jump or do I hang on tight?" Life is so hard. Life was never promised to be easy. For my family it seems there is one struggle after the other. Do you ever begin to wonder, "What did I do? Where did I go wrong? God must really be mad at me?"

Sometimes nothing seems to make sense. You try and try and try. Are there blessings? Sure there are. Around every corner we can find some kind of blessing if we just move our vision for a bit. Our vision has a lot to do with our outlook on life. If we are focused on Christ, I mean really focused, we know everything works for the good of the Lord. Through every struggle we can find new growth. We can search our hearts and renew our minds. It's letting go of everything and trusting God that is important. We lose sight of that when the call comes. When we leave work never to return. When we no longer feel as though our marriage is going to make it. When our children are moving away from the path that seemed so clear. We must simply fall to our knees. We must reach out to our friends. Our church. And pray with everything we have. Prayer is power.

Satan is attacking us my friends. He is out there seeking who is walking with the Lord to crush them. To move their faith. A beautiful friend of mine would say to me, "Rob, we must be doing something right for the Lord, cause Satan just won't leave us alone." There is truth in that. Ever feel like your right on track. God has something big for you. You begin to move and then WHAM! Satan is in for the hit!! I am beginning to see these struggles differently now. I am seeing them as challenges. As hurdles I am facing. No one prepares us for the struggles we face each day, but with the Lord, we can prayed up ready for anything.

We tend to wait to pray until something happens don't we? Why wait? We can be prepared my friends. We can spend each day on our knees in preparation for whatever the day will bring. When we are prayed up we feel God's strength. We know His wisdom. We trust in His ways. He can see far ahead of our vision. He knows what the next step is. In faith we can believe He is who He says He is and is going to do what He says He will do.

We don't have to fear our struggles. Set our minds on Christ and allow Him to move through us. Our flesh is strong my friends. Our flesh can tell us to just simply give up. Our flesh will have us focusing on ourselves, on our circumstances and the trial ahead of us. It will steal the joy we have away. It will take the laughter and turn it into anger. How do I know? I am there, right in the midst of an ugly battle. With my husband out of work, the stress is overwhelming. It's one of those things you can't explain to another. My marriage is suffering. My husband is hurting. I am hurting. Nothing is going as we planned. I feel as though the world is still turning and we are just standing still. It's like the air is being sucked out of you. What do you do? I fall on my knees and pray. Pray. Pray. I keep praying. I know the Lord hears my prayers. They are not going unanswered. He is working and what a mighty work He is doing. I must learn to have patience. Have self-control. Have faith and trust. If I can learn to let go of all the unimportant stuff and just hold on the important, life will be much easier. I am learning to just simply look to God. He will complete my journey. He is the light of my walk.

Whatever you are facing today you are not alone. No matter how alone you think you are there are others praying for you. Sometimes others don't even know our situation. We must learn to humble ourselves and reach out to others. Just having a prayer circle is a great gift. God has something big planned for you today. Tomorrow is filled with hope. Put those boots on and walk through that muck and mire with a smile of determination on your face today. Face your fears with a new strength. God's strength. Through each struggle there are great lessons and values to walk away with. God is molding us and shaping us for greater things to come..

"And not only that, but we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now, hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." Romans 8:18-25
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