When life feels hard…

I have a friend who is creative and artistic in all that she does, even her sheet pan dinners come out looking like an art project.

Last year I sent her a screenshot of a verse and said, “If you ever make this into a canvas, I’ll be your first customer!” A week later on my birthday, she handed me a mysterious package wrapped in brown paper and purple yarn.

Let me tell you, there are plenty of things in my life that I find hard. (Like putting my shirt on forwards when picnicking in the ocean breeze – as evidenced by this photo…)

Remembering to water my plants, and not burning the grilled cheese sandwiches are also hard for me. There’s always the great difficulty of hanging a second picture frame BESIDE the first picture frame, or parallel parking the minivan. There’s also remembering where I put that very important piece of paper for our taxes, not shrinking my husband’s shirts in the dryer, and relearning chemistry before I explain it to my kids. 

I don’t think it’s just me either, I see my children finding things hard too. That leap from velcro shoes to laces is a doozy. Waiting for the blazing hot pizza slice to cool BEFORE taking a bite? Difficult. Waiting for their birthdays to arrive? Super difficult. Exercising self control and not punching back at a brother who punched first and maybe deserves it just a little? You get the point. 

But even beyond the day-to-day more trivial things, there is also the stuff that almost all people at some point have to navigate through. Stuff that is JUST PLAIN HARD. The difficult heart wrenching things of this earthly life; loss, injustice, disease, war, and heartbreak. And the crummy part, is that there are always more things being added to the list. 

The other night I was tucking my boy into bed when he looked up at me and announced, “I don’t want to be an adult Mommy. I just want to stay five.” 

I get it man. Five was simple and filled with delicious oblivion for me too. Yet, I also know that’s not every five year old’s story, and that this life seems to be filled with hardship. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when, but also a matter of HOW will I respond to it, in it, and through it?

Sometimes all of the hard makes my heart appropriately heavy, but here’s what I’ve learned I need to do with it. I need to sit and acknowledge the hard thing for a bit, but then I need to switch my focus back onto who God is, and the hope that He can bring to any situation. Switching my focus often starts with my Bible in my hands.

I was reading the chapter this verse is from one morning when my son came and found me. He wanted to prove that he could read the tiny font in my Bible too, and so I pointed to a spot and said “Sure, start here!” He read:

“Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Genesis 18:14

“Hey! I know this one, it’s on our wall!” He exclaimed. (I love when my kids can see that the songs we sing, the things we say, the words we often repeat and our prayers we often pray are found inside of ‘Mom’s Bible.’) 

Abraham and Sarah’s situation was impossible by human standards – to which God simply said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (In perhaps a ‘do you even have to ask me this anymore’ voice…)

It’s easy for me to be like, “Yeah God, this one though, it’s really difficult, I’m not sure you can handle THIS one…” But this verse and the story surrounding it brings me such hope and courage, reminding me who all of the hard stuff is NEVER too hard for. Reminding me that I can hand him all of the things I’m finding hard in my life knowing that He will help me, lead me, strengthen me, and provide for me along the way. My job? It’s to faithfully trust Him, read His word, speak truth to myself and my family, and believe that there is some good coming out of walking through the difficult things.

I hung up my special art right below our thermostat. That’s a frequently visited wall and the first one seen entering our front door. It’s a place we are always going back to, and the closest we can get to ‘writing it on our doorposts’ (as respectful renters).

My son ran by it the other day. He stopped, stared, and read it out loud.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” He asked. “NOPE! Nothing is too hard for the Lord” he said confidently, before skipping off to his next task.

Oh childlike faith… it’s such a great teacher.

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