Little, HARD Things

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As I type this I’m sniffling back tears. It’s been a week of “little, but significant” HARD things. Let’s face it. The month has been like that.

  • Dear friends are moving — to Australia. Do you know how expensive it is to fly eight people to the land down under?
  • Money was stolen from my possession.
  • I’m reading a great parenting book, but it’s showing me my weaknesses and failures. Ack.
  • Illness has plagued at least half our family over the last week. (As if shingles wasn’t enough, we’ve got cold/flu stuff now.)
  • Site issues have caused me to be on the phone most of the day with the hosting company.
  • The sun has not shown its face in days. I don’t do well without light.

By themselves each of these circumstances has its own challenges. Together, I can feel just swept away. I haven’t done the Advent stuff. We haven’t decorated. I am not “ready” for enjoying Christmas.

And yet, I know that it’s all good.

There have been many nights over the last week where I’ve lain in bed so utterly discouraged, wondering when the tide will carry me back to a happy place.

  • Our friends are taking the opportunity of a lifetime. And I so, want to rejoice with them, even through the tears.
  • We have enough money. The theft will not break us, though it definitely disappoints.
  • Seeing my weaknesses is not a bad thing. They’re just more opportunities for growth. Right?
  • I have a new stock of EmergenC in the cupboard; we will beat back the grunge.
  • If you’re reading this, then something is working behind-the-scenes.
  • The sun will come out tomorrow. Maybe.

I know that all of these things are insignificant in the big scope of life. I have my health, my husband, my kids, and my God. 

One night as I was having a pity party and crying out to the Lord to just make it all better, the verse came to me in the dark:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

That phrase, “my grace is sufficient for you,” keeps coming back, a reminder that God has provided all that I need to weather the little, but seemingly hard things.

What hard thing are you tackling and how can we pray for you?

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  1. thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed to read that verse.
    I’ve been known to put down a parenting book or two (or five or six) because I hate how they show my short comings; it’s so uncomfortable!!! But you are right, they are opportunities for growth. But I gotta tell ya, I look to your blog all the time for help in my parenting so you probably need less fixing than I do (c’mon mom of 6, you’re a pro!)
    & Shingles SUCK! I had them 4 yrs ago after my youngest was born. I ended up taking Valtrex plus another antiviral and prednisone and a prescription topical cream to help with the blisters (I would scratch at night & spread the blister stuff around)
    I hope (&pray) your son heals quickly.

  2. I am sorry for all that is happening. Praying you have a better week. My husband and I are walking through a very hard financial season. Unemployment benefits have run out, right before Christmas, so there may be no gifts for the kids this year. BUT, we have the greatest gift of all — JESUS, and we have one another. I am trying to stay focused on what truly matters.

  3. I don’t know some of your things could count as big, I think. We have the tree up but the snazzy wall hanging with the 1-25 pockets is still empty at the close of day 8 and I suspect it will still be empty by the time Christmas rolls around. MY only real problem is a grumpy butt attitude because I’m super annoyed I have preeclampsia and gestational diabetes while tons of people have perfectly healthy pregnancies without even “following the rules”….GRRR….

  4. Oh my friend you are going through a time, that’s for sure. But the good thing is that the Lord of all comfort is always there when you need Him. And I know you are resting in him or you couldn’t have put this post together.
    We’ve been sick which sets things back because as you know, the Mom, has a lot of responsibilities this time of year and it’s stressing me out to be behind. But I know God is in control and what gets done gets done and we will still celebrate His birth no matter what.
    Saying a prayer for you this morning!

  5. I’m praying for you. I’ve just been BUSY. Our only son’s birthday is in December…so, things get extra busy for us this time of year. I’m looking ahead to a fairly light week of coursework for me, homeschool lesson planning for January, and packing for a trip to St. Louis and the FL Keys. I’m trying to learn to savor the Advent season, and it is hard. I too am grateful for God’s all-sufficiency. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing these verses today! It was so needed. We found out two weeks ago that my everyone in my husbands office has to take a 20% paycut effective immediately. Yeah, Merry Christmas to all of us. I know we should be grateful for a job at all but it has derailed my entire Christmas celebration in my mind. I said yesterday that if it weren’t for the kids, I would not celebrate this year at all. What a terrible attitude for me to have when we have so much to be grateful for, especially the true meaning of our Christmas celebration. It’s just hard to keep that focus as I throw myself over my bed weeping when yet another medical bill shows up in the mail that the insurance will not cover and we cannot pay. The verses you shared today are something I can hold on to. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your struggles so that we can all relate and lift each other up with encouragement and prayer!

    1. Hang in there, Heather. Remember that even if it’s for the kids, they probably don’t need or expect as much as you think. In our debt years, I was amazed at how little made my kids so truly happy.

  7. Jessica! Put down that book! You are a wonderful mother and your ideas and encouragement help us all! Reading parenting books and trying to improve is good, but allowing something/someone to make you feel like you have “failures” in regards to your children is not. At the risk of sounding corny, remember the Elenore Roosevelt quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

    1. Well, inferior and conviction are different things. I don’t know that I feel inferior. I think I’m convicted of areas that I need to grow in. But, I get you. (I’m only reading a little bit at a time.)

      1. I see what you mean. Well, don’t be too hard on yourself, we all have mommy things we need to work on, but we also all have areas that we really do well in for our kids. 🙂

  8. I would ask for prayers as I face my first Christmas without my mom; she passed away in February 2012 at the age of 92. Also, for healing from a huge family disappointment (we have a few distant cousins in the town where we live; my close family – nieces near my age – live 12 hours away. One niece had planned to move back here and get married last year, however, she changed her mind and I was so happy to have family with me that when her plans changed it still hurts months later).

  9. May the Lord continue to be with you in your hard times. As you pointed out, they may be little, but they HURT anyhow. I wish you all the strength and health and joy you need.

    If you wish to pray for us, please do. My oldest daughter has turned her back on her Savior, and it’s devastating.

  10. I’d love to know which book you’re reading… I’m always trying to do better and learn more in the parenting department.

    My small hard thing right now is finances… I just left my corporate job in November to stay home with my two littles… its what I want more than anything in the world… and we’ve worked really really hard to get to this point… but funds are tight with the loss of my income and the week after I left my job we had two trips to the emergency room and I’m just stressed about money. blah.

    thanks for your post!

  11. Please say a prayer for my older daughter, Deidre. She is drinking again, and abusing Xanax. She has bi-polar disorder and this is how she self-medicates. I have finally told her I am not speaking to her for awhile because she constantly asks me to send her money with lies about what she needs it for. It’s for alcohol. My heart is broken from worry about her. She has a young son and I worry so much about how this is affecting him. He is a precious child.

    Thank you.

  12. I so resonate with your words about feeling discouraged and waiting for the tide to change. I often feeling like life is a series of waves washing over me drowning me (and cleansing me) and then I come up for air and delight in the beauty of it all to then be washed over again! I go through so many ups and downs that I have learned to expect them. Things are pretty easeful at the moment but there is still the remnants of the last wave and the fear of the next one. I would like to ask for prayers for my husband to find a perfect match in a kidney donor. He is facing his second kidney failure and on dialysis waiting for a kidney. We have a 4 year old and twin 1 year old girls that need a healthy daddy. Thank you for listening!:)

  13. I left the church service this morning in tears and went to the prayer room to cry. It’s been a hard month for us, too. We don’t have local family, and we haven’t had a date night in at least a month and a half. (That’s long for us.) I hate to ask friends who are also stretched thin to babysit for us. I’m getting weary with teaching and lesson planning for homeschool, and I crave a break. And the final straw was our Sunday School class of mostly marrieds without kids making it clear that our children weren’t invited to the class Christmas party. Hey, I totally don’t mind if some events are adults only, but it just heightened the feeling of not being understood that I already feel strongly in the class. We want to be a light in our neighborhood, and I’m so glad that the little girl next door comes over often to be a part of the bedtime routine and hear about Jesus, but its another thing added to a pile of neverending needs of others sometimes. I think I just hit the breaking point today. But tomorrow is another day, and we’re going to pay a teenager to watch the kids so we can go out kid free and stay out past bedtime, and Christmas break will come…. He is good, all the time, even when I don’t feel like I can go another step.

  14. I think the “small” pressures are one of the enemy’s tools for breeding discouragement so that our eyes are taken off the Lord. We then are unable to see our true position in the Lord. I pray that the Lord’s peace will rule in your heart .

    Annie Kate, I feel for you so badly, as our teenage son is in the same situation as your daughter. It is absolutely devastating .

    1. Thank you, Jen. I think you’re right. We were talking about this at lunch today: being grateful for what we do have and not focusing on what we think we’re missing.

  15. I’m so sorry to hear about all your disappointments, but I’m grateful that you shared them, because I feel alone so many times in my struggles. My probs are minor, but since u asked:
    1. I lost my job the week before Thanksgiving and promptly came down with the flu on my last day.
    2. I’ve been battling the same ear infection since July and have been in pretty bad pain. Also have lost a good bit of hearing in that ear.
    3. I had the worse case if strep in my life for my birthday this year in Oct.
    4. Hubs is having to quit extra job due to health issues, meaning a monthly loss of $360 come Jan.
    5. We were just asked to contribute to a $1000 cash gift for our Pastor, even though we are clearly the poorest family at our church and our Pastor makes more money than my husband and lives in a much nicer home. $1000 gift, while we can barely scrape together $100 to spread amongst five people.
    6. We have for a next-door neighbor one of the biggest cocaine dealers in town. (We know this because my hubs
    us a cop)and there was a drive-by shooting in the 50 ft. from my sleeping children in Jan. We cannot afford to move.
    7. Our home needs major repairs (like complete rewiring) that we’ll never be able to afford…
    8. Our oldest will have to stop going to the private school she excels at, b/c grandparents can longer afford tuition and we certainly can’t.

    But the Lord is faithful. He’s sustained us this far and He’ll continue to.


  16. This is my first post here. I just wanted to give some words of encouragement. Remember If God takes you to it God will carry you through it. I know this it true because we have had some devestating losses in the past years. Our oldest daughter in 2008, my husbands Grandma and my mom with in a month of each other in 2010 and my grandmother December of last year and my last remaining Grand father in July but thrP\ough it all God gave me the strength to carry on. I am also raising my grandson, he was only 5 months old when we lost his mother. I know it is hard to look for the good in siturations but do try . Pray and know God knows what he has planned for you . Even if it is something small look for the good in every situatution. You mothers out there I do know how hard it is not to have thay much needed time . Try and look in those babies eyes and know that if they are tugging on you when the dishes need done , the dishes can wait stop and play with the kids. That was a hard lesson for me to learn but I am getting a do over with my grandson no he isn’t spoiled and doesnt get everything he wants but I do stop and play with him that smile and twinkle in his eyes are so much more satisifying than the clean dishes. Well I hope this helps and I wish for everyone to have a Very Merry Christmas and that God will bless all of you.

  17. It is great that you know that the money is only a disappointment. I had the very rare, and bad fate to have everything I owned stolen from me (from the person I was married to ) All my retirement gone! No money to fight in the court. Know one to hold on to. Everyone walked away from me due to the lies that were told. I went to my church, I was told to go home and pray. Zero help. 16 years of miltary service and I have no home, no family , no job .I have no where to turn. Yet, I know life is harder for other’s out there.

  18. I know how those little things can add up. One thing you might want to try to help you with one of your little things – try taking some Vit D when you won’t be seeing much sun. It’s one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the US, and it can make a noticeable difference in how you feel.

  19. I have lost two grandparents within 2 weeks and everyone has been sick in my house. I’ve had 3 or 4 different bugs since the first week of November and I just can’t shake them. And I am having major problems with all of the gloomy days we’ve had here lately, too. I have had so much trouble getting up and into the spirit of Christmas, too.

    But this is the second such post I’ve read in the last two days and I’m starting to think maybe He is trying to tell me something. 😉 Plus the sun really did actually come out here today! I am going to try to fake it until I make it and using “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” as my motto. Thanks for adding another good one for my internal chant.

  20. I am a bit “too” late to the conversation but I wanted to send you a virtual hug. Sometimes (in my experience), it’s not just people’s words that make me feel better, but their presence as well. Please know you are being thought of and prayed for.