Life was very full, but very satisfying. Caring for my husband in declining health, watching over another relative in long term care, involvement in a few ministries at church, working part-time for a parachurch ministry, mothering, grandmothering, etc etc. But also, taking time in the Scriptures and with my Lord, eating and sleeping well, exercising a bit…
Then unexpectedly came emergency quadruple bypass heart surgery! Some serious complications followed that took many days to overcome. I sincerely wanted to go and be with my Lord! But it was not to be. Finally, weak as a newly-hatched bird, I went home
That was four months ago, and my recovery is going very well. But we’ve been forced into the decision to place my husband of fifty years in permanent long term care – a difficult decision I still waver over.
In the midst of these months a daughter’s marriage fell apart, and their four children are really hurting.
A foundation stone of my life has been that NO MATTER WHAT, God will give us the grace to get through. I’ve seen it in a friend’s life, as she watched her husband suffer with Huntington’s Chorea for many years. I read about it in Gracia Burnham’s book, “In the Presence of My Enemies”, the story of their capture by terrorists in 2001. Over and over again the Apostle Paul tells of unending hardships, yet carries on in the grace and peace of God. His grace is, and will be, enough for me too.
Still, what do you do when life is hard? We all face it somewhere in our journey.
Here are some helps I’m learning, or re-learning, along the way.
GOD LOVES ME!!! He loves me each morning when I awaken. He loves me when I leave a group and wonder if I’ve mis-spoken somehow. He loves me when I’m alone and feeling grumpy.
For many years I taught little children that Jesus loves them. I comforted grieving seniors, sick folks, with the message that God’s love for them is so deep!
Now, I’m learning in a wonderful fresh way, that the Lord loves ME. I knew it before. I’m just being strengthened these days as I’m learning it more deeply.
And from that security of a dearly-loved child, my heart’s desire is to please Him more. Recent gleanings from Bible reading:
Grant me purity of heart, that I may honour you. (Psalm 86:11)
We didn’t preach with impure motives … we were not pretending to be your friends … we never sought praise from you. (1 Thessalonians 3)
Ouch! I do like words of praise coming my way. Am I striving to please people more than God? Lord, in these ‘extra days’ of life that you’ve given me, help me draw closer to You. Give me the desire and the power to choose the better over the good. Your love is better than other pleasures.
And lastly, I’m watching for the new.
Since coming home from hospital, a verse from Isaiah 43 is on a sticky note nearby. This is a wonderful chapter that includes beloved passages like, When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. It reviews the story of God’s powerful working on behalf of Israel.
Then comes the verse on my sticky note:
But forget all that — it is nothing compared to what am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
I’m watching for the new. Surely, because God is God, what has happened was for a purpose. I don’t want to miss it.
What do you do when life is hard? I’m still learning, still in process.
But so grateful I’m not alone in this journey!