We live in a culture seemingly all about happiness, success, livin’ it up… Even our churches present “happy” experiences-upbeat music, bright lights, flashy screen shots, indoor playgrounds, more programs and activities than we can possibly fit into our schedules … Yet, in other parts of the world, life is hard, food is lacking, no church buildings exist. Who really lives the better life?
I find myself in that season of life facing the care and encouragement of aging parents, while raising teen daughters, working, and seeking to be active in my church and community. Repeatedly though, the reality of it all strikes and I am reminded WE CAN NOT do it all. In deed, there are seasons of life, and in each season we have time for only what is BEST during that season. We CAN NOT live all of life in one season. I am also reminded my faith walk is enhanced and strengthened mostly in the hard times, the bad times, the difficult times.
This week one of our parents lays in ICU, something that has become an annual if not bi-annual experience. Life hangs in the balance and all that we had planned, gets pushed to the side. Family rallies, prayers become fervent and constant. We seek to plan, and yet what is to come is out of our control. Each time we have walked this path, my girls’ have questioned. They too have grasped that all too often the only thing we can cling to is our faith, our relationship with the one true God. They too have begun to understand that all too often we do not know how to pray, or what to pray, yet Christ, our intercessor speaks on our behalf. I am reminded once again, that broken hearts enable us to more fully know our Lord. There is no self-sufficiency when living with a broken heart. There is no earthly cure for a broken heart. Once again, the upside down nature of God’s ways points us to all that we must hold firm to. His Son, broken, hanging on the cross met all our needs in death. He claimed the victory, that we too might have victory. In our brokenness we are raised up, filled up, made strong. Not by our might, but by His. We are instructed to “be glad in all things, giving thanks…” It seems impossible. It seems especially impossible during the bad times. Yet, when our lives are shifted, our hearts struck, it suddenly makes sense.
Life is a bittersweet journey. Yet, in Him, we find peace and strength. In looking back we can give thanks for the trials and tribulations. Hopefully I am learning and teaching my girls that in the midst we can also give thanks-not for the hardship, but for His presence, His grace, His sufficiency. I would not fully know Him were it not for the difficult times. They draw me to Him and in my weakness I seek Him more, only to find Him and come to know Him more fully.
May the generation behind me know the meaning of the cross. May they stand in its shadow, clinging to all that it represents. May I and all who stand with me in this season of parenting live our lives faithfully at the foot of the cross, reminding those behind us of its presence and its power. I love this daily representation in my brother’s home.