When we rush a hard season we often stunt our growth.
"Can 2020 be over yet?"
I think I read that 1300 times this week. Okay, maybe not that many but you know my dramatic ways by now.
I am with you.
I want to rush these last few months too. I want to just be done with it. Hurry it up. Get it over with. I am tired of terrible news. I am tired of the fighting. I am tired of the stalled momentum. I am tired of division. I am tired of a lot, too.
In fact, whenever I am in difficult season, I often say "Can this just be over? Make it stop."
I remember when my Mom died, I wished for those pain filled, aching, grief stricken days to end. I didn't want to feel it anymore. It hurt too bad. I couldn't even imagine my life without her.
I remember when I had my first baby, I wished for many of those early, exhaustion ridden days to pass. "If he could just sleep through the night turned into, if he could just walk, if he could just get out of diapers." I wished away the hard too many times to count.
I remember when I was so stuck in the race of perfection, I wished for the arrival at the next goal so that I could feel happy. "If I just got everything done on my list today, I will be happy. If I could just work hard enough to have abs, I will be happy. If I could just make a little more money, I will be happy.
I remember when we were sitting in $52,000 in debt and hit rock bottom...embarassed as ever at the grocery store because none of my credit cards worked. I wished for that debt to go away fast. I wished for that year to hurry so fast because I hated the feeling of shame we sat in.
I remember when we lost a lot of money on a bad business deal in real estate. I wished every day we had made a different decision. I wished we would not have been so stupid or so quick to move towards a promise of more.
I remember three years ago I was walking dark path. My career felt hard. My feelings were of disdain. I could not find the good in anything. I wished for all of the heaviness to go away. If I could just get through this, I will be better.
And as I look back on all of those moments and countless more hard ones, I see I got through it all. I walked through what felt like an eternity. I silently wished it to go away and never realized what it all was doing for me.
You see, it was strengthening me in every way. It was growing me in more ways than I ever knew I needed to grow. I didn't know that at the time but I see it so clearly now.
When we are sitting in the valley, we at times can not even stand it. It is all too hard. Too much. Too heavy.
The addiction you are fighting...too much.
The divorce you are going through...too hard.
The financial mess you are in...too exhausting.
The sudden death of your loved one...too heavy.
And now, we add the "not my favorite" year to the list and it all feels like way too much for us to carry.
I know. I get it. I have had MANY valley seasons. Ones that feel like you have trekked in the freaking desert for 893 days with little to no hope in finding food or rain. Trust me, my heart knows and the feeling of wishing it to pass keeps our focus stuck.
These are the moments that we question God and His GOODNESS and start to justify why they don't believe in Him.
How can a loving God let bad things happen to good people, or let grief fill my heart, or devastation rock my family?
I am not here to take away your questions with what I know. I know one day, when I get to Heaven, I will have a list too of "why did that happen?" But I know this more than anything, when I retrace His hand in my life, He has pulled me out of the valley. He has lit the way when it felt dark. He has warmed my heart when it felt cold. He has brought grace to my life when I have messed up and didn't deserve it. He has walked beside me as my friend and encouraged me with His truth.
He never once promised me or you and easy, pain free life...He promised us hope, grace and salvation through Jesus.
When I look back on my life, those early valleys, those rough years, I didn't know Jesus well and didn't really get what God was about.
I see that me wishing for those terrible moments to pass by fast never really went fast. He kept me there to grow me, to strengthen me for the next valley that was ahead.
You see, we never stay in a mountain top moment forever. Why? Because we only get great views and inspiration up there, which is awesome and amazing but if you retrace your life and where you are today, YOU ARE STRONGER THAN EVER because of the valleys you have trudged through over the years not because of the time you spent sitting on top of the mountain.
Your strength, grit and your heart has evolved and changed because God painted a path with all sorts of hills and valleys, not to harm you ever but to push you towards the GREAT life He set forth for you on the day He created you.
He believes in you. He has wired you with great capability and stamina. He knows your human strength will be fleeting but through Him and with Him your strength is unmatched. He is the ultimate stormy weather Guide.
So, as we wish away the next 80 ish days of 2020, let's remind ourselves of all that we have overcome and trudged through and who we are because of it...from our past to now.
If He brought us through those storms, He will bring us through this one. This I don't doubt at all.
Let's not stunt our growth because when this season ends I know we will have deeper roots and more strength than ever and more capable to weather the next storm that will come our way in life.
Starting Each Day With Gratitude
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