The struggle is real, but unnecessary...

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. Psalm 24:1-2 NLT

2011 was a particularly difficult year in my life. It was difficult for many reasons, some I have shared and some I have not. The birth of our fourth child, Chloe Grace, on March 2 was a welcome breath of fresh air at that time. My husband was recently unemployed, I was blessed to be able to take six weeks maternity leave from my job, and as we drove home from the hospital all I could do was look at her and weep. It should have been happy tears, but I remember the feeling in the pit of my heart. Like I could literally feel the weight of it in me. I was really terrified for the first time in my life I think. We had faced difficult circumstances before, but this, this setback for my husband, for our family, was unlike what we had experienced so far. I look back at myself in that moment in the backseat of our vehicle holding my sweet baby girl’s hand, telling Ryan how much I hoped for her and at the same time wondering how on earth we were going to move forward. I was overwhelmed and exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually. Our life circumstances began to harden me and my grip tightened on what I thought I suddenly had to be in complete control of. I knew God was there, I did not believe He had abandoned us, but I wrestled more in that season with the ability to trust Him than I ever have. Extreme life change can send us into one of two directions: pity mode or panic mode. My choice was panic mode. From March 2011 to August 2012 as I watched my husband struggle with one not so great job after another, I sought advice from family, friends and colleagues, asked God for help and guidance occasionally, and with help eventually set us up to relocate to Springfield, Missouri to start over. I chose to put my strength and determination more in myself than in God. It was not a healthy balance, but it was my state of mind at the time. It didn’t take long after we settled into our new home, that I found myself breaking down and things we had not dealt with in our marriage started to come to a head. It started with me finding release at a women’s retreat, to finally acknowledge to myself, to God, to Ryan that I had been holding on too tightly to the control I thought I had. I had not trusted Ryan, and I had not trusted God. I didn’t want to, because what we had was broken and the hurt, the disappointment set in me a resolve to trust nobody but myself. The realization of it all hit me like a ton of bricks. If it weren’t for the love and support, the consistent accountability I had from close family and friends, I don’t know that my marriage and my family would have come through to this point of the journey as it has. God’s hand was upon me through it all, and every moment I was allowed to experience was because of His greater work taking place in me.

I was reminded today in my quiet time, that we have a God who knew us, laid out our lives and our great big purpose well before we came into existence. He knows us at our best and our worst, and He loves us the same. He sees us struggle and thrive through life, and He loves us the same. He knows the point at which we will turn away from Him, and the point at which we will return to Him. He loves us the same.

At the worst moment in that difficult season, when I could have chosen to give up, I heard the Lord whisper to me what I already knew:
“Ryan deserves the same grace and mercy I have extended to you. Your worst is no better than his worst. Your best is no better than his best. I love Him anyway. And so do you.”

Why do we struggle to trust God with what He already has? We can set a course in life for what we think is the best laid plan, but if we don’t start by acknowledging first He has control….He sets the pace….His way is better, wiser…..we will crash. The struggle is real, but completely unnecessary.
I’m learning day by day, I’m more likely to have questions than answers. I have it together some days more than others, but I’m constantly striving to set my course with His intention for me in mind.

I am so thankful I belong to Him. He is good, so good.

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