I had the privilege of communicating with a mom today who is allowing me to share part of her story.
This woman was at the end of her rope. She contacted me through my website after reading through this blog. A friend of a friend of a friend of a friend... you get the idea, had told her to come "visit."
The first thing she said, "I want what you have! My life is so hard, and the struggles keep coming and I'm bogged down! Here, I come and read about you, and I read the long article about Kayla that went through all the struggles you've had, and I want to be like you."
Here's the kicker, she wrote, "Why doesn't God give me the same strength that He's given you?"
My heart hurt for this woman. We all have the same Strength - because that Strength is our God.
After several emails, I asked if I could call her.
We had an incredible conversation and we prayed. And I asked for permission to share in this blog.
You see, this woman - we'll call her Mary (that's not her real name) - was in a boat that many of us jump into. A boat that we drift out to sea in, without a paddle to make our way back to shore. Mary was handling it all on her own. She saw others around her struggling, and yet they were relatively happy. It became an idol to her, she wanted so much to have what others had, that she lost where her focus should have been. Mary wasn't wishing bad things on other people, or upset that some people seemed to glide through life while she was having trials. Mary was wanting to be able to handle her own struggles and "be strong."
Mary had forgotten that God was right there beside her. That He was waiting for her, wanting her to come to the point where she said, "God, I can't do this on my own. I don't want to be in control of this. I want to cast my burdens upon You."
I told her that I imagine myself like a little two-year old. I take my concerns, worries, and troubles and hold onto them like they are prized possessions. They're not my favorite "toy," but I don't want anyone else to have them, they're mine. And yet, there's my Lord, my Father, sitting beside me waiting for me to give it to Him. He's not going to yank them out of my hands. He sits patiently, until I am tired of holding on with my own strength. There are times, I hand them over and leave them in His care - and then, there are times when I let Him take care of things for a little while and then I demand them back, screaming, "MINE!" I don't really want them, but I take them back. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?
Well, because we're sinners. But, we're also saved by His grace. Praise God!
We're not going to have this blessed, perfect life. Life will not be the proverbial bowl of cherries. It will be hard, and we'll struggle... a lot. BUT - the good news is that He's right there beside us, and He will never leave.
Mary asked me how I could possibly "laugh my way through life." I responded with 1Peter 1:6-9
"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of you faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (NASB)
My rejoicing, is a lot of times, my laughter. I have to laugh at myself, or I won't make it! :) But, I also praise Him in song, with words, and I try to praise Him with my attitude.
You can, too. We all have access to His joy. Mary found hers again today - and she emailed to tell me that she had called over thirty people to encourage them! Wow!
James 1:2 "Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."
And remember, HIS joy can never be taken away.