Since 2010 I have been doing my best to chronicle my story of joy, sorrow, laughter, tears, victories, failures, courage and fear. I don’t know about you but I am such a mix! At times I feel like I have complete clarity and calm and then I am suddenly in the midst of being a hot mess. (Admittedly, there are times when hormones add to the hot mess, but I am pretty sure a lot of the mess is called being human.)
I think most of us journey through life on overdrive until we hit a speed bump or a large brick wall. When you’re in the midst of figuring out how to be married (how to really love this person who completes you and who is your opposite at the same time?!), how to raise kids (who don’t grow up to be car thieves), how to love your spouse (and in your better moments, love your neighbor), how to pay the bills and enjoy yourself along the way- well, that can put anyone into overdrive, right?!
For me, overdrive was erasing a lot of my memory about my life. Journaling was my attempt to slow down long enough to be present in the present and live fully awake eyes wide open. And since it seemed as though we were in a prolonged season of speed bumps and brick walls, I thought I would do my best to try to make sense of it all so that the pain would not be wasted.
In 2011, I began my journey with gratefulness. We were in the third year of a very hard season (little did I know it would last a total of seven years). My word for that year was celebrate! Gratefulness would be my mentor when it came to celebrating even when life remained just plain hard (for much longer than I personally thought was necessary!).
I am so humbled by those of you who have reached out to me since starting this blog to share your hearts, your struggles, your fears and your stories with me! It’s good to know we’re not alone, isn’t it?
Recently, I was drawn back to a particular entry I made on April 5, 2011. I remembered listing things I did not want to forget when joy returned as the dominant theme in my life. I felt I should share some of these things for those of you who are currently in a hard season of your journey.
And maybe, it’s good to be reminded of these things when someone other than you is struggling?
Here are some of the those things in no particular order, just as them came to me that day:
Stay close to God. Never forget your dependence on Him.
Remember that people in the midst of a season of struggle can lose sight of possibility in their life. They need to know that they are loved and not forgotten. They need the hope that you have.
There are eternal gifts and precious treasure in struggle and suffering waiting for you to discover them. Try not to let your pain be wasted.
It won’t be this hard forever. Life is a collection of seasons.
There is strength you did not know you have, courage that seems to rise up when you need it most and faith that is beyond explanation.
Rest and exercise. (Sorry, exercise was a life saver for this non-athletic human!)
Draw close to the ones who love and know you, warts and all. Invite their insight and perspective. Do your best not to hide.
Ask God to clean your closets, dust the corners and wash the windows of your soul so you can see Him more clearly.
Save big decisions for those brief moments when you are not bone weary.
Do little things that bring you joy.
Look for God in your everyday life. He is there…sometimes the song of a bird, the comfort of a hot cup of coffee, a call from a friend speak volumes about His love.
Bless those who don’t seem to be struggling. Don’t let envy creep in. We all struggle. Some just struggle more privately.
Be grateful- it keeps your heart soft and open. Being grateful helps you see God all around you in big and small things.
Be nice to and take care of yourself.
Breathe deeply, often.
Pray often and let others pray for you whenever they offer to.
I hope there is a nugget or two for you here. Thanks for nudging me to go back and remind myself of things I did not ever want to forget. BIG HUG.