Several years ago when I first started this blog, it was with a desire for balance. Most people gravitated towards extremes and even I couldn't seem to stay in the middle for very long. I longed for balance, but that means growth. Growth can be really hard, but once growth involves bigger things like sickness, a large stack of bills or whatever brings the despair at night - well suddenly it doesn't feel like growth anymore, but punishment. It's really not. But it sure can feel like it.
One of our dogs is sick and recovery is uncertain. If you're an animal person, you understand the heavy weight of making decisions that not only affect them, but your entire family. It's enough to make you want to run and hide. Still, until you're placed in such a precarious situation, struggling over such decisions seem simple and not worth agonizing over. Like being a parent or losing a parent; like going without a meal or being the only one providing a meal; - until you're in the situation, you just don't realize what it is like. As Christians we seek maturity and growth - because it is commanded, but also because we desire it usually. Perhaps we think that if we're more mature, life is easier. I don't know about all that, but to get there - to grow and achieve a new level of maturity - things get harder long before they get easier.
I have given birth to three children now and I'm amazed at each one of them in different ways. My racecar is 2 months old and in a lot of ways things are getting easier now, but only after so much was really hard. But his 2 months is way easier than J or miss Z's 2 months because I knew what was coming. But until I knew what it was like, it was just hard to live in it.
Over the past 12 months we've had more emergencies in our life than ever in our entire marriage. Stress and worry. Bills and more bills. Kind of like a winter that just won't end. That winter full of debilitating snow though is actually watering the plants. The harshness of winter snow still makes beauty possible after it has melted. All it takes for hope is that first little bud of spring and you realize it was worth something. Just like the snow, these hardships and burdens that just won't quit are tools God is using to fulfill His promises to us and answer our prayers of growth and maturity.
And so we learn to live in it.
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.…