Sometimes I just sigh and think, “Life would be so easy if…” But, has God called us to a life where each need is met, floating through our days without a care in the world, never facing trials or sickness or loneliness?
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
What if you feel that your life is one huge and overwhelming hardship? That you barely catch your breath before the next trial or challenge seems to come your way?
I don’t feel that I am living a life of constant hardship in any way! My reality is just that I have a husband with a demanding and busy job that consists of late hours and travel. We do have days and weeks of normal hours. But, it seems like the busyness overshadows the normal. Mostly, because I allow it to. I focus on the hard and forget to celebrate the sweetness and joy of the regular, routine days.
Andy and I married in November of 2000. We didn’t choose our date based on the fact that it was Veteran’s Day which meant as a holiday we could spend it together gazing into each others’ eyes. 😉 The fact that it was fall, my favorite time of year, also didn’t factor into our decision.
November 11, 2000 was chosen because it was the first weekend after elections. Since Andy was running a campaign, this weekend made sense because his responsibilities would have ended. He would finally have a free weekend with no more door to door walks, phone calls, or reviewing polling numbers. His job dictated our date.
This wasn’t the last time work directed our life. After returning from our honeymoon I was living in our newlywed bliss. We were only home a few days, settling into our new life together, when Andy was called into work to assist in the recount of the 2000 Presidential election. I vividly remember Andy telling me, “I’m so sorry I have to go in. This never happens!” Well, here we are 15 years later with unexpected work commitments having become our norm. In fact, I really don’t know any different. There have certainly been busier seasons than others, jobs that didn’t entail as much uncertainty with hours, but I’ve learned that to set an expectation can crush me emotionally when plans change.
Although I can get caught up in the thought of “Life would be so easy if….Andy didn’t work as much,” I know that isn’t necessarily true. For one, I believe Andy is using the abilities the Lord has gifted him with. Two, I know that regardless of the career Andy chose, he would do it with excellence, giving it his all because he’s committed to completing each task to the best of his ability. Three, although carrying the seemingly heavy load when Andy is traveling, I am reminded that there are many heavy burdens others carry that I don’t have to.
This year, I feel like the Lord is gently whispering to me, “Embrace your life. This is what I’ve intended for you, what I’ve provided for you, what I desire for you.”
Who am I to doubt where God has me? In all seasons, in all circumstances He is there. He is beckoning me to come to Him. He alone is my strength. On the days I feel like I’ve given it my all, the truth is, I have! I’ve given all I have. What I truly need is what He has. I’m constantly reminded that I can’t do it.
This is one of my trials. I’m done hoping for change. I don’t want to survive my days. Instead, I want to be reminded of my need of the Lord, and to find the joy in going to Him constantly.
Next time you get caught up in believing that “life would be easier if only…” remember that God has you where He wants you. He has the power to change any circumstance, but as the verse in James reminds us we should find joy in trials for it produces steadfastness. If you look up the definition of steadfast you will find these words, steadily directed, firm in purpose, unwavering. Synonyms are loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated…Trials produce this is me?
If I knew then….
…what I know now, would I do it all over? ABSOLUTELY!
Although Andy works a lot, and we miss him like crazy as Ruth Graham said,
*…”if I had all the men in the world to pick from, I would still pick Bill. I would still rather see a little bit of him than a whole lot of any other man.”
I whole heartedly agree with her! Just replace Bill with Andy.
You and I may or may not walk similar paths, but I can’t doubt where the Lord has me. Or where the Lord has you. I will choose to embrace this life and not wish for another. Circumstances shouldn’t need to change in order for me to flourish in the Lord.
What a gift I’ve been given to constantly be reminded of my need for the Lord. I often forget this! So next time you see me please feel free to remind me, and let’s rejoice together in the goodness of who He is and where He has us.
*This quote is from Ruth Bell Graham’s Book, It’s My Turn. This book was a simple read, but full of encouragement and transparency of real life circumstances from a woman I admire. A woman who truly loved the Lord.