I’ve gone through some rough patches lately. Maybe you have too. So many times I’ve wanted to open my heart and tell someone—other than my husband who didn’t quite understand, but I love him anyway—about the things I was struggling with.
I promised myself in 2016 to be more vulnerable in writing and in real life, yet when the storm came, I shriveled into myself. Hey, secrets were a way of life when I was a child. I learned how to keep everything to myself really well. It’s hard to bust out of that mode.
I do wish I could express myself better. I’ve found it’s easier to do that through stories where bits and pieces of me are revealed.
I often think about sharing life experiences through blogging. I ponder how other women and wives reveal their struggles so magnificently, and I wish I could be vulnerable and expose my flaws too. Then I remember I’m me. For me, it takes time and trust to even crack open the door to people I’ve known for a long time.
Also, I wonder about the gal who tells all about her marriage and kids. How does her family feel about the personal stuff she reveals?
When 2017 rolled around and—Hallelujah!—I’d survived, and the Lord assured me He could fix me, I sat down to type out my feelings, hoping to release my first blog of the new year.
I wrote, edited, and rewrote for about three hours. The result? Blech.
How could I write about the low place I’d hit that left me with no will to write, lost confidence, and disappointments that made me feel like a big failure? It was a wilderness I’d never been to before. My husband didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t know what to do with me.
Back to writing … the next day I tackled the same topic using a lighter tone. What I needed was some wit! I know people who can write with such great humor, and I wish I could write funnier. In the midst of my struggle, I could have used a dose of laughter.
Instead, it was foggy and empty and nothing to laugh about. Even in my writing, I didn’t want to relive the hurt. The blog couldn’t encompass the reality of my journey. But maybe writing it out, struggling through the words, helped me look back and understand some things.
We all go through difficulties. It’s life. Of course, we don’t want the rough patches. Who would choose that?
But we can “count it all joy.”
Even people I admire the most, the ones who have the strongest, seemingly unmovable, faith have gone through trials and struggles. They rarely mention it. Oh, they tell glorious faith stories of God moving powerfully in their lives, of inspirational times when God came through for them in miraculous ways.
Yet, here and there, in a quiet conversation, I’ve heard small nuggets of their hard times. Which is good for me to hear. To relate to. I marvel at how they came through … stronger, more resilient, more confident in a loving God who worked in their lives, their kids’ lives, and their destinies … even when they didn’t know what He was doing.
That gives me hope.
Hope reaches out to us like a tiny light in our darkest hour.Tweet
Sometimes it’s through a friend’s hug of encouragement. That whispered, “It’s going to be okay.” Sometimes it finds us through a scripture, a poem, even one of those thoughtful memes. Or maybe it’s through a story. Sometimes, God speaks right to our hearts. “Hold on, kiddo. Good is on its way.”
If you find yourself going through suffering—family difficulties, job issues, sickness, grieving, disappointments, and life’s struggles, to name a few—hold on.
God loves you so much.
He hasn’t forgotten you.
There’s a deep river of peace and joy and hope that we can tap into. Think about good things. Look at the beauty of God’s creation. Read in the Psalms or quote your favorite verses. Do something you enjoy. And breathe.
It is going to be okay. You will get through this.
I was at a craft fair in December, and someone I’ve known for a long time came to my booth. We exchanged the casual, “How are things going?” And for some reason, I shared a little of how I’d been feeling down. She told me something very similar. In the middle of a crowded auditorium of customers and booths, we hugged and shared our feelings of inadequacy—and our hope in a big God who brings us through stuff.
If you know someone who is struggling, listen, and be sympathetic, but also share hope. Tell them it’s going to be okay. That God will see them through.
If someone trusts you enough to tell you what they’ve been going through, just listen. It’s okay to share something similar you’ve experienced—that’s relating and understanding. But your story doesn’t have to be worse or harder or more devastating.
They are the ones in the struggle right then.
Hug them, if they’ll allow it. Pray for them. It’s good to hear that someone cares.
God is restoring me. This writing—my third attempt—is proof.
Joy and peace have wiggled back into my heart—almost when I wasn’t looking. I’m still trusting Jesus for complete healing. His grace and understanding are beyond measure. I won’t give up on Him; He never gave up on me. He has the words of eternal life. He is my stability in the midst of an unstable world. He is my peace in the middle of chaos. He is love when I feel unlovable. He is light in the dark.
I need hope.
You need hope.
We all need …
Whenever something good happened unexpectedly, my mother used to say, “Isn’t that just a sweet caress from the Lord?”
Yes, it is.
May you feel His gentle hug of hope today.
And then share it with someone else!
This post was originally written on 1/10/17
Mary Hanks writes inspiration Christian fiction about couples finding their way back to grace and each other.
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