Monday, March 7, 2011

Yep, even the hard stuff

It is very true that I am a person who almost always focuses on the positive.

I am a classic under-reactor who persistently believes that things will be ok...I believe people mean well, even when they might not...When things are terrible and I say I'm fine, I'm pretty much mean it. 

I have always been acutely aware that even if things are kind've crummy for me at the time, many people's lives are much, much crummier at the very same time. 

For this reason I guess sometimes I can give the impression that life is simply fabulous for me all the time and that I spend all of my days skipping around while giggling and dispensing hugs.

Okay, the hug part is pretty accurate :)

What I don't often say is I have experienced a lot of not-so-easy through the years.  I have lost things I believed I could not live without.  My heart has been broken, and I have suffered through extended periods of intense stress. 

That being said, I have also basked in the comfort of Jesus.  I have felt his comfort, and direction, and that glorious peace that people talk about but must be experienced to believe.  In Ann Voskamp's post last Monday she made some points which I believe with all my heart.  I know that suffering is not only valuable, but actually desirable, because I have lived the precious experience of moving through the yuck with Christ's protecting and comforting arm around me. 

However, I realized I might be missing part of the point when she stated that

Counting the one thousand gifts means counting the hard things - otherwise I've miscounted.

As someone who doesn't usually give much credence to the hard things because I'm not a fan of all the dwelling, I suddenly realized I might be glossing over...skimming right past...some of the most relevant parts of my personal story.

So for that reason, I determined that this week I would try to reflect on some of the hard things in my life and include them in my list, also wonderful gifts from the God who loves me with abandon...

(A Thousand Gifts #347-367)

journals filled with pages upon pages of heart conversations with my Father, documentation of his never-ending faithfulness, while faithlessness seems to abound

losing the entire post on hard things, which pushed me to think about it all, again, gaining ever more joy in the focus

reveling in my daughters' faith, feeling the heart-surge when recognizing the growth that has come from their own hard things

financial need, which ensures my continued awareness of complete dependence upon The Provider of all I will ever have...memory of past provision

a silent house free of distractions from time with Jesus, the lover of my soul

the certainty that He is all I will ever need for as long as I will live...answered prayers

the empathy which comes from the enduring, and watching God use it...the joy that comes from being useful and knowing it wasn't all for nothing

waking to the rain pounding on the hugs on a weekday...celebrating the birthday of a dear friend...successful surgeries...relieved mothers...chocolate cake and giggles with my daughters...unplanned salad suppers...long conversations with far-away friends

hopeful anticipation of what He will do next with this messy life that is all mine

Happy Monday, Y'all!
Renee :)


Craig said...

I clicked over from Ann’s link today.

Funny, I haven’t gotten even that far in the book – I’m reading really really slow on purpose – and I’ve listed hard thank you lists twice now.

Book spoiler :)

My favorite from the list was “the empathy which comes from the enduring, and watching God use it...the joy that comes from being useful and knowing it wasn't all for nothing” (oh boy is this one good – because we can only really have empathy if we know – amen)

I hearted all of this – so good – made me smile.

Thank you

God bless

Renee said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Craig :) I think if I had to list a favorite, your favorite might be mine, too. It's so nice to know that all of the seemingly pointless suffering can be used by God in big ways. Thanks for dropping by!

5ALLENZ said...

Made me cry- because I remember so many of your hard things- and wanting to change many of them but knowing I couldn't. You never cease to amaze me how you seem to not have to dwell there.... you make me look bad :) I am thankful that we both know Jesus and how He and our God Daddy takes all the things in our lives, hard and not so hard and uses them all for His glory. I'm glad your my 'sis... love ya much!

Phyllis said...

Thanks Renee! Not an easy task, but necessary!

Renee said...

I love you Robin, and I'm ridiculously glad you are my sister, too...Thank you for always being so supportive & having my back :)

Hi Phyllis! Thank you so much for dropping by :) I still have hope that someday, oh someday, I'll see you again?

Cora from Hidden Riches said...

Oh, I'm so glad I'm here today!You know, until reading this book, I had a hard time finding the line == the place that divides the whiners, the attention getters, the padded testimonies that are full of tear-jerking sentiments of horrible pasts, etc., and being a Pollyanna who never cries and always smiles. I have my dark places, and I kept big locks on those doors, thinking they were past and to be forgotten. I've had to go back and find the keys. And it is the times that I have taken someone's hand and showed them my dark places and where the Lord has brought me, and what "endurance" produces in the life of a Christian ---- it's those times that I can understand trusting, giving thanks, and trusting some more!!!!

I felt your heart today! And I've been so blessed by being here!

Renee said...

Hi Cora! I'm so glad you were here, too :) God is so creative in how He works in our lives, isn't He. I think it is so beautiful - and generous - of Him to make our brokeness not only beautiful, but useful!

Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your heart back with me. I'm praying for you tonight :)

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