My sweet son begs to play tackle football and I can’t give in and instead let him negotiate his first bike ride to school alone. My mothering heart aches in tangled pride and fear. I follow secretly behind him in my minivan.
Sometimes I don’t know how to say yes or let my kids grow up.
I bribe my five-year-old to stay in bed one more night and step over tantrums before church on Sunday morning and I wonder who’s really in control.
Sometimes I can’t breathe because this mothering thing is so hard.
I wake up with a list full of plans and ideas and instead spend the day trying to solve a crisis. I am overwhelmed daily with inadequacy for this calling.
Sometimes I want to run away because I don’t know how to live this thing out.
Some days are hard: There are relationship challenges, misunderstandings, the money is tight, the house is broken, the kids fight, the dog pukes, chronic neck pain, the pressure to keep it all spinning builds…
I collapse into bed and second-guess my day, wondering if I was good at anything.
My life isn’t always beautiful.
As a matter of fact, there are parts of it that are just downright ugly.
The fear, the doubt, the second-guessing, the duct tape holding my dryer together.
But it’s in the tough places, that He teaches me.
If life was always pretty and perfect, I wouldn’t know how to search for the beauty.
I wouldn’t understand that caterpillars need time in the ugly cocoon so they can transform into a butterfly.
I wouldn’t know that it’s only through irritation and pain that oysters form priceless pearls.
I wouldn’t appreciate that unbelievable pressure and heat produce sparkling diamonds.
Beauty is everywhere, but it’s appreciated even more in the hard places.
I have prayed for courage to rise up in my sweet son. I see it in the tilt of his chin as he buckles his helmet and leaves me waving in the driveway. I see beauty.
My oldest child comes to me late at night, so tall and mature, I hold my breath. “Will you lay with me?” she whispers and we talk deep into the night. Her little sister, following in her shadow. I see beauty.
Over Skype on a particularly hard day, Maureen and I say the words we are both feeling. This is hard. I want to quit. The very next day, we are a part of bringing a strong son into the world. We say it and mean it: I love this job. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
An unexpected check in the mail, a cupcake on your doorstep, a friend who helps, a massage, a husband who loves–all beauty.
When the going gets tough, the tough look for the beauty. I’m learning this lesson in the hard places.
Beauty is often wedged between the hard and uncomfortable, adjacent to the difficult.
But when you find it, you’ll know exactly what to do with it.
How to Find Beauty in the Hard Places:
- Rehearse His promises: Life is going to be hard, but take courage, He has overcome the world. John 16:33
- Run to Him- He is our refuge- a very present help in the time of trouble. It may be hard, but we are never alone. Ps. 46:1
- Rely on Him- Cast your cares (big and small) on Him, He cares about every detail. I Peter 5:7
- Remember He’s got this- all things work together for good for those who love Him. Rom. 8:28