Friday, January 30, 2015

IN THE FIGHT

This week has been a quiet one on the home front.  I didn't have any major projects or things that *had* to get done.  Though we did have the 100th day of school celebration to prepare for, Lily and I managed to keep things simple.  She loved her hat with 100 safety pins and her bag of buttons.  Like I said - very simple.

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Our life is balancing out in many ways.  The ship is beginning to right itself.  However, we realized that even on a ship that is sailing in mostly the right direction, life is still a fight.  We have to fight for an enjoyable marriage.  We have to fight to parent our children in a Godly way.  We have to fight for real friendships and community.  We have to fight for our right to party.

Okay - I probably got carried away there - but I do believe we have to fight for joy.  None of it comes naturally.  All of it seems continually under attack.  Does that sound dramatic to you?  I can tend towards the extreme end of most things.

But, God promises that in this world, we will have trouble.  He spells it out for us in John 16:33 - "In this world you will have trouble."  I think he probably needed to make it abundantly clear, because we so long for things to be simple and easy.  I want comfort - really, I do.  I want it bad.  Sometimes I want it more than God, but he gently (or forcibly) reminds me that in THIS world, I will have trouble.

The trouble will take all different shapes and come in various sizes and keep coming, like a never-ending parade.  Sometimes that parade will come by just one float at a time, and at other seasons, several marching bands of trouble may traipse through our life.  It is a fight to prioritize the things that really matter - the relationships and people that God has placed directly around me.

The last four months of 2014 were really challenging for John and I.  There were many good moments throughout, but there were a lot of bad ones as well.  It was one of the first times where I think we both thought to ourselves, "This is how couples grow apart."  "They" grow apart one bad day at a time, and all of the sudden "they" was turned into "us," and we had some choices to make.  We had to make time for hard conversations - the ones where both parties feel misunderstood and disappointed.  We had to make more time and mental space for one another.  We still have to - every day, and though some things get easier - it is still a fight.

We are at a stage of parenting right now where so many things feel like a fight.  The big girls have leveled out in so many ways, and I can see so much good on the horizon.  But, the twinsies are at a tough stage.  They've moved from precious babies to full-blown toddlers with opinions, and parenting them has turned from all physical activity to needing to use my actual brain to figure out what will work to cope with/handle different scenarios.  It's exhausting.  It's a fight.  They are busy little people all.the.time.

And when I think of friendships, I realize that no good friendship will be handed to me at this stage.  We are all so busy and fairly consumed with our families that taking time away feels monumental.  It is worth it, but it's a fight.  We have to dig deep and jump in quickly to get to the heart of what is going on.  As I breakfasted with two friends earlier this week, we realized that we were all drowning. It's so good to have friends to commiserate with, but it is hard to carve out the time.

I'm so thankful that John 16:33 continues.  After we are warned of the constant trouble, he says "But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  We are not in the fight alone.  Never.  Some days it will feel like it, but God has already overcome.  The fight is not our own, and Jesus has overcome the world.  I hope that you are fighting and relying on the strength of the Lord.  We all need it so desperately.

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