Life is Hard.

Period. 

When we get real, when we get honest, we see truth.

Life is hard.
It is also beautiful.

Some days we are on the mountaintop enjoying the glorious view, breathing in and feeling the mountaintop emotions.

Other days we are climbing the mountain, digging in our heels, and doing everything we can to take the very next step.

Then there are the dark days. The days where grief is so heavy, it’s physically present. It envelops us, oppresses us, and it’s hard to take breaths.

I am so thankful that I am not in any one place for too long. Life is always moving and the view is ever changing, so the emotions are changing too. I may spend some time in the dark, but the sun is always sure to rise. We can count on that.

Even when the dark seems to last longer than usual, the sun rises just when we feel it may stay evening forever.

I met a strong, courageous, beautiful woman last night. She was the cashier and the line to check out was loooooong. Really long. I was alone in the store. I didn’t have any of my kiddos with me, so the wait was no problem. I just chatted with the people in line until it was my turn. Then God showed up in a big way. The bustling store got quiet, and as she checked out my items, I realized there was no one else around. I mean, no one. It went from chaotic and busy to no one in sight but her and I.

We struck up a conversation easily and I felt drawn to her. Something was there that she needed to say. I didn’t know what it was, but we continued to make small talk, and then she looked at me and shared something that made my throat go dry and my eyes well up. She said that her son had died. She shared more and I was frozen. It was recent and he was her only child. How? Why? The conversation was difficult. What do you say? I stayed right there and just talked and talked. It was a good 10 minutes before anyone else came into the store. Then, I awkwardly said goodbye. I walked out touched by her story and her grief and for a few minutes time seemed to stand still.

Her pain was raw. It was real. It was a solemn  reminder of how short life is. I climbed into my van and just prayed. I prayed for the Lord to cover her with a gentle peace. That she would be able to rest that evening and feel the presence of the Lord holding her tight as she mourned. That somehow through her pain, she would feel Him and His love for her. That a sense of peace and healing would cover her like a blanket. I felt helpless, and when we feel helpless, we can ALWAYS cry out to our Lord who is our ever present help in the time of need. 

Life can be so painful that it hurts to be awake. It hurts to feel. It hurts to walk, to talk, to shower. I’ve been there, maybe you have too.

I believe pain can make us gentler, more empathetic, it can give us the ability to feel the pain that others are walking through because we know that we’ve been there.

Her story touched me and I carried it with me all day today. I found it hard to stress over the little things at work when I met such real grief the night before. Her story put perspective to my own life. I was able to hold her close in my heart and pray for her while also being changed myself.

I think some people believe I am such a positive person because I am naive to the real world, but it’s quite the opposite. I am positive, kind, and filled with love because I know pain. I’ve been up close and a little too personal with loss, rejection, abuse, and dysfunction. I have seen evil, and I know all too well about the hurt out in the world.  It’s because of this knowledge of the reality of searing pain and the amazing, healing love that Jesus has poured into me that I am able to love on others. Because of this love, I am unable to be pulled into gossip or minor complaints because there is real pain in the world and I choose to be a force of love, kindness, empathy, and acceptance as a way to fight back against the dark.

I love women and I choose to love them even when it may be hard.

I love women and I choose to be kind even when it may be hard.

I love women and I would like to gently remind you we never know the battle someone is up against.

Choose love, it never fails. 

Kindness is strength, not weakness. 

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