I am so thankful for the wisdom God is pouring in my life through this book. I am walking, or crawling, through what has been one of the more challenging seasons in my life. Or maybe it just seems more challenging because I am still going through it. I know it is true that God allows us to go through challenging situations to prepare us for the next chapter in life. Although, I am not sure that anything can really prepare you for having a two year old and an infant. I know there are momma’s out there that look like they are rocking it, but I am surviving it. I don’t know why I am struggling as much as I am. The labor and recovery was better with kid number 2. She is a definitely a happier baby and easier to take care of. In contrast, the two year old is being every bit of two and we are struggling to find how to best engage her during this developmental phase. When I look at how many blessings I have in my life my head tells me I should not be just muddling my way through. I should embrace these blessings. But sometimes that is just hard.
I am thankful for God’s word. Chapter 6 of Lisa Harper’s A Perfect Mess walks through scripture describing how some of the great men of the bible suffered, despite feeling God’s incredible presence. Elijah, David, and Paul all had moments where they pleaded with God to relieve their sufferings or felt isolated and far from God. Lisa also points out how one of the great modern teachers, Charles Spurgeon, battled severe depression. I love how she phrases, “God doesn’t demand that we be perpetually perky.” I wish I could give her a big hug for this statement. I often feel like I have to smile and pretend everything is going great even when I just want to cry. Is it weakness to admit struggles? No. It is pride that prevents us from admitting our own weakness and humility that allows us to draw from God’s strength.
I have a few takeaways from this chapter.
- First. It is OK to not be OK. It is OK to have a bad day. It is OK to feel like you can’t see the light in a situation.
- Second. While it is OK to struggle, we should struggle well. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12 about a thorn in his flesh. He was struggling, but experienced God’s grace and mercy in the suffering. Psalm 42 & 43 are a cry out to the lord in what appears to be a spiritual drought. The Psalm doesn’t question God, but pleads for God to draw near again. In both Corinthians and Psalm 42 & 43 we see the authors praising God even amidst the suffering.
- Last, God uses seasons of suffering to grow us spiritually and to teach us how to love others. I love the ‘mountain top’ experience gained by a really great worship conference. It is amazing to stand with hundreds of believers shouting out praise to God. I always come home feeling empowered. These experiences are a great part of life as a believer, but we can’t expect this feeling to be our norm. If you have ever been mountain hiking, then you know there is little oxygen and little growth at the top of a high mountain. The growth occurs further down in the valleys. The same can be said in our spiritual life. The mountain top experiences enrich us and breathe life into us, but it is in the valleys that we grow. It is in the valleys that we learn to cry out to God and find our strength in Him. Lisa writes, “Those who’ve trudged through difficult seasons only to come out communing with God more deeply… Authentic joy is often forged in the kiln of ache. Horrible messes really can lead to hope-filled messages.”
If you are struggling to get out of bed in the morning know that God is there with you. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. By faith, we can call out to Him for strength when life is more then we can manage on our own. He is waiting for us to call to Him.
How have you found ways to praise God during life’s difficult moments. Leave a comment below to help encourage others facing similar challenges.