I was looking at my 3-year-old daughter the other day, a thought suddenly hit me. I mumbled to myself in amazement “We made it through the baby years!”. A little back story, I had my last baby when I was 36, much older than when I had my first. The doctors joking referred to this pregnancy as a “geriatric pregnancy”, which did make me smile a bit. It was a bit harder, but God blessed us with a healthy baby girl! A baby girl who refused to sleep more than 3 hours at a time! I remember being so exhausted! There were days when I didn’t know how I would ever make it through those 8 hours at work. (I am sure my husband felt the same way) Not only were we drained from lack of sleep, we were pulled in many directions between the other kid’s extracurricular activities and school, stretched so very thin that I don’t believe we could’ve stretched any further. In the moment, that time in life, I was convinced that I would never sleep again, that life would always be this exhausting. But now, 3 years later, I look at our little girl as she plays quietly by her doll house and think, “We made it through! And we survived!!”.
You see, in the moment, I really didn’t know how I was going to make through. In the midst of these challenging periods of life, it is so easy to get caught up in the “now”. Our perception of the future is skewed based upon the frustration, or exhaustion, or maybe even hopelessness we are feeling in that moment. When we are in the smooth moments of life, the happy moments, it is easy to look at the future and see the hope that God has planned for us. But, when we hit a dark moment, it can be so challenging to find even a bit of light. It is easy to lose sight of that bigger plan, to forget that God is in control. We get caught in the moment of darkness and we struggle, we take it from God, and we try to fight the battle alone. We are so focused on the darkness of that moment, that we forget the hope and promises that lie before us. In Roman’s 15 Paul talks about how critical it is that we help one another, and we let God help us. Romans 15 verse 13 says:
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit”
Confident Hope! What a spectacular thought! Especially when we are facing the hard moments. But that “confident hope” comes because of our trust in Him, this in itself is the struggle. We must lay it down, we must trust. When we do this, when we give it to Him, we can be assured of that confident hope for our future. We can be assured that this moment will not last forever, that whatever is troubling us will be replaced with “joy and peace”, eventually. The key word for me in that scripture is “peace”. I think in the moment, when we are beat down, when we are so far from peace, it is important understand that the chaos that churns uncontrollably within us can be replaced with peace if we just allow our trust in God to take control of the situation, the moment. Easier said than done! It is one of those things that takes practice, lots of practice. But once we begin to see the peace and joy, the confident hope that comes when we let God have control, it becomes a bit easier. Easier and easier every time.
I have had many moments, moments when I didn’t know how I would make it through. In my younger years, many of these moments happened when my faith was wavering, my level of trust was not nearly as strong as it is today, that made the hard moments even harder. Time has taught me that the challenging moments pass, sometimes quickly and other times these moments drag on and on. Even when we are able to put it in God’s hands, we still may feel like the moment is never going to pass. That year of a restless baby felt like 10, but when I look back now I know that there was a greater purpose, if only to teach me a bit of patience. Or maybe to help me embrace the cuddles in the wee hours of the morning, the cuddles I would never get again. A purpose. Really, this moment on earth is just that, it is a moment in the ultimate, eternal plan God has set before us, He has promised to us. An eternity of joy and peace, an eternity of marvelous moments!
Bible Gateway passage: Romans 15:13 - New International Version. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2017, from 15:13
I'm learning (finally) to live in the moment I have right now, but looking forward more and more to the "eternity of marvelous moments" He has for us.
This is a wonderful blog, Nancy! I love Romans 15:13 for it is a beautiful reminder that God is indeed the source of hope itself and therefore, even in the midst of the struggle, we can be overflowing with the joy of the Lord.