In his sermon titled “Care to Share,” Jeremy, our preacher, challenged us to share our stories because our stories are how we make Jesus known. He says – “You know, I may post the beautiful sunset seasons, but I don’t post the raging storms seasons. But you know what? That may be the very stuff that makes the biggest difference. Do you care enough to share?”
How true is that!? In this age of social media, we love to share our beautiful sunset stories, but not our raging storm stories. It’s so easy to share the good things that go on in our lives. That’s fun and exciting stuff!
The hard? Well, it’s hard.
For me, it’s not that I’m not willing to share. I don’t want to bring others down or be seen as a complainer. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. Other times, I’m fine at the moment and have compartmentalized things to the point that I honestly am fine. Half the time, I’m not even aware when I’m doing this – until it all spills out at the most inopportune time! Oddly enough, relationships can also make it hard to share. Life and relationships often fall short of expectations, people disappoint, and feelings get hurt. I also disappoint and hurt feelings. I fall short daily and am reminded of it multiple times throughout the day.
I’ve often said I’d love to write anonymously, just so I could share without anyone assuming or trying to figure out if I’m writing about a particular person or referencing a specific situation. Also, it’s hard to be vulnerable when you know who your audience is, especially when your teen subscribes to your blog! It’s certainly easier to share within a small group or in one-on-one conversations.
Part of this is why I haven’t written since May.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had plenty of fun – we’re just busy making the memories, and I don’t take the time to sit and write it all down! We’ve enjoyed our trips to Dallas and Branson, spending time with grandparents and cousins, kids going to camps and parties, all the before-school activities, and then the fall activities that began once school started.
To be honest, I don’t want to share. But I do care enough to share. I appreciate (and sometimes hate) how Jeremy uses his sermon time on Sunday to challenge us. To push us out of our comfort zone. To send us out of the church building and into the life of exalting God rather than exalting ourselves.
As I share, I hope to make Jesus known. I hope you’re able to see that Jesus is the one constant that runs through each of our days. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus.
The last few months haven’t been particularly easy for me. Many days have been stressful and exhausting. My kids hear me say “I’m so tired” more than anything else in the day. I’m still a stay at home mom, but I’m not home much these days. I don’t love driving, and it’s now what I do for large chunks of my days. I’ve deemed my new title to be “Logistics Coordinator and Transportation Expert.” That sounds more fitting than “Stay at home mom.”
Our kids’ schedules are scattered throughout the day. I’m homeschooling most classes with the high schooler, the middle schooler attends a private school, and the two elementary kiddos are at the public school in town. We’ve had school meetings, events, conferences, and all that goes along with having four school-aged children.
Since July, we’ve had over 34 different doctor/dental appointments.
One kiddo has had several dental appointments, now has an expander and will soon have braces for teeth. One had a benign skin growth that needed to be removed and biopsied – twice because it grew right back after the first removal. I have a cyst on my wrist that was drained and just learned that surgery is the next option if it continues to be bothersome.
In October alone, two kids had strep, one was dealing with migraines, we had an ER visit for a broken arm that required sedation and casting to set it back into place, and two follow-up appointments for that. Add to that all the “normal” appointments Josiah has every 3-4 months, getting a new AFO brace and the shoe-finding adventure that always follows, and I’m a bit overwhelmed with it all.
During one of his last appointments, Josiah needed to have blood drawn. I’ll just say that it didn’t go well, and I never desire to experience that again. 12 days later we were at the ENT and the doctor and I were discussing a sleep study. Just hearing that caused him to hide under a chair as he verbally determined over and over, “I don’t want to do it. I’m not going to do it.”
He is so tired of going to see doctors, of the needles, of the medicine, of not being able to keep up with his peers at recess and of his hand not working. He’s tired of it all, and I don’t blame him one bit. One recent Sunday afternoon, he broke down crying because all he wanted was his right hand to work. My heart shattered into a million pieces and I just held him and cried with him until he crawled off my lap to be on his own for a while. And then I cried some more.
Life can be so hard. Not every moment is a beautiful sunset. Those are amazing, for sure.
But what if these raging storms are penned into our stories to draw us (and others) in, nearer to Jesus? Penned to draw us closer than we’d ever reach if we only ever stayed to watch the sunset? In our raging storm days, months, or years, rest assured – the author of our story never leaves us.
He’s there when parenting is hard. When you can’t solve all the problems. When getting up in the morning is the last thing you want to do. When tensions are high and grumpiness seems to be the theme of the day. When an evening of fun to get away from the stress turns into hours in the ER. When walking into the doctor’s office brings a fierce panic that no amount of logic can take away. When the results aren’t exactly what you were hoping for. When people disappoint and cause hurt. When you can’t protect your kids from the pain of the evil world we live in. When friends move far away and there are tears from an ache that can’t simply be wiped away. When you feel like you’re doing it all wrong, even when you try your hardest to get it right. When reality falls short of your expectations.
He’s there. Through it all.
He is my strength every day. He is my hope. In him, I find my rest. He is the beauty in the sunset moments and he is my peace in the raging storms.
Just because I’m a Christian and Jesus walks with me through life does not mean my life is going to be perfect. It doesn’t mean I’ll never find myself in a raging storm. My faith in Jesus doesn’t rest on my life experiences, whether easy or hard. It rests entirely on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. And this is why I care to share. To drop my guard and be vulnerable. It makes Jesus known. These are the stories that make Jesus real to those around us.
And isn’t that what he calls us to do? To make him known?
“His grace is sufficient, for his power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Cor 12:9.