How often do we ask: “What’s new?” when we talk to our friends? We haven’t talked to someone in a while and when we finally connect to catch up, we want to know what’s been going on in their lives…. Except… we got caught up in living life, one day at a time, walking through the routine of raising children, breathing, work, that we feel as if there is nothing new.
We need to take a step back and reflect. What is new? We need to give ourselves credit for the little life changes happening. Like the moment my oldest realized math is logical and constant and says “I should be good at that” and suddenly understands the concepts, simply because there is recognition that it’s not as hard as previously believed. There is the time my youngest picks up a book and simply starts reading it — and, running into a difficult word, is able to break it into syllables and figure it out without assistance. When I face a challenging moment in my day and, instead of it sending me into an anxiety ridden tailspin, I’m able to breathe through it and come out the other side able function better than I would have even a year ago.
These are not “everyday” moments in our lives. These are fabulous, delightful moments that I do not give enough credit to. There are major breakthroughs everyday in my life, but I don’t always see them because they are tied up in the routine, the normalcy, the mundane… and sometimes they are wrapped up in something messy.
Sometimes, I learn best from my interactions with my children. Something I dismiss because it’s me, is a huge deal if it’s happening to one of my children. I watch for my children’s celebration moments, and I celebrate them. I rejoice when they achieve something they’ve been working hard for!
Recently, my 10 year old child picked up a book voluntarily and read it with ease… we celebrated! The backstory the celebration is that this child has learning difficulties (dyslexia?) and struggled greatly to learn to read… This child has faced anxiety, frustration, and discouragement because no matter how hard they worked, they could not grasp the concept of putting letters together to make words. This child has worked harder than anyone I have ever seen just to read… and now.. Now… my child reads.The struggle is worth it! The joy is worth it. The “aha” moments along the way have been encouraging, strengthening the courage to fight again the next day, and the next until success is achieved. This child refused to give up.
Life is frequently difficult. That’s the nature of the world we live in. I refuse to believe that God hands out horrible evil plans to some people and calm, peaceful plans to others. No. Every person has moments (in varying degrees) of challenge, frustration, anxiety and horribleness.
Matthew 5:45b says:
For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
No one is immune. My story does not negate your story and your story does not negate my story. If you perceive my struggles to be harder than your struggles, I may disagree and feel the opposite is true. What I have learned is that we all suffer. We cannot compare situations because we are not all the same people with the same foundation.
We must look for joy in the moments of pain. When we look for joy, we will find it. Finding joy in the midst of pain does not stop the pain. It doesn’t diminish the sorrow or the trial. Finding joy in the midst of suffering gives us hope. It reminds us that the hard times are not the only times. It reminds us that better days have gone before and will come again.
A light in the darkness helps you keep moving.
Look for the joy.