Well, our friends and family are keenly aware of the difficult times our family has experienced over the years. We have had seasons of abundance, seasons of want, seasons of intense sadness, and seasons of incredible joy. It has come in waves for us many different times. Years of difficulties stacked one upon another. Years of excitement and joy following along right after that. The years of difficulties felt like heavy weights tied around my ankles just daring me to walk in true joy and peace.
The bottom line. The hard times prepared us to fully embrace the joys. Without the moments of hardship, the simple pleasures of life wouldn’t seem so sweet and special.
Our family is truly thankful to be in a season of genuine thanksgiving. Not THE Thanksgiving holiday, but an overall attitude of thanksgiving. Thankful for our family. Thankful for our health. Thankful for our friends. Thankful for our farm. Thankful for the way God has provided for us during the pandemic. Thankful for God’s steadfast love during hard times.
When you are experiencing hard times, remember that they will not last forever. There have been several times in my life that I felt as if I were stuck, like the movie Groundhog Day, in the same bad movie over and over. Now, I look back at those bleak moments and can barely recall the details. They are distant, non-distinct moments in my life. Thankfully, I can barely recall the details of years of heartache and confusion that hit me unexpectedly during my early 30s. Then, unfortunately, there were more years of hardship that hit in my early 50s and gave me the feeling of having weights tied around my ankles again. Going through daily life with a heavy heart, a distracted mind, and the constant desire for relief from the stress. I’m thankful that, again, the details have become blurred and indistinct and have caused me to forget about the hard things that happened to our family. God has a way of doing that over time.
What I can remember about those times? God’s abundant care and love. The friends and family He sent our way to care for my husband, my children, and me. The way He provided unexpected blessings for us during those years. How close I felt to God during the darkest days. Those are the things I remember vividly.
Are you walking through a hard time in your life right now? If you are experiencing heartache or confusion, try your very best to trust God to turn “beauty into ashes” in your circumstances. He will help you to walk through those moments and see the good that comes out of hardship. Whether it is a reliable new friendship that forms out of the ashes, a closeness to God that you have never experienced, a lesson you learned that will help you navigate your future, or learning to have blind faith in the God who sees you and knows what you need, it is all used for good purposes that will eventually show up in your life.
During this season of Thanksgiving, truly thank God for the good times and the bad. He has a plan and a purpose for each step of your journey. Trust Him to show you the purpose behind your current situation and help you begin the upward climb leading to joy and contentment once again.
Without hesitation, I will tell you that the past several years of hardship have helped me to find a new level of happiness and satisfaction in every simple joy concerning our family. The joy I feel from seeing our three children happy and smiling, from spending time with our extended family, from working on the farm with The Outdoorsman, from visiting with sweet friends in The Rusty Coop, and from spending time with our extended family has never seemed sweeter than it is today. Overwhelming joy wells up inside of me when I experience any of those moments.
Thank you, God, for giving me the hard lessons and difficult moments so that I can truly enjoy the good things you have given to our family.