The Struggle Is Real

The Struggle Is Real

There’s this wood art piece (art may be stretching it) I made years ago, hanging over our front door that was inspired by a song penned by a man named David Parker. David was my boss at 121 Community Church for 12 years, but will forever be one of my dearest friends and inspirations. He wrote this song called You Are God, You Are Good back in September of 2010. I remember the time so clearly because the second verse of that song, he told me, was greatly influenced by a situation going on in our family at the time. The words to that verse are:

There’s a mountain here,

And I know this mountain must be climbed,

What awaits brings fear,

But I know You will provide,

I know You will provide

David and his wife, Diana (along with other friends and family) were walking with us through a series of evaluations we were having done on Bishop, our oldest son who was 3 years old at the time, to determine if some concerns we had been having were valid. The day had come for Bishop’s screening at the Early Learning Center where the entire trajectory of our family’s life was altered. See, for about a year up to that point, we had been noticing some things that were red flags, but I was trying to find the balance between living in denial and being that alarmist mom who assumes the worst all the time. Nevertheless, here we were at his initial screening for a developmental delay. They took him off to another room to do his screening while I paced the lobby. After about 20 minutes, they brought him back to me, smiling his chubby little head off, completely unaware that the words that were about to come out of his new friend’s mouth would be like a knife to the gut. She proceeded to explain that they did notice a pretty severe language delay (okay, no surprise there, moving on) and that they think he would benefit from their services called P.P.C.D. (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities). Then she said with her sweet, nurturing voice “… and just so you know, we did notice a number of indicators of Autism.” Now what she said immediately after that is a complete blur because the room began to go dark and my head started spinning. My fears had been confirmed. That’s not what was supposed to happen today.

Enter mountain.  Giant… rocky… peak-filled… volcanic… mountain!

How do we do this? How bad is it going to get? Is he going to ever have a normal life? Will he have friends? I wanted answers and I wanted them right then.

Can I tell you? Six years later, we still don’t know how to do this and we still don’t have even a fraction of the answers we were looking for. So we daily choose to the look to the One who does know and does have all the answers we need for today.

The piece above my front door says “What I’ve seen in the light, I will trust in the darkness” which is how the chorus of the song David wrote starts.

For some reason, every time I see or hear those words, I immediately think of Moses and the Israelites fleeing their captivity in Egypt. The Bible says in Exodus 13:21 that “by day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.” How wild must that have been for those people to see? Something tells me that the cloud they followed was no ordinary cloud, and that pillar of fire was no . . . well is there an ordinary pillar of fire?

What a perfect display of God’s character though! When it’s light outside, all is well in the world, and everything is hunky-dory, it’s easy to notice and trust in God’s grace and His kind provision. But in the darkness, when we can’t see the war being waged around us, and when we feel like things are crumbling, we get to see Him swoop in with a fury and show His power.

The same hand that gently guides us through those seasons when life is good is the same hand that fights for us when life is at its darkest.

But bringing those words to life is easier said than done, right? The reasons vary for everyone, but for me it’s because trusting God with our tough situation means relinquishing control of the process and possibly the outcome.

If you read my post on trust, then you know that my family is in the middle of trying to transition from Texas to the Nashville area. It was a plan that we felt the Lord setting into motion over the summer. We began making plans, believing things would happen quickly.  Yet we are approaching 3 months of our house sitting on the market and 6 weeks of me being unemployed. And each day, the struggle gets more and more real. Every morning I pray, “Jesus, please let today be the day that you release us to continue making plans to move. Let today be the day that you bring the right buyer for our home.” Then the night comes and I go to bed disappointed yet again that the day didn’t go as I thought it would. That’s when the mental battle begins.

“Maybe we misheard when we thought He was telling us to go. Perhaps I should have waited longer to leave my job. If I had, we wouldn’t have to worry whether we will be able to pay all our December bills. But NOOOOOO . . . I’m the idiot who quit my job without a back-up plan. And now everyone is looking at us like we’re nuts because who does that? And if this continues dragging out, God is under no obligation to take care of us because we’re the ones who messed up.”

The script differs from night to night but it’s usually the same general message.

Then, without fail, the Lord reaches down into the deepest crevices of my heart and reminds me of the same truths that got me through that day. That He will never leave me or forsake me. That if He is for me, no one can stand against me. That with Him all things are possible.

Just yesterday, one of my oldest and closest friends reminded me of a part in that same story in Exodus I referred to earlier. It takes place before the deliverance of the Israelites. Moses has just arrived back on the scene in Egypt with instructions from the Lord to confront Pharaoh, demanding in His name that he let the Israelites go. So in faith, Moses stepped out and did as he was told. And would you believe it? Pharaoh gave in and did as Moses requested. No fight, no resistance. And they all lived happily ever after.

If only it were that easy!

It actually didn’t happen that way at all. Not even close. In fact, it was quite the opposite. After Moses’ initial plea to the ruler, Pharaoh not only denied his request, he made the situation more terrible by increasing the workload of the Israelite slaves. To make matters worse, the very people Moses had come to help set free turned on him and blamed him for Pharaoh’s decision.

So Moses goes to the Lord with guns blazing at the end of Exodus 5… and I paraphrase… “Seriously Lord?! This is it? This was your grand plan? To have me come here and make a fool of myself? Don’t you see that I’ve only made things worse? That my people are still enslaved, that they hate me, and that you haven’t done anything you said you were going to do?”

The Lord’s response to Moses at the beginning chapter 6 is so sweet. I picture Him getting down on His knees like a dad would to get down on his son’s level. He puts His hands on Moses’ shoulders, looks him straight in the eyes and says (and again I’m paraphrasing), “My boy, don’t you worry about a thing. I have not forgotten the promises I made. I have heard the pleas of your people and, trust me; my heart hurts even more than yours to see what is happening to them. But a day is coming soon when you will see just what I am made of. I am waiting for that perfect moment when my glory will be at its fullest and my power at its finest.”

How my heart needs to hear that on a daily basis! That when things seem hopeless or I’m feeling like we made a mistake, I can trust that God is simply waiting until just the right time when His glory will shine the brightest. He hasn’t forgotten us. He is still at work, fighting for us when the darkness feels too close.

Thank you Lord, that when the struggle gets real, I don’t have to worry. I can know that the same God I see at work in the light is the same God working on my behalf in the dark. Help me in my moments of unbelief. Remind me of your promises that never lose their power.

    I'm a Jesus-follower who also have the privilege of being the wife to a guy named Stephen and the mom to 3 wild boys. My passion is leading other Jesus-followers in worship, pouring into the next generation, and discipling women.