Monday, September 1, 2014

Hard Things

I've been engaged in an online women's Bible study for the last several weeks. Right now we're about a third of the way through a study on Hosea. And this post has really left me thinking about a lot. So much so that I decided to blog some of my thoughts just to get them out somewhere.

The general gist of the post is that God sometimes asks us to do hard things, but they're the right things. Just like He asked Hosea to take Gomer, a prostitute, as his wife. I recommend at least reading the post if not digging into Hosea for more about it. Anyway, it was the right thing for Hosea to do, even though it was a hard thing. And as the post puts it, "God never said the right thing would be the easy thing."

So it got me thinking about what hard, but right, thing or things God may be asking of me. I'm fortunate in that I'm not someone struggling with abuse or addiction or hard relationships or bitterness or any number of other hard things that some women out there are struggling with and that God may be asking them to deal with right now. The volunteering I do at church is not hard for me (I play with babies). My job is not hard for me (there are individual days that are hard as a teacher, but I don't wake up dreading work each day). God is not calling me to sell everything and move to a third world country. Or to take an unfaithful spouse. Or to adopt a child. Or any number of hard things He asks of people (knowing the end of the story is worth it). In fact, other than this pregnancy being hard on me physically (um....yeah, let's just say I never knew one could need physical therapy during pregnancy to help ease pain), my life is relatively easy right now. And maybe that's why I've been stewing over this one.

As I've read and re-read it and prayed about it, the theme of the post and of Hosea started to become more apparent and relevant in my situation though: LOVE. The more I've prayed about it, the more God has brought to mind people in my life that are hard to love. And He's put it on my heart that right now, maybe the hard, but right, thing I need to do right now is just keep loving them. Even when I don't necessarily want to make time to listen to them vent or complain (whether or not they willingly do the same for me). Even when I feel like they've insulted me (which brings up some forgiveness issues, but that's for another post). Even when I feel like they are making poor choices (I mean, who am I to judge). Because a little love can go a long way.

And with whom do I need to start? The person on the forefront of my mind is my daughter. And before you think "how could she not love her daughter?" you need to know this: I would take a bullet for her, push her out of the way of traffic, and sacrifice everything for her (and for her brother and her sister). I straight up love that girl like I never thought it was possible to love another human being. But sometimes....she is hard to love. She is strong-willed like me, but unlike me she is not a people-pleasing recovering-approval-addict. Which means that where I tried to be a leader at my school and wanted to be teacher's pet, she could actually care less whom she impresses. Which meant that as a kindergarten student last year, there were some notes home and phone calls about outbursts and impulse control and things that I took personally as a teacher myself. "Why can't she just pull it together like I did?" was the question on my mind on those days. In other words, "why can't she just be more like me?"

Because she's not me. She is exactly how God made her. And sometimes when her personality and my personality collide, she can be hard to love. She can be frustrating to love. But she is oh so worth loving. So I'm trying to throw out the window all of my preconceived notions of how I think she should be based on who I was and just love her for who she is right now. Mothering is a hard thing. Loving your kids can sometimes be a hard thing. But they are right things. God never promised the right things would be easy.

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

P.S. I promise I love my kids something fierce. But I really wanted an honest post. There are a lot of days when my kiddos are easy to love-- we had a lot of them this summer. And this school year has started off much better than last year for my sweet C. But this reminder to keep on loving her even when it's really hard to do it was much needed as we move forward. And as I work on loving her when it's hard, I hope it'll spill over to loving other people in my life when loving them is hard too.

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