Within the last few months my life has seemed easy, if not pleasant. I have been more connected to my kids than I have been in years and the fog of bitterness and anger and anxiety and depression under which I was living for so long seems to be clearing. I have asked myself why. I don't really have answers.
Looking at the circumstances, the past months haven't been the greatest. We have a son who was in jail for most of the summer and who called a few times simply to spew anger on us. We have an adult son who is doing very well but we haven't heard from him more than a couple times all summer and he only lives a couple hours away. We have another adult son who is living off of his girlfriend's family and while he got a job, it only lasted for a week. We have a beautiful daughter and a precious granddaughter that we have only seen two or three times all summer. We have a daughter who nearly crossed over to the wrong side of life this summer -- a very close call -- drinking, hanging out with the worst crowd ever. We have a son who was arrested for shoplifting and who smoked pot for the first time. I was knocked to the floor and bruised both of my arms by one of my sons. Doesn't that sound like a great summer?
But the reality is that something has changed in me. I am daring to believe that through all of this I have experienced that progression -- the suffering - perseverance - character - hope idea from Romans 5 where we get through tough things and come out stronger and more resilient.
In reading the stories of some of my friends, I almost feel guilty for being positive and determined to live victoriously. I know that I do not have their lives, but I am convinced that they, too, because they are strong and are doing what God called them to do, will come to a point -- or have seasons of their journey -- where they can feel this sense of confidence. It is an assurance that God is going to see us through and that there WILL be days where we can feel that all is well.
If you want to read the rest of this "sermon" you can head to my Scripture blog to read about how the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
I am hanging on to the hope, not just for me, but for all of us, that if we persevere to the end .... whatever that end looks like... we will have days of joy and contentment that are unexplainable.
Tomorrow I may have to report that I am not feeling that things are easier. Everything could fall apart with a phone call or a text right now -- of that I am well aware. But I am not attempting to hang on to facts or the reality of past experience, but to hold on to hope because it has no data.
The past couple days the atmosphere in our home has been amazing. There is a calm sense of cooperation. The kids are busy and involved in positive things and I am so glad and happy to be a part of it.
Maybe this suffering - perseverance - character - hope progression isn't a progression after all. Maybe it is a cycle. If so, I'm determined to be thankful and happy during the days when I am at the hope part. And while I am here and I am feeling strongest, I'm going to use any extra energy I have to pray that YOU will get there. And I truly, truly believe you will.... whoever you are....wherever you find yourself on that continuum today -- whether it be suffering, persevering, or developing character. One of these days you are going to round the bend and there it will be, sure as day. Hope.