So many people that I love are suffering right now in different ways. Suffering can break us, can’t it? But it doesn’t have to break us away from God. It forces secrets out in the open. It’s so darn uncomfortable, and it hurts. It hurts really bad, kinda like salt in a wound actually. But even in the deepest, darkest moments, you aren’t alone. Honestly, you aren’t. God is there, to listen and bind up those wounds. They’ll need time to heal, and that’s really unfortunate because we want to move on quickly, to heal completely, but sometimes the things we are overcoming are miracles in the waiting. In the time that passes slowly, and in the changing of our hearts in the process of the suffering–well, what if that is the miracle?

Some of the hardest things in my life, like my dad almost dying from a heart attack when I was in middle school, like moving all over the country growing up, from school to school, always being the new kid, achieving A+ grades in every class and grade at school, were hard. They were. And then there was adult life. Like paying bills we couldn’t afford, working through the first years of marriage with a bitter chip on my shoulder from all of the expectations of what a magical marriage should look like and why mine didn’t fit that mold, and then finding out I had Multiple Sclerosis. Life has dealt me some really hard things. And although I’ve suffered greatly at times, haven’t we all fought our own battles? I bet you carry some deep wounds deep inside. Some of them are known to others, but most of them aren’t. Unless you think hard about those things that have shaped you, that have formed your character, and have made you into who you have become, you may not appreciate all of the ways God has held you along the way, and used those things to shape you into who you are, into who you’re still becoming. And my goodness, I bet it’s beautiful.

You know what else life has given me? A God who understands it all. A God who suffered much worse than me, and he didn’t ever have to. A God that chose to willingly suffer for me, to die for me, and still chooses to lead me daily in my small, insignificant choices and trials, and patiently teaches me how to lean him and trust him with his perfect plan. Let me be honest, rarely does a “perfect plan” ever look perfect. In fact, I can think of zero times ever that the plan was actually perfect and lined up to what I was expecting in my head, but looking back, I always appreciate the road these plans took to get to their final destination. God gives me hope in every season, and he gives me love in every situation. Just enough to get by actually. Just enough to remember his love and grace. Just enough to make it through the suffering on the rainy days, and just enough to remind me to appreciate the sunny ones!

I’ve never appreciated more all of the hard times, because they’ve changed my heart in the most beautiful ways. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I have so much more grace than I did 10 years ago. I have so much more hope for the future, so much more thankfulness and patience in the everyday moments, and so much more love for people I don’t fully understand. We are all battling to be the best version of ourselves, to cope with the choices we have to make daily in the world. We’re all battling, so let’s extend grace and love each other through it, not battle each other in it.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Psalm 34:8