The hardest times…

When those we love are hurting, and yet seem so far away, we want to reach out with arms, but often are left with only words to reach with since they are not here in our midst. Trying to keep my mind focused on the little one who is here, when others I love just the same are somewhere else…struggling…

I often think of how easy it is to praise when everything is wonderful. It seems the natural thing to do when on the mountaintops overlooking the beauty that stretches out as far as the eye can see. But in those times when we are deep in the shadows of the valley, it is then that I must remember to give praise to a God who walks with me there, through the depths. All of life presents me with opportunities to grow…to grow stronger, wiser, and to grow in faith. I must remember there is benefit to be gleaned from the struggle.

My mind continues to hold up for me the truths held in God’s Word. I am told to trust in Him, to rely on His sovereignty. I’m promised that those who hope and trust in Him will not be disappointed. That does not mean that there are no disappointments in life. It means there are no disappointments in Him because He never fails to give what He has promised. Every time the bottom seems to fall out of life, what I find I am left with is His unfailing love, His unchanging heart, His unbroken promises. People…people will disappoint me, but God will not. He alone is ever faithful.

I’ve become accustomed to waking in the night…wondering about what goes on outside of this sheltering place of comfort that I can call my own home. So seldom does a night slip by without many awakenings and this has been true for me as far back as I can remember. Not surprising really…after all I’ve been a mother since age 17 and the responsibility of mothering never ceases. I’ve learned to live endlessly “on-call.” In those dark hours, when I feel I’m the only one awake on our hill, I ask God to take care of it all…He knows…it is not necessary even to form the words, and I’ve done that on my knees before lying down the first time each night. How do people make it without prayer??? What a gift it is to me, what an anchor, a blessing, adding strength and calm in the midst of every storm.

Within the past week, I’ve found myself sitting beside two different ladies, both of whom I dearly cherish, and learned in a matter of moments without details that they too are hurting. Such a reminder to me again that what we see on the outside does not tell the whole story. Hearts are burdened, families are broken, minds are troubled, and compassion is greatly needed. As I always come back to when I consider all the hurt around and inside of me, the importance of kind, gentle words, warm hugs, and reassuring smiles.

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “we can do no great things, only small things with great love.” I bought a small picture with that inscribed on it many years ago, and it now hangs in Riley’s room where I can see it each time I open the shutters on his bedroom window. A wonderful reminder of what we can do and that the small things done in love make a difference. I hold onto that when I have moments to actually hold in my arms those who are not here every day. I place my feet firmly in the moment and embrace the gift of the time I’ve been given to love with abandon knowing that once an experience has been lived out in one’s life it can never be taken away.

Bonds formed in genuine love are not broken. Moments of pure communion with another soul continues to bless even when we find ourselves miles apart years later. I must hold onto the truth that tells me “love never fails” and remain anchored there when all else remains uncertain.

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