Do you ever find yourself wondering: does life get easier? Waiting for a child to be potty trained, a teenager to act less like a teenager, a rough patch in your marriage, in your friendship, to iron itself out? Listen carefully to the conversations around you and you will quickly hear so many people hoping, waiting for life to get easier. I wrote a post to that woman waiting because she is me.
I sat directly across from her as we played catch up on the last year since we had seen each other. Time had not been kind to her and she was honest in her assessment of the past 12 months. Health challenges had her laid up for part of the year. Doctor’s appointments after injuries seemed endless. There was another surgery and it was more invasive than she signed up for, pervading her heart, her spirit, her mind, as much as it did her body.
You’ve been there, right? Speed bumps that are much larger than you had thought. The whole car suddenly jolts.
Compounding, it had all depressed her in so many ways. She was bearing the weight, physically, mentally, spiritually, a constant reminder of a tough year.
But she was hopeful.
In 9 short months, she would be retiring. Full-time employment was taxing at her age and she was excited for the future. Life was finally about to get easier. That weight she had been wanting to lose for a year? She would finally lose it. Her health, her focus, peace was on its way in a little less than a year.
She was waiting.
Her words were familiar to me. Nearly half her age, I have not struggled much with health challenges, but her waiting, her hope just around the corner, an easier life a little less than a year ahead, it was so very familiar.
I have waited through long pregnancies and ones that didn’t turn out as I had hoped.
Waited for the terrible twos to pass, the terrible threes as well.
I have waited for one to be out of diapers. And another. And another…
I have waited for them all to buckle themselves in. Because easier would finally arrive.
It’s tantalizing to think ahead about how easy it may all become. For as much hope as I have bottled in that jar, you would think my life would be a vacation by now.
But somehow, it’s not. Parenting a 12-year-old comes with challenges as does a 9, 7, and 5 year old. Being 37 is tough somedays. We have bills and deadlines. There are things that scare me and questions I don’t have answers to. There are troubles I am trying to avoid here and worries I’m trying to conquer.
In this land of easier, I’m suddenly awaiting a new easier just down the road.
Do you see where I’m headed here?
I have no intention of shooting down our balloons, filled with the helium of hope, but what if we are all waiting for something that isn’t even real, isn’t even true?
That woman waiting on retirement might crash into more health challenges next month. She might struggle with identity after she leaves the workforce or be overwhelmed by opportunities to serve her church and community. She may be lonely or distracted and there is a good chance that she will need to find her footing, readjust when she steps into the world of retirement.
I don’t mean to be a raincloud on the adventure ahead of her. I’m sure there will be good there and some parts may indeed be easier, but if time has taught me anything, it is that every single age comes with its own set of hard, its own challenges.
Good, but different. Not necessarily easier.
Does life get easier?
I’ve watched a somewhat older friend of mine trudge through the years of parenting adult children. She carefully balances the tug of making time for each child across the miles that distance them and offers countless prayers for their careers, their decisions, their futures. At times their decisions are far from her choosing, but never far from her heart.
From what I can tell it’s not easy.
I’ve watched my own mother endure the years of aging parents. She makes tough decisions about care and stays off guilt while my grandmother’s mind drifts away slowly and quietly to far off places.
From what I can tell it’s not easy.
So what options are we left with? Rather than awaiting easier, there are a few things we can do right in the middle of our here and now.
We beg to see Him here
Right here, right now. David requests this boldly.
Your God has commanded your strength; Show Yourself strong, O God, who have acted on our behalf. Psalm 68:28 NASB
Are we bold enough to ask that of God? Are we brave enough to listen for Him?
I need to see You hear You, here God. I don’t need easier; I need you.
We wait on Him, not on easy
Isaiah 40 is such a beautiful reminder of this. Verse 28 reminds us that He does not faint or grow weary.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless…But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (v. 29-31)
Do we believe this, friends? We need not wait on life getting easier. Our strength, our renewal, our endurance is found in waiting on Him.
We understand and appreciate the seasons
In his wisdom, Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 that our lives will be full of seasons – times of laughter and dancing, times of building up, and times of peace. We love those, don’t we? But he also notes times of silence, war, and weeping.
He has a purpose for all of them; He uses it all.
Are we brave enough to allow Him, willingly – to acknowledge the season we are in, be it difficult and trying or abundant, and stand firmly in it with our arms wide open trusting that He can and will use it all for our good?
This right here, this is brave, friends.
We choose a stubborn gratitude, stubborn praise
I just love David’s heart throughout the Psalms – his honest hurt, frustration, lament, and continual praise. In chapter 59 he speaks of his enemies surrounding him and growling like dogs. What a picture, right? But he resolves stubbornly as he concludes the chapter.
“But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for you have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, my God of mercy. (Psalm 59:16-17)
Do you hear David bossing himself around here – bossing his mind, his heart, forcing praise?
Amidst growling dogs or thoughts of easier days, I want this to be my stubborn resolve – gratitude and praise to the One who is my strength.
Psalm 78 recounts the plight of the Israelites – their struggles, their complaining, and God’s provision. Again and again.
The Psalmist reminds us continually:
“…they refused to walk in His law and forgot his works.” (v.11)
“…They did not remember His power.” (v.42)
God provided for them again and again yet they failed to remember. And so do I.
Verse 41 of that same chapter says, “Yes, again and again, they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.”
In our failure to remember who God is, what He has promised, and what He has already done, we limit God.
Does that blow your mind like it does mine?
The temptation is real and I know it as much as anyone, friend. There are so many times I wish for easier days. I wish for easier moments and let my eyes drift ahead, down the road a bit to a time when kids or marriage or life might be easier.
But I don’t ever want to fail to see God in the here and now. I don’t want to limit the work He is doing in me amidst my mundane and messy. More than easier, I want renewed strength and stubborn praise here, now. I want to remember all He has done, believe in all He is doing, and fight to see Him in this very season.
So I’ll fix my heart to keep bravely asking for more of Him here. Today. Join me?
This piece originally appeared at KatieWestenberg.com, published with permission.