Saturday, February 8, 2014

We can do hard things.

Growing up, most things came easy for me.  I had great parents, and I even enjoyed being around them most of the time.  I was pretty good at school.  I made friends fairly easily.  I was good at music stuff.  I never played sports because I would have had to work at it and I would not have been very good after a little work or even a lot of work.  See, I just didn't do things that I couldn't be good at.

Then I got to college.  This "4.0 in high school" girl struggled in Chemistry her freshman year.  No matter how hard I tried and how much I studied, I could not get it.  I wasn't sure what to do as I had never come across something so difficult for me.  I was also severely homesick.  Our phone bill the first month I was there (I was 10 hours away from home, so calling was my only option and cell phones were not around yet!) was over $250.  My dad, bless his heart, called me and issued the ultimatum after that bill arrived!  I can remember riding in the back seat of some guy's little hatchback, on our way back to Milligan after fall break.  In those days, you just caught a ride with anyone heading towards the Midwest and had your parents pick you up at the Plainfield Cracker Barrel. As we were heading into the mountains, I was repeating, over and over under my breath, "Be still and know that I am God.".  For whatever reason, that was the scripture on my mind and I thought that if I just said it to myself enough times I might not hyperventilate and grab the steering wheel so the strange boy would wreck and I would have enough injuries that I would have to go back home.  Pathetic, huh?

Eventually Chemistry ended  and I pulled out a C for my final grade.  The next semester I got a B, and I can honestly say I've never thought about Chemistry again since then.  I grew to love Milligan as much as my own home, and I am convinced that those struggles made me more like Jesus than I would have been without them.

As I look at these boys God has given to us in light of my story, I am determined to allow them to have struggles.  I don't want to solve all of their issues and make life easy for them.  I want to be grateful for the struggles they encounter.  Certainly, I will pray that they will not be hurt in the midst of them, and certainly, I would rather they not have them at all and still become all they were made to be.  However, the older I get the more I believe that it just doesn't work that way.  The struggle IS the refining fire.  If we want to be refined, we just have to embrace the struggle.

I remain grateful for three boys who are becoming who they were created to be and for the man walking alongside me as we navigate these years.