In fact, when I’m struggling, “love” is not the word that comes to mind at all. Frustrated, irritated, about-to-lose-it.. these are words that more accurately express how I feel.
I struggle when my family is coming at me from all sides….!!!! (Just thinking about this makes my blood pressure go up.)
I struggle when I don’t know what to say to my husband.
I struggle as I flail-about trying to understand how to manage our money and failing over and over.
I struggle when anxiety overtakes my day and I fight to stay focused on one thing long enough to complete it.
These are regular, boring, everyday problems that lots of people “struggle” with. These are the little things, I suppose. They aren’t even the heavy, nasty stuff like cancer diagnosis, or lost babies, or falling-apart marriages. This list is really aggravating but it doesn’t even include the traumatic, abusive childhood someone desperately wants to put behind them or the addiction that follows the addict.
I do not love struggles.
I hate them.
When Hearts at Home said that this month’s blog hop would be about Love Your Struggles, the first thing I thought of was that I don’t.
Despite this, right away I saw where HAH was coming from with this painful suggestion. I’m not going to speak for you. I can’t say how awful and useless your struggle might be. But I will speak for myself. And it turns out, that there are a couple of things I have gained at the end of a fight.
I found out I can survive way more than I realized. I lived through that struggle and even though at the time my heart was being torn in two, I’m amazed to say that healing happened. Something sewed it back together and I don’t really understand nor can I explain it. But it happened. And now I know what healing looks like.
A few more things make sense now. The way people act. The baggage they carry. The perspective I just couldn’t wrap my brain around. Some of those circumstances are accessible to me now. And that knowledge makes it easier to love others, who were harder to love before.
Now I know what prayer does. Never before had I felt wrapped up in the prayers of others, like that. I had never leaned so heavily, when I simply could not pray for myself. It wasn’t until that struggle that I experienced a love and power that moved me to do what I had to do. And I knew prayer was the mechanism for what seemed impossible at the time.
If I hadn’t struggled that way, I wouldn’t know my God so intimately. It’s like with a good friend. When you have been in the trenches together – dealt with something heavy and significant and threatening – you come out with a powerful connection. When we are backed into a corner with no one to seek out but our God – we find out more about Him than we do sitting in our cozy chair wearing fuzzy slippers. God was there with me. He didn’t give up on me. He didn’t abandon me. He filled me up with His strength and His wisdom so I could say what needed to be said, and do what needed to be done.
Jacob is halfway through his life when he meets God and wrestles with him. Jacob wrestles with God and won’t give up, trying so hard to hold his own. (Genesis 32) In the end, God blesses Jacob. Jacob is rewarded for his struggle. Does he limp out of the fight? Yes. He is injured and his gait is the proof of this. Did he win? Depends on your definition. Does he better understand himself and his God? No doubt.
I hate my struggles. But I love the person who comes out the other side. I can’t help but cherish the wounds and the scars that prove my existence and my survival. I can’t stand that there has to be a fight; but I treasure the new perspective, the mountains God has moved within me, and the opportunity to comfort others who might struggle as I have.
I’m not asking you to love your struggles in this moment. But I will pray that at some point you can find some use in the wisdom you’re gaining in the midst of the fight. For now, if you are struggling, persevere with the knowledge that you are not alone.