"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

11/23/08

Life is Hard, But...

I've been doing a lot of looking back lately. A lot of reflecting on a certain time in my life.

Now, many of you know I'm an optimist. With this in mind, you might assume that I am remembering my "glory days," the wonderful times that came before.
Well, if you're assuming that, you're wrong.
As I work on my book Ailing Body, Nourished Soul, my thoughts are constantly returning to the struggles and hard times of the beginning of Marc's health issues. This has happened more lately, as the chapter I am currently working on covers his very first brain surgery. There was a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of anxiety in my heart on that very long day in August five years ago. And, in a lot of ways, writing about it can feel like living it over again.

But, do you know what else I am finding? I was not hopeless. I was not despairing. I had trust in more than just the doctor's expertise (and that is a good thing - but I'm not going there!)--I trusted the One who allowed this, and who would never fail me. Sure, I faltered, but I still knew--even if sometimes it was only a head knowledge--that He was in control.

This is something that was encouraging to me then--but perhaps is even more so now. This is an aspect of my struggle that I hope I can encourage others to hold on to.

Perhaps it is my perceptions, but it feels to me like I have a very large number of friends and acquaintances who are going through exceptionally difficult trials right now. I have several brothers and sisters in Christ on my prayer list dealing with cancer - one who is only 24 years old and has a wife and three young children. His cancer is extremely aggressive, and he is receiving incredibly harsh and frequent chemotherapy treatments, almost as a last resort. I have friends having back surgery, serious heart issues, chronic pain struggles, depression, and those dreaded unknown (to them, anyway) ailments. Others have lost family members--parents, siblings, spouses, children.

If five years (and counting!) of dealing with health issues has given me anything (and it has - more than you can possibly imagine), it has certainly developed in me a true empathy for those going through physical struggles. Especially, I must say, it has givern me a need to help them see the proverbial silver lining.

I don't say that lightly. I know what it is to be in the depths of fear. To wonder if your husband will be alive the next time you see him. But I also know that the Lord holds all of these things in His hands, and not one of them has happened without His permission.
And He is Good...all the time.
Just a month or so after Marc's second brain surgery, on one of those Sundays when he was too unwell to attend church, but was okay enough for me to leave him alone, I found myself sitting in a church pew, the bulletin on my lap. I noticed that my dear friend (and the pastor's daughter) was singing special music. Now, I love her voice, and knew I would be blessed. But the words to this song were just what I needed. I pray that all of you--especially those of you who are going through a difficult trial--are blessed.
Life Is Hard (God is Good)
By Pam Thum

You turn the key
Then close the door behind you
Drop your bags on the floor
You reach for the light
But there's darkness deep inside
And you can't take it anymore

'Cause sometimes living takes the life out of you
And sometimes living is all you can do

Life is hard, the world is cold
We're barely young and then we're old
But every falling tear is always understood
Yes, life is hard, but God is good

You start to cry
'Cause you've been strong for so long
And that's not how you feel
You try to pray
But there's nothing left to say
So you just quietly kneel

In the silence of all that you face
God will give you His mercy and grace

Jesus never said
It was an easy road to travel
He only said that you would never be alone
So when your last thread of hope
Begins to come unraveled
Don't give up, He walks beside you
On this journey home and He knows

Life is hard, the world is cold
We're barely young and then we're old
But every falling tear is always understood
Yes, life is hard, but God is good

FYI - the clip below is neither my friend nor the recording artist, but it is an absolutely beautiful rendition of this song (and the only version I could find on either YouTube or GodTube).


Life, my friends, IS indeed hard--but God is good. Don't you forget it.

Heavenly Father, thank You for being with me in a real, palpable day every day, but especially on August 13, 2003. Thank you for understanding every falling tear, and for giving me Your mercy and grace in the silence of all I feel and felt. I pray, Lord, that you would give this same blessing to my friends who are struggling, and anyone else who needs it. I pray that they would see Your goodness, no matter how hard their lives are right now. In the Name of Your Precious Son Jesus I pray. Amen.

6 comments:

  1. BEAUTIFUL. You are such an encouragement to me -- and speak my heart.

    Thank you.

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  2. Thank you so much for this uplifting word!

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  3. You have walked a difficult road and allowed God his voice in the matter. I stand alongside you and many others who have known the great provision and grace of his abundant love. May this Thanksgiving be filled with reminders of just how far you've come with God and in your faith, and may He continue to seed your life with the true witness of his presence and love for you.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    peace~elaine

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  4. Wow, this is a beautiful testimony, Joanne, and your heart to minister to others through your own trials is evident.

    If you don't mind, I'd like to put you on the list to be a "Lifesong in the Limelight" on my blog one Saturday. I really think that many of my readers would be so blessed and encouraged by your testimony. I know I am.

    ReplyDelete
  5. *gulp*
    I needed that, JoDear. Thank you so very much!!

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  6. Joanne,
    Thank you so much for such encouraging words. Yes indeed, "Life is hard, but God is good."
    How beautifully your words express your spiritual triumph over physical challenges.
    I look forward to reading more from your blog in the days ahead.
    God Bless,

    ReplyDelete

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