Thankfulness Challenge Week Two: Life’s Difficulties
Homeschool Thankfulness Challenge Week Two: Thankfulness for Life’s Difficulties
Have you ever said to someone, “My life has turned out exactly as I expected it to?”
I haven’t either.
Mama Never Told Me…
One secret of life that no one tells us is that no matter how much we dream, plan, and work, life does not turn out the way we think it will, moreover hardship and difficulty are very real parts of life. Some tough things we see on the horizon, and they don’t totally surprise us. Other times trouble can take us completely off guard, truly they can rock us to our core.
Sometimes problems hit us like a tsunami followed by additional challenges keep coming like waves in the ocean, conversely they can be like an unwelcome guest who drops in for a short stay and then moves along on. No matter how tough times present themselves in our lives they are never easy and above all, not comfortable or enjoyable.
The Peril of 2012
2012 was a gnarly year for my family. We were hammered by difficulties the entire year in other words, it felt like we couldn’t catch a break. When it appeared we were done with a problem, another completely unforeseen issue would rear its ugly head. They were all extremely stressful and detrimental to our finances.
In the middle of a freezing cold February night, we slept peacefully. We were jolted out of bed as our burglar alarm screamed at us, announcing the presence of an intruder. He tried to break into a window on the lower level of our house-right where all of our bedrooms were! Fortunately, he was scared away by the alarm. Unfortunately, it didn’t daunt him for good. Apparently, he was someone who lived near us because over the next 5 months, he tried to break in 26 more times, usually within 10 minutes of us pulling out of our driveway. We amped up our security system and installed multiple cameras, this was major expense number one.
To the Dogs
My husband was working nights while the battle with the burglar was happening. I was extremely concerned with how I would defend my kids by myself if this stranger successfully gained entrance while my husband was at work. We got a dog to help me defend the house in case the worst happened and I stood face to face with our nemesis. The dog ended up having a parasite. The vet bill to heal him was huge! To make it worse, this parasite was transferrable to humans! Our entire back yard where my kids loved to play was contaminated. We had to till all the ground in our sizable back yard and mix Borax into the soil repeatedly over months to get rid of the parasites in our grass and soil. This was major expense number two.
Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
In an effort to take a break and get some fun family we took a short, 2 day stay in another city. Unbeknownst to us, we brought home a group of stowaways from the hotel we stayed in. We delivered bedbugs right into our home. By the time was figured out what happened, we had a substantial situation on our hands.
We had to pack up our entire house. I would like to mention that have a serious book problem, and at that time our book collection totaled over 5000 books. Every book had to vacuumed and placed into plastic for storage during the treatment. Every piece of clothing and linen had to be washed and placed into sealed plastic bags or bins. All the furniture with shelves or drawers had to be emptied.
During the treatment everything had to be packed away & stored. We had one huge ziplock bag per person with 3 changes of clothes in it. My kids were 7, 5, and 3 at the time. None of their toys could be out. We had to wash all of them and get them into plastic tubs. All of the furniture had to be pulled off the walls for the entire treatment time. Thankfully, my family rallied around us and helped us with the laundering of every piece of cloth in our house and the subsequent packing into plastic.
The exterminators came every 2-3 weeks for 6 treatments-so this lasted over three months! These bugs set us back a lot of money and caused some serious stress in our lives! This was major expense number three.
It’s Just Transportation
Shortly after this issue was resolved, our van needed almost $3000 worth of repairs and maintenance. 2012 was proving to be a very expensive year. Chalk up major expense number four.
Once the van was repaired and we were rolling again not one, but two of my kids contracted pneumonia-in June! This was the nastiest, scariest sickness I had ever encountered. My oldest son had a high, horrible fever ringing in at 106 degrees. I had never seen a person so sick in my life- and this was my baby! We had to make multiple trips to the doctor, rounds of antibiotics, breathing treatments. I was providing around the clock care.
In true middle child fashion, my sweet number two son quietly came down with it too. He didn’t appear to be as sick as the oldest, but he was actually sicker. His oxygen wouldn’t budge from the low 80’s and he landed a 3 day stay in the hospital. This was exhausting, and scary, and when it was all said and done it was major expense number five.
There were a slew of other things that happened to our family in 2012, but these were the biggies that will be forever ingrained in my mind. The biggest thing I remember about 2012 was how God took care of us.
He was faithful in teaching me lessons in the scary, quiet, and dark nights. He brought divine comfort when I cried out to Him and told Him I couldn’t take anymore. When I was terrified, watching my kids suffer from sickness like I had never seen before, He assured me that He was holding them. He gave me peace. He blessed us with brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage us and pray for us- they even helped us financially. This was especially sweet during a murky time when I felt that I had no friends.
The End of My Rope
I walked out of 2012 closer to God and more solid and steady in my faith than ever before. If life had been easy that year I would not have gotten the very real experience to see how real and faithful God is. The world tells me that I am strong on my own, but in 2012 I learned first hand that my strength comes from Him. It takes difficulties and dropping to our knees to truly seek Him. This is where we find deep peace. When I am at the end of my rope, and I honestly say, “Not my will, but Yours will be done” I get a glimpse of heaven-and I promise you, it is glorious.
Since 2012 tough times still routinely happen. When they do, I take a deep breath and say to God “Here we go, I know you are with me, please show yourself to me in this. Give me wisdom to know what to do.” He is faithful, furthermore He takes care of me, every single time. Difficulties can be the hills or the valleys in life, it depends on how we choose to look at them. While it is true that hard times are not enjoyable, they most certainly can be some of the sweetest times in life because when God meets us we experience His love and glory first hand.
Here are some questions to challenge yourself with as you think through the difficult times in your life:
How has a specific time of trials, or one hardship:
- Specifically changed who you are for the better?
- Made you stronger?
- Helped you see that you are not alone in the world?
- Brought friends into your life?
- Shown you that God loves you?
- Grown your character