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“It has been well said that ‘earthly cares are a heavenly discipline.' But they are even something better than discipline - they are God’s chariots, sent to take the soul to its high places of triumph. They do not look like chariots. They look instead like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments, unkindness.”
Hannah Whitall Smith
I get so tired of the fight.
More than physical fatigue, it's a soul-weariness that sits like lead in my chest; a thick, sticky tar coating the wings of my spirit.
Endless, ugly sniping and bickering. Tattling and accusing. Rage thrown in the face of my efforts. Grating futility. Disobedience and disrespect so flagrant that they scorn my very existence. Assaults on the dignity and worth of those I love, and of myself.
Often I feel defeated before the first five minutes have passed, and yet the whole day stretches before me. And the next day. And the next. And the years yawn like a chasm beyond them, their strength already sapped by the years that have gone before.
In the face of all of this, I am not supposed to merely survive. I am to love unselfishly, give devotedly, and rejoice in the Lord. His love and grace and mercy and joy are freely available to be my strength.
I believe that, at least at some level. But the lead still weighs heavy in my chest. Other than its weight, it's more like flint than like lead. Every time something strikes it, sparks of anger fly.
Here I stand, and it's such a strange place. Because I do know. I have tasted. God has shown me. All the many words I've written over the past year and a half have come from a place of sincerity inside of me.
The joy and peace which fill my quiet moments often seem to flee away when reality claws at them.
I know the joy and peace are real, but the pain feels more so. At least most of the time.
How can I find the strength to continue?
Part of the secret must lie in repentance. The Lord has been showing me that my stubborn, faithless self-reliance is the core of my heartache and the cause of my failure. He points out my self-pity, my bitterness, my self-centeredness, my pride. He shows me, but I'm slow to learn.
Perhaps another part of the secret lies in the truth that Hannah Whitall Smith expressed above. Perhaps I could bear the struggles more graciously if I stopped struggling against, and started striving toward.
Not against a child's autistic challenges, but toward God's best for him and for me.
Not against a child's bipolar excesses, but toward God's grace and blessing.
Not against the blows that pummel my soul, but toward the One whose grace is sufficient.
I am exhausted by against. I can't feel love when I'm against.
But toward…there's hope in that. And there room for more love in that. Not butting heads with others, but putting an arm around them as I set my sights upward. Inviting them to join me in this journey toward a closer walk with the One who is our life.
Oh Lord, please help me climb into that chariot!
This post was written in response to the "In Other Words" writing prompt for this week. To see other writers' posts on this week's quote from Hannah Whitall Smith, please visit Kathryn’s blog, Expectant Hearts.