Last year, while I trudged (and sometimes dragged) myself through the struggles, I realized something that changed the way I waged the war. In the midst of the valley, I found myself fighting for joy. I found myself fighting to keep my hope in God. I was fighting to keep my thoughts on reality, firmly fixed in the truth, and I was fighting against sadness. This fight was so tiresome….and so, so hard.
But when I decided to stop fighting for hours at at time, I just sunk in defeat. I sat mad at God. I said, this is despair, this is worthless, this is the deep hole I’m staying in. And you know what? That was absolutely hard…giving in to the flesh will only bring hardness to an already bruised heart.
A child of God cannot despair forever, the light always breaks through. The weary heart is washed in grace, and the fighting begins again. Thus a realization began to take root in my heart, which eventually grew into my life.
Simply the question–
What kind of hard will you choose, Sierra?
You can sink yourself in despair. You can say, this is hopelessness. Defeat is my story! This is the end. This is my darkness forever, my grief continually, my loss for the rest of my life.
You can grab the truth and say, I’m going to fight. I’m going to choose joy. Every second, I’m going place my full hope in God. This is my light, my Healing is here, my life is complete.
And I realized with absolutely surety, that both choices were hard. But one was better. There was one that led to the little patches of sunlight that will always dot the valley. I could cripple myself by giving up the fight, or I could fight by giving up my heart to God. Both are difficult, because that’s what a hard season is….choosing between two hards.
But one hard leads to God and His sure healing, and the other leads to self-destruction and deep, deep sorrow. In the midst of a dry and desolate valley, I asked myself–
What kind of hard will you choose?
Even so, we can’t zip up the Christian life and package it in a pretty white box. Because I have and I will choose the wrong hard. I will choose the place of despair and hopelessness. I will choose to give up, and I will live in discouragement and joylessness. There is no pretty white box for a Christian, there is only grace. Grace upon grace! Grace from a God who abundantly pours out love over His children.
This is my story, this is my song!
A God who comes for me even when I don’t believe He will. A God who has never abandoned me, and has always clothed me with the armor of His promises for my daily fight! A God who will make me uncomfortable until my heart returns to Him. A God who has made LIGHT my song and HOPE my story.
So, this crippled body rises from those hard, empty ashes and falls into this great grace. There is full forgiveness of the heart, and radical change in the life.
I begin again.
I choose the other hard.
I choose the hard that fights for joy, for hope, for completeness in Christ.
And this is the hard that doesn’t stay hard.
I can confidently say that from this hard, I have found rest and healing. It is almost a year later since I asked this question of myself…and today, it’s much less about the hard, and much more about my heart in God. It’s much less about the struggle, and more about what God’s doing within me…and what He may do with me and despite me.
But like I’ve said before, there’s no pretty white box for a Christian. Just grace. Over and over and over again. But every time I fall hard (and there have been so many), God changes the script from desolation to delight in Him. This is life with God!
What kind of hard will you choose?
The kind that leads to more hard? Or the kind of hard that fights to stay near to God, because nearness to God is where real healing begins and the best stories unfold. You will be whole without the holes. You will be complete, though it looks entirely different than you thought. Your life will change so fully that all your delight and all your desires are in your unchanging God. Your joy will be full, though your struggles remain broken.
And when it’s not pretty and overflowing with triumph? There is grace upon grace upon grace. And a God who comes after you…and your heart more ready to run full into the shadow of His wings!