Everything is Harder

My 6-year old had a hard day at school last week.

The reason for her struggle? The assistant teacher who was usually in her classroom that day was absent.

It may not sound like a lot, but it was to her. She’s on the autism spectrum, so any change is hard, of course. But let’s be honest, with a global pandemic stretching on and on…and on, these kids have faced a lot of change—and it doesn’t take much more to push them over the edge.

When I first received a message from the teacher about her behavior, I had a whole “mom talk” already prepared in my mind. But when she walked in the door, tired and defeated and sad, my heart broke for her. “Everything is harder when Mrs _ isn’t there,” she sobbed, and my talk went right out the window.

What she needed was a hug.

Our kids are resilient but we need to remember they are also still just kids—kids whose entire world has changed. They are going to have bad days—in fact, they’re allowed to! And in return, they need hugs and gentleness and a listening ear. They need our unwavering support, our unconditional love, and grace upon grace upon grace. They need to know they can feel what they need to feel, and that we will take it, absorb it. That’s our job as mamas, after all.

But it’s not just our kids that are experiencing these “everything is harder” days, is it?

We are, all of us, struggling through these difficult, uncertain times. Perhaps everything is harder because of strained or disconnected relationships, an impossible work/life balance, a struggling business, or financial worry. Perhaps its mounting disappointments, loneliness, anxiety, grief—or yet another unwelcome change.

So let’s save our sermons for another day and respond with love instead. Let’s offer kindness instead of condemnation; gentleness instead of judgement. And perhaps, maybe, help make that hard thing a little less harder to bear.

“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body”(Proverbs‬ ‭16:24‬, NLT‬‬).

Made in His image

1AD2AED8-764F-4428-A582-F0EE0A8840EEIt shouldn’t be this hard, should it? To just join in. To do what everyone else is doing. To just have fun. 🤷‍♀️

But there they are, standing on the sidelines, Reluctant, disengaged, fearful.

Just try it”, you urge, hopefully. “You might even enjoy it.”

The gentle encouragement turns to cajoling and pleading.  Barely masking your frustration, disappointment and sadness at what they‘re missing out on. At what you are missing out on.

But still they are resolute. Rigid. Unshakable. Instead of heeding your well meaning advice, they do the opposite. They retreat, withdraw, choose to do it THEIR way. And they are content.

And you worry. Needlessly. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:13-14.

God is not worried. For they are His. And He knows them—better than you know them, better than they know themselves. He knew them too— their differences and quirks and the things that set them apart, before they were even born — and He delights in them.

For they are not lumps of clay created to fit the mold of the world. They are clay in the hands of the master Potter. Created in the image of God, to reflect His glory and shine His light in a dark and broken world.

Perhaps you need the reminder today, as I do, to view them through a heavenly lens— and to be thankful.  For the small imperfectly-perfect unique little humans you are called to raise. Each one divinely appointed for their own distinct purpose. Each one designed to make their own indelible mark on the world, and the Kingdom of Heaven.

We are reminded of this over and over and still we make the same mistakes. Struggling to parent them in a manner worthy of our calling. But praise God, there is always grace. Every day a new opportunity to parent the children that have been given to us. To celebrate all that they are instead of rueing what they are not. And to be the parents He has called us to be, the parents they need us to be and truly deserve.