Life is hard. It’s not easy.
In the last several years I’ve experienced a lot of challenges in life. On December 28, 2009, my middle daughter, who was 12 years old, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. So in 2010, we learned how to live with that illness. In 2012, I spent a lot of my time caring for my mom who eventually lost her battle with colon cancer on December 31st of that year. In March of 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and endured 20 weeks of chemo and a double mastectomy. My final reconstruction was complete in January 2015, and we spent the rest of the year “getting back to normal.”
Every day I do my best to jump, because I trust the One who’s there to catch me.
Then in January 2016, my youngest daughter, at the age of 16, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and we spent over 70 nights last year in and out of the hospital. I remember thinking so many times, “I can’t wait for this year to be over and for 2017 to get here.” But, little did I know, January 1, 2017, was the worst day of my life. We woke up that morning to find our youngest daughter, our baby, had passed away in the night from complications with her disease. I will never be the same.
Life is hard.
What have I learned from these challenges, other than that life is hard? Believe it or not, it sounds so strange, even to my own ears, but I know more than ever that God is good, and that when we trust Him, He is faithful to bring strength, peace, and even joy when there’s no way on earth I could find it myself.
Recently, the Lord brought to my memory the early days at our neighborhood swimming pool. We spent so many hours there in the hot summers with three little girls. It was inevitable that there would come a time in each girl’s life that she would want to jump off the diving board into the deep end. It would always be the same. My big, strong 6 foot 8 inch husband would jump in the deep end and tread water first. Then, my little girl would tiptoe out to the end of the diving board.
Dad would say, “Jump!” But, she’d stand there looking down, looking behind her, considering the consequences and measuring the fear. He’d yell, “You can trust me. Daddy’s going to catch you.” I remember thinking how ridiculous it was for that little trembling girl to be scared when her large daddy was waiting right below her, and how that man in the water would NEVER let her drown in that water. He’d as soon give up his own life, before he let her go under.
The Lord reminded me of this scene I had witnessed over and over again and said to me, “I’m your Daddy. I will not let you drown. I DID give up my life so that you can live. So little girl, just jump and trust me.”
So, every day I do my best to jump. I do my best to move forward. Not because I’m not scared, not based on how I feel, but because I trust the One who’s there to catch me. I remind myself of Kingdom truths over and over…
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33
…then I live like it is true.
Traci Hogue is the director of women's ministry at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock. Read her bio here. This post is shared with her permission, reprinted from the IBC blog.