Soul Care Discovery: The journey – It Ain’t Always Easy!!
(Ain’t—-a slang contraction for is not, are not, am not, do not or does not—isn’t even an easy word for me to type. When I was growing up, my mom included “ain’t” in a quite lengthy list of words “nice” girls shouldn’t use. While I appreciate my mother’s insistence on minimal slang, the contraction ‘ain’t’ seems appropriate for today’s post.)
The last ‘Soul Care’ discovery post I wrote was celebrating the “easy” summer season through which my soul has been traveling. At the time, I reminded myself not to get too comfortable with this “easy” season. After several trips around the sun, life has shown this granny “easy” isn’t a perpetual phase.
Recently, (August 30, September 7 & 11) I reprinted a story written several years ago, which I entitled ‘An Extraordinary Journey.’ The story represents a time in my journey that wasn’t easy.
- I was trying to support my husband in his demanding, high stress career.
- I was working full time in a rewarding, well paying, but nonetheless, stressful and often difficult, environment.
- I was navigating parenting concerns related to living with a sweet teenager who at times struggled being a teenager, as well as missing an older daughter and precious grand babies who lived in California—a land too far away for my liking.
- I was struggling with chronic pain, difficult to diagnose because it manifested in one place in my body when actually, the source of the pain was elsewhere.
- But, possibly eclipsing all the other ‘not-so-easy’ circumstance for this woman who doesn’t enjoy driving, especially during winter, I was on the road each workday, commuting nearly two hours.
Nope, the journey – it ‘ain’t’ always easy.
Life isn’t always like a fun merry-go-round ride
Today, August 31st, as I write this blog post, I must stop periodically to accommodate a coughing fit. I’ve been struggling with a nasty ‘bug’ that despite antibiotics and codeine-laced cough syrup has been hard to squish!
Since I’ve been stuck at home recuperating the past few days, I’ve watched more television than usual, mesmerized by heart-wrenching scenes of the devastating disaster occurring in Texas.
While my heart has been warmed watching heroic recovery acts, I’ve also been at times disturbed and at times disgusted with the blaming and complaining, even though my crisis-management training taught me such is typical behavior whenever folks are bombarded with traumatic stress. It seems easier to blame than simply take responsibility for that which—at the time—I have knowledge to understand and control to manage.
I’m feeling sad about the recent death of a lovely, godly lady—a woman younger than I who was extremely diligent about self-care—and yet passed away after a valiant fight with a deadly disease.
Even though my daughters are amazing women—admirable in their life roles—I still have twinges of parental concerns, often wrestling with the best ways to support my girls at this stage of their journeys. Ahhh, once a mama, always a mama, I remind myself!
Then, there are grandparenting concerns! Three of our grandkids are navigating the uncertain season of young adulthood. Another will enter first grade with accompanying challenges related to learning and sometimes cruel peer pressures. Yet, another—a trying, transitioning two-year old—will be making a new day care adjustment. Sometimes, I’m tempted to worry rather than simply pray and trust God cares and loves each one a whole lot more than I do.
Several of my family members are struck with the reality every stage of life has a unique set of difficulties. As we support our mother in her nonagenarian decade, we see advancing age, diminishing strength and waning health make next-step decision-making an often scary, painful challenge.
‘Soul Care’ Practice when the journey ‘ain’t’ easy:
So, how does this apply to my ‘soul care?’ John Ortberg, in Soul Keeping, the book which challenged me to take a one-year ‘soul care’ discovery journey, reminds readers the word “easy” is used only one time in the Bible, which was when Jesus assured his followers he would always be willing to teach them, travel alongside them and help carry their burdens.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)
As I close today, I’m asking God will help each of us learn to share our burdens with Jesus—even those that ain’t easy…