Our Easter weekend was a mix of emotions. It was wonderful in many ways… We held nightly devotionals teaching our children about the life of Christ and His final week leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. This was extra special to me. I’ve always loved reading in the New Testament about His life and teachings while He lived on this earth, but I learned more this time around and it felt so good to share that with my kids. We were also happy to find out that Grandma and Grandpa were going to be able to spend some time with us over the weekend! One of the many perks of living back in Arizona is getting to have quick day trip visits with some of our family. And then I felt pretty spoiled when I bumped into some beautiful pink peonies (my favorite!) at my local market on Saturday. So many wonderful things happened over the weekend.
Easter night came around and I heard some news from a family member that hit me hard. Things are still fresh and unfolding so I’m not able to share what exactly is going on, but I do feel the need to write about the real and the hard and the nitty gritty parts of life.
I’ve been talking with some of my closest people recently about life and how all of us carry our own burdens and have our own struggles. Some of them are right out there where the world can see them, and some of them are so personal no one will ever know. I’ve experienced both of these struggles. Neither one is easier to carry. And sometimes they come back and rear their ugly heads when we least expect them to. But I know that as I’ve been through the crushing weight of my own experiences, I’ve learned to have compassion toward others. I’ve learned that no one is given a “free ride” in life where they experience things pain-free or struggle-free. No matter how someone appears on the outside, I promise you they have their own battles.
It’s been 2 1/2 years since my husband was diagnosed with cancer and 2 years since he’s been cancer free. When Allen was diagnosed, I was struggling to know how to climb the mountain placed in front of us. I didn’t want to do it. Everything in my body told me that this didn’t make sense. That we couldn’t really be asked to do something so terribly enormous. He was healthy. We were young. We had a new baby. 3 other small children. It was a burden I couldn’t carry by myself. If I tried to take it on completely alone, I would be crushed by the fear and weight of it all. I remember feeling so scared. All of the “what ifs” flooded my mind. What would I do? How could we go on? What about my kids? Their daddy was their whole world. We all needed him to be okay. Yet I knew what I was supposed to do. I knew what I had been taught. I was supposed to have faith that it would all be okay. I was supposed to trust in God and His will, and match my will to His. It felt impossible at first. But the overwhelming fear left me no other option. I had to choose faith. Faith that no matter the outcome, we would all be okay. We would not be left alone. He would not abandon us, but would buoy us up to help us endure the hills and valleys that were just in the distance. And He was there every step of the way.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on the different stages and horrible trials we all face. I like to think of ourselves as flowers blooming. As we experience things in life, we bloom even more and discover layers upon layers of who we are and who we are destined to become. We discover more of ourselves as we grow through our struggles, and if we turn to Him, we also discover more of who He is and our relationship with Him. So no matter what you’re facing either silently or in the public eye, I hope you bloom in His way. I hope you allow your struggles to make you better. Stronger. More compassionate. Less judgmental. More forgiving. More loving. More humble and teachable. And I hope through it all, you turn to Him. He is the way, the truth and the light. And He is the One who can make our burdens light.