The Beautiful Struggle

Posted by Heather Conrad at 9:27 PM

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just wanted to give a shout out to my Creator this evening! He orchestrated such a beautiful day for our family. It began with a morning run. I awoke a bit early, actually refreshed, grabbed my Nano, and hit the streets. I witnessed the most gorgeous sunrise today, colors strewn across the sky due to the thick haze. As I rounded a bend, a monologue by Kirk Franklin rang in my ears. He mentioned two words that really struck me - beautiful struggle.

It wasn't so much the two words individually, but the two put together that got me pondering... How often do we avoid struggle, run from the thought of pain, discomfort or inconvenience? My three children are at a point in the year where siblings arguments flair up easily and frequently. After numerous (and I do mean numerous) discussions and problem solving sessions have taken place, I've reached the point of avoidance. Anything to quickly correct the issue or even avoid it all together are my first thoughts. It's a natural reaction, it's human, it's flesh. In my discussion with Jesus this morning, I thought, perhaps, I needed to ask for a perspective change. The struggle, can it be a beautiful thing? We all know the answer, we've experienced it before... the good that comes from the testing.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:2-5

I've noticed a bit of an inward struggle myself this week. For me, a struggle lies dormant inside, yet manifests itself in an outward fashion. I find myself short, snippy, impatient with the ones I love the most. I recognize it, let it go a few times, even ask for forgiveness, yet it shows up again and again. In my heart to heart this morning, I had an opportunity to process. As it mentions in James, I simply asked for wisdom. He simply answered me so beautifully, so personally. I returned with such a renewing in my heart. Am I "fixed"? Nope. I screwed up again nearing bedtime. Yet, it doesn't discount the beauty of this morning, and any other "morning" for that matter. As a child myself, I've crawled into his lap, asked for forgiveness, and received peace.

The day continued with some great family time walking in his creation at Hocking Hills, a beautiful cave, and almost-waterfall, not too far from home. What a joy to be able to "show" our children and talk about our Creator. After a great dinner and some evening hoops in the backyard (of which I was able to beat both "boys" at 3-point shoot-out :), we cooled off and settled down for a little r-n-r. As I cuddled with the kids, flippin from gymnastics to little-league games, I reveled in the beauty that he affords us in each and every day. Do we look for it? Do we listen? Do we watch? Do we talk?

Jesus, I'm looking forward to another gift in the form of tomorrow. Good-night.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for a refreshing perspective. I've needed an eye-opener this week! You are such a role model and I'm so thankful for your blog! For someone like me, who is surrounded by atheists, God speaks to me through the Christian blogs that I follow quite often! Thanks again! You're amazing!

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! I have been in a bit of a struggle myself for the last couple of months. I love the words "beautiful struggle" though. It does seem to provide a much needed shift in perspective. Thanks for the beautiful reminder! You are a blessing!

Anonymous said...

I had to come back and tell you this: God is so good! You'll never guess what the sermon was about this morning at church! lol! Beautiful struggles! He preached about how we need to be thankful in times of hardship because God is going to make the ugliness of struggle, absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful! How awesome is that! I was so excited when he started preaching on it. I couldn't wait to come back and tell you! Thanks again for the post! ;)

amykat said...

Heather, I love your words here. I can identify, especially because I saw myself in your reactions. Yet I allow myself sometimes to get to the point where I regret my reactions to my 3 year old!
This evening, in fact, on my way home from work, I had to remind myself how God responds to me as a parent.....and I asked Him for the grace to treat my son how He treats me. Whew. What an eye opener that was!

mardeed said...

I LOVE this passage in James! These words truly changed my perspective on my life, years before my 'special' children arrived. It is amazing that God uses not only the good times but, maybe even more so, our struggles and stresses to pull us closer to Him and to reaaly show us His love. Thanks Heather for sharing your perspective!