If I’m honest with myself (and I usually am), life is hard. Parenting is hard! Being a human is hard. And being part of a family is hard. We gave up the pursuit of perfection a long time ago. Truth is, sometimes dark days outnumber the light ones. It’s the reality of life, and it happened just the other day.
We weren’t sure Thanksgiving Day was going to happen. At least not in our household. All hell was breaking loose. At one point, in the midst of tears and the exchange of harsh words across the dining room with one of our pre-teen daughters, Kristin lowered her head, choked back tears, and said, “My family is falling apart!” That was after an hour of text messages, phone calls, and voicemails from other members of our family. It was a mess.
There is no doubt in my mind that a very real and present enemy, unseen and usually unexpected, was attempting to stake a claim, not only on our Holiday, but on our entire family. It’s happened before and it will happen again.
Maybe this is a reality for you too. Maybe you’ve been dreading the Holidays. Perhaps your family goes through something like this on a regular basis. It could be a moment, or it could be a season. You might have read the title of this post alone, and identified, because the Mississippi River couldn’t hold all of the tears you’ve cried recently. Maybe you’re on the same roller coaster that we’ve found ourselves on.
You Can Do This!
Do you know why I know this? Because we can! We have more days where we feel as though we’ve been punched in the gut and then kicked in the face while we’re down. Have you ever experienced this? It’s real.
If you’re a regular reader of Confessions Of A Parent then you know that our family has been through the ringer. Parenting children with special needs has brought it’s fair share of trials and tribulations. Going through the ups and downs of foster parenting has challenged us and nearly worn us to the bone. The sometimes dark and lonely forest of adopting and raising children from difficult places has brought us to our knees at times.
But, we’re still alive, and we’re still moving. We wouldn’t change a thing. We won’t give up on our marriage, and we won’t give up on our children. We love our family, mess and all! We can do this. We may be barely hanging on at times, but we can do this. You can too! Fact is, you may be dreading this day. You may have anxiety right now that feels like someone standing on your chest. It may be due to that family member who always makes things tense. Perhaps one of your children has made a bad choice and your entire family is in an unheaval because of it.
Or it could be that your family has completely fallen apart and no one is coming to your house to celebrate Thanksgiving today.
Whatever it is, you can do this. And, you’re not alone. We are in the same trench, in a lot of ways, as you are! Keep your head up. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I know this, because I’ve found this. Even in our darkest hour, when all hell is breaking loose, we’ve found this. It’s called hope! And, it’s brought healing in so many powerful ways.
By the end of the night, the other day, we embraced one another, even through the smoke and fire of a big family fight. We did so because we love each other and we were not about to let the enemy win.
Life Is Hard, But It’s Also Good.
An hour ago, I was sitting in the front room of our house alone. It was early, the house was dark, and everyone was asleep. As I sat in my chair, thinking, reading, and praying, the thought crossed my mind- “Life is good.”
Sure, it’s hard. We’ve been shredded by this reality. Especially this year. But, it’s good and we have much to be thankful for. So, I bowed my head and gave thanks in that moment. I thanked the Lord for His providence, even through pain. I gave thanksgiving for the home I’ve been blessed with, the children who call me dad, and the woman who has never given up on me and never left my side.
When you really take inventory, life is good.
All hell might break loose in your house this year. It might in mine too. Heck, the mushroom cloud from the other day just settled. It might break loose because we’re human beings and we’re broken. Our children are human. Our extended family is human. We have to learn to live life together, in-spite of our failures. We have to learn to love one another through the hell that life can become at times.
Life is hard, but life is good.
On this day where we (in the U.S. at least) come together with family and friends to give thanks, ask yourself this question- “What am I truly thankful for?” It may not be easy to answer, but there is an answer.
“In everything, give thanks.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:18.
Question: In-spite of the difficulties of life, what are you thankful for? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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