Real life is hard sometimes. Whether you’ve battled cancer, suffered through chronic illness, lost a loved one, faced financial struggles, marital problems, parenting challenges, addiction, abuse, you name it…. life is just plain hard.
This world is broken, but we have been planted in the midst of it. Planted to live. Planted to grow.
We were not made to just survive these years that we have been given here on earth. We were created to thrive.
But there are indeed those season of life, that seem to be more about surviving than thriving.
The past 2 1/2 years have been that for our family in many ways.
We lost a brother and friend. It shook us to the core. We are still reeling from the pain, the irreplaceable loss.
Our son was born and he was very sick. Harder than words can express.
There are so many things in life that we don’t understand, things that we will never understand, things that just don’t make sense, can’t make sense even if we try. And yet, He is sovereign, and He loves us through it all. Even when we can’t see Him, don’t hear Him, and we have a hard time knowing how to connect with Him. He is there. Loving. Watching. Waiting.
The other day as I thought about my sweet Mattie, there was this twinge of deep pain and a pure lack of understanding. Once again I found myself wondering why he has had to endure such struggle in his sweet life… he certainly doesn’t deserve any of it. But in the midst of it all, I was reminded of how he has changed me, how much I have learned, how walking with Mattie through the valley of the shadow of death has shaped me. I though about how many lives he has touched, some lives that have literally been spared from death because of his tiny testimony.
I look at the joy in his eyes and watch his tiny chest shake when he giggles. There are times, I just sit and stare, in complete awe that this child who is bound to machines, is full of joy and loving his life. He doesn’t even know how much “better” it could be. How much better I think it should be. Long for it to be.
And I find myself shaken back to the place of knowing that in the midst of all I do not understand in this life, I serve a God who knows all and leads me by the hand. I can rest in that. He knows me. He leads me. He is good.
Mattie reminds me every day to breathe in the joy and mystery of life even when what surrounds me often screams out to me, imploring me to quit, sink, give in to despair.
Mattie reminds me to breathe. Breathe deeply.
He reminds me to hope. He reminds me to trust. He reminds me to throw my head back and laugh.
This photo was taken after Mattie’s first heart surgery. This reminds me that there is always JOY in the midst of the journey, if we choose to embrace it.