Olivia may have mono.
The thought made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe I was even thinking it, let alone bringing my daughter to the doctor because of it. I thought for sure that the doctor was going to think I was crazy for even considering the thought.
But the symptoms were the same as Charlies. Same exact. No, I still can’t fathom my 16-month old having mono. That shouldn’t happen. It is April, and we should be playing outside at the beach, not trying to make sure she doesn’t come into contact with friends.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Luckily, she didn’t have mono, just some other viral thing that wasn’t contagious (and also an ear infection). But how often does this mirror our lives? I want my life to look like Barbie’s Dream House. I loved Barbie’s when I was younger. I didn’t have the Barbie dream house, but I wanted it. They are sold with bright colors, clean bedrooms, smiling faces all the time, and babies that don’t get sick. Barbie’s Dream House isn’t sold with the challenges of life, but the challenges come and well… my baby gets sick.
We all have our own Barbie Dream House, and it is time that we break that house down. We are never promised a life free of challenges, and usually the challenges come at the least ideal time. In reflecting over the times in my life that wouldn’t fit in the category of “Barbie Dream House” (like that time I wanted a relaxing vacation with my husband we got a category 5 hurricane…. yeah), I realized that those times, those challenges have been a blessing. It has been a blessing that so many times the life that I have dreamed up has not come to pass, because the path that He had before me was so much more than I could have even thought to dream.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Consider it joy when you go through trials? Is that a joke?
No, it’s truth. Because I can say that even during some of the most challenging times in our lives, I can look back in gratefulness because God is good, even when the road has been hard. The past few months have been hard, emotionally hard. Back in February I felt like God placed on my heart to pray for endurance and perseverance. I was hoping that I was wrong about needing to pray for that, because usually when you pray for endurance, challenges arise.
And they did, I just didn’t expect the thing that I would need to endure was my emotions. I had more anxiety than I have had over the past 3 years, I was telling my friend yesterday that there was a time that I wondered if I would ever come out of the emotional stress I was feeling. Yet, I can look back and see that God was working despite how I was feeling, and really did things that He could only do regardless the condition of my emotional status.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So how do we break down our Barbie Dream House’s in order to be prepared for the challenges in this life?
Know– Challenges will come your way, it’s coupled (it is) with His promise to take heart, because He will overcome the world.
Prepare– Maybe you are not in a season that is full of challenges, take this time to strengthen yourself in His presence. This time will prepare you when challenges arise.
Pray– Pray for what He places on your heart. If He leads you to pray for endurance, pray for endurance. If He leads you to pray for peace, pray for peace. So many times I read my old prayer journals and am reminded of His faithfulness.
Choose thankfulness– I realize that it can be really hard in challenging times to be thankful. But His will is for us to be thankful in all things, and when we focus on what we are thankful for, we gain a broader perspective of God’s goodness.
Keep moving forward– Challenges make me want to run, but His plan was never for us to live comfortable lives and then run away when things get hard. His charge is for us to persevere and endure through the challenges that come.
Take heart– Be encouraged that He will overcome the world. Seek comfort in truth of His promises. He will never leave you or forsake you. Be confident because He who upholds you is good.
God, we confess that there are times that we build Barbie Dream House’s for our lives in our minds, and sometimes we don’t leave room for the truth that challenges will come. Help us to tear down the idea of perfection that we can dream of, and in turn trust that although the challenges come, You overcome. Help us to be thankful in all things, and see Your goodness shine even brighter when life is hard. Most of all, may we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is the perfecter of our faith. It is in His name we pray. Amen.