By the grace of God, I have a wonderful life. I have an incredibly godly, loving, supportive, handsome husband. He works for a good company and he’s home by dinner every night without fail. I have two darling children, a boy and a girl (a millionaire’s family, as it’s called), and I even get to stay home with them! I have my dream house in a lovely neighborhood. We have an affectionate dog who never barks (really!). We play board games together and go on family vacations. We’re like a Norman Rockwell painting! A little snow globe family, and when you shake the globe, glitter falls all around us!
So—would you like to trade? Would you like to give up what you have now and switch to my charmed existence?
Wait—there are a few things I should probably disclose before you make your decision.
This life comes without a mother. She died of pancreatic cancer pretty early—she was 32, her children were young. She missed the school musicals, the college graduation, the wedding, the birth of the darling children. She’s not around to ask questions or to go to for advice. But I can recommend some books on girls who have lost their mothers and how that changes a woman. They’re pretty helpful.
Are you still up for a swap?
This life also comes with bouts of depression. Three moderate bouts over things like death, moving, graduate school, a crummy job. One severe bout of post-partum depression that arrived with that darling daughter, and that one lasted for 18 months and required hospitalization. But it’s currently treated, and you know, maybe the depression won’t come back in the future. But there’s a dark cloudlurking, just waiting for a weak moment so it can chase away the sun again. I have the numbers for a great psychiatrist and a great counselor, though.
Have we hit a deal breaker yet?
That’s not all the difficult things I could share—we all have tons of baggage, whether we claim it or not.
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance,
character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into
our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
In this life you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world! (John 16:33)
Are you in a season that is breaking your heart? Your spirit? Testing your faith? Are you ready to swap out for the first good deal that comes along because your world is imploding? As Winston Churchill famously said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” God’s strength is made perfect in your weakness, and He is ready and willing to turn your struggle into a story that will bring Him glory. Yes, that feels like a Sunday school answer when you’re actually going through hell, but keep going. When you get to the other side and you see what God has done, you will be amazed. And while you keep going, do not underestimate the importance of hope. Know that God has it in abundance, and he will pour it out on you even when you can’t see any light at all.
I have seen God stand by me, carry me time and time again, and make me stronger in faith and in character. I am so grateful for all the messes God has cleaned up and the love and hope with which he has surrounded me. And I am grateful that when people look at my life and say, “That must have been hard,” I can say, with full confidence, that it was God who carried me, God who rescued me, God who restored me, and God who has blessed me with more than I could ever ask or imagine.
And I wouldn’t trade that story for anything.