I heard a commercial for a jewelry company the other day. The last line said "you shouldn't have to settle on the engagement rings of your dreams." Really?? It's crazy to me that some may consider "settling" on a diamond to be so cruel. Yet, sometimes we (I) get so comfortable in how lucky we are, that we begin to have a very warped perception of suffering.
Suffering isn't a smaller diamond than you'd like (hey, you're getting married).
Suffering isn't singleness (you definitely won't get in a fight tonight).
Suffering isn't that there are no Starbucks within a 1 mile radius (you just saved $4.00).
Suffering isn't the fact that Josh Elliott hasn't realized I'm the woman of his dreams yet (oh...he will).
Suffering isn't the inability to buy the shoes I want (I have plenty).
Suffering isn't turning 30 (you're alive).
How many times have I allowed foolish discomforts to take away appreciation of my blessings?
I've often shaken the proverbial fist at God, wondering why I've faced some of the situations I have. I wonder why I had to grow up without my mother. I'd look at friends who'd gotten married around the same time as me, and I'd wonder why I was the the unlucky one. Before I had my two living children, I lost two. I wondered why are other people had healthy babies and I was losing mine. Why do some people seem to have the good life and some people have it so hard? Why do some people experience so much suffering, and some experience none?
Despite some trials in my life, the past couple of weeks have reminded me about how blessed I am. I've been reading One Thousand Gifts, challenging me to count the gifts in my life. I was also recently reminded of how fleeting life is. Two people from high school passed away recently, one leaving three small children. Then one of my closest friend's friend went to be with the Lord this week. I'd only met her once but she had kids around the same ages as mine, and I remember us comparing parenting survival stories. She was a beautiful woman who passed way too young, leaving two small children and a husband behind.
It was another opportunity to ask God, WHY? Why do this woman's young children have to grow up without their mother? It brought up feelings that linger from experiencing my own mother's death as a young girl, never really having an opportunity to grieve the loss. In your head you know God is good. In your heart, though, you can't make sense of tragedies like that.
Do you have a hard time making sense of your life? Why that husband left? Why you lost that job? Why you're still single? Why you're sick? Why you lost a loved one?
I'm beginning to learn that, in situations like that, we will sometimes never see the sense in it on this side of eternity. God's ways are higher than ours. He works ALL things together for our good. Sometimes we just have to let go and trust Him. Believe me, I have NOT mastered this. Yet, when I look back on the past few years, purposefully looking for the good things, I notice that so many blessings have flowed from my pain. I have strength and self-confidence and trust like I've never known. I am closer to God than I ever was. I know He is protecting and providing for my children and I.
And then there are seemingly little things, but they are huge. Warm homes. A cup of coffee in our hands. A tiny voice begging to play. A baby's squeals of joy. Tea parties using plastic utensils covered with God knows what. Health. A job. A good song. A sunny day.
Sometimes it's hard to see blessings with our bare eyes. Search for them. Choose to see them. They are worth finding.
This song has such great lyrics...will you choose to see His "mercies in disguise"?