Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Strength Through Struggle

This morning my daughter sent me a text message very early and it said this, “Mom, count your blessings you are in California – it is negative 9 degrees right now in Massachusetts." She sent me this text as see was walking through the snow to her early morning class.  After her class ended, she sent me another text and because I know her sense of humor, she wrote this jokingly, “My lips are frozen – struggles, struggles, struggles!”

Whenever she says she is “struggling” – it is an inside joke that both of us understand and for some reason just saying, “I am struggling”, makes us laugh and gives us a light heart in the situation. However, to struggle can be very serious. People can struggle, emotionally, physically and spiritually. To struggle means to make a strenuous or violent effort in the face of difficulty. Thankfully for my daughter, walking through the snow in negative temperatures is a small struggle that she jokingly admits to having in comparison to what many people are struggling through.

Whenever I hear the word struggle, I also can’t help but think of the butterfly story.  The butterfly story is a very popular story that you may have heard before. I will be sharing the story from a website I found named, 4MyFuture below:

“There’s a parable about a new mother who discovered a butterfly struggling mightily to escape its cocoon through a tiny opening at the top. She became concerned when the creature seemed to give up after making no progress. Certain that the butterfly just wouldn’t make it out without help, she enlarged the hole slightly.

On its next try, the butterfly wriggled out easily. But the young women’s joy turned to horror as she saw its wings were shriveled and useless. Her well-intentioned intervention turned out badly because it interrupted a natural way of assuring that blood from the creature’s body is pushed into the wings. By making it easier, she deprived the butterfly of strong wings.”

Adversity is not always the enemy. 

Helen Keller once said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trail and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

What a great reminder from Helen Keller to see our “struggles” as tools to make us the kind of people that have character and strength. James, the half brother of Jesus also shared about “struggling” in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I admit that the love I have for my children can at times be a pampering love because I don’t want them to suffer – at all :)!  Thankfully I have a wonderful husband and they have a wonderful father who keeps reminding us of the butterfly story!

God’s love for His children is a perfect love - more specifically, God's love is a STRENGTHENING love!  There are times that God’s love melts me and my heart is swelled with so much gratitude to Him that I feel like I am going to burst with happiness! There are also times that God’s great love for me causes me to be stretched and to be pulled out of my comfort zone and into a place that I need to trust Him and Him alone.

If you are in a season in your life that you feel ALL you are doing is “struggling”, remember that God has not forgotten you – the exact opposite is true. Instead God is lovingly watching over you so that you can develop the strength to complete your destiny so that your "calling" will take flight!  

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