Sometimes I wish life could be easy for just one day. This old pic popped on my feed last night ~ it is from 3 years ago. God has seen us through SO much. It is a very humbling honor that God has given us such precious special peeps. “Easy” does not come for any of us on this side of heaven. Some days that knowledge helps bring surrender, peace. Other days I am kicking and screaming inside, still wishing for just one easy day. Some days I roll my eyes at God, and shake my fist at heaven. “Lord, no wonder you have so few friends!” (Some days even include, “God, are you even there?” Despite the fact that I know he is.) Embracing all of life, the good and the difficult, is a daily challenge. I strive for surrender. Strive. Not always achieving it. Trying to live only one day at a time……keep on moving, keep on moving……reaching out for joy even in the difficult moments, when joy seems to hide. 💔❤️ My friends, a dear sister recently challenged a group of us moms and dads, during this year Pope Francis has declared “A Year of Mercy”, to look at the difficulties of our lives as a gift of God’s Mercy. Very negative thoughts started to immediately race through my head. Gah! Are you serious? Us? Gifts? Bwaa-Haa-ha! Sister kept on talking. Now I was snared. “How have the difficulties in your life made you stronger?” (only when I was very broken first, Sister.) ( In the brokenness I became small, and learn humility and not to rely on my weak human strength; I learn to invite God into my heart – ok, not invite, beg ~ for heaven’s strength). “How have the difficulties and sufferings in your life made you more compassionate?” (having a child die, another go through multiple open heart surgeries, three others overcome by limitations of mind and body…..kind of takes a mother’s heart into God’s school of transformation) God sends difficulty and challenges to keep chiseling, piercing, in the fire of His love, sharp edges burn away and the cold hard metal of self is softened even to the point of melting. A heart could never be the same after God’s providence reshapes everything. Journey after journey into the school of His Love has transformed my heart, my entire being, that longs to pick up and embrace anyone who is suffering. Not just in the ‘I feel so sorry for you’ way, but in the “what can I do to ease this suffering” kind of way. (Yes, sister, difficulties can make us more compassionate). “How has every difficulty and pain changed you so that you would not be who you are if it were not for the difficulties God has allowed in your life?” (lightbulb going off now sister!!!) She’s right. All the difficulties, all the suffering, every pain and sorrow, have changed us into who we are today. (Yep. It has made me very, very, very um, er, thinking here…….cough, uh, oh, ahhh, yes, that’s it, it has made me very grey.) 😎 God bless your day. Embrace the grey. And thank God for every little difficulty if it has made you nicer in any way. 💔❤️ For only when our hearts are broken does the love and the light inside begin to shine for others. You can shut your heart tight, and fight and fight, with only a hardened heart and a haughty, mean or angry spirit to show. We can also take the time. To thank God for the difficulties, surrender like a child and let God do what He needs to do to make us who we are today. So if you’re reading this overwhelmed or discouraged, know you’re not alone. I write this with a little prayer for all who read this today. I ask God to light your way, give you a smile and His peace this day. If we all pass on that smile and a little bit of love, even in our suffering, imagine what the world could be like………embrace the grey and be someone’s sunshine in a real and concrete way.