The Struggle Is Real

While washing lunch dishes God reminded me of a scripture, "Pick up your cross and follow me" in Matthew 16:24. I listened that much more intently and inquired as my heart was searching for answers in the here and now.

Pick up your temptation. Pick up your weakness. Pick up your burden. And follow the Lord. 

I believe God in His way was telling me that not every struggle would I be delivered from. Some perhaps, but more would remain until I leave this earthly shell and go home to be with Jesus. As a Woman of Faith does that make God-sense? Although I'm still listening and following it may not sound like a faith-worthy statement. Nonetheless, it may be the absolute truth as I rally and put on a happy face—even when I’m feeling contrary.

It was motivation to purge that I began to go through a corner plastic bin in my home office. Nestled behind organized large-sized baggies of greeting cards were report cards from elementary through high school. Thanks to my mom.

I was more than surprised as I sat on the cool travertine tiled floor reading each one cover to cover. Poor me. I lacked direction and accountability with no support or tools to do better. It could have put me under as I had no idea that I had issues beyond the typical nonsense of adolescence, but teacher's comments don't lie. Do they? Especially when there was a consistency from year to year. Even as I recall now to write, those ghastly Ds and Fs want to linger in the annals of my mind. And to add, I read yearbook messages from classmates that were telltale signs of my poor choices -- fun, parties and boys. I'm shocked that in the Sophomore yearbook I found a pen drawing of a marijuana leaf by her picture. Her will remain anonymous. Side note, this was an all-girl Catholic school. Moving forward, a few first-year college semester grades were unfavorable as well.

The enemy's plans are stacked against me, but only if I have a narrow view, and let what was printed and recorded in my past be the end for me or what matters most. If I did, I could be spiraling down to an abyss of self-pity and what ifs. But God. He has given me comfort in His word that perfection is not what He seeks from me. Only that I pick up my cross, follow Him and be willing to grow. There are so many faithful men and women of God in the Holy Bible that had issues, made mistakes, had a few missteps and still God used them to further His Kingdom.

The struggle is real when I look back over my past in detail, and in the continuation of life to compare and gauge progress thus far. Yet, in it I intentionally search for joy because otherwise I would be swallowed up by disappointment and discouragement. And with joy, I have a tangible hope as I am in the midst of a writing project to share my personal journey.

If you're struggling here's encouragement through scripture:

Keep me [in Your affectionate care, protect me] as the [a]apple of Your eye; Hide me in the [protective] shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 17:8

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Romans 8:37

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

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