Day 28 :: When you just want it to be normal

Many times after our son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome I found myself thinking, “If only things could be normal again.”

I finally uttered the words to my husband and I remember him gently, and yet forcefully, saying, “Lauren, this is normal.”

I find that it’s easy to wish for life to be different than what it is.  To look forward to the day when things will slow down or be what I had always pictured.

Life doesn’t happen that way.  There may not ever be a time in my life that I would consider ‘normal’.

Normal is busy days, sleepless nights, sick kids, change, loss, longing, transition, unexpected circumstances, relational turmoil, suffering.

Normal is life in motion and sometimes normal means I will hurt and grieve and experience sorrow.

Sorrow because it’s not what we wanted.  Sorrow because we can’t change it.  Sorrow because it’s so hard to deal with the stuff of this moment that all I can do is cry.

Is it possible to thrive in these moments of sorrow?  Is God’s grace really sufficient even for the most seemingly un-normal things I’m facing?

I’m learning that it is possible.

It is possible to thrive in my sorrow because I’m just a simple jar that God has chosen to fill with “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” {2 Corinthians 4:6}

So, I can say with the apostle Paul:

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..”  2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Nancy Guthrie, in her book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, says:

“To experience and exude peace when life is crashing down around you, to have the lightness of joy when the weight of sorrow is heavy, to be grateful for what God has given you when you’ve lost what is most precious to you — that is God at work on the interior of your life, on display in your life.  It is the light of God piercing the darkness of this world.”

You see it’s not about removing sorrowful things that will make us thrive, it’s about running to God in the midst of our sorrow.

What?  That’s not what I want!  Often that’s how feel, right?  We just ‘want it to be normal again’.

Guthrie goes on to say:

“When Jesus offers himself to us in the midst of our pain, most of us think, That’s it?  That’s the best you can do?  I was hoping for more.  The truth is, we’re often more interested in getting what God’s got, not getting more of God.  We’ve put in our order for a miracle of healing or relief, and the miracle of his presence to us seems like the consolation prize.”  {Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, p. 118}

The grace of Jesus, the presence of Jesus, the truth of Jesus — these are the things that will enable us to thrive in this normal sorrowful life.  HE is what we need to thrive.

I don’t know what your normal life is like right now.  But I would guess that some of you are experiencing sorrow in one way or another.

Will you run to Jesus with your sorrow and allow the power of His presence to fill you up?

Will you trust Him in the midst of your sorrow and watch how He changes you?

Let’s embrace this normal life with the sorrows that it brings, and trust that God is using it to put Himself on display, and let us thrive.

For a list of all posts in this series go here.