Doing hard things

The funny thing about hard stuff is that we didn’t believe it would be this hard.

Ministry.

Adoption.

Marriage.

Parenting.

Walking by faith.

Those of us living in a first world country are especially confused by hard. We watch commercials promising the easy life, sure that if we buy or do the right things, we’ll be able to avoid hard.

But aren’t all our best memories connected to the hard stuff?

A race won.

A baby born.

A degree earned.

What’s your hard thing?

About eleven years ago, mine was moving to a fourth-world country and becoming an instant mom to three… eventually mom to five.

Around three years ago, it was fighting panic and adrenal fatigue — pushing through life even though I wanted to hide in a safe little corner.

Today it’s being faithful at home, while also letting my light shine a little further. It’s putting myself on my blog, in a book, and even on a speaking platform.

Each hard thing has been scary. Today is scary. And exhausting. Did I mention hard stuff is exhausting?!

BUT

Every single time I want to go live in those life-made-easy commercials, God gets involved.

He elbows me in the ribs and just won’t let up until I’ve gotten the point:

  • blogs…
  • verses…
  • songs…
  • homeschool curriculum…
  • sermons…

They all say the same thing:

Hebrews1038

I don’t know what the future holds; God might take me from hard to easier, or maybe from hard to harder. But even in my fear and wimpiness, I’m motivated to press on by a couple huge things:

1) I know there will eventually be a permanent end to all that is hard. Hallelujah!

And at that end we will be rewarded for our perseverance.

“In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

2) I don’t have to do a single thing in my own strength!

God promises to empower and equip me for each challenge.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Isaiah 4113

Here’s the deal: God has specific tasks in mind for each of us. We’ve been uniquely designed for our own hard stuff.

Jesus saved us — completing the ultimate overwhelming job. And He sustains us. He empowers us.

Our time here is limited. Will we do what He’s created us and saved us to do?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Alright, now it’s your turn to share. What hard thing is God asking you to do?

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10 thoughts on “Doing hard things

  1. Des October 31, 2013 at 10:36 am Reply

    Right now, life is excruciating for the 4th or 5th time…I’m losing track. I feel at times that I’m truly losing my mind. Right now, I think He is asking me to just hang in there – to bear up under the pressure and the pain. Hold on. I’m out of faith, I’ve been disappointed so many times it feels so foolish to hope. If He doesn’t help me all is lost. That’s where I am right now, this minute. Desperate. Thank you for your blog.

    • Jennifer Ebenhack October 31, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

      Praying for you!!!

      • Des October 31, 2013 at 11:06 am

        Another phrase that keeps coming to my heart this morning is: “See it through.” Dear Lord, please hold me together, today.

      • Jennifer Ebenhack October 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        Amen!

  2. highheartedly October 31, 2013 at 11:31 am Reply

    Hard. That’s one of my words. Years ago I imitated Luther (from the Luther movie which, by the way, we plan to watch tonight out on the porch with treats) and laid face down on the floor of my church before the altar and the cross and cried to God about how hard it was, and he knew. I’ve gone back to that moment several times in my mind, and it is hard now. Parkinson’s with dementia in my 83 year old dad who lives with us and who’s needs interrupt my homeschooling day with my dear dyslexic daughter, and marriage has often been hard but not terribly these days. But God is good, and my other word is provision. Walk in the way of God’s provision. Look to him and thank him. He recently challenged me to treat Dad as I would treat Jesus, for Jesus.
    I needed to read this, the part about not shrinking back in Hebrews 10:38.
    Thank you.

    • Jennifer Ebenhack November 1, 2013 at 5:43 am Reply

      Wow, Beth. You are familiar with “hard.” Thank you so much for your faithful service to the Lord and to your family. I love this little glimpse into your life. I have a special needs teenage son, so some of your challenges sound familiar to me… I’m encouraged by you to treat Him as I would treat Jesus! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Shannon October 31, 2013 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Do hard things. Seems to be the theme of my life lately. The cool thing is that when I have taken the time to give those hard things to God first, He has always shown up to control the situation. They’re still hard things, still things I wish I didn’t have to do/go through, but it’s very satisfying when I can look back and see how God brought me through each one.

    • Jennifer Ebenhack November 1, 2013 at 5:31 am Reply

      Yeah, I think it’s that looking back that builds our faith in huge ways. Seeing what he brought us through gives us courage to go on into the next hard thing. And for the record, I think you’re really good at doing hard things!

  4. Rene' November 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm Reply

    Jennifer,
    As you read from my Caring Bridge post, not letting my faith in God be shaken during the trials he allows in our lives is what I would consider “doing a hard thing.” My hope and prayer is that others will be encouraged through God’s work in my life.

    “I’ve just finished going through a devotional titled, “The Wonder of His Love”. I don’t remember if I questioned God’s love when Ed and I were going through our “Job” season. I do remember fervently praying that my faith wouldn’t be shaken. While we are still in the midst of some very challenging trials, I can say I am more confident now of God’s love for me now than I was in 2008 when this earthly world started to come crashing down all around us. It’s pretty amazing, really, to look back at those darkest times, the gloomy times in between, and even now, and realize that we’re still standing! I’m currently sobbing – with tears of joy and thankfulness I guess! Perhaps I’m just overcome with God’s goodness to me in spite of my shaky, wavering, fair-weathered faith. God IS my ROCK and has kept me solidly and securely in His Love through these times.”

    Thanks for encouraging us with God’s promises.

    Love,
    Rene’

    • Jennifer Ebenhack November 9, 2013 at 10:34 am Reply

      Rene’, you have most definitely encouraged us all as you’ve done your hard thing!! Thank you so much for clinging to the Rock and sharing your journey with us on the Caring Bridge site. We’ve seen proof that Jesus never leaves or forsakes us!

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