Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Challenges and Blessings

Life is hard. We all know it. We all go through times in our lives where it seems to be one challenge after another. Or multiple challenges at once, one on top of another.

The last couple of months have been that way for our family. I'm not going to lie or sugar coat it; it's been rough. But despite all the trials we've gone through and are currently experiencing, we've been so blessed.

Sometimes I need to remind myself of just how blessed we are. It's so easy to get caught up in the "poor me" feelings. And, much as I hate to admit it, I've fallen prey to those feelings entirely too much.

I'm trying to be positive. But it's a struggle. I didn't entirely plan on being pregnant right now. And, as awful as it may sound, I've struggled off and on with being ok with that. Obviously it happened for a reason and I did know in advance. I had a very strong prompting that it would. But I panicked and didn't feel ready for it...and a lot of the time, I still don't. I'm trying to work on that.

I know it's a blessing. I know this child will bless our lives beyond imagining. I know this child is meant to come into our family now. I know we will love this child just as much as the 2 beautiful children we already have.

But it's hard to remember that when I'm beyond exhausted day in and day out. It's hard to remember when I have to eat now or be sick. It's hard to remember when I'm leaning over the toilet or barf bowl. It's hard to remember when I have a massive headache from the fact that water makes me nauseous. It's hard to remember when I see how messy our house gets and I haven't had the energy to clean for 2 months.

And honestly, I haven't even been all that sick. At least not compared to the previous 2. Which is definitely a blessing. One that I constantly have to remind myself of.

I struggle to remember that just the fact that I can get and stay pregnant is a blessing. I know it is. It's beautiful. But remembering that when I feel miserable? It's hard.

A friend recently lost her baby to miscarriage at 7 weeks. My heart just aches for her. I can only imagine the extent of her pain and loss.

I know so many women who've experienced that kind of pain. Whether it be miscarriage, still birth, or losing a child at a young age. It hurts. Or the women who yearn to get pregnant and can't. My heart reaches out to the families who experience this kind of pain. I've never gone through it, so I can't say I know exactly what it's like. Because I don't. And I hope I never truly do. I don't want to go through that kind of trial. But I understand that it hurts.

When I complain about having to change my son's poopy diaper, I should remember that there are women who wish they had a baby to change.

When I gripe about my 3 year old having a night terror in the middle of the night, I should remember that there are women who wish they had a 3 year old to snuggle in the middle of the night.

When I moan about the less pleasant aspects of pregnancy, I should remember that there are women who would do anything to be pregnant.

When I complain about my husband being in school, I should remember that there are people who would love the opportunity to get an education.

When I mope about living in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment, I should remember that there are families who don't have a home.

We are truly blessed. Sometimes the challenges shove their way in and make it harder to see. But other times, trials are the best time to see the blessings.

During the last few weeks, friends from church have helped us so much. When our kids were sick, they brought us Pedialyte and Gatorade. When our dryer broke during said sickness, they offered to dry our bedding. When I had an awful headache or just a rough day, they brought us dinner. When I had zero energy to clean, they came in and cleaned things up.

And it's not just a one-time thing; they are always there to help. I hope I can help others just as much as they've helped me. At this point in my life, I don't feel like there's much I can do. I can barely manage the needs of my own family right now.

Does realizing and focusing on all the blessings make the challenges magically disappear? Of course not. But it makes them more bearable.

Am I still trying to sort out some of our challenges? Absolutely.

We're still trying to get back to normal sleep schedules after the kids' illness and daylight savings.

We're still trying to get an internship for summer.

We're still in the market for a minivan and just discovered that we have less to work with than we thought.

We're still frustrated that the IRS played a nasty mind game on us (well, at least I am - John is more accepting and forgiving than I am). First they gave us over $900 more than we expected. Then we got an ambiguous letter about it that seemed to imply that it was legitimately ours. That was a month ago. We were thrilled, thinking we had $900 more to put toward a bigger car. Well, we just got a bill saying we now owe them over $900. Wouldn't it have been easier for them to just get it right to begin with? Now our refund is the exact amount that we anticipated, but they falsely got our hopes up by their incompetence. I think we can put that money to better use than the government can... I know it was in error, but still - it was cruel to get our hopes up like that and then dash them instantly. It'll all work out and I know it's not technically ours to begin with, but still. I'm not exactly happy about it...and of course I'm going to (begrudgingly) send them a check. Not a good idea to stiff the IRS ;)

Regardless of whatever challenges we face, we can't help but feel blessed, loved, and watched over. Some I honestly would rather not deal with; who really wants to send the IRS a big fat $900 check? But I'll deal with them nonetheless. After all, the way to growth is through trial.

I just need to learn to not complain about my challenges so much and have a better attitude in general. And that alone is an on-going trial. I'll get there. It may take years (and probably will) but I'll get there.


  1. I feel like I could have written this post! Right here with you....you can do it!

  2. Good for you trying to stay positive! There is always someone worse off. I know of someone who just lost her husband in a car accident....I can't even imagine her pain. It has made me realize that all my "problems" are so darn small. Good luck with everything, Sara! Things always seem to work out :)

  3. I really appreciate reading this. I feel like I can relate. I wish you luck on your car hunt and summer internship. Hope things go better soon.