I was recently talking with a lady whose life was falling apart.  As we sat there, I listened to the hopelessness in her voice, and it became apparent that she was not a believer.  I tried sharing with her how Christ had always been there for me, even in the darkest of days He’d never left me.  With tears brimming in her eyes, she looked at me and whispered in a barely audible voice, “It does get easier, right?”  As the stale alcohol filled the air between us, I so desperately wanted to lie to her and tell her everything was going to be just fine.  This lady was standing on a cliff begging for a lifeline. 

Growing up I was known as the peacemaker.  Not because I was good at settling arguments, but I was good at avoiding them by saying whatever the other person wanted to hear.  More of a sugar coater than a peacemaker.  I’ve begun to realize that this is not only a disservice to myself, but to those around me as well.  I love trying to make everyone’s life easy and carefree.  When Megan was six, she saw me cry for the first time.  I was having a raging migraine and just couldn’t hold it together any longer.  I’ll never forget her face.  She broke down, threw her arms around me and in between sobs asked me, “Mommy, are you dying of cancer?”  Instead of taking this as a hint that I needed to be more open and honest with my loved ones, I did the opposite.  Obviously, I needed to continue to protect them from the harsh reality this world has to offer.  Not only can I not protect everyone from everything, but it also robs them of the opportunity to see Christ work.  For example, Peter decided he wanted to try to walk on water.  He stepped out of the boat, took a few successful steps, and then promptly began to sink.  In desperation he called out and Jesus reached out His hand and saved him.  Now let’s say that Peter sugar coated his situation instead.  “No, I’m good.  I just needed to take a quick bath in the stormy seas.  I’ll swim back to the boat now.”  Other than being completely impractical, it would have stolen the moment for Jesus to shine.  Everyone in the boat had no doubt about whose power Peter was saved by.  There was no question in Peter’s mind about his ability versus God’s.  Because of his honesty in his weakness Christ was able to shine through. 

There’s a lady in our church who I’ve adopted as a grandma/mom figure.  She was recently diagnosed with Parkinses.  It hit her hard and fast.  I’ve had the honor of watching her faith shine and grow through this process.  She’s very honest about the frustrations and difficulties she’s now facing.  One of the new hurdles she’s learning to jump is seeing double.  One morning I was asking her how her eyesight was, and she candidly replied.  “Pretty good.  I get to see two of you now!”  Through her willingness to be honest about her struggles, Christ’s light is shining through her.  She’s quick to praise God and unashamedly open with her daily struggles with this disease.  As her physical body is being broken by illness, Christ is more clearly seen.  Her walk with Him doesn’t remove the obstacles, but it gives her the confidence and peace of knowing He’s right there holding her hand. 

“It does get easier, right?” was still hanging heavy in the air.  As I considered the glimpses of her life that she had shared with me, I knew that this road she was walking down was not going to get easier.  I slowly began to shake my head.  “No,” I heard myself saying much to my surprise.  I desperately wanted my sugar-coating self back.  Instead, words continued to spill out.  I rambled on about how life is still hard but with Christ by your side it’s better.  All very true things but I felt like the words all came out in a jumbled mess.  Once the babbling finally stopped, she gave me a blank stare and slowly nodded.  I think to keep me quiet more than to agree with me.  To avoid embarrassing myself again, this is what I was trying to say.  This life is like walking out into the ocean.  The waves come and can toss you, roll you and drive you to the ocean floor.  You become confused, disoriented and panicked.  But with Christ you have a life vest.  He’ll bring you to the surface and keep you from drowning.  He’ll reorient you so you can tell what way is up.  The waves still come but you know that it won’t be the end of you.   You will feel Him wrapping His arms around you and holding you tightly.  You will find peace in the midst of the storms. 

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