How do you feel right now? What is going through your mind? How are your heart and soul? What has this season of life been like for you? Do you feel like your answers to any of those questions aren’t okay to have?
I feel like there’s trend and pressure to be happy all the time. We should be in relationships that make us happy. We should have jobs that make us happy. We should only post positive, upbeat, happy things on social media and if we don’t, there’s something seriously wrong with us. We should do activities that makes us happy and only be around people who make us happy. You know what?
Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m angry. Sometimes I’m lonely and feel isolated. Sometimes I’m sick. Sometimes I feel weariness in my soul and heaviness in my heart. Sometimes I’m just not happy. Sometimes I’m not “good.” Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I do things that aren’t fun or easy. And that’s okay.
I may have missed it while reading my Bible-I don’t know of a verse that says we have to be happy all the time. A children’s Sunday school song that’s a little off theologically-yes, scripture-not so much. Yes, there are verses about being joyful or cheerful. There are also verses promising us difficulty, pain, and trials. Why do we feel such a need to ignore what those difficulties, pains, and trials do to us? Why the pressure to focus so much on the joy in the morning when the sorrow and mourning of the night is a blessing?
Life on the field has been hard. I won’t put any “buts” with that or qualify that statement. I don’t need to. The truth is that it has been hard. Some stretches have been harder than others. We have certainly had our joys and times of happiness. We have had stretches that are easier than others. As we’ve learned and grown and gone through transition after transition (the consistent inconsistency can feel both adventurous and grueling at the same time) our lives have certainly morphed. No matter how long we do this, no matter how much we figure out, we will always have difficult times. We will always have lots of transition, grief, and loss in our lives. We will have seasons that aren’t as smooth and easy to get through. And that’s okay.
The last eight months have been tumultuous for me. And that’s okay. Sure, my preference would have been an easier pregnancy, clear skies, no illness, a consistent travel schedule for Toffer, a great handle on homeschooling two kids while caring for two others, having everything clearly mapped out about who my kids are and what their needs are and how those can easily be met, more frequent rains for our house to be cooler, having two cars, getting to regularly see friends and have actual adult conversations, and so on and so forth. That’s not reality. And that’s okay. It. Is. O.K.
I don’t say all of this for sympathy or to be cheered up. In fact, I say it all with the hope of normalizing feelings, emotions, etc. that aren’t happiness. Instead of wanting to cheer up someone who is hurting or lonely or sad, allow them to feel that way. Jesus Himself wept when Lazarus died even though He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He expressed where He was in that moment and it was okay. Jesus wept. Period. He didn’t weep, but… He wept. That was it, in that moment.
Some seasons are just not as full of rainbows and lollipops and Skip to My Lou. Some seasons are more tiring, more lonely, more difficult. God has not left my side. He has not forgotten or forsaken me. He is near me in my broken moments. He catches my tears. He has also seen all my smiles and heard all the laughter in our house and brought joy. He knows what this season has looked like in our house and for me personally. He knows the paradoxes, mixed feelings, bittersweet moments, ups and downs. He’s seen all of it and understands the complexities of who I am better than anyone. He can take me at face value better than anyone else when I say, “It’s okay.”